Tag Archives: FX

Tea & Review: Fargo – The House of Special Purpose

If last week’s Fargo was a symphony and the week before’s an interlude, this week’s can only be classified as a funeral march—although no one actually died. The solemnity was more in form than function, expressed through muted colors, elegiac music selections, and slightly more methodical editing. That is, until the final scene.

As was established in past installments, Season Three’s halfway mark is essentially the point of no return, the moment wherein the true stakes are established and the more farcical capers give way for darker plots. Think of the brutal killing of the hapless personal trainer in Season One, or the ambush of the Kansas City mobsters in Season Two. Both reversals were prime examples of the show’s ability to transitional naturally between tones per the story’s demands.

But this time around, the shift feels a whole lot starker.

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Tea & Review: Fargo – The Narrow Escape Problem

Whereas last week’s trip to Los Angeles was something of an experimental detour, “The Narrow Escape Problem” may be the most Fargo episode of Fargo thus far. All the ingredients are there: overly complex problem solving, tactless Midwesterners, oddly friendly police officers interrogating flustered first-time criminals. We even get a quirky framing device.

Speaking of which—the use of a fictional recording of Peter and the Wolf narrated by Billy Bob Thornton as a sort of thematic exoskeleton is definitely the most intriguing element of the episode, by far. It plays with the idea that the characters in Fargo are recurring archetypes, while suggesting a new perspective through which to view the somewhat familiar story being presented.

But as usual with this show, I have to ask: what does it all mean?

That is to say, the narration pairs up several of the major characters with Peter and the Wolf counterparts (as well as the respective instruments that represent them in the composition), but what exactly does that say about each of them?

Gloria (Carrie Coon), for example, is Peter, the central intrepid adventurer who ignores his grandfather’s warnings and defeats the villainous wolf. The analogue here is, of course, rather obvious. Thus far in the season, Gloria has repeatedly ignored the will of her superiors in order to bring down the people responsible for her stepfather’s murder. The thing is, though, she doesn’t actually know who she’s up against. Is she, like Peter, underestimating her opponent?

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Tea & Review: Fargo – The Law of Non-Contradiction

“The Law of Non-Contradiction” is undoubtedly the most atypical episode of Fargo thus far, and that’s saying something for a show basically filled with atypical episodes. In an unexpected move, especially this early on in a season, it takes a break from the Stussy feud that’s shaping up to anchor the season so that Gloria (Carrie Coon) can travel to L.A. and learn a bit of info about her late stepfather that in no way moves the plot forward. Yet despite that seeming pointlessness, or perhaps because of it, it may be one of the most fascinating hours of television I’ve ever watched.

The titular law is a logical theorem which states, more or less, that a thing cannot be both what it is and what it is not. The concept is exemplified in a few ways in the episode: Gloria can’t be both chief and former chief, Ennis couldn’t have “sorta” been her father, and Thaddeus (Thomas Mann) seemingly couldn’t have been two completely different people.

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Tea & Review: Fargo – The Principle of Restricted Choice

Two episodes in, the third season of Fargo already feels a good deal different from its predecessors. Like Seasons One and Two, this one takes place in the same Midwestern setting and, as I noted last week, contains character archetypes we’ve become familiar with. Yet despite these commonalities, Season Three feels apart somehow. It’s not just that it doesn’t seem to have the obvious plot and character connections the previous installments did; its distance from the original film, both in tone and time, in a way makes it feel more urgent.

Season One was so preoccupied with proving its worth as a successor to the movie that it, in a sense, had to occupy that same 90s temporal realm despite taking place in 2006. Plus, the need for audiences to understand how it was connected to the preceding story added a layer of detachment to the whole affair. Meanwhile, Season Two was a prequel whose outcome was, in the grand scheme, more or less inevitable. In comparison, Season Three comes off as both contemporary and more intimate.

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Tea & Review: Fargo – The Law of Vacant Places

The first two seasons of Fargo, building off of the original 1996 film, meticulously established a set of recurring archetypes: the idealistic yet overwhelmed cop, the resentful loser with a dark side, the dangerous and philosophically minded outsider, and several more mythically mundane figures.

