Why Fargo Season 5 is Fixated on The Nightmare Before Christmas

This is Halloween! This is also Fargo season 5’s obsession with a stop-motion animated classic.

"FARGO" -- "Insolubilia" -- Year 5, Episode 4 (Airs December 5) Pictured: Joe Keery as Gator Tillman.
Photo: Michelle Faye | FX

This article contains spoilers for FARGO season 5 episode 4.

Something festive, something spooky, something downright oogie boogie has been lurking around Fargo season 5 since its very first scene.

Flash back, if you will, to the opening moments of episode 1 “The Tragedy of the Commons.” The viewer is immediately thrust into chaos. Punches are being thrown at a meeting of the Fall Festival Planning Committee in Scandia Middle School. Look past the melee of writhing white Midwesterners towards to stage and what do you see? That’s right: crude plywood renderings of the iconic landscapes from the 1993 animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Later on, as Dorothy Lyon (Juno Temple) is being escorted out of the school, we see two Nightmare Before Christmas posters, confirming it as Scandia Middle School’s fall show.

Now, at the beginning of episode 4 “Insolubilia,” Fargo season 5 kicks its Nightmare Before Christmas appreciation up a notch. Not only does the Lyon family have a Jack Skellington decoration outside of their home, but when Gator Tillman (Joe Keery) and his goons come to kidnap Dot, they are all wearing Nightmare Before Christmas masks. Gator, naturally, is Jack Skellington. His partners are the Mayor of Halloween Town, Lock, and Stock. Though Gator and company don’t accomplish their central mission, it can’t be said they don’t look fantastically authentic in the attempt.


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