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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Thursday, July 14

Fargo, Season 2

I recently did a one-after-the-other run through of the ten episodes of Fargo, Season 2. Even though the Coen brothers didn’t direct, it had their pawprints all over it—the clever use of split screens for simultaneous action or flashbacks, the number and bloodiness of killings, the excellent choice of sound tracks to underscore action, the tongue-in-cheek satire of mobs and mob violence, the universal employment of Minnesota dialect for all characters, the symbolism of dead straight deserted country roads. I also couldn’t help but notice the similarity with another acclaimed television series, Justified, with its equally bloody action, Kentucky twang, and black humorish action.

In 1979, the Gearhardts are a family controlling all criminal activity in the northern areas around Fargo, North Dakota. In the first episode, “Waiting for Dutch,” the Kansas City mob has decided they want to take over the area and are willing to pay for the takeover. But Floyd Gearhardt (Jean Smart), who rules the family with an iron hand, refuses their offer and a war between the two groups seems inevitable. Her oldest son Dodd, who believes he’s the one in charge, is more than willing to begin the blood bath. The two plot lines, the mob war and the death of Rye, a younger Gearhardt son, set everything in motion, and the blood flows like the waters of the Fargo Red River. Ed and Peggy Blomquist (Jesse Piemons and Kirsten Dunst) get involved when Peggy, on her way home from the beauty shop in Laverne, Minnesota, strikes Rye outside a country diner. Rye, not quite dead, is pinned to her car in the broken windshield. Instead of calling 911, Peggy drives home and parks in their garage, with Rye still in the windshield. Ed, her husband, after he finds Rye has to kill him in self-defense. Peggy then implores him to get rid of the body. Peggy is not entirely all there as we learn from seeing her basement, a maze of passages through all the beauty and self-improvement magazines she’s collected over the years. Ed is a butcher in the process of buying the butcher shop from his boss. How does Ed get rid of Rye? You guessed it, you betcha, a parallel to the Fargo film and the wood chipper.
All of the characters are faithful to the Minnesota lilt we first heard in Fargo the film, but Kirsten Dunst is the Minnesota master. Okay, yah, you betcha. I even heard Lou Solverson’s wife utter that old Minnesota expression of distress or disgust—“Oofda!” as she struggles to get out of bed. Who else deserves praise for their performances? Bokeem Woodbine is a black enforcer for the Kansas City mob. He is a complex mix of brutality and intelligence, faithfully fulfilling the orders of his bosses, but also plotting his ascending the ladder to the top of the KC family. One might say he gets what he deserves in the final episode. Zahn McClaron, as Hinzee Dent, is the Native American enforcer for the Gerhardt family, but isn’t treated very well by them, even though he’s been part of their family since the time he was taken in by them as a boy. And, of course, Ted Danson, as the iron-bearded sheriff, is the perfect person to represent all that’s strong and right in western Minnesota. Yah, sure.
If you missed these ten episodes of Fargo, Season 2, you owe it to yourself to find them and savor them despite the often macabre hilarity of the blood-soaked Minnesota landscape.

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