‘Fargo’ Season 3 Is Anything but Unfathomable Pinheadery

For a small and isolated town in the middle of Minnesota, a lot goes down. The hit FX show “Fargo” returned for season three last night, and while the locale might now be familiar to viewers, the set of characters and the circumstances surrounding them is wildly refreshing.

While the story of each season of the anthology series has always been intriguing and different, the interest is heightened this time around due to spectacular performances given by Ewan McGregor (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“10 Cloverfield Lane”).

McGregor pulls double duty playing two different characters. The talented Scot essentially stars opposite himself. Both roles are completely different physically and emotionally for the actor – and he pulls it off.

McGregor plays Emmit Stussy, an overzealous, put together “parking lot king of Minnesota.” And he also plays Ray Stussy, Emmit’s bitter parole-office brother. Conflict arises between the two over a particular birthright that Ray believes Emmit cheated him out of.

Also giving a shining performance this time around is Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Winstead plays Nikki, Ray’s (soon to be) fiancee – and delivers a soon-to-be-iconic phrase, “unfathomable pinheadery.” It is clear that each actor, especially McGregor and Winstead, will elevate this season in comparison to the already high caliber bar set in the past.

Ray enlists the help of a local burnout, Maurice LeFay (Scoot McNairy), to rob his brother’s house and get cash for Nikki’s engagement ring, which takes an unfortunate turn. A staple of the “Fargo” franchise: things going awfully wrong.

As far as fitting itself into the “Fargo” universe, season three seems right on par. The season was set in 2010 (the most recent of the three) – while season one was set in 2006 and season two was set in 1979. This could potentially lead to season crossovers – as is becoming popular with the other hit FX anthology series, “American Horror Story.”

The key to making this a standout anthology series against the over-saturated (mostly Ryan Murphy-run) anthology pool: the fact that “Fargo” has a particular visual aesthetic and witty tone that has remained consistent throughout all three seasons (at least, thus far).

Fargo” season 3 premiered April 19 and airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on FX.