fargo

I watched the season finale of Fargo last night.  I saw nearly all of the episodes.  Once again I find myself compelled to analyze a piece of popular culture.  I realize that “Game of Thrones” is the TV show that dominated television with its season finale on Sunday.  The themes in Game of Thrones, however, are more than I can stomach. When it comes to popular culture, I do draw the line at a certain point.

Fargo the TV show, like Fargo the 1996 Coen Brother’s movie, juxtaposes the innocent, nearly simpleminded residents of North Dakota with the bumbling criminals and their associations with true evildoers.

The mood and cinematography of the show is similar to that of the movie. It is dark and brooding, set against the pure winter white of the Dakotan landscape. The violence is unforgiving, and another strange dichotomy, set against the simple bucolic life of the North Dakotan town folk.  The graphic nature of the show’s violence further confirms my premise in my blog (Is Violence The New Porn?).  In the finale we got the privilege of watching Billy Bob Thornton’s character Lorne Malvo set his own broken leg with a large enough wound that we see the bone.

Lorne Malvo comes to his demise at the hand of Gus one of the innocent, good characters in the story. Lorne Malvo is bad- “muey mal” as they say in Spanish.  He embodies the guiltless, sociopath.

What struck me was that the truly good characters were untouched by their exposure to the evil in the story.

Writer Noah Hawley tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. “And I think what people like is this romantic idea that you go off and you face evil and you come back and your reward is to lead a simple life. And you don’t have to go on this dark journey where you’re some demon-hunter who is haunted.”

It reminded me of many admonitions to Christians in the Bible about being “in the world and not of it” and being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16. These describe how evil can be all around you, and yet, leave your soul, your character, and your essence untouched.

This wasn’t true of all of the characters.  Lester, the bumbling criminal turns from causing a second degree homicide to a first degree murderer from his first wife’s death to that of his second wife’s.

What is the difference between these characters that some would be unscathed, while others would be enticed and destroyed by evil?  In Fargo, and I think in reality, it is your support system-your friends, family and those who spend the most time with you.  Gus and Molly have each other and the wise, goodness of their mentor-Molly’s father Lou.

Lou describes evil to Malvo- somehow sensing it.

I saw something that year I ain’t ever seen, before or since.

I’d call it animal. Except animals only kill for food.

This was… Sioux Falls. Ever been?

The Bible concurs with this:

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Eccl.4:9-10

Lester on the other hand, a loner, is drawn like a magnet to Malvo.  He is the only person in the story that has a true relationship with him.  The Bible has something to say regarding this as well.

1 Corinthians 15:33

Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”

And so, Lester’s corruption leads ultimately to his death.

In the end, we see Molly and Gus watching ” Deal or No Deal” on TV with Gus’s daughter Greta, as they await the birth of their new child.  Although Gus has murdered Malvo, he is untouched by the act, and redeemed by the fact that it was done to protect his family.

It was an interesting journey into the darkness of evil.  I- for one- will be haunted by it and remember its lessons.

Wonder what season 2’s journey will be?

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