Cameron Lee ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers for the season 3 episode 8 of Fargo
Wow! What a turnaround for this season of Fargo. In one episode. Fargo has jump started this season in mesmerizing fashion. While this season has been good, it’s been missing the energy and magic of the first two seasons. This episode is a good reminder of how special Fargo really can be when it fires on all cylinders.
We pick up moments after the prison bus crash: Nikki (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Mr. Numbers (Adam Goldberg) are chained up together in the toppled bus. To make matters worse, Yuri (Goran Bogdan) and his team of hitmen enter the bus and start killing the prison guards. The hitman who tried to kill Nikki attempts to get to Nikki but gets stopped when Mr. Numbers starts to brutally beats him up, which allows them to make a clean getaway. The henchmen trio get spotted by an old couple just driving by which leads to another unfortunate case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time (a Fargo tradition dating back to the original 1996 film) and are quickly disposed of. Nikki and Mr. Numbers traverse the snowy woods with Yuri and his team hot on their trail. After an unfortunate run-in with a father and son hunting trip (I’m kinda of glad we didn’t see their deaths on screen as the aftermath was enough alone) Yuri and his team catch up with Nikki and Mr. Numbers, now armed with crossbows they retrieved from the father and son. They shoot Mr. Wench (Russell Harvard) in the hand as he tries to break the chain connecting Nikki and him and shoots Nikki in the knee. The jail henchman comes from behind and slices Mr. Numbers in the back with a knife. Nikki and Mr. Wench work together to trip up the hitman and then choke him to death. Yuri continues to fire arrows at them causing Mr.Wench to fling an ax at him which chops off his ear.
After breaking the chain, they travel to a bowling alley that looks straight out of The Big Lebowski. There Nikki meets Paul Marrane (Ray Wise), who we last saw with Gloria (Carrie Coon) during her LA trip. Paul is seemingly some kind of omnipotent god who knows everyone’s name, has a kitten he gives to Nikki named Ray (reincarnation, I guess), and recites Torah passages. I know this looks like a Twin Peaks episode; Ray Wise certainly adds to that feeling, but this is the best scene by far this season. The staging of this scene is exactly the same as when the Dude met the Stranger in The Big Lebowski. Paul leaves a car for Nikki and Mr. Numbers to flee in; Yuri arrives at the bowling alley bleeding everywhere and meets Paul. Paul makes Yuri confront the sins of his past, Yuri begins to see all the dead Russians and people of faith he has killed, knowing that Paul is some kind of godlike figure. I think Yuri is probably dead: it’s a weird way to go but hey, that’s Fargo for you.
Meanwhile, Varga (David Thewlis) poisons Sy (Michael Stuhlbarg) into a coma, which allows the show to skip forward two months. Yuri is missing, Sy is stuck in a coma, Nikki and Mr. Numbers have not been found, and Varga has built up and expanded Emmit’s (Ewan McGregor) company. Emmit starts to lose it; he wakes up to find a fake mustache on him and discovers that his office has been redecorated with pictures of that troublesome stamp. He goes to the police station and surprises Gloria with the news that he wants to confess; the credits pop in ending the episode on that note.
The first half of this episode is amazing and game changing for the season and the second half significantly moved the plot along. But really, all anyone should be thinking about now is: when are we getting a Paul Marrane spinoff show? It would be like American Gods but with cats, and that would be amazing.
Episode Grade: A