When FX announced that it was going to bring Fargo to the small screen with a 10-episode limited series, many of us were obviously wary. We didn’t want anyone to mess with the Coen Brothers’ otherwise perfect film. Once we knew, however, that the Coens were involved, some of that concern dissipated.
The concern completely vanished once the show premiered, and we learned that it’s a different story, with different characters, but that it maintains the same tone of the film. We learned last night with certainty that it also lives in the same universe as the Coen Brothers’ film.
There have been a few Easter eggs through the first three episodes — sly nods to the Coens other films, like the ransom note — “I know about the money pay me 43,613 or I tell the world.” — that was similar to one in Big Lebowski or this more overt nod to Lebowski.
But in last night’s episode, a opening scene — a flashback to 1987 — revealed that the series and the movie, in fact, live in the same exact universe, after a young Stavros Milos (Oliver Platt) discovered a suitcase full of money left in the snow.
Where have we seen that suitcase before? That was the case full of money Steve Buscemi’s character Carl buried in the snow in Fargo. He’d planned to go back and get it, but a certian woodchipper prevented him from doing so. That windfall led to Stavros’s fortune, which led to a blackmail scheme, which led to him hiring Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton), who had killed two people on Lester Nygaard’s (Martin Freeman) behalf, which connects everything in the series now to a suitcase left by Carl in the original movie.
Series creator hopes this is the moment that allows the show to attract a bigger audience, as he tells TV Guide:
Yes, it wasn’t just a gimmicky Easter egg. It was the key to Stavros, and Malvo is all into figuring out what the key is to unlocking people that he meets. It was also a really great opportunity four episodes in, just at the audience has really settled into the idea, “You know, the show really has nothing to do with the movie and it exists in its own right,” to actually go, “You know, wait a minute, it is connected to the movie in a way you didn’t expect or see coming.” My hope is that suddenly the show grows in size.
Speaking of that woodchipper, Noah Hawley also mentioned that there’s been a few other Easter Eggs that viewers haven’t picked up on yet, like the fact that the woodchipper was in the first two episodes.