There have been references to “visitors”, The War of the Worlds and blatant UFO symbolism - but just past this season’s half way point, we’re no closer to understanding exactly what in heck fire is going on with all the ET references.
Yah, orkayee, soo (what do you think of our amazing Fargo accent impression?) let’s dig in to some of the more curious theories followed by the ones that make most sense.
As Hanzee Dent (Zahn McClarnon) investigates the scene of the crime in episode four he notices The Waffle Hut wall clock says 7:07. Further sleuthing just a stone’s throw away in the outside snow and he notices his watch says 9:07.
Then comes Hanzee’s post-premonition of Rye Gerhardt’s (Kieran Culkin) alien sighting and the growingly familiar lens flair technique as Hanzee looks to the sky, which suggests alien activity. The time warp could suggest Hanzee was abducted. Or that his watch was broken.
Either way, VERY spooky.
Speaking of abduction - and this is a wacky theory but bear with us – what if Rye was supposed to be abducted by a UFO as some sort of extraterrestrial benevolent act? You know, one less violent schmuck in the world and all that.
Though of course that would be at odds with Fargo’s trend of violent fates which began with Peggy Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst) running Rye over like a dog.
But, as we all know, aliens work in mysterious ways. Freud said that.
In the season premiere, Rye bemoans his lowly position within the Gerhardt family business - he’s like Pluto, the distant planet. But what if aliens were enabling his revenge via some variety of astral afterlife? Again, wacky, but after all it is his death that really sets clan and corporation at war - a war which in episode six goes into overdrive. Then, there’s the eerie hover shots from overhead - are aliens observing their anarchist handiwork?
It never even happened
Reeling from The Waffle Hut massacre, Rye also appears to be cocaine AND caffeine addled. Was this extraterrestrial vision exactly that, simply an illusion conjured up by a boggled mind?
There’s also the school of thought that Molly’s drawing is of her family with the sun overhead, not a UFO. It’s just an arched coffee stain that gives the impression of one.
You betcha it happened
Another more level headed theory is that those spinning lights reference a reported UFO sighting in Minnesota in 1979, the same time this season is set, in which Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson told of seeing spinning bright lights that loomed on him at amazing speed before he lost consciousness and apparently... time.
It’s highly likely that the UFO references are simply part of a growing list of Coen Brothers film references in the series. Perhaps a nod to The Man Who Wasn’t There which depicted UFOs and A Serious Man’s moniker ‘Accept the mystery.’
There’s also the very Lynchian flash of a sign reflected in the UFO’s lights, the silhouette of which – if you look very closely – looks remarkably like the iconic Paul Bunyan statue seen in the original Fargo movie.
It’s all one big, beautiful metaphor
Showrunner Noah Hawley has implied that the UFO references represent the paranoia and conspiracy theories that were rampant in at the time. “For me it ties into the narrative that in the ’70s everything became like ‘black is white, the sky is the ground,” he told Variety. ”It’s not in there accidentally, let’s put it that way.”
An all-new season 4 Fargo story will premiere with two weeks of double episodes, beginning 8.30pm Thursday 8 October on SBS. Episodes will continue weekly at 9.30pm from Thursday 22 October. New episodes will be available at SBS On Demand each week on the same day as broadcast. Relive the first three standalone seasons of Fargo now at SBS On Demand.
Watch the season 4 trailer here:
Missed season three? Start with the first episode at SBS On Demand: