blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Fargo (2014) s04e03 – Raddoppiarlo

I’m sad “Fargo” turns out to need Timothy Olyphant so much. I noticed him in the credits online but figured they’d cut him out so much he was barely appearing, but he gets the opening of this episode. Before disappearing. He plays a Mormon U.S. Marshal who can’t shut up about religion and eats carrot sticks. Olyphant’s great, but it’s an easy part.

Especially since Olyphant’s teamed with Jack Huston’s dirty cop who has OCD instead of a character and Huston’s fairly bad. He’s in it more and it’s bad he’s in it more.

Olyphant and Huston resolve the previous episode’s cliffhanger, which leaves an open thread, but is mostly a rather good house search with the cops looking for Karen Aldridge and Kelsey Asbille. Anji White gets her first great scene lying to Olyphant about their location (Aldridge is her sister) and it gets the episode off to a great start. Huston or not.

And this episode’s pretty solid throughout. Everything except the Jason Schwartzman and Jessie Buckley stuff works. The Schwartzman and Buckley stuff is based entirely on the premise you think Schwartzman’s doing a good job with his acting, which it seems hard to believe anyone thinks. Otherwise they’d give him something real to do instead of sensational and busying.

Like Glynn Turman, who’s quickly become “Fargo: Season Four”’s most essential cast member. He’s so good but he’s also a lot more competent than anyone else—at the end of the episode he’s got to hash things out with boss Chris Rock and Rock doesn’t know anything Turman doesn’t so why isn’t Turman boss.

Turman also gets this stupendous—seriously, not sure the last time I used this adjective—monologue about being a Black man in the Army post-World War II. It’s in a consigliere meeting with opposing gang’s Francesco Acquaroli. Acquaroli’s real good too but, wow, Turman. It’ll be hard for “Fargo” not to be his de facto show.

This episode also gives Ben Whishaw his first big outing.

He could do worse.

It helps it’s a great sequence—director Dearbhla Walsh continues the season’s excellent direction trend, possibly surpassing Noah Hawley. The sequence where Whishaw’s got to go out and shoot somebody he doesn’t think they should be shooting but is scared Gaetano Bruno is going to shoot him if he doesn’t do the hit… phenomenal stuff. Feels like Miller’s Crossing without feeling like it’s referencing Miller’s Crossing.

Salvatore Esposito’s got a little bit to do, E'myri Crutchfield has a surprising little to do. The episode’s got two big set pieces and Walsh excels at both of them. Despite Schwartzman’s continued ineptness and it not featuring Crutchfield’s, you know, narrator enough… it’s maybe the best episode of the season so far.

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