12 times Fargo Season 2 has mimicked Breaking Bad
WARNING: The following piece reveals plot details of Fargo and Breaking Bad.
I didn’t go into the second season of Fargo looking to compare it with my other favourite show, Breaking Bad. So the fact that every episode of the FX crime drama so far has struck me with its numerous uncanny similarities to AMC‘s meth-cooking sensation has me thinking this was no accident. There’s everything from a pair of hired goon twins, to a spouse undergoing chemotherapy, to a guy in the garage who just won’t die. So without further ado, behold; twelve times Fargo Season 2 has mimicked Breaking Bad.
1. The twins
It’s difficult not to draw a comparison between Fargo‘s Kitchen brothers and Breaking Bad‘s Leonel and Marco Salamanca. Both sets of these largely mute twins are hitman duos who bring an air of threat to every situation by their unspoken communication with one another. Both sets of brothers are also tragically torn apart, as one brother from each pair is killed off by a member of a warring faction. Also, are those Heisenberg hats atop the Kitchen brothers’ heads?
2. The parking lot shoot-out
Once again with the trouble-making twins, both shows set deadly shootouts in parking lots, with innocent bystanders getting in the way of flying bullets to tragic effect. Of course, no show could ever do this kind of scene as well as Breaking Bad did, with poor Hank Schrader’s life changing completely in episode seven of season three. And perhaps because we’d seen it before in that breathtaking episode, Fargo’s take on the parking lot shootout was found lacking that crucial element of suspense.
3. The former patriarch in the wheelchair
Another unmistakable similarity can be seen between Fargo‘s Otto Gerhardt and Breaking Bad‘s Hector Salamanca; both of whom were the kings of their respective castles back in their heyday, but have since been struck down by the vagaries of time and age, to be replaced by their irresponsible and headstrong young progeny. We know that Otto has suffered from a stroke, and while the cause of Hector’s immobility is not explained, he is also suspected by fans to have survived a stroke himself.
4. The son with cerebral palsy
We’re always thrilled to see the stronger representation of people with disabilities on TV, so we were pleased to discover that Fargo has introduced an interesting and complex character in the form of young Dodd Gerhardt, who lives with cerebral palsy – much like Breaking Bad‘s Walter White Jr. We’re hoping to see Dodd step up and take on a much larger role as the series progresses. It seems he also shares Walt Jr’s love of breakfast.
5. The cancer treatment
Right down to the colour schemes of their clothing, the Solversons and the Whites undergo similar ordeals as one of each spouse pairing battles a form of cancer. While we’re unsure which type of cancer Betsy Solverson is living with, or whether she will survive the season, her consultation and chemotherapy scenes can’t help but remind us of Walter White’s situation.
6. The cracked windshield
Walt’s perpetually cracked windshield was a source of continuous speculation among Breaking Bad obsessives, and Fargo has already offered up two broken windshields in just a few episodes, starting with Peggy Blomquist’s car, which gets smashed up twice, and followed by the Gerhardt’s car, which gets shot at in the afore mentioned parking lot shootout. Could this symbolise the intrusion of the public eye on the atomised private space of the personal automobile as a result of crime? Perhaps.
7. The guy in the basement they thought was dead who just won’t die, who then tries to stab his way out
Speaking of Peggy Blomquist’s broken windshield, the body that went through it belonged to Rye Gerhardt, whom Peggy thought had died on impact. Rye was later discovered alive and kicking in the Blomquists’ garage, attempted to stab Peggy’s husband Ed, and was killed for reals. The tussle harks back to Walt’s encounter with Krazy-8, whom he believed to be dead after gassing out the RV he and his cousin Emilio were in, and later kept locked in Jesse’s basement, before discovering he had concealed a shard of plate to stab him with, and finishing him off for good. Notably, these deaths are Ed and Walt’s ‘first kills’, setting the previously unassuming characters on paths of questionable morality. The similarity is too close to ignore!
8. The competing factions warring over territory
One of the major storylines in Fargo so far has been the bloody competition over territory between the Gerhardt family and Joe Bulo’s Kansas City syndicate, which includes the syndicate’s offers to buyout the Gerhardt’s smaller operation while still allowing them to continue running it. It’s a relationship highly reminiscent of Walt and Jesse’s homegrown outfit vying for autonomy from Gus Fring’s larger and more established ring. Even that plastic sheeting in the background of the Fargo scene is distinctly Breaking Bad-esque.
9. The decapitated head sent as a message
In light of the war over territory, Kansas City member Joe Bulo loses his head, which is later sent as a warning to his compatriot Mike Milligan. Of course, this reminds us of the fate of DEA criminal informant Tortuga, whose decapitated head took a ride on a tortoise with the words “Hola DEA” signed on its shell.
10. Jesse Plemons
When life gives you Plemons, put him in two of the biggest shows in television and watch him shine. I’ll be honest, Plemons is the main reason I was so excited to see this season of Fargo, since his portrayal of Todd in Breaking Bad was so uniquely complex and oblique. I’ve not been disappointed so far, with a chunkier-looking Plemons keeping us constantly on our toes with his taciturn, unreadable psychology. Echoes of Walter White, anyone? Let’s also not forget that Breaking Bad‘s Bob Odenkirk, A.K.A Saul Goodman, starred in season one of Fargo as Police Chief Bill Oswalt.
11. The spouse covering up for their partner’s crime
As Ed Blomquist covers up for his wife’s manslaughter and Skyler White covers up for her husband’s drug trade, both formerly innocent spouses find themselves entangled in a web of crime and deception like they never imagined. Other than the interesting gender reversal, the plot point of one partner’s crime both strengthening and testing a marriage to its limits is pretty much a mirror image.
12. The meat based shop used for criminal activity
It’s not unusual to associate meat with the worlds of death and crime (think Satriale’s Pork Store in The Sopranos, for example), so perhaps this link is purely incidental. We just couldn’t ignore the parallels of Ed’s butcher shop, the site of human meat grinding and an axing to the head so far, and Gus Fring’s Los Pollos Hermanos – a fried chicken chain acting as a front for illegal activities. Not to mention that bloody apron…
Noticed any Fargo x Breaking Bad similarities of your own? Or unmistakable comparisons between two different shows? Tweet your ideas to @tvguideshows for your chance to get featured.
If you liked this article, check out our analysis of easter eggs and graphic matches linking the new season of Fargo to both season one and the Coen Brothers’ film here.