blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Fargo (2014) s04e07 – Lay Away

I was really happy to see Dana Gonzales directed this episode because the direction’s bad and since I no longer have any confidence in “Fargo” anymore whatsoever I was worried it was one of the good directors this season going to pot.

This episode seems to reveal the big problem—and not just co-writers (with Noah Hawley) Enzo Mileti and Scott Wilson, they’re definitely contributing to the worst episode—and it’s “Fargo: Season Four” doesn’t have enough story. Too many characters, not enough story. They’re benching actors—so like, Timothy Olyphant not showing up to episode three is in a different light—this episode Jessie Buckley gets off the bench at the beginning.

We’ve been promised a Buckley vs. shitty WASP Stephen Spencer since episode two or so and we finally get the resolution. It’s predictable and not very good and then segues into Buckley being too inept to have been as successful at her proclivities without getting busted. But the show also wants enough suspension of disbelief for Jason Schwartzman–who you can actually watch not be able to figure out how to act in his scenes before he picks the worst possible choice—as the mob boss, so I guess Buckley not being reasonably intelligent enough is just another thing. Another fail for “Fargo.”

Lots more flashbacks. Some of them are risible, like the multi-panel ones of Schwartzman and brother Salvatore Esposito bickering. Now, Esposito is benched this episode until the very end. He was benched most of last episode too. I’m not sure if the show’s really missed him exactly. I’ve missed him, but only sort of. It’s not when he’s in play he’s doing anything particularly good anymore. And if Gonzales is directing, it’s downright bad.

Jack Huston’s got an original flashback, which is something at least. I haven’t softened on Huston’s performance but it’s a terrible part. No one in “Fargo: Season Four,” it turns out, gets a good part. They get a potential Emmy win, but not a good part. Because they’re all fighting for the same two awards or whatever and no one gets anything good.

Though James Vincent Meredith is quickly becoming a real asset as one of Chris Rock’s guys.

And Chris Rock has a fine enough episode. But he’s not, like, great. It’s not the Actor’s Workshop with Chris Rock or whatever. He’s good, sometimes better than good, but he can’t rise about the material.

Big obvious Miller’s Crossing shot at the opening. Sadly it’s the best direction in the whole thing.

After giving J. Nicole Brooks—Chris Rock’s wife—a big, pointless scene opposite Gaetano Bruno, the show cheats her out of an important real scene later.

It’s hard to imagine what’s going to happen in the four remaining episodes, except—hopefully—everyone getting killed off so they won’t be back for “Season Five.” Though, at this point, unless they take the show away from Hawley and company… there’s no point in anyone coming back for a “Fargo: Season Five.”

It’s finally as bad as I figured it would be hearing about it. Though, again, it’s not “Fargo: The Series,” it’s “Miller’s Crossing: The Series.” It’s like Hawley’s betting the “Fargo” audience hasn’t seen Miller’s.

Oh, and the stupid ghost is back.

Would the ghost be stupid if Gonzales weren’t directing? Not sure. Probably. But it’s a slug of a show.

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