In philosophical terms, aporia refers to an impasse, that puzzling moment when the inconsistencies of events create doubt as to the truth — perplexity. V. M. Varga, Head Honcho and manipulator extraordinaire, is suddenly — impossibly — not in control of his own puppet show. Amidst a murdering brother’s voluntary confession, former sheriff, Gloria Burgle is presented with alternative facts and in the face of her new boss’ nonsensical “logic”, forced to officially abandon her investigation. Safe in jail, facing his demons, Emmit Stussy is set free, only to walk right back into the inescapable imprisonment caused by his own greed, the same bottomless pit of wanting that threatens to eat a secret binge and purger from the inside out. And with the oddly beautiful swirl of milk and the blood of another Stussy slowly spreading across a kitchen floor, thus kicks off Fargo‘s third penultimate episode, and a series of gloriously discordant happenings.
Another day, another dead Stussy … or two. Winnie notes the name, tries to help Gloria piece the puzzle together as the deflated deputy does her best to sort through Emmit’s guilt-ridden — “Thirty years I’ve been killing him. That was just when he fell” — ride down memory lane. While Meemo methodically murders and readies to ramp things up to Stage 5, a perfect pair of recently released convicts pull the surprise semi-jacking of a lifetime. With a quick window smash, a few fake grenades, and Mr. Wrench raining cover fire, Nikki nabs the necessities to nail her nemesis. This intoxicating sequence is topped only by the magical moment we viewers realize who the attackers are, hear Nikki’s voice on the other end of Varga’s call and watch as, due to his overconfidence and opponent underestimation, player becomes prey.
Amid Gloria’s interview with an antagonistic Ruby Goldfarb, Moronic Moe — easily duped by Meemo’s setup guy — gloats to Gloria that he’s solved the case and crushed, she returns to the confessional with Emmit — melancholic musings in a mirrored moment. While Varga attempts to eat away his anxiety (Rocky Road, indeed), Nikki easily upends his unsteady hand. Mr. Wrench again ambushes Meemo, Swango turns down tea and extra zeros, and makes her play; “Now it’s just me and you, and I want my money.”
One door opens and another locks Emmit back in; a dejected Gloria meets up with Winnie and her “ornery” Moscow Mule, laments her kinship with MNSKY, The Planet Wyh‘s little robot that would … help if he only could (but he didn’t) which, if she’s being honest, is how Gloria feels most days. In the blink of an unexpectedly teary eye, Winnie gives her friend’s private theory the what for (a heartfelt hug); exactly what Gloria needs to know she exists (WE SEE YOU, Gloria). Impossibly turning tables hint at seemingly unsolvable puzzle pieces somehow falling into place, as a not-so-mysterious mailing tosses another wrench into these carefully curated works.
Not So Deep Thoughts:
That moment Ewan McGregor visibly shuddered while describing his dad’s death was stunning; his quiet, emotional scenes have been some of the actor’s best work. The subtleties and the comedic scenes he’s had make it almost too easy to look past the performance(s) at times — especially when his characters have been so silly or inept — but scenes like the interrogation have blown me away.
Keith Gordon’s direction and the camera work this hour were wonderful as well; the interrogation room mirrors were used to full effect.
Likewise, Carrie Coon blew me away with that hug, as she finally let herself settle into Winnie, almost breathe relief that someone was finally seeing her. I yelled out (at Gloria and Nikki so much this hour), and “WE SEE YOU” was one of my loudest (I don’t know whether or not I should be embarrassed about talking to TV characters) repeated exclamations. The simple joy Gloria took in washing her hands after Winnie finally allowed her to see herself was beautiful to witness.
Noah Hawley’s unexpectedly emotional writing this season has added another level to Fargo; one I wouldn’t have thought necessary, but its judicious layering has made this possibly my favorite season. A tiny tug on the heart somehow fits in perfectly with the madness.
Nikki and Mr. Wrench are the best badasses to ever badass. I repeat my plea: Please give them their own season! The pure joy of Nikki’s plan playing out before us, of watching both Nikki and Varga’s faces as she surprised him time after time after time practically exploded my heart with pride. The way Noah Hawley writes women is the way I want to see women written: SMART.
I honestly believe Nikki will come out on top at the end, and Gloria will have her day with that smug fuck, Moe, too. Speaking of, let’s lock up Varga and Moe in a cell and let them have at each other, shall we?
Is Yuri alive or dead?
Nikki and Mr. Wrench wisely and quickly ditched that green VW Ray Wisegod gave them last week.
I’m so curious who Emmit’s cellmate was; the one who admired his sweater (“Nice sweater.” “It’s a cardigan.”). That’s a future callback, right there.
RIP Marvin Stussy, 818 Elmhurst Dr. St. Cloud, and George Stussy, adress unknown.
Nice to see Hamish Linklater’s amusingly anal Larue Dollard (anyone else crushing?) back …
… and MNSKY mentioned!
Songs This Hour:
Roby Lakatos & His Gipsy Band, Hora in E Major
Plamena Mangova, Piano Sonata No. 23, in F Minor Op. 57 Appassionato
Youngblood Brass Band, Brooklyn
The Statler Brothers, The Official Historian on Shirley Jean Berrell
Emmit, while confessing to Gloria: “I want to be clear, if anyone comes here claiming to be my lawyer, don’t listen. Don’t trust anyone that comes.
He was right you know. Ray, I tricked him, or not tricked. A lie is not a lie if you believe it’s true.
Think there’s a special level of hell for those who kill their loved ones on Christmas Eve?
What 17 year old wants stamps when he can have a cherry red Corvette, but I did.
Ray, chubby kid, never been laid never even felt up a girl.
I let it slip how, this car is like a magnet. If you turn up to school Monday like it’s a done deal.
He spent his days watching scumbags piss on his shoes.
I didn’t mean to. It’s just one of those, what are the odds moments.”
Gloria to Emmit: “Exsanguinate, that’s the term the cause of death, but how, exactly?”
Varga on the phone to Nikki: “Ma’am, it’s just lazy to rob someone without a name.”
Moe to Gloria: “Well, I solved it.”
Gloria to Moe: “And your theory is what? A serial killer has two MOs?”
Nikki at hotel with Varga: “Loved you in Death of a Salesman.
Wildcat Regional, 3rd runner up. That’s a bridge tournament.
Strategy, that was my strength.
I know a boss when I see one.
You’re gonna give your man a signal, and he’s gonna take a shot. Problem is this is a public place with a lot of witnesses. And you’re a pretty distinctive guy.”
Varga to Nikki: “Am I?”
Nikki to Varga: “Because I want to hurt you, not be your pet. I want to look you in the face and rip out something you love.
It wasn’t Emmit who came into the precinct, wasn’t’ Emmit who flipped over that bus.”
Varga to Nikki: “I didn’t have a good feeling about you before, but now I’m starting to really dislike you.”
Gloria to Emmit: “You think the world is something and then it turns out to be something else.”
Varga to Emmit in car: “The problem is not that there is evil in the world; the problem is that there is good. Because otherwise, who would care?”
Winnie to Gloria: “It’s the bond of the uniform. Plus, I like ya.”
Gloria to Winnie: “I like you, too.”