Fargo: Season 04 E11 - Storia Americana - Reviewed

photo courtesy FX

After Sunday’s finale of
Fargo Season 4, a friend asked me what I thought of it. My immediate response was: “I still enjoy everything about the season except it’s plotting, if that makes sense? The look and feel of it were great but it just felt too formulaic for Fargo.”

That might be all you need to read at this point, but I’ll elaborate a bit below for those of you still reading. 

In the past, Fargo has not been easily described as one type of show. It’s a comedy, a drama, film noir, a History of True Crime in the Mid West, and even science fiction. Let us not forget that Season 2’s The Castle ended with a “flyin saucer, Ed,” disrupting a gunfight at a motel, while Season 3 had one of the best hours of the entire series with The Law of Non-Contradiction, which featured an animated science fiction story within the story called The Planet Wyh.

This year, the only hour that came close to those heights, and in many ways met them, was East/West, which paid homage to The Wizard of Oz, and was, as mentioned, a much-needed break from an overstuffed season. 

photo courtesy FX

In Storia Americana, the show ends how you think it will, if you’ve been paying attention from the start. There were small surprises, but none that made the show feel like it has in previous years. Yet, of all the seasons, this year looked fantastic. Everything that went into the world building – the style, the costumes, the sets, Chicago locations, color palette – looked immaculate. This was a year where you could feel the texture of Fargo, and you can almost, ALMOST, forgive Noah Hawley for wanting to fill this rich, layered vista with as many characters as he possibly could. 

Alas, much of the second half of the season and even Storia Americana felt like Hawley and writers were just knocking one character off after another just so that they could wrap things up as neatly as possible. 

Chris Rock’s performance as Loy has been met with criticism, but I don’t think his acting was the problem. He didn’t feel like the lead in his own story. There was no real arc to his journey, or if there was, it was not memorable. He’s a man fighting for power who realizes he’s powerless. I felt like there was much to be discovered about Loy, but because the story was dictated by plot over character, he was given short shrift. 

Other characters had surprisingly short stints – as was the case with the wonderful Doctor Senator (Glynn Turman) and even Deafy (Timothy Olyphant) – while others wore out their welcome almost immediately. Yes, I’m talking to you, Josto (Jason Schwartzman) and Gaetano (Salvatore Esposito). 

Hawley is a man who seems to always be working, whether on multiple shows at once (as was the case with Fargo and Legion), directing movies and/or writing his next novel. At some point, even the best of us will burn out. I don’t know that it’s fair to say he’s at that point, however, signs of biting off more than he can chew are starting to creep above the surface. 

Season 4 of Fargo was not bad; it was nowhere near unwatchable. I enjoyed a large chunk of it. But it was a lesser season to the previous ones, despite everything it had going for it. Who knows whether or not there will be a fifth season, but if there is, I’ll still be there, faithfully watching and hoping for the magic to return. 

Until then: “Good night, Mrs. Solverson… And all the ships at sea.”

-Matt Giles