Shaun Munro reviews the ninth episode of Fargo season 3…
Fargo’s third season nears its close with a riveting penultimate episode which, while less energetic than some might expect for the lead-in to a season finale, nevertheless carefully arranged the various chess pieces for one Hell of a send-off.
Kicking things off, Meemo murders a man named Marvin Stussy with a shard of glass, as we later learn in an attempt to create a serial killer narrative that the original Stussy and Ray murders can be folded into.
This, of course, is in direct response to Emmit confessing everything to Gloria. Ewan McGregor crushed it as usual, especially during Emmit’s speech about his and Ray’s childhood, where he made the most important admission of all; “30 years I’ve been killing him.” Varga isn’t easily intimidated, though, and sends Meemo to work, spilling blood and bribing an ex-con to cop to all four murders.
If that plan might seem somewhat convoluted, it’s positively easy to swallow down compared to the re-emergence of Nikki and Mr. Wrench from the woodwork. Getting the drop on Meemo with the help of a machine gun and a fake grenade, they manage to hijack Varga’s truck and obtain crucial financial documents that could bring his entire operation down. It does seem rather on the convenient side that things went so smoothly for Nikki and Wrench, even remembering how much of a pro Wrench is. Still, it was undeniably satisfying to see someone finally get one over on Varga.
Meanwhile, Gloria has a Hell of a rough time this episode, seemingly losing hope as Varga’s grand lie takes hold and the bone-headed Dammick smugly forces her to accept his all-too-convenient case-closing narrative. This is one of the few times this season where Dammick actually felt well-utilised, no longer merely an arbitrary roadblock for Gloria but another unintentional, dependably predictable pawn in Varga’s plan.
Arguably the episode’s highlight, however, was the hotel meeting between Varga and Nikki (“Loved you in Death of a Salesman”), a tense exchange spiced with some light comedy when Nikki came to realise that Varga, wearing a cream trenchcoat in a hotel lobby, isn’t quite as distinctive as she thinks. Wrench getting one over on Meemo again felt a little too easy for this show, underlining that the pair really seems far too organised on the whole. Still, it was delicious seeing Nikki so confident, even if there’s the worry that she’ll only end up with a Pyrrhic victory, being killed but taking Varga down posthumously with her damning delivery to IRS agent Dollard.
Another easy highlight of the episode was Gloria and Winnie in the bar; their friendship this season has been subtly quite brilliant, and if you can’t find the treasure in a line like “Thank God for K-Y”, then why are you even watching this show? In a welcome, rare moment of true humanity in Fargo, Winnie gave Gloria a much-needed hug, and fans finally got some sort of resolution to Gloria’s being ignored by technology. It seems that by externalising her issues and enjoying some emotional catharsis, her “curse” has been lifted.
As “Aporia” wrapped up, though, I was left wondering most of all what will become of Emmit. We know that Varga needs him alive for business reasons, but that doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed any quality of life at all. Whatever happens, the stage is set for an explosive finale next week, so to that end this episode did everything it needed to, a few contrived moments notwithstanding.
Shaun Munro – Follow me on Twitter for more TV rambling.