Cameron Lee ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers for the season 3 episode 10 of Fargo
What is true and what is not true? In an era of so-called “fake news,” this season of Fargo directly challenged the viewer to determine what they believe is true and what is a lie. Fargo has always begun with the sarcastic tongue in cheek phrase, “This is a true story,” when it’s clearly all a work of fiction. But this opening phrase has never felt more appropriate than it did this whole season, especially by the end of this finale, where it leaves the story on an ambiguous yet oddly perfect note.
Gloria (Carrie Coon) gets a call from IRS Agent Dollard; he wants to arrange a meeting even though she did not send the files that Agent Dollard got. Dollard explains to Gloria that he has found a massive cover-up by Stussy Lots, which includes a massive tax fraud scheme (it seems every criminal have a problem with their taxes). Speaking of Varga (David Thewlis), he’s forcing Emmit (Ewan McGregor) to sign a ton of contracts with an army of machine gun-wielding henchmen behind him. Emmit reaches his breaking point and grabs Meemo’s pistol. Varga tries to calm Emmit down but is only doing so to let Meemo sneak up behind Emmit to knock him out.
Everyone leaves Emmit’s house to meet Nikki (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard). Varga and his crew are tricked into an abandoned warehouse. Mr. Numbers (Adam Goldberg) strikes at just the right moment and massacres Varga’s whole squad (Varga’s facial expressions in the elevator are again just priceless). Nikki comes downstairs with a shotgun to finish off Varga but finds that he escaped through the elevator shaft.
Gloria arrives at the crime scene and Winnie gives up the elevator photos of Nikki and Varga. She deduces that Nikki sent all the files to the IRS in her name to prompt an investigation. She also comes to the conclusion that Nikki has set her sights on killing Emmit. After waking up and discovering that his company has to declare bankruptcy, Emmit’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately for Emmit, Nikki shows up and points her shotgun at Emmit; after declaring his guilt he asks her to pull the trigger. But just before Nikki is about to do that, a police officer arrives and asks for their papers. The situation builds and builds before it explodes: Nikki and the cop shoot each other simultaneously with Emmit ducking out of the way just in time. Nikki gets a bullet in her head and the cop dies immediately. Emmit runs home to his wife and breaks down in tears. Gloria arrives too late and simply says, “okay then,” and leaves.
Five years later, Emmit is able to rekindle his marriage after going to jail for a few years for his IRS crimes. Sy (Michael Stuhlbarg) is alive but is paralyzed. During a dinner with his family, Emmit goes to the kitchen to fetch the desert. He smiles at the family photos on the fridge before he is unexpectedly shot in the back of the head by Mr. Numbers, presumably in revenge for Nikki.
Three months later, Gloria, now a Homeland Security agent, interviews Varga in a holding cell. She says, “Let me tell you what’s going to happen next. Three agents from Homeland Security are gonna put handcuffs on you and take you to Riker’s, and then we’re gonna charge you with felony money laundering and six counts of conspiracy to commit murder.” But Varga counters her: “No. That’s not what going to happen next. What’s going to happen next is this: in five minutes, that door is going to open, and a man you can’t argue with will tell me I’m free to go.” We never find out which person was right and the season ends on that note.
While it may have been the weakest season, Fargo still delivered some fantastic episodes, amazing performances, world class cinematography, and plenty to think about. Keith Gordon, the director of this finale and the previous episode, has done a fantastic job building tension through these two episodes. The cinematography has been the best it’s ever been when he’s behind the camera; he really deserves an Emmy nomination for his efforts.
If this is indeed the last season of Fargo, then Noah Hawley ended the show on his own terms, which may frustrate some people, but it felt like the only way to end this season.
Episode Grade: B+
Season Grade: B+