Archive of ‘Fargo’ category

What do Fargo’s Episode Titles Mean? (Season Two)

I’ve received quite a few comments requesting a season 2 update. There is already a short and dirty description on Reddit, but I’ve written my own longer version down below. While Season one’s title meanings revolved around riddles, season two is drawn from Modernist literature and art. I just realized that Season 2 is available…

Fargo (1996) versus Fargo (2014)

fargo movie poster

After spending the last two months watching FX series Fargo, I finally watched the Coen Brothers’ film Fargo (1996) last night. I was surprised how tonally different the two were. In the film, William H. Macy’s character Jerry Lundegaard hatches a hair brained scheme to have his wife kidnapped and ransomed, and his plan is…

Fargo Finale: The Bad End Unhappily, The Good Unluckily

Fargo TV Series

What is Morton’s Fork? Morton’s Fork is a dilemma with two negative outcomes. To read more about the meanings behind Fargo episode titles, click here. In the episode “Who Shaves the Barber,” Lorne Malvo springs Mr Wrench from the hospital after telling him a story about a bear who chewed off its own leg to…

Fargo: Linda the Sacrificial Lamb and Cabbage

Fargo TV Series

The title of this week’s Fargo episode comes from a variation of the River Crossing. To read more about this and other Fargo episode titles, please see my blog post “What do Fargo Episode Titles Mean?“ How do you get a fox, a rabbit, and a cabbage across a river? Agent Pepper asks. With a…

Fargo: Who Will Come Out on Top of the Heap

Fargo TV Series

The title of this episode is a reference of Sorites paradox. Agent Budge tells a variation of the paradox, when he asks if a filing room is still a filing room when it has all the files are removed one by one. To read more about it and the meaning behind other episode titles, click…

Fargo: Who Shaves the Barber? Not Law Enforcement

Fargo TV Series

Last week’s episode “Buridan’s Ass” was a tough act to follow; “Who Shaves the Barber” is not a bad episode judged by itself, but it ranks middling among the seven released episodes. (If you want to learn more about the Barber Paradox, click here.) While I would never ever characterize Fargo as a realistic show,…

Fargo Buridan’s Ass: God, Fate, and the Animal Within

Fargo TV Series

Lester Nygaard’s transformation from anxious, inept insurance salesman, timid husband, and all around loser to a scheming sociopath reminds me of James McAvoy’s character in the terrifically bad movie Wanted or Walter White in Breaking Bad. All they needed was that perfect amount of stress to unhinge/ transform them. James McAvoy became a bullet bending…

What do Fargo’s Episode Titles Mean?

the muddy road

In Season One, most of the episodes are named after a riddle or a paradox. Creator Noah Hawley has a particular fondness for Buddhist koans, which are paradoxical anecdotes or riddles without solutions. They are used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and provoke enlightenment. Although it’s too early to tell…

Fargo’s The Six Ungraspables is a Tangle of Yarns

Fargo TV Series

A monk once asked Ummon, “What is the ultimate formless timeless reality?” Ummon answered him with “The Six Ungraspables.” The Graspables are the five senses and the mind. For all its Biblical references, the title of this episode comes from Zen Buddhism. At face value, it seems pretty straightforward. What is reality but an interpretation…

Fargo’s Eating the Blame: Superduos

Fargo TV Series

“Eating the Blame” is Fargo’s strongest and eerily bloodless episode with Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) pulling out all stops as a grinning Jack-O-Lantern evil incarnate playing a timid Lutheran minister. As he escapes from Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks), he can’t help but toy with him. “How can you just lie like that,” Gus asks.…

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