Fargo

Ewan McGregor as Ray Stussy in "Fargo."

If you didn't see the third season of "Fargo," you might want to get the DVD and hunker in. It's a great look at the ties that bind and the ones that pull us apart.

Set in 2010, the latest installment features two brothers (both played by Ewan McGregor) who have a feud of sorts that sparks everything. Emmit is the Parking Lot King of Minnesota (shades of the Coen Brothers’ “Raising Arizona”); Ray is a less-successful parole officer. Both have dreams of a better life but it’s Ray who shifts this into motion, simply by calling on one of his parolees to do his bidding. Ray is sleeping with another one (nicely played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who thinks they can be bridge champions – if she could just leave the state.

Wackier than the last outing, Season Three has a moment in the first episode that is both hilarious and appalling. It arrives when Ray and Nikki (the girlfriend) feel they’ve been cornered.

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Fargo

From left, Michael Stuhlbarg as Sy Feltz and Ewan McGregor as Emmit Stussy in "Fargo."

Emmit, however, isn’t guiltless, either. He has a mystery man on his trail who isn’t just interested in paying old debts.

Clearly, the lines have been drawn. Because creator Noah Hawley is so good at picking the Coen Brothers’ brains, “Fargo” doesn’t seem like extender. It’s its own beast, done in the style of the original film.

More so than Allison Tolman (who was incredible in the first season), Carrie Coons captures the Frances McDormand vibe that made the film a hit. She, too, is in law enforcement and eager to see justice prevail. An early murder, however, strikes too close to home, forcing her to find another approach that could help solve the crime.

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Fargo

From left, Ewan McGregor as Emmit Stussy, Michael Stuhlbarg as Sy Feltz, and David Thewlis as V.M. Vargas in the third season of "Fargo."

While McGregor handles two parts nicely, he doesn’t quite nail the accent the way his fellow actors do. Winstead and Coon are right on; others either don’t attempt it or use it sparingly. Scoot McNairy is so good as one of the pawns in this game of bros he should figure into a future edition as the centerpiece.

As soon as the table is set for trouble, Hawley and company introduce new characters – ones who help make a simple place more complex.

Filmed in Calgary, “Fargo” has a frosty bite that never seems to thaw. Cars barely grip the ice-covered roads; streets seem confusing.

Indeed, a common misunderstanding (do you know Eden Prairie from Eden Valley?) gets this motor running. There’s a focus on stamps as well (no, not Duck Stamps – that’s “Fargo,” the movie) that proves just how silly some situations are. This “Fargo” isn't short on brutality, either.

The opener is everything the first two seasons promised. It's a sorta different world. But it also makes us glad its brand of winter takes place in these here parts. d

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