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Fargo Review: FX’s Crime Anthology Gets Back to Basics With a Stunning Season 5

In its fifth season, Fargo returns to the present day (2019) and sheds many of the stylized quirks that weighed down previous seasons. Juno Temple stars as Dot, a seemingly meek Minnesota housewife who gets entangled in a complex and violent criminal web, revealing a darker side to her character. The season draws parallels to the original Fargo movie, featuring a kidnapped housewife, a wealthy yet cold family, and a terse Nordic gunman.

Creator Noah Hawley captures the Coen brothers’ signature tone with gallows humor and tense moments juxtaposed, creating a narrative that unfolds with cool self-assurance. Season 5 is more violent and action-packed, showcasing stunningly staged sequences, from a bullet-riddled gas station siege to a thrilling home invasion where Dot sets up booby traps reminiscent of Home Alone.

The cast delivers stellar performances across the board. Temple shines as Dot, adopting a Minnesota accent with gusto. Jennifer Jason Leigh embraces her role as Lorraine, echoing her iconic performance in The Hudsucker Proxy. Richa Moorjani brings a newfound fire to the detective archetype, and Dave Foley adds deadpan humor as Lorraine’s lawyer, Danish Graves. However, Jon Hamm steals the show as Roy Tillman, a cowboy-like figure enforcing his version of justice.

While some characters feel overly broad, and certain narrative elements fall short, Fargo’s fifth season excels overall. Hawley’s ambition occasionally leads to narrative extravagances, but he mostly strikes the right balance, delivering a season that surprises, challenges, and delights viewers.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Fargo’s fifth season is a throwback packed with outstanding performances and breathtaking action scenes.

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