In Noah Hawley’s Coen-flavored stories, the characters embodying these archetypes have collided in unique and often shocking ways, either by destiny, happenstance, or the fact that they exist in a world governed by “truth” rather than reality. It’s even possible, If one takes the otherworldly elements of the series a bit too literally, to interpret each season’s ensemble as vessels for the same group of immortal souls, eternally trapped by their own shortcomings in some kind of cosmic tragicomedy.

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Tea & Review: Legion – Chapter 8

The season finale of Legion is a bittersweet experience. Lucky for us, though, we will definitely be getting a season 2.

FX’s Legion Season 1, Episode 8: Chapter 8 brings an end to the first installment of David Haller’s (Dan Stevens) journey.

Artistically, Chapter 8 is an homage to the visual style representing David’s mental state for the full season. It is the moment that David is the most himself and less connected to the Shadow King.

This episode didn’t have the fancy sequences of earlier episodes. This is because David is no longer in the jittery mental state. He is now has a decent grasp of reality. The creative shift will probably continue into season 2. Fans who may not have been impressed with the season finale, because of lack of artistic craziness, may a hard time adapting to the new mental status of David.

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Tea & Review: Legion – Chapter 7

FX‘s Legion: Season 1, Episode 7, Chapter 7 spells it out for the audience on a drawing board, in the most literal way possible.

The past six chapters have been an abstract, creative buildup. Chapter 7, however, gives a literal breakdown of details of events that have transpired from before David Haller’s (Dan Stevens) birth.

Surprisingly, Oliver Bird (Jermaine Clement) is the one to figure it out. Oliver doesn’t have the best grasp of reality. But I suppose it takes one to know one in this universe.

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Tea & Review: Legion – Chapter 6

This story originally appeared on www.Film-Book.com

FX’s Legion: Season 1, Episode 6, Chapter 6 starts at the beginning of where it all began, with one small exception: it is definitely not real.

At the end of Chapter 5, we found our characters trapped in a memory. A re-creation of David Haller (Dan Stevens) and Syd Barret’s (Rachel Keller) time in the mental hospital. Unfortunately, no one seems to possess a memory of what happened prior.

This definitely has something to do with what Carry said previously. He suspected the being riding around inside David is also able to manipulate his memories. The creature is probably also able to change the memories of everyone else. At this point, everyone seems synced up together. Continue reading Tea & Review: Legion – Chapter 6

Tea & Review: Legion – Chapter 5

The review originally appeared on Film-Book.com

FX‘s Legion: Season 1, Episode 5, Chapter 5 once again proves that we know even less about David Haller (Dan Stevens) than we thought we did.

Ladies, if a man ever creepily whispers that he’s the magic man and that he’s found a way for you to be together: run, run screaming into the night.

Unfortunately for Syd Barret (Rachel Keller), it isn’t that surprisingly how someone so closed off for so long would ultimately be so accepting of this abrupt change in behavior.

Love is blind, just as sex is addicting. For Syd, the idea of sexual interaction blinds her to how oddly calm and collected David is. For the past four episodes, David has been an unstable wreck, held together with tape. It is a little hard to believe Syd would be fine with the “new David”. But you have to take into consideration this is the first time Syd has had a prolonged sexual experience. A sexual experience that didn’t result in her swapping bodies. Syd is finally able to experience physical joy without consequences. Like many that have come before her, that’s more than enough to make her look the other way on other things.

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Tea & Fiction: Legion – Chapter 3

This article originally appeared on www.Film-Book.com

FX‘s Legion: Season 1, Episode 3: Chapter 3 sends David Haller (Dan Stevens) and company on an internal quest inside his own mind.

The best thing Legion has going for itself is the slew of unanswered questions. Chapters 1 and 2 provided us with a very ‘in your face’ introduction. In those episodes, Legion cleverly used the building blocks of uncertainty to forge the show’s foundation. It used David’s own point of view to create a false sense of on-going reality.

Chapter 3 is a more flushed out, follow-up. Instead of continuing the tackle the very specific things happening in David’s mind we fall back into the role of the audience. Spectators with a slightly less intimate view as Dr. Melaine Bird (Jean Smart), and Ptonomy Wallace (Jeremie Harris) continue to probe into David’s memories in order to heal his mind.

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