Connecting the dots in Fargo Seasons 1-3

12 January 2018

Connecting the dots in Fargo Seasons 1-3

Showmax now has all three seasons of black comedy Fargo (2014-current), easily one of the most intricately woven TV shows you’ll find. And despite it being an anthology, where each season features new storylines and characters, there’s an underlying theme and story arc that unites the instalments.

“If the first two [seasons] were chapters 1 and 2, this is a new book, but in the same series.” – Noah Hawley, writer and creator of Fargo, Seasons 1-3

“Each season starts with a kind of scenario,” explains showrunner Noah Hawley. “Season 1 had two men sitting in the emergency room and you want to know why they are there. Season 2 had a woman driving home with a man sticking out her car and you want to know how he got there. It’s a tricky process and I never want to be too cutesy about it.”

Season 3 begins with twin brothers Ray and Emmit (both played by Ewan McGregor) fighting over their inheritance that has seen one hitting personal and business highs and the other less so – and you want to know how Ray’s jealousy over his brother’s success is going to play out. Watch now »

Fargo Season 3 on Showmax

Image: MGM

Keeping it local

The seasons are all set in the same grey, snowed-out Minnesota and North Dakota scenery and in different years, but they are still one and the same show… more or less. Season 1 is set in 2006, Season 2 in 1979 and Season 3 in a more recent 2010. “We populate the world from season to season and find these links,” explains Noah. “Seasons 1 and 2 had the cop-versus-criminal theme, while this third instalment is linked through out-of-town business.”

Emmit is the self-proclaimed “parking lot king of Minnesota” and owns facilities around the state, including the settings of Seasons 1 and 2. But location isn’t the only link… Watch now »

Familiar faces

Without spoiling the fun, there will be a character or two from Seasons 1 and 2 popping up in this third season to help with the continuity. “The first three hours of Season 1 were completely unconnected to the original Coen Brothers movie [of the same name in 1996]. That gave viewers time to settle in and figure out who fits in where to the original premise,” says Noah. “Like the buried money that’s dug up… and then you’re like, ‘Oh that’s where it went!’” Fargo the movie is also on Showmax. Watch now »

While Season 3’s character links aren’t glaringly obvious, the connection between Seasons 1 and 2 is staring you in the face, says entertainment writer David Cole. “Season 2 centres around young police officer Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson). In Season 1, Lou (played by Keith Carradine) is the father of the central character Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), who is about 10 years old in the second instalment. Watch now »

War of the (under) world

Being set almost 30 years after Season 2, Season 1 had tonnes of little references to past events, including the infamous blood battle ambush at Sioux Falls. That plays out in Season 2 in all its gory glory with bullets and bodies flying all over the place. Season 3’s connection here is also a little vague – because from the outside, the criminal organisation calling the shots with Emmit and Ray appears to have been operating in the state since the ’70s… which is when Season 2 takes place.

It’s not said outright but it’s pretty obvious that the organised crime family have ties to Season 2’s rotten apples, the Gerhardt Family. “Obviously our second season was a literal prequel, so the connections are obvious,” says Noah. “This year, I wanted it [Season 3] to stand more on its own two feet and start again. If the first two were chapters 1 and 2, this is a new book, but in the same series.” Watch now »


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