[Spoilers abound. Do not read if you haven't seen the first episode]
“Some roads you shouldn’t go down. Because maps used to say ‘There be dragons here.’ Now they don’t… but that don’t mean the dragons aren’t there.” – Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo
FX’s 10-episode limited series Fargo - inspired by Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 film of the same name but eventually striking out in its own interesting directions – begins at dusk along a lonely road moving in a straight line through a flat, white, winter endlessness. First, there is an assurance that what we’re about to see really happened (I haven’t read any of the show’s press, but I assume this is as much a lie as the Coens’ similar claim before the original film), and then there is a single car. The driver is Lorne Malvo played by Billy Bob Thornton wearing a Mephistophelean beard and curiously boyish bangs like some kind of beatnik from hell. Disturbingly, the noises from the trunk seem to suggest there’s someone in there and they really want out. Then, before the exact meaning of all this can be parsed, there’s the flash of a deer in the road, and another, and a sickening crash, and then Thornton’s ’93 New Yorker flies off the side of the road into the snow. Up pops the trunk and out jumps a fleshy man in nothing but his boxers who proceeds to stumble off pathetically (and probably fatally) into the snowy dark.