What Fargo The TV Series is about, shouldn’t be what Fargo The TV Series is celebrated for.
At the dark heart of this 10-part expansion of the original Fargo movie (1996), lies the hypnotic yet depressing tale of schmuck Lester (Martin Freeman). Although his willing descent into moral bankruptcy is a screen work of creativity and sophistication, it shouldn’t be what viewers celebrate. That honour should go to the subtle way Fargo commends the everyday bravery of anyone willing to fight evil.
So many high-quality TV shows focus upon people doing horrendous thing, for good and bad reasons. Frequently, those trying to stop them are no better. Refreshingly, Fargo paints a bold, hopeful line between the criminal contingent – and some smalltown cops, who have been dumped into a sewer of human devastation. Notably, Molly (Allison Tolman) is a detective of uncommon courage, sass, insight and dedication. In short, she’s an amazing signpost to what so many men and women must do, every day, around the globe. Fight evil in our societies.
The most vivid and breathtaking moments in Fargo do come from the stone-cold-hearted actions of hitman Lorne (Billy Bob Thornton). How he murderously transforms the drudgery of Lester’s loser life, pumps petrol into Fargo’s tank. Be warned: violence and viciousness are prominent. But amid the chilling atrocities and pitch-black humour, the destructive trail of Lorne and Lester is inspiringly tracked by Molly. Surrounded by befuddled local cops (including a dithering chief, played by Breaking Bad’s Bob Odenkirk), Molly is an unrelenting torch upon the darkness that has descended.
Less capable than Molly, meagre cop Gus (Colin Hanks) does prove to be of similar stock. Most fascinating about Gus, is his response to evil embodied. Like Molly, when the choice to flee presents itself, he doesn’t take it. Not that he’s especially noble or buff. Just that, when it comes down to it, the right thing to do needs to be done. Evil needs to be fought.
Wow. Having never had my life endangered directly by crime, I find it incredible that people choose to do that. To protect people like me. And you. And everyone else. While Fargo The TV Series is remarkable because it didn’t make a lame, insulting mess of the original film, something much more powerful has stuck with me. The example of Molly and Gus fighting against evil, because evil needs to be fought. Such activity led me back to the ‘full armour of God’, a protective outfit I have read about many times. Yet, so often, I forget to put it on.
Check out Ephesians 6, for a heart-pounding description of how God can equip any of us with the strength to ‘stand against the tactics of the Devil’ (Eph. 6:11). Molly and Gus fight a good fight, but the ‘armour of God’ – including belt of truth; breastplate of righteousness; helmet of salvation (Eph 6:14-17) – offers an even better way to fighting evil. A battle we all can participate in and, ultimately, be triumphant within.