Fargo S3E9 “Aporia”
After Emmit decides to confess at the end of last episode, the end of the season could have gone so many different ways. With all those possibilities, one wondered what would go down. “Aporia” doesn’t disappoint in this regard as the all-knowing Varga gets to work on absolving Emmit of his crimes. “Aporia” isn’t a complete victory for Varga though because Nikki and Wrench make their return after three months and they become the first people in the entire season to put Varga in a situation where he doesn’t hold all the cards. “Aporia” proves to be an excellent episode that takes you for a ride so let’s take a closer look at how it all went down.
Emmit sits in the interrogation room of the police department to start the episode and Gloria sits beside him, getting a formal recording of the confession. This turns out to be a real emotional scene that is probably the best scene McGregor got to do with either Emmit or Ray. Emmit confesses a lifetime’s worth of guilt, recounting how he tricked Ray into wanting their father’s car so he could take the stamps. He recalls how at the time he painted that as a positive for Ray but now he knows it was far from that, and it started the deterioration of their relationship. Emmit eventually works his way over to the night of Ray’s death and confesses to killing him accidentally. We end the scene on the heartbreaking line said by Emmit in regards to his killing of Ray, “thirty years I’ve been killing him, that was just when he fell”. That closure obviously comes at the price of his arrest and Emmit is shortly thereafter thrown in a holding cell.
Varga doesn’t go too long before finding out that Emmit has turned himself in so he quickly starts to plan Emmit’s release. He tells Meemo to infiltrate the police station to get Emmit out of there and the two go their separate ways for now. Meemo gets in the truck and is followed by backup in a car behind them. On their way to the station, they run into some unhappy company. Nikki and Wrench return to town looking for revenge and they’re going to start by infiltrating the truck. Nikki busts open the window and throws a paper weight grenade inside that fools Meemo quite easily as he is very quick to get out of there, while Wrench shoots the guys in the backup car to take them out of the picture. With the coast now clear, Nikki and Wrench drive the truck off to a junkyard somewhere far away. When they arrive, they open up the cargo portion of the truck and are able to locate some very important financial information that will prove quite useful in their near future endeavors.
A roughed up Meemo returns to his boss and Varga doesn’t need any explanation to know that infiltrating the police station didn’t happen. Rest assured, Varga had a backup plan in place. We return to the cold open, where Meemo killed Marvin Stussy (unrelated to our Stussy’s) with a piece of glass to the neck, the same manner as Ray’s death. While Marvin Stussy was being killed, so was George Stussy whose mouth was glued shut, mirroring the death of Gloria’s stepdad. That’s now four dead Stussy’s with the same two ways of killing them, I think you can see where Varga is going with this. Chief Moe is investigating George’s death when he comes to the conclusion that this is the work of one killer who is alternating methods of killing to throw them off his trail. Varga really sells this story by hiring a fall guy who leaves his DNA all over the two murder scenes from the episode and gives an emotional confession to killing all four Stussy’s
While all of this is going on, Gloria is finalizing the Emmit case by interviewing Ruby Goldfarb. Ruby seems to be avoiding answering all of Gloria’s questions and while she didn’t seem to be in any particular trouble, she is saved when Varga’s story is bought by Chief Moe. Moe, along with nearly every cop in town return to the precinct to celebrate a job well done. Gloria leaves her office to see what’s going on and she learns that there was a manhunt. Moe offers Gloria the explanation and it’s just as Varga wanted. In one of his nicest scenes with Gloria, Moe tells her that Emmit probably confessed to his crime because of massive guilt and tells her he has to let him go. A stunned Gloria returns to her office and tells Ruby she can leave. As Ruby leaves Gloria’s office, Gloria asks one final question, “are you covering for him”? Ruby directs Gloria to ask her lawyer if she has any further questions and then departs the precinct.
Sometime later, Emmit is brought to Gloria and she tells Emmit the news that he’s going to be released. A shocked Emmit asks why he’s being let go and Gloria tells him that someone has confessed to four murders. Emmit was guilty enough about his brother’s murder, but now he’s got two more murders on his conscious. All this time Emmit thought that Varga’s defense plan against him confessing was sending a lawyer to clear him, he never imagined that Varga would get his hands bloodier to cover for him. Both of them look so devastated at this shocking turn of events and Gloria puts up the Hail Mary and asks Emmit who’s behind everything. She guesses its Varga and I really do believe that Emmit wanted to tell her everything, but he simply can’t. That gross close up of Varga’s teeth actually had some meaning here. Varga’s like a parasite, the mere thought of ratting on him makes Emmit cower in fear at what Varga will do to him when he finds out. Emmit can’t say anything and is then released. You think a scene of one man walking to a waiting car couldn’t be anything special, but you thought wrong. Everything about the shot of Emmit walking to the car is perfect, the music, the defeated look of Emmit and Gloria, it’s just brilliantly executed and summarizes the mood right now, the good guys simply aren’t winning.
