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YEAR 3, EPISODE 7: THE LAW OF INEVITABILITY
The world is wrong. It looks like my world, but everything’s different. – Sy Feltz
Whoa. Holy Wes Wrench Batman! I’m just going to let that insane Season 1 callback sit and fester for a week, because it was so damned awesome, and came out of absolutely nowhere. Lorne Malvo and Hanzee Dent now have a tie to our current story. That’s enormous.
Although it started a little slowly, Fargo’s third season has improved mightily, culminating in last week’s stellar episode. Tonight, the show focused on the fallout following Ray Stussy’s death, and continued to illustrate the natural detective skill of Minnesota’s politest gumshoe, Gloria Burgle.
“The Law of Inevitability” featured the allusions and allegorical storytelling, mixed with some whodunit, and plenty of accents and charm. It was the most Fargo of episodes, and although it didn’t pack the punch of last week’s installment, it still managed to end with a crash and a bang, literally.
We didn’t get much from V.M. Varga this week (possibly because he was too busy spending time with Diana Prince), but he still had a huge impact on what took place. It was him that set the plan in motion that ended the hour, putting Yuri in the path of the prison transport bus. Why was it necessary? Start with the fact she was already marked for death last week, and escaped Meemo’s garrote only after the accident with Ray and the picture frame.
She’s also a nuisance, and Nikki Swango is the kind of loudmouthed spitfire that represents everything Varga despises. He doesn’t like the idea of a free spirit, because those people are difficult to control. He knows his guys beat her within a few inches of her life, and he’s already got enough to worry about with Gloria and Winnie asking way too many of the right questions. He’s not cracking, but his decisions indicate someone in a rare brand of eloquent panic. He’s still telling stories, but he’s definitely looking over his shoulder.
Gloria is beating the grass and hoping to startle the snakes, and not just the criminals and rough types involved in the murder of her stepfather. She’s also pushing hard at the soon to be (never will be) new chief, Moe Dammick, who will be dragged kicking and screaming to the truth in the season finale. After it happens, he won’t take the position, and Gloria will be offered a promotion to St. Cloud. She’ll then turn it down, showing she likes the simple life, the smaller town, and the homespun feel of Eden Valley.
She wants to talk to Nikki, and after running into the bureaucratic nonsense we all hate, she gives up on obtaining the elusive blue sheet of destiny and instead pulls a gun on DJ Qualls. She doesn’t get much from Swango once she finally extracts a few words from her, although “follow the money” isn’t exactly nothing. She also found out Nikki digs coconut creme pie with chocolate flakes. There’s no doubt in my mind that once she’s rescued from her predicament, Gloria will bring her pie. Why else would she ask?
The one thing that’s always true of Fargo is that the truly good people remain that way, while those tempted to do wrong end up on the business end of a gun barrel or the sharp end of a knife. Gloria Burgle isn’t going to do something we don’t like. That’s not the way this show works. Noah Hawley’s predilection for fables means there must be a real hero. She will not be denied, and we’re already seeing it repeatedly as she attempts to unravel 17 misunderstandings to get to the bottom of the crime.
Correction: That’s what she did for a few weeks. She already solved the crime. She just doesn’t understand how much more is under the surface with Mr. Varga and his associates. Speaking of the baddies, how about Yuri and poor Donny in the library? That guy never had a chance, and Gurga would gladly have killed him if he had to. Luckily for Donny’s family, Donny also knew Gurga would have killed him if it were the final option.
While at dinner, Emmit Stussy basically lost his mind. Remember, this is a good man on an unthinkably terrible string of bad luck. He was supposed to be the victim of a robbery by his brother, which would have been a negative, but wouldn’t have resulted in his family deserting him, a used tampon in his drawer, or an off-putting lurch with a British accent telling him what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
He watched his brother die after the two engaged in a rather innocent scuffle, and he’s scared. He was already on edge due to Varga, and now he knows how easily this death could be pinned on him. Knowing Emmit, he might actually even blame himself for it, though we know it was Ray’s stupidity that put him six feet under. However, Emmit’s behavior with Ruby Goldfarb and also with Winnie Lopez might have trumped Varga’s with Gloria last week in its sheer “I’m guilty as hell”…ness.
Sy Feltz is a hothead, but he’s also not a bad man. He and Emmit are a bit naive and, despite building a solid business, are also in over their heads. Sy has let his anger get the better of him, all in the defense of his friend and colleague, and where has it led him? He watched Nikki Swango assaulted by two men with whom he’s forced to work, he’s worried about his own safety, and now he’s crying into his wife’s arms. He’s a simple man. Fargo is filled with simple, eccentric people, placed in ridiculous situations. Sy is a PERFECT character in that regard. Michael Stuhlbarg is doing an exceptional job with the role.
Everyone seems to be gripping to some extent, even Gloria, whose frustration over running into an invisible, useless hierarchal wall has led her to try and make sense of her world inside an empty bathroom stall. Varga sees the bear in Emmit’s house and that becomes the disguise, and the episode ends with Nikki unconscious and Yuri working to get access to the back portion of the transport vehicle. It seems her life is over, but it also appeared that way last week, and Ray’s the one that ended up dead.
Nikki is slipping through the eye of the needle, and she’s done it several times. I would be shocked if that pie scene doesn’t happen, and my guess is it will happen with Swango in custody for the murder of Maurice LeFay. It might actually be the final scene of the entire season. Mary Elizabeth Winstead didn’t say much in the episode, but her acting was extremely impressive. She had to sell a mix of helpless and conniving, always looking around for the answer or the exit that isn’t immediately apparent.
She’s a crook and a con, but she’s also a scared woman who saw a photo of Ray Stussy’s dead body lying prone, surrounded by a large pool of blood.
Last week, we got the twist. This week, we got more of a straightforward Fargo story that jibed with the events of the past. Nothing felt the least bit unbelievable tonight, but that’s exactly how it should have been done. The ending did come bundled with a wallop, but everything that came before was safe, focused, and laid out with logic. We know who the good guys are. We know who the bad guys are. We also know some of the good guys are in really bad spots, while some of the bad guys are advancing on their destiny, which they don’t recognize yet is a ravine, not a castle.
What’s “inevitable?” That seems pretty obvious right now, if we’ve paid attention to the past two seasons of this show. I feel comfortable with my predictions, which is always scary.
Hawley has made sure everything is in place as we prepare for the final three episodes of this Fargo anthology. Now, we sit back and see how he chooses to finish this specific story. It’s another good season of a great show, and the tension continues to rise. We’re on course for a strong ending, and that’s where I’d place my money if I were you.
But, maybe stay away from bridge. It doesn’t always pay off. Or is that crime?
I’m @JMartOutkick. I don’t care for coconut.