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‘Fargo’ Review: “The House of Special Purpose”

Cameron Lee ’20 / Emertainment Monthly TV Staff Writer

Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers for the season 3 episode 5 of Fargo

Fargo has crossed the midway point in its third season and, with that, all of our main players are set on a path of self-destruction and violence. For most of the characters, this episode felt like a point of no return as all of their actions have piled onto each other to create a ticking time bomb that’s just waiting to blow. Gloria (Carrie Coon) may have all the information regarding the murders but she may be too late to stop what’s coming.

Ray (Ewan McGregor) and Nikki (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) create a sex tape to blackmail Emmit (also Ewan McGregor) with. Since the two brothers are practically identical, Ray wears a wig to make him look like Emmit. The plan goes a little too well as Emmit’s wife finds the tape out on their driveway, watches it and immediately packs all her things and leaves just as Emmit arrives. She sobs and screams at Emmit and leaves him (most likely forever, ouch). Back at Emmit’s office, Sy (Michael Stuhlbarg) is not having the best morning; he arrives to see Varga (David Thewlis, still the scene stealer of the season) in his office. He gives a speech about chickens and eggs and defiles Sy’s personal mug by rubbing it over his balls. He then fills it up with water and forces Sy to drink from it. Sy refuses. Varga’s henchmen come in, pull a gun on Sy and forcefully make him drink all of the water in the mug (you won’t think about drinking from a mug the same way again). Sy frantically calls Emmit about their current predicament but Emmit is too distraught to pick up the phone. Sy goes to Emmit’s house to inform him about his encounter, Emmit is too preoccupied with his feud with Ray and argues with Sy about what to do. Emmit allows Sy to do whatever is necessary to fix their problems. Sy calls Nikki and sets a meeting with her at the dock.

Shea Whigham in Fargo. PC: IMDb

Gloria and Winnie (Olivia Sandoval) meanwhile have pieced both of their cases together but are reprimanded by Sherif Moe (Shea Whigham) and asked to end their investigation and move on. That same tactic didn’t work in season one, so be ready to see more useless arguments with a boss who doesn’t understand what’s really going on later on in the season. It’s a Fargo tradition that goes along with the series like brutally murdering someone in a snowy parking lot.

While going to Nikki’s house, Ray gets a very angry call from his brother who warns him that he will pay (this scene includes multiple uncensored uses of the F-word; FX has a great track record ever since Louie of allowing their showrunners to use the much shunned upon word). Sy and Nikki meet at the dock but are interrupted by Varga’s henchmen, Yuri. The Russian henchmen has a monologue about the similarities and differences between Minnesota and Russia and then pulls out a long thick rope and begins to brutally beat Nikki with it. Most of the beating is off screen but the sound effects and the screams more than make up for it. Stuhlbarg does a fantastic job in this scene and you can see his spirit break in his face when he watches the beating. Yuri surprisingly doesn’t kill Nikki right away,  he leaves her to die from internal bleeding. Sy drives off horrified of what has just occurred, leaving Nikki to crawl back into her car and drive all the way to her house. There, she is later found unconscious by Ray in her bathtub. If Sy thought his life couldn’t get any worse, he’s in for a rude awakening as everything is about to come to a head.

Episode Grade: B

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