Fargo Season 2 Premiere Recap: Close Encounters

Fargo Season 2

FX invited you back to Fargo this Monday night, uncorking a second season set 27 years prior to the first but just as chockablock with complicated murder scenarios. Will you bundle up and stay a while?

Setting in motion the acclaimed drama’s sophomore run is the plight of Rye Gerhardt (played by Kieran Culkin), the “runt” son in the Gerhardt crime family based out of Fargo. (Burn Notice‘s Jeffrey Donovan and Insidious‘ Angus Sampson play his big bros, Dodd and Bear, while Designing Woman Jean Smart is family matriarch Floyd.) Rye hasn’t been earnin‘, as they say, so he puts the squeeze on a local typewriter salesman who has big dreams of opening “the money spigot” if he can stock up on IBM Selectric IIs. Thing is, the gambling addict’s accounts are frozen, so he invites Rye to lean on a judge in Fargo.

Rye sets out to do just that, confronting the lady judge that night at a Waffle Hut in Luverne, Minn., but she shrugs off his threats — first coming back at him with the story of Job, then with a canister of bug spray. Recoiling from the noxious attack, Rye takes out his pistol and shoots the judge, then the fry cook, and then the waitress. When the waitress makes a run/crawl for it outside, Rye gives chase and shoots her dead. But Rye’s night is about to get a whole lot worse, for just as he is distracted by the lights and hum of what sure appears to be a UFO in the distance (?!), a sedan mows him down… brakes briefly… and then motors on, with him still lodged into the windshield.

Minnesota state trooper Lou Solverson — played here by Patrick Wilson (A Gifted Man) and fated to grow up to be Keith Carradine in Fargo Season 1 — is summoned to investigate the massacre at the Waffle Hut, where he meets up with Sheriff Hank Larsson (CSIs’ Ted Danson), who happens to be dad to his cancer-battling wife Betsy (How I Met Your Mother‘s Cristin Milioti). All the lawmen have to go on at first is the suggestion of a botched robbery, plus a white leather loafer that apparently got propelled up into a tree during the hit-and-run.

We then meet butcher shop employee Ed Blumquist (Friday Night Lights‘ Jesse Plemons), who arrives home that night to learn that his wife Peggy (Spider-Man‘s Kirsten Dunst) is planning to attend a Lifespring seminar, to be “a better me.” Peggy, though, buried the headline, for it turns out she also hit a deer earlier with the car. OK, more specifically, she hit a man. And the wounded guy, Rye, is still staggering around in their garage.

Ed confronts the stranger, and the met go at it, with Ed ultimately shivving the last breaths out of battered Rye. Ed wants to alert the police, but (remarkably level-headed) Peggy spins a scenario where both she and maybe he get sent to prison, and then there is no butcher shop to own, no family (that she quite obviously doesn‘t want) to start. Ed signs on for the cover-up, so (for now) they stash the corpse in the garage meat freezer.

The premiere closes with a scene in Kansas City, where crime syndicate front man Joe Bulo (Everybody Loves Raymond‘s Brad Garrett) is leading a presentation to his superior, Hamish Broker (played by Adam Arkin), about the opportunity to move in on the Gerhardt family’s turf — which is especially vulnerable  given patriarch Otto’s recent stroke. Sure, mom Floyd is tough, “but she’s a girl,” Bulo states, and the three sons are prone to infighting. With that said, Hamish signs off on the “expansion” plan, which will soon enough lead to a search for Rye and thus send the many above worlds colliding.

What did you think of the Fargo Season 2 opener and its stellar cast?