Who Is Lou Solverson? 'Fargo' Season 2 Reintroduces Us To Molly's Dad & He's A Bit Different Now
How do you solve a problem like a grisly triple-homicide at the local Waffle Hut? You call in Minnesota State Trooper Lou Solverson, of course! With a name like that, how could anyone be in any doubt that the man is going to get the job done? And, if that unique name sounds familiar to Fargo fans, there's a very good reason for that: Lou Solverson is — thus far, at least — the lone connection between the two disparate seasons of Fargo's anthology crime series. We first met the man in Season 1, played as a grizzled and kind diner owner by character actor Keith Carradine (Dexter). Now, in his second iteration, the man is 27 years younger, still in his prime as a cop, and played by handsome leading man Patrick Wilson (Little Children).
Thanks to a throwaway comment by the character in Season 1, we already know that Season 2 will be slowly working towards the infamous "Sioux Falls Massacre" that haunted Lou forever and eventually caused him to retire from detective work. And, if that massacre is worse than the crime we witness in the Season 2 premiere, then we know it's going to be bad. After an astonishing geyser of violence, there are two bodies on the floor of the Waffle Hut, another in the snow, and yet another stuck through the windshield of a car.
But, detective work is only one aspect of Lou Solverson's life. We also get to know the character more in one hour than we did in all of Season 1. We learn he's a veteran, having recently returned home from the Vietnam War. We get to see him at the VA, playing bingo and hanging out with his fellow vets — including Parks And Recreation's Nick Offerman as a hilarious conspiracy theorist named Karl Weathers. And we get a glimpse into Lou's home life, which includes his wife, Betsey, and his young daughter... who we all know will grow up to be plucky Deputy Molly Solverson.
It's Lou's home life that's the most intriguing. We knew that Molly's mother was no longer in the picture in Season 1. As as a prequel, it would have been all too easy for Season 2 to mine that knowledge for peak tragedy; before the premiere, it was most logical to assume that something horrible was going to happen to Betsey. Therefore, the reveal that Lou's wife is suffering from cancer is actually welcome news. It will still be sad to see Molly lose her mother, but succumbing to cancer is perhaps less awful than being brutally murdered by mobsters. (We might not even have to actually see her die at all, if the show simply allows us to draw the conclusion that she passed away sometime between the events of the second and first seasons.)
Of course, it may still turn out that Betsey will get the happy news that she's in remission, only to be tragically gunned down the very next day. You never can tell in the unpredictable world of Fargo. But, as played by How I Met Your Mother's Cristin Milioti with a steely determination, I can only hope that Betsey will emerge from the season unscathed by the mob war that's about to engulf their quiet Minnesotan town.
More at risk is Betsey's father, Hank Larsson, the sheriff of Luverne, MN (played by Cheers' Ted Danson). If Season 2 is about the growth of Lou Solverson, then it's likely that he'll lose his stolid father figure/role model at some point, in true Hero's Journey fashion. The only question, really, is how long showrunner Noah Hawley will make us wait for Hank's shocking demise. (In fact, it would be more shocking if Hank survived all 10 episodes.) I just hope we get plenty of time with the affable character before then — the dynamic between Lou and Hank, with the latter being father-in-law and boss to the former, is fertile territory for both pathos and comedy.
How messy will things get for Lou before the end? Well, we've got nine more episodes to find out. But, if the fatal events of the Season 1 finale are any indication, the answer is: "Very."
Images: Mathias Clamer (3), Chris Large/FX