What we need to do here is figure out a way to get Carrie Coon in more shows. All of the shows, if possible. At least all the good ones. I’m not sure how we do it. Or if she’s even interested. This might be a two-step process. First, we have to convince Carrie Coon to appear in all of the shows. Then, we have to figure out the logistics to make it happen. The best idea I have so far involves harnessing Santa’s power to deliver presents to children all over the world in one night, then giving that power to Carrie Coon to hop from studio to studio to film scenes for every television show. She’ll have to promise not to abuse it, though. The power, I mean. We don’t want to create a supervillain, after all. But I think she’ll be cool about it. Carrie Coon seems pretty cool. This is a solid plan.
And even if there is a small chance she uses the power to become a soulless time-shifting demon, I still think it’s worth the risk. Did you see the year she just put together? There was a lot going on in 2017 so I can understand if you missed it or it slipped from your memory, but dig this: From the first week of April through the middle of June, Carrie Coon was on television twice a week, in primetime, in huge roles, on two of our most prestigious prestige dramas. One of the roles earned her an Emmy nomination. The other resulted in one of the most egregious award snubs in history and just thinking about it again now is making me so angry I might start a fire. But we’ll get to that.
First, let’s discuss Fargo. Carrie Coon starred in the third season of Noah Hawley’s acclaimed anthology series as a Minnesota detective named Gloria Burgle, which is one of the great name/profession combinations you’ll ever see, like a professional magician named Tito Skeptical. Gloria Burgle was tough and relentless and for some reason devices powered by electricity did not work for her. We probably would have made a huge deal about it if Mary Elizabeth Winstead didn’t steal some of her thunder on the show by playing a revenge-seeking grifter named Nikki Swango who killed a man with an air conditioner. Tough competition.
And yes, the third season of Fargo had some flaws. It wasn’t quite the phenomenon season one was or the alien-infused bloodbath that blew us away in season two. But even if you were one of the people who was a little lukewarm on the third season as a whole, I don’t think you can really say anything bad about the mostly standalone episode that saw Gloria Burgle go to California. That was one of the best hours of television this year. My only real complaint about it all was that I found myself wishing that had been the focus of the entire season. Who doesn’t want to see Carrie Coon investigate murders in Hollywood? Not not me, I’ll tell you that much. Carrie Coon and Ray Wise, whose character may or may not be the actual devil, just chilling at a bar, shooting the breeze while she pieces together evidence from a decades-old crime. I’d watch that every week.
Here’s my favorite part of all this, though: That episode of Fargo, “The Law of Non-Contradiction,” aired on May 3. Four days later, on May 7, The Leftovers aired an episode titled “G’Day Melbourne.” Trying to pick a favorite episode from the final season of The Leftovers is impossible and I refuse to do it, in large part because Damon Lindelof and company put their thumbs on the scale by setting one episode on a cruise ship filled with members of a lion-obsessed orgy cult, but if you want to try, you could do a lot worse than “G’Day Melbourne.”
What a devastating episode of television. The scene at the end, highlighted by Kevin and Nora’s fight in the burning hotel room, was one of the best of the series, or any series. The Leftovers could get really big sometimes, and it could lean hard into flights of fancy (lion sex boat, various trips to Kevin’s alternate assassin universe), but it was really at its best when it showed how The Departure left scars on the people left to deal with the fallout. Kevin and Nora were broken people. We needed to be reminded of that sometimes. The two of them saying the most hurtful things they could to each other in a room that was literally on fire did just that, in a way that was painful to watch. Painful and beautiful. This shot will stick with me for a long, long time.
The thing is, despite the tour de force of acting that Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux delivered in that room, it probably wasn’t even her signature moment in the final season. To the degree you can even narrow it down to one moment. Think about everything that happened with Nora Durst as The Leftovers zeroed in on its ending. In addition to the fiery hotel scene, there was:
- The Perfect Strangers episode that went from hilarious to heartbreaking and featured another incredible scene in a hotel, this time featuring Mark Linn-Baker
- Everything that happened with her trying to cross over to see her family, up to and including her barging in and basically forcing the people behind the program to put her in the machine
- Everything that happened in the finale, which included a triumphant scene featuring a goat, and slow dancing to Otis Redding, and the final monologue that was either an incredible true story or an elaborate lie in service of giving her and Kevin a little peace, finally
Also, she got a tattoo of the Wu-Tang symbol. We should never overlook or forget that. She had her reasons. They were not entirely devoid of logic even if she did refer to the group as “the Wu-Tang Band.” And the best part was that she got the tattoo early in the season, so it popped up every now and then as Nora’s story progressed. It was visible in the trailer as she was preparing to enter the machine, and it was even visible in the fiery hotel scene. Here, look!
I am admittedly getting distracted here. I’m sorry. A major character on a wrenching show about loss and grieving got a Wu-Tang tattoo. I’m only so strong. But it does speak to what a summer Carrie Coon had in 2017. She was nominated for an Emmy for the second-best show she was in, in which her character did not get a Wu-Tang tattoo, as far as we know, which is in no way a shot at her depiction of Gloria Burgle on Fargo. (It is definitely a shot at the Emmy voters, who should have nominated her for both and given her the statue for The Leftovers.) She was so good in both shows, at the same time, and I think I just got a little spoiled by it all. For two glorious months, we had two terrific Carrie Coon performances in two really good shows, and now we have none.
It leaves me so torn. On one hand, I’m so happy for her that she had that moment and I’m so happy as a viewer that I was there to experience it. On the other hand, going from that to zero shows with Carrie Coon feels unfair, to all of us as television fans but also to me, personally. We must figure out a way to remedy this.
Which brings me back to that Santa idea I was talking about earlier…