Ok apart from the fact that opinions are subjective and no one can have a correct one (except if you think 2 is the best :P); I really don’t understand the love for season 2.
Firstly there’s the characters; there are very few characters in season 2 I actually liked or even cared about. Up until episode 8 (the best episode of the season imo), I don’t think I even liked a single character. After episode 8 I was a big fan of Peggy and Ed, but that’s about it.
When we take a look at some of the viewer’s favourite characters in season 2, I really don’t understand the appeal:
Firstly Mike for me is a bland mobster with little depth. All he does is monologue over and over until I fall asleep. Not only do I find his monologuing boring, but at times it interrupts the flow of the narrative. I want him to shut up so that we can move onto the next scene. Now I know that character monologuing and the telling of allegories is a big part of the series as a whole, but coming from Mike (and the excessive amount it comes from Mike), it feels extremely forced and dull. It feels more like an insecure pseudo-intellectual trying to prove his intelligence than an interesting character having anything interesting to say. When we compare Mike’s monologuing to Malvo’s, there’s a stark contrast. Malvo has so much charisma, so much mystique, so much malevolence, whenever he monologues I hang by his every single word. Malvo doesn’t feel like a human monologuing he actually feels like a character out of one of his own allegories (it is hinted several times throughout that he may be the devil incarnate). Malvo’s monologues feel like they have weight and meaning coming from someone of import and significance. On the other hand whenever Mike monologues, I roll my eyes and feel myself falling asleep.
Secondly, is there a more cookie-cutter character than Lou Solverson? Seriously, how many times have we seen this character before? The hundreds and hundreds of cop films we’ve seen and the countless other TV shows. Is there even a single centimetre of this character that is unique and interesting? He is so bland, so predictable, exactly the archetypal cop character you’d expect and exactly the archetypal cop character you get. I swear the only reason people care about this character is that he was featured in season 1. There can’t possibly be more to it… can there?
The biggest issue I have with Hanzee is the complete 180 he does in episode 8 (still my favourite). There isn’t even a hint of character change or development throughout the entire season and all of a sudden he goes against all of his loyalties and betrays everything he’s stood for since he was a small child. This 180 surely can’t be anything more than a deus-ex machina in order to save Ed and Peggy right? It’s so clear that the writers are so in love with these two characters that they can’t bear to kill them off, so when they’re presented with an impossible situation, Hanzee suddenly decides to completely contradict all of his life choices up until that point. This is so poorly handled in fact, that they have to get a narrator in to sort-of-explain-it but not really. Of course the narrator is Martin Freeman the legend from season 1, so all is forgiven right? Righhhht??? Would audiences so easily swallow a narrator being winched in out of the blue in order to explain a plothole in any other series than Fargo?
Then the UFOs. Seriously? The UFOs? Seriously? I mean I don’t mind having a touch of the supernatural and mystical in Fargo, but if you’re going to do it at all, at least do it right like episode 8 in Season 3. Have at least a tiny bit of explanation, or at least some dialogue, at the very least something for the audience to latch onto. The bowling alley scene is actually one of my favourite scenes in Season 3 because I feel like there’s so much to dissect and so much more to think about with that scene. Plopping UFOs randomly into scenes does absolutely nothing but completely kill the tension. Again, alongside Hanzee’s 180, do they act as anything more than glorified deus ex machinas? They cause Rye to freeze and therefore get hit by Peggy, and they save Lou from Bear? Is there any other reason for them to exist? Oh, apart from the fact that they completely ruin one of the best scenes of the entire season. Their very existence is such a mistake that the creator of the show had to explain away their existence in an interview after the episode was aired (the explanation itself was rubbish by the way).
Finally, hasn’t the gang warfare plotline been done to death already? What’s so different and unique about this version3245 of gang vs gang that is so laudable?
So these are some of the reasons I feel that season 2 is the weakest of the 3. The lynch mobbing can now commence in 3…2…1…