Well, last night’s episode of FARGO was certainly one that moved the plot along in huge ways. One thing I have notice while watching each season of Fargo thus far is that I am always surprised very early on that the plot seems to be coming to a climax so soon. It never takes the police until the season finale to figure out what is really happening, which is impressive because it is always something extremely complicated and involves a lot of coincidence. This episode our hero ex-Chief Gloria Burgle and her new spunky partner in crime(fighting) Officer Winnie Lopez have the whole Ennis Stussy murder and Ray/Emmit Stussy rivalry figured out. And we are only halfway through the season!
Speaking of the Ray and Emmit rivalry, things are getting more and more personal. After Ray was fired from his job as a parole officer last week due to “banging the cattle” he and his parolee girlfriend Nikki are trying to figure out how to get ahead in life (specifically how to get ahead in life via twin brother Emmit’s parking lot/rare stamp collection fortune). Their latest scheme? Creating a fake sex tape to blackmail Emmit into giving them one hundred thousand dollars. Ray dons his old Emmit wig and wears a big shirt to hide his gut, and Nikki puts on a “hooker wig.” They are about to shoot the tape when Ray chooses one hell of a time to propose. He gets down on one knee and asks Nikki to marry him. She of course says yes and they make the tape.
Only thing is they drop the tape off on a DVD stuffed in a manila envelope labeled for Emmit’s eyes only right on his front porch. His wife Stella sees it and reads the note inside demanding $100 grand or they show it to his wife. Stella of course falls for it hook, line, and sinker and leaves Emmit. That day. Just packs up her things and the kids and is off. Emmit is devastated. Heartbroken. He calls Sy Feltz, his second in command, and accuses him of letting this happen. He was supposed to take care of Ray and make sure that he stopped. He failed. Sy eventually gets Emmit to agree to let him come at Ray and Nikki “with the handcuffs off.” I assumed that meant he was going to kill her. That doesn’t appear to be the case. Just wait, we’ll get there.
Sy is handling a lot of other stuff this episode besides Nikki and Ray. He meets with new character, the widow Ruby Goldfarb whose husband made his fortune in cemeteries and self-storage. She is potentially interested in buying Stussy Lots. This would be a huge relief for Emmit and Sy, as they are simultaneously dealing with the dastardly V.M. Varga who gets creepier by the episode. Just before his meeting with Ruby, Sy had an encounter with Varga in which the latter rubbed his genitals in Sy’s World’s Best Dad mug and subsequently forced Sy to drink the mugs contents. Just for funsies I guess.
Also at the office, Emmit is surprised when an IRS agent comes to Stussy Lots headquarters following up on Ray’s withdrawal of ten grand from Emmit’s account. It’s mandatory procedure for the IRS and now he has to look at the books to determine if anything fishy is going on. Emmit is flustered and of course Varga sneers at the presence of the man. “Does he have any kids?” he asks Emmit. “Those can be useful.” If I was a betting man I’d say IRS Agent Larue may not be in many more episodes this season.
As mentioned above, Gloria and Winnie have the case basically figured out. They’ve pieced together that Maurice LaFey was Ray Stussy’s parolee and that Ray and his other parolee Nikki hired LaFey to go get something from his brother Emmit in Eden Prairie, AND that LaFey screwed up and killed Ennis Stussy in Eden VALLEY. They know all this but still can not convince new chief Moe Dammik to let them move on it. He is a very no-nonsense, Occam’s Razor kind of guy. The simplest solution is always the one that is right, and what Winnie and Gloria bring him is CLEARLY not the simplest solution. However, they do bring in Ray for some interrogation and he confidently vilifies his brother in all this.
But while he’s doing that his fiance is meeting with Sy and now demanding an extra hundred grand on top of the hundred grand they already demanded. How does that work when the wife has already seen the sex tape? They are going to need two hundred grand to make her believe that the tape was faked. At the end of the episode Sy and Nikki drive out to a remote, desolate location, and I was thinking that Sy was going to off her. Then I realized how much that was not in this man’s character.
HOWEVER, it is in the character of V. M. Varga’s henchmen Yuri Gurka and Meemo. They have been monitoring Sy because Varga starts to suspect he is working with Ray. The company is called Stussy Lots, and it does not specify which Stussy, he points out. Plus he’s Jewish so he doesn’t trust him. Yuri and Meemo roll up, knowing what Nikki is up to, and proceed to beat her off camera as we watch Sy’s face twist in horror. I thought she was a goner. But once everyone leaves, we see her hand raise up from the ground and around the front of her vehicle. The episode ends with Ray coming home to find his lady half-conscious in their bathtub and badly beaten.
I, for one, am very interested to see how Ray reacts to all this. I think the proverbial crap has hit the fan and it will be a very interesting back half of the season.
Season 3, Episode 5 (S03E05)
Fargo airs Wednesday at 10PM on FX
Paul Gulyas | Contributor