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YMMV / Fargo Season Two

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
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  • Award Snub: Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson, and Cristin Milioti were not nominated for their work. Kristen Dunst was nominated and would have been a strong contender for an award on any other year, but nothing was going to stop Sarah Paulson winning for her Marcia Clark.
  • Awesome Music: Blitzen Trapper's cover of "Man of Constant Sorrow", which plays over the end of "Rhinoceros".
  • Broken Base:
    • The UFO showing up towards the end of "The Castle". Judging by forum comments, it was either a brilliantly bizarre payoff after episodes of buildup, or a lame Deus ex Machina that destroyed any grounded reality the show is based in.
    • The Reveal concerning Moses Tripoli, the Fargo mobster from season 1. We learn that Ohanzee Dent is him, having gotten facial surgery and forged his own empire. For some, it's a great Call-Forward that ties into the themes of the season, as Mr. Tripoli's ambitions ultimately came to futility and it serves as a karmic end to Hanzee, the man who destroyed the Gerhardts with his treachery, as he is ultimately killed by Lorne Malvo because he was a nuisance. Others feel that the Call-Forward really stretches the suspension of disbelief with the Magic Plastic Surgery and feels too forced a way to link seasons 1 and 2 together. Couple that with the fact that Tripoli was one of the more uninteresting characters in season 1, and his death serves as an unsatisfying end to the more memorable Hanzee.
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  • Creepy Awesome: Mike Milligan's creepy Sugary Malice hasn't stopped him from being one of Season 2's most popular characters.
  • Cry for the Devil: Hanzee Dent's usually too terrifying to elicit much sympathy, but the rare flashes we get to some of his Hidden Depths reveals he's a weary, tired man sick of the constant racism and abuse slung his way for being Native American, to the point of his long service of Vietnam is, at best, scoffed at. This is probably best shown in the moment he has with Peggy and Ed where he requests a haircut, clearly tired of his life of crime and nearly getting that one chance to get out.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse
    • Noreen, the Perky Goth who works with Ed at the butcher shop.
    • Karl Weathers, full stop.
  • Even Better Sequel: Or prequel in this case. From the start, critical response to the first episodes of Season 2 was even more positive than it was with regards to the well-liked first season.
  • Fan Nickname: Season 2's Ed is already being called Fat Damon by fans, on account of his resemblence to Matt Damon and the weight that the actor's put on since Breaking Bad.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • When Reagan recounts his experience making war films, he starts having difficulty remembering the details. Reagan suffered from occasional memory lapses during his presidency that only worsened over his two terms, until his eventual diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease after leaving office.
    • The ninth episode, "The Castle," is a reference to Franz Kafka's novel of the same name, wherein the protagonist is prevented from doing his work because of an obstructive bureaucracy, similar to Lou's problems in the episode. Had they listened to his simple solution instead of getting all up in his face about Jurisdiction Friction and general snobbery, the massacre at Sioux Falls wouldn't have happened.
    • The season finale, "Palindrome," refers to a word that can be read the same backwards and forwards. The rise and fall of the Gerhardt's criminal empire is a Call-Forward to that of Ohanzee's own attempt at making his mark in the world. It will rise and fall, as empires have done time and time again. Hanzee's unnamed accomplice actually knows this and tries to warn him, but as we know in Season 1, Tripoli's Fargo Syndicate will be wiped out by Malvo. It also refers to the structure of the second season in particular, both starting and ending with a dead man, shot through the shoulder, in a freezer.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: After Simone gets slapped by Floyd for insulting Dodd, she spitefully says that the Gerhardt family "deserves the ground". Come the ending of "The Castle", the remaining family members (including Simone herself) are all dead, and the one surviving member, Charlie, is incarcerated.
    • One of the season's main subplots is Betsy Solverson's battle with cancer and how it affects the rest of her family. Come 2017, Jim Gaffigan dropped out of the third season of Fargo, partly because his wife developed a brain tumor (thankfully, it was benign and successfully removed).
    • At one point, Karl Weathers tries to cheer up Lou by saying: "If John McCain could hold out for five and a half years against Vietcong thumbscrews, she [Betsy] can beat this cancer bullshit in her sleep." McCain himself died from brain cancer three years after the season premiered.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Mike Milligan reminisces about how the word "revolution" has two meanings: either as an overthrow of another power, or a planet making a complete orbit around another celestial object. Come the final episode, it becomes clear that Mike has participated in the full-circle kind, as his overthrow of the Gerhardts just leaves him in a position only slightly better than originally within the Kansas City Mafia.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Peggy Blumquist inadvertently causes a shitload of catastrophe due to being selfish and short-sighted (and possibly also batshit insane), and refuses to take responsibility for any of the havoc her actions have wreaked. On the other hand, from her point of view, she's stuck in an unhappy marriage where her husband resists any attempt to change things and constantly obstructs her efforts to better herself, and even when she finally does start making genuine effort to improve her relationship with Ed, Ed dies and she's left sobbing next to his body before she's arrested with nothing to show for herself.
    • Simone Gerhardt collaborated with Mike to sell her family out, and only really regrets it when she's put in danger, dismissing her grandfather who died because of this as unimportant. However, her father is Dodd, an abusive, misogynistic asshole, who disrespects her even as she tries to help him with the family business. Even with all the wrong she's done, it's not hard to feel sorry for her.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Ohanzee "Hanzee" Dent is the Hypercompetent Sidekick to the entire Gerhardt family, and a seemingly-unassuming Native American mercenary whose unexpected brilliance eventually brings him above both his employers and the Kansas City mafia. Already a ruthlessly efficient tracker and assassin with an unmatched tendency to eliminate every person in his way, Hanzee's tire over mistreatement in his life even in spite of his years in Vietnam spur him to start manipulating every side in the heated conflict brewed from the death of Rye Gerhardt. Hanzee kills his abusive boss Dodd, and — with his last chance to escape the criminal life seemingly dashed — Hanzee effortlessly plays both the Gerhardts and the law enforcement pursuing them against each other, spurring them into a massive shoot-out that decimates both sides as he walks away the only true victor of the conflict. In the end, under the new identity of Moses Tripolgi, Hanzee goes to forge his own successful criminal empire through the years to come, even with the full knowledge that some day, it too will fall.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Judge Mundt in the first episode.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Undertaker is built up as a menace and gets a damn cool entrance with his two henchmen. After he gets a word off, all three are killed by Mike and Gale. A shame, really, especially considering that of all the factions in season 2, the Kansas City mob had the least amount of named characters.
  • The Woobie: Betsy Solverson. It's heartbreaking to watch her struggling with her illness throughout the whole story, especially knowing she's Doomed by Canon due to her absence in the first season. Fortunately, it happens off-screen between stories.
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