Fargo Season 2 Episode 2 Review: “Before The Law”


Fargo is one of those shows that doesn’t totally make sense right away. After only two episodes, you can end up finding yourself thinking “Where on Earth is this going?!” Although in this particular case, that answer might be “nowhere on Earth.” But, it always makes sense in the long term, as events begin to slowly weave in between one another and become a cohesive story. “Before The Law” begins to slowly intertwine the plot and character threads as they realize they have everything to do with each other.

This week on Fargo: Ed stays home from work to clean the house up. Lou and Hank re-visit the waffle restaurant, only for Betty to find the murder weapon. The Gerhardts discuss a regime change, now that their patriarch has fallen ill, and also send out a search party for missing Rye. Peggy is caught in a lie (or two) by a co-worker. The search party meets Hank. Ed and Lou have a close encounter at the butcher shop.

As you can see, there was a lot happening in this episode. Fargo has proved in many previous episodes that it really thrives in tense situations. On some shows, situations aren’t tense because you pretty well know how it’s going to turn out. But on Fargo, the scene could end anywhere in between Lou leaving the butcher shop with a friendly wave, and two diner employees going down with the judge. This show is made compelling by its dramatic acting and interesting stories, coupled with wildly unpredictable outcomes. And if you’ve read enough of my reviews, you know that I’m a sucker for unpredictability.

The entire time I spend watching Fargo I can’t help but think that about how impeccably well assembled the cast is. Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst are the perfect couple to have deep, dark secrets. I mean, I knew there was something off about Peggy when we first met her but wow. That lady’s crazy, and Dunst is masterful. Plemons plays the perfect complement to her. Rather than getting his kicks doing crazy things, he loves his wife, which makes him willing to do crazy things. The dynamic is compelling because of their opposite reasons for getting involved in the same thing. At least that’s the way I see it.

“Before The Law” is a great illustration of Fargo‘s over-arching beauty. The show (and episode in particular) is beautifully shot. The 1979 setting is perfectly captured with the set and style, and the whole thing feels like a portrait. The snow works to great advantage for the series because of the extra light it provides, and it just makes you feel like you’re there. Watching Fargo is quite an experience.

I know it’s a drama series (and quite a bloody one at that), but one of my most favorite things about the first episode this season was how funny it turned out to be. “Before The Law” lost a bit of the humor, but it was certainly necessary to the plot. I don’t have much to criticize, but if I were to criticize something, I would want to laugh a little more next time.

Overall, “Before The Law” was a solid follow-up to the premiere, and has already begun weaving threads together. I’m really excited to see how it continues.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy this episode? Let us know!!

Fargo airs Mondays at 10/9c on FX.

[Photo credit: Chris Large/FX]

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