How 'Fargo' Season 3 Connects To Season 2

As soon as it was announced that FX's Fargo had been renewed for Season 3, fans started formulating theories as to the plot of the next installment in the anthology crime series. After Season 2 rewound the action from 2006 to 1979, many viewers assumed the show would rewind the clock once again, perhaps showing us the origins of a Season 2 character like Otto Gerhardt of Hanzee Dent — much like Season 2 showed us the origins of Season 1's Lou Solverson. However, showunner Noah Hawley has now confirmed that Season 3 will be "more contemporary," and take place "a couple years after Season 1." So how will Fargo Season 3 connect to the first two seasons, and what will it be about?

Before Season 2 premiere, Hawley likened his anthology series to a book — a metaphor that became very literal in last week's episode. "I like the idea that somewhere out there is a big, leather-bound book that's the history of true crime in the Midwest," he said last July. "The movie was Chapter 4, Season 1 was Chapter 9 and this is Chapter 2. You can turn the pages of this book, and you just find this collection of stories. But I like the idea that these things are connected somehow, whether it's linearly or literally or thematically. That's what we play around with.

Here are just a few ideas of what those pages might have in store for us next year:

It Will Star Molly & Gus Again

Following the show's acclaimed first season, Hawley explained why he chose to rewind time rather than continue focusing on his established protagonists, Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) and Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks). "I would like nothing more than to see the continuing adventures of Molly and Gus, but I felt it would be disingenuous [...] to give her another crazy case." We're talking about small town Minnesota — how many once-in-a-lifetime "crazy cases" can come one cop's way?

But after taking a year off from Molly's story, perhaps Hawley has changed his mind and has thought of a way to reintroduce the affable detective into the storyline. It's hard to imagine Fargo returning to a contemporary setting only a few years after the events of Season 1 and NOT seeing Molly or Gus at all. Even if they're not the season's main characters, they're bound to pop up at some point, right?

It Will Feature An Elderly Simone

If the fate of poor, liberated Simone Gerhardt isn't directly addressed in this Monday's season finale, then she will be the only Season 2 character to have received an ambiguous ending. We know that characters like Lou, Molly, and Ben Schmidt will survive, since they were all alive in 2006. And we know that Dodd, Bear, Rye, and many more people are definitively dead, as the show made clear in gory detail. But the last we saw Simone, she was being dragged into the woods for execution by her uncle... but then the camera pulled away and we heard no shot nor saw no body.

Maybe the reason Hawley left Simone's "death" ambiguous was so the character could return in Season 2. Let's assume that next year, the show will take place in 2010. If Simone was 19 in 1979, then she would be exactly 50 years old during the events of Season 3 — just enough time for her to have turned into flinty echo of her own grandmother, Floyd. What would she be doing at that age? Would she be running her own crime syndicate? Would she seek vengeance for the deaths of her entire family (even though she didn't seem to like them that much)? Would she be... a cop, working as Molly's new supervisor? The possibilities are endless.

Of course, Simone isn't the only Season 2 character who could pop up again next season, but her youth means that her character wouldn't be too old for some action 30-some years in the future. Depending on who survives the Season 2 finale, other characters we could see again include either or both of the Blumquists, a post-prison Charlie Gerhardt, and hilariously nihilistic Noreen Vanderslice.

It Will Be About Rapid City

The seeds for Season 2 were planted in Season 1 with a few veiled references to "the massacre at Sioux Falls," which we finally witnessed for ourselves in last week's episode, "The Castle." It's probably safe to assume that hints to the plot of Season 3 have similarly been scattered throughout Season 2, then. A couple of throwaway comments have been made about Rapid City (a town in South Dakota) this year — including during the last week's massacre, when Ben Schmidt cried out, "This is like Rapid City all over again!"

Obviously Season 3 won't be able to focus on "the ambiguous event at Rapid City" the same way Season 2 focused on "the massacre at Sioux Falls," since we already know that next year won't be a prequel. But it could still incorporate elements of that storyline, toggling between 2010 and sometime in the past, with the seeds of conflict planted by whatever went down in Rapid City bearing fruit in a bloody conflict 40-or-so years down the line. This would tie into the idea that all of these events are linked — tangentially if not directly — by this great leather-bound tome of the history of the region.

It Will Take Place In Space

The premiere and penultimate episodes of Season 2 have been bookended by close encounters of the third kind. So why not go full-blown sci-fi for Season 3? Speaking at the Television Critics Association summer press tour this past August, Hawley teased the next season of his show: "We’re on the UFO. It’s going to be, you know, this space station Fargo in the year 2555." Clearly, the showrunner was joking... or was he?

(Obviously he was. But it's still fun to think about, no?)

Images: Chris Large/FX (5)