This post contains some spoilers for the first episode of Fargo Season 3.
Wednesday’s third-season premiere of Fargo began as so many Fargo storylines have before: with an apparently senseless and possibly deadly twist of fate. A frightened-looking man is called into a darkened office before a uniformed German military official who informs the civilian that he is not, in fact, who he says he is and that he’s suspected of strangling his girlfriend. The civilian is confused. He insists he’s not lying about his name, and that he has a wife, not a girlfriend, who is very much alive and well. The official calmly explains that the government documents on his desk are all the proof he needs of the man’s identity and guilt. “For you to be right the state would have to be wrong,” he says, as screams from elsewhere in the building echo through the walls.
And at first glance it has very little to do with Season 3’s main plot: This opening scene takes place, inexplicably, in “East Berlin, 1988” before throwing to “Minnesota, 2010.” But it takes some time to realize that this flashback may hold some deeper significance for what lies ahead this year—hinting at a meticulous attention to detail that also defined the last two seasons. This year’s brand new story arc may ring familiar to regular Fargo viewers: Two brothers, Ray and Emmit Stussy (both played by Ewan McGregor), are in a long-standing feud over an incredibly valuable vintage postage stamp. Their rivalry leads to multiple botched crimes, some messy and untimely deaths, and an investigation by a shrewd local police officer.