Gloria is feeling especially down about this chain of awful events and decides to drink her problems away at a local bar. Gloria calls Winnie to join her and Winnie enters the bar to see that Gloria has already started the night’s festivities. Winnie lends an ear to a down in the dumps Gloria who has a sad moment of self-realization. Gloria reflects on her trip to Los Angeles and the book she read by her step dad. She compares herself to the robot from the story as they both try their hardest to help but don’t ever actually end up helping. Gloria goes even further, wondering if she even exists, seeing as electronic sensors of any kind never seem to work for her. In a friendly manner, Winnie tells her that’s all ridiculous and gives her friend a much needed hug and tells her to go clean up in the bathroom so they can continue the drinking session. Gloria heads on over to the ladies room and it seems getting all of that off her chest had some effect because the soap dispenser and the sink sensors both work for her! Gloria vs sensors may not be a super important plot point but if she’s won this battle, maybe she can finally help next episode, perhaps save the day for the good guys. Even if that doesn’t happen, her final scene in this episode was incredibly heartwarming.
Back over to Varga’s side of the story we go. Varga can’t find himself spending too much time basking in his victory over the police because Nikki still has a score to settle with him. Nikki calls up Varga and reveals that she has information on him regarding his offshore bank accounts. Nikki sets up a meeting in a hotel lobby for the next day and the two meet there. This showdown was wonderful to watch. Nikki and Varga take turns trying to convince each other that they have the upper hand. The best of the verbal sparring was definitely when Nikki correctly guesses Varga has a guy ready to shoot her but says he won’t go through with it due to all the witnesses and the fact that Varga is a “distinctive looking fellow”. Varga smiles in the way only he can and asks if she really thinks that as Varga gestures her to look around. Nikki is shocked to see that all of a sudden, everyone in the hotel lobby is wearing the same exact thing Varga’s wearing. While Varga probably could get away with it now, he’ll never be able to find out because Wrench was trailing Meemo the whole time and Meemo has to abandon the shot when Wrench puts his gun to Meemo’s head. Nikki then gives Varga twenty four hours to give her two million and then departs the hotel with Wrench not too far behind. The episode ends with the IRS guy from the middle portion of the season receiving a package with his name on it. He opens it up and finds the books for Stussy Lots, and it includes the time that Varga has been running his scheme. How’s this going to change things? I honestly don’t know and that’s the beauty of Fargo. We’ve got one episode to go and the happenings of the finale are still completely up in the air. It should be a fantastic ending.
A manhunt in Minnesota is a huge deal, even if it only lasts half an hour. That was perhaps the funniest bit of the episode.
Meemo’s got nine lives doesn’t he? Nikki and Wrench could have used a real grenade if they wanted to and Wrench could have easily taken the shot on him during the hotel scene. Also, something bad will probably happen if he keeps driving with those headphones in his ear.
As much as Varga has been a brilliant character, I think we’re all excited that there’s only one more episode left for us to see his poor dental hygiene. We were reminded of it twice more in this episode, one where Emmit was thinking about him and the other when Varga was eating ice cream on the toilet. Just imagine a dentist’s reaction if one got a look at those teeth of his.
I doubt we’ll get to find out, but don’t you wonder what those “phases” Varga and Meemo talk about are? Whatever phase five is, it’s getting underway.
Sy is out of this episode on account of his coma and Yuri is out on account of his divine judgement, or whatever that was in the bowling alley. I’d like to see both or either of them in the finale but they both seem to have met logical end points to their story. I guess we’ll find out for sure in the finale.
How much do you have to pay a guy to take the fall for four murders? You’re never getting out of jail for that, what good is the money anyway?
Quote of the day comes from Varga, a sad but powerful quote. “The problem isn’t that there’s evil in the world. The problem is that there’s good. Otherwise who would care”? The man of so many words delivers one of his most memorable lines on a shorter piece of dialogue.
“Aporia” thrives off of its unpredictability and sets the stage for what promises to be a grand finale for season three.