TV Corner: Fargo

[Content Note: Discussions of violence and privilege. Spoilers for the finale of Fargo.]

image of Allison Tolman in character as Deputy Molly Solverson, standing outside her father's diner, in Fargo

There's a fella once, running for a train—and he's carrying a pair of gloves, this man. He drops a glove on the platform, but he doesn't notice. And then later on, inside the train, he's sitting by the window and he realizes that he's just got this one glove left. But the train's already started pulling out of the station, right? So what does he do? He opens the window. And he drops the other glove onto the platform. That way, whoever finds the first glove can just have the pair.

* * *

The finale of the miniseries Fargo aired last night. And it was terrific.

[Warning: Here come the spoilers!!!]

I was incredibly sad to see FBI Agents Budge and Pepper meet their demise, even as I recognize it as being part of what I took away as the moral of the story. Which is that kyriarchy-empowered straight white men whose violent entitlement is protected by their privilege and abetted by institutions that are disposed to reflexively view them as Good Men are dangerous, harmful, destructive. They are violent toward people who are more vulnerable than they are, by virtue of their identities or otherwise. And ultimately women prevail over patriarchal violence when their male allies support them, even when it's scary.

That's okay. I get to be chief.

But the costs will be higher, because they always are, for male allies of color.

In the end, the only patriarch who is left standing is Molly's dad, who leveraged his privilege against harm, rather than traded on it to get away with harm.

Chief Bill Oswalt can't stomach looking at the bloody results of his insistent willingness to extend good will to Lester Nygaard. Lorne Malvo, the consummate predator, meets the beginning of his end stuck in a literal bear trap, and meets the end of his end face to face with a recovering coward, who finds his bravery lying below an urgency to challenge the threats to his family. And Lester's hubris takes him right onto thin ice, where he has metaphorically been all along, until the actual ice finally gives way.

A bunch of men each running around clutching one glove.

It would have been a satisfying end, except for the fact that there was so much destruction wrought in defense of those fucking useless gloves. Which is the way of the world. Lester and Lorne are gone, but so are Budge and Pepper.

There's nothing truly satisfying in that.

And so it goes. This morning, I read reviews of the finale that refer to Lester and Lorne as the protagonists of the series. Which might be fair enough, if only Molly had been called the hero.

But she wasn't.

So it goes.

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