Thursday, April 27, 2017

Coen Brother Ephemera Remixed in Fargo Season Three - Episode 2

If the first two seasons of Fargo are any indication, series creator Noah Hawley and his writers and directors will have littered the scripts and the corners of the frame with references to the Coen Brothers' entire catalog. As with last year, I will be taking notes on these connections during each episode and sharing them here.

If you see that I've overlooked one, please let me know in the comments (but please wait until after I've added a given week's episode, as I watch with a day or two of delay, and would like to see it fresh. By the same token, spoiler alert!).

Episode 2: "The Principle of Restricted Choice" (4/26/17)
  • A lot of Big Lebowski DNA in this episode:
    • Eden Valley's number-two cop shares a name, and a general befuddlement, with The Dude's bowling pal Donnie. I pray Hawley named him that just to set up a "shut the fuck up, Donnie" down the road.
    • In his overly-loquacious greeting to the parking lot attendant, VM Varga says "guten tag, if German's your thing." Since brevity is clearly not Varga's thing, I guess he'd call The Dude "El Duderino."
    • Things "micturated" upon: The Dude's rug, Ray's boots.
    • Nikki Swango seems to have the same gifts for strategy, tactics, and jumping to an over-reactionary conclusion, that Walter Sobchak does.
      • That said, Walter tends to underestimate his opponents ("these fucking amateurs!"), and Nikki to overestimate hers ("oh, he's good!").
      • Her... gambit... with the tampon... reminds me of Jackie Treehorn's thug Wu peeing on The Dude's rug in the first place. Same sort of instinct.
    • The conversation in the funeral home recalls The Dude and Walter's encounter with the mortician after Donnie's death. Hawley doesn't put too fine a point on it, though: the urn is a "vessel," instead of a "receptacle."
    • Sy Feltz taking out his anger on Ray's red Corvette echoes Walter's crowbar beating of little Larry Sellers' red Corvette.
      • Red Corvettes! Another connection!
      • And Sy's anger ends up damaging a bystander's car, as the Corvette wasn't really Larry's but his neighbor's.
  • And several connections to Fargo (the movie):
    • More overhead parking shots this week.
    • Stan Grossman! Jerry Lundegaard's father-in-law's lieutenant (his Sy Feltz) Stan Grossman is still apparently bouncing around the commercial real estate game in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area 23 years after the events of the movie.
    • The gas station clerk watching the Gophers is, I suppose, only as much of a connection as any other marks of Minnesota life. But it's there.
    • Ray's boss Scottie shares a name with Jerry and Jean Lundegaard's kid. Head canon: the nerdy accordion-and-hockey-playing kid turned into this douchey parole officer.
  • Gloria's interview of the gas station clerk comes from a line of awkward convenience store proprietor encounters, stretching back to Raising Arizona and including the station owner's near miss with Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men.
Not Coen connections, but some stray observations:
  • Random signs that we are in Alberta, and not central Minnesota:
    • The UFA (United Farmers of Alberta) gas station.
    • The URL when Irv Blumkin ill-advisedly tries to lookup VM Varga online.
    • Wherever the Oak Bridge lot (ground lot, under the highway) is supposedly located (St. Cloud?), it seems to have an elevated commuter train nearby.
  •  Miscellaneous thoughts:
    • There appears to be one of Emmit Stussy's parking ramps right out the window of Ray's boss Scotty's office. Can't be fun for Ray.
    • Goran Bogdan (pictured above, on the left), who plays the violent Cossack Yuri Gurka (which is the same name as the missing East German murder suspect in the season's opening scene -- can't be the same kid, right? He'd be too old in 2010, right?), is listed in the credits as a series regular, like Ewan McGregor and Carrie Coon, as opposed to a guest star, like Michael Stuhlbarg. Seems to suggest he'll be a major presence this season. Maybe he's the unstoppable force of evil this year.
To be continued...

Season 3 Intro and Episode 1
Season 2

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