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‘Fargo’ Recap: “The Narrow Escape Problem”

Cameron Lee ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers for the season 3 episode 4 of Fargo.

After last week’s detour Gloria-centric episode that was another notch in Carrie Coon’s amazing record of delivering great solo episodes, Fargo has returned back to its main storyline while also using a familiar voice to narrate and set up some thematic elements for the second half of the season.

The episode begins with narration of the classic music-based fairy tale Peter and the Wolf. The narrator is none other than Billy Bob Thornton, who played Lorne Malvo in season 1 of Fargo. Each main character is assigned a character and musical theme from Peter and the Wolf: Emmit (Ewan McGregor), for example, is the bird (flute) while Ray is the duck (oboe) and Nikki (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is the cat (clarinet). It’s important to also know that Gloria is Peter (strings). During the course of the episode, whenever any main character is shown on screen, their chosen musical score is played. It’s a very creative idea that only the mind of Noah Hawley would come up with.

But back to this week’s events: Ray (also Ewan McGregor) impersonates Emmit to retrieve his safety deposit box at his bank to collect the stamp. One would think that, based on the past, Ray schemes that this would go horribly wrong. But considering that Emmit and Ray are identical twins (besides from Ray being bald) it would be easy for anyone to confuse the two of them. But the plan works flawlessly; he even gets the bank manager to withdraw $10,000 for him. But once Ray opens the deposit box, he finds no stamp but instead the ashes of Emmit’s dead dog. Emmit learns of this and as payback gives Ray’s bosses photographic evidence of Ray’s romantic relationship with Nikki. When questioned by his bosses, Ray reveals his true feelings for Nikki and is fired from his job. He goes to a bar to drink his sorrows away and mistakenly misses a dinner meeting with Nikki and a wealthy backer that was supposed to help them enroll in the bridge circuit. Ray just can’t catch a break.

David Thewlis and Ewan McGregor in ‘Fargo’. Photo courtesy of FX.

Emmit is having problems of his own: he considers selling the company due to the escalation with Ray and the forceful takeover by sinister V.M. Varga (David Thewlis). Varga visits Emmit unannounced for dinner one night which leads to an incredibly awkward but hilarious dinner scene. After dinner Varga does his typical Shakespearean monologue about why Emmit should sign with him as a partner and how he will be wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. Emmit agrees to sign the contract.

Gloria is still actively investigating the murders. She finds Ray’s business card from the belongings of a brainless Maurice (Scoot McNairy). While in Ray’s office’s bathroom, Gloria runs into a fellow police officer named Winnie (Olivia Sandoval), who is coincidentally investigating Sy’s (Michael Stuhlbarg) hit and run two episodes prior. When interviewing a soon-to-be-fired Ray, she discovers that he has the same family name as her stepfather. Later in the night, Olivia visits Gloria; they both have put the pieces together regarding the connections between their cases and have to come to a general understanding that Ray and Emmit are involved and that they have to work together to solve this case.

The season is almost halfway over; Gloria has a pretty good idea of what happened but that’s not what is going to drive the plot. Emmit and Ray’s problems keep growing and pilling onto each other. There’s probably more to this story that will be shown to us in the coming weeks, specifically about what’s going on with Varga and his mysterious but obviously criminal past with regards to foreign nations.
Episode Grade: B+

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