Fargo (2014) s04e11 – Storia Americana

This episode runs under forty minutes. The first few episodes ran over an hour. So why does “Fargo: Season Four” need a coda? I mean, besides them not finishing the story last episode so they could eek out just one more.

The episode opens with a montage of all the people who have died this season, confirming at least one I assumed was still… well, up in the air. It’s going to end with the tie-in to the other “Fargo” series in a mid-credits scene, but it’s a predictable-ish tie-in. There have only been so many Black people in “Fargo” until this season. If someone’s going to be a descendant or relation… there’s a very limited pool.

Once things with Jessie Buckley and Jason Schwartzman get resolved—gang consigliere Francesco Acquaroli didn’t know about Buckley and Schwartzman being a couple and he’s got a bunch of thoughts, especially how things should be going forward—there’s just time for a rushed new Chris Rock subplot. Edwin Lee Gibson is causing more trouble. Except this time Rock doesn’t need wife J. Nicole Brooks to do the Lady MacBeth thing, he can handle it himself. Sort of.

See, it’s not like Rock or Schwartzman were criminal masterminds. Schwartzman’s incompetent because it’s supposed to be funny, but Rock’s supposed to be the competent one only he never does anything right. Plus Glynn Turman was clearly smarter than Rock. Much like Buckley, it’s impossible to imagine how these characters got to these points in their lives. With all three, that problem is the writing. It’s way too thin and relies way too much on the actors being distracting. Buckley’s got all sorts of busy mannerisms and Linda Cardellini stuff to do, while Schwartzman mugs like he’s in a Rushmore skit, and Rock tries to figure out why they hired him in the first place.

He’s really effective this episode when he finally gets to play the family man, but since the whole show’s about how he’s not a family man and it’s not like there’s been any relevant character development—there have been some related events, but if Noah Hawley’s gotten to the point where he’d called them character development… well, actually, it would explain a lot about the season.

There’s a little bit with E'myri Crutchfield tying back to the first episode when it pretended it was going to be about her.

It’s the best episode Dana Gonzales directed all season for sure but it’s not like it can save the season. Does it save the show? I’d probably be back for a season five to start, no matter what—so the last three episodes did stop the sinking—but I really hope Hawley doesn’t make another one.

The highlight of a season shouldn’t be a single one-off episode. It doesn’t even have a consistent stand-out cast member. It’s a disaster of a season.

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