Fargo has always been a weird series, but Season 3 sees the show taking creative risks more often than usual, from escaping to L.A. for an entire episode, utilizing animated sci-fi interludes, to beginning an episode with what seems to be an instruction guide to an orchestral piece about animals. The opening narration about Sergei Prokofiev's classical composition Peter And The Wolf sets the stage for a grand fairy tale, but the most striking thing about its inclusion may be the return of a familiar voice to Fargo. Billy Bob Thornton is the narrator on Fargo in the May 10 episode. That's right: the Peter And The Wolf storyteller is none other than Fargo Season 1's major villain: Lorne Malvo.
It may not be Lorne Malvo, specifically, but it's certainly the return of Billy Bob Thornton to Fargo after playing the menacing criminal in the show's inaugural season. Similar to Martin Freeman's return to Fargo in Season 2, Thornton is never seen and only heard introducing the characters of Peter And The Wolf. While Malvo himself would've certainly been considered the wolf of Season 1, the sequence cuts from character to character, connecting dots between the Season 3 cast and what role or animal in Peter And The Wolf they may be best represented by.
Thornton's narration explains that "Each character in the tale is going to be represented by a different instrument of the orchestra." The piece of music meant to represent the bird is played by a flute and is accompanied by a shot of Emmit Stussy picking out ties. The duck, played by the oboe, is Ray. The cat, represented by the clarinet, is Nikki. The Grandfather of the story, which is the bassoon part of the music, is Sy Feltz. "The blast of the hunters' shotgun" is presented alongside a shot of Vargas' henchmen, with Vargas himself taking the role of the wolf scored by a collection of menacing french horns. Finally the strings that score the role of Peter represent the hero of Fargo's story, Gloria Burgle.
It's a minor cameo that allows for the return of an actor who probably couldn't return physically, since his character was shot dead in Season 1. But the narration could also be really important as a giant piece of foreshadowing of what's to come. For example, the bird and the duck exchange this piece of dialogue early in Peter And The Wolf:
These different perspectives on life mirror the Stussy brothers' disagreement over what success means. So what else could Thornton's narration be telling us with these comparisons?
In Peter And The Wolf, the cat (Nikki) plots to take down the bird (Emmit), but gives up when the Wolf (Vargas) eats the duck (Ray), forcing Peter (Gloria) and the bird to work together to take down the wolf. Is there any chance that Fargo 3 just revealed the major plot events of the remainder of the season in this one episode? There are plenty of inconsistencies between the two pieces, however. Sy and the grandfather don't exactly mirror one another, and the bird of Peter And The Wolf is far more cunning than Emmit Stussy — but overall, the stories are similar.
Lorne Malvo may not be returning to Fargo any time soon, but it seems that Thornton's latest character on the FX series may be important in a very different way.