'Fargo' recap: More death and dark humor

David Thewlis as V.M. Varga.
David Thewlis as V.M. Varga. (Chris Large/FX)

The Grim Reaper looms over the sixth episode in the third season of "Fargo."

The episode, titled "The Lord of No Mercy," moves the plot along while beginning to show the dire consequences of the unfortunate series of events that have occurred thus far.


Ray is shaken at the start of the episode. Nikki is recounting what happened the best she can. She seems to keep her composure well enough despite the reality of the beating, but she is definitely struggling.

Ray springs into action to the sound of heavy drums and grabs himself a gun.


V.M. Varga tells the true story of the Lehman Brothers collapse. He then tells the "true" story of how World War I began — involving a sandwich eaten by a conspirator at just the right time. Finally, he tells the "true" story of the moon landing — that it was shot in a sound stage.

Sy, who is hearing the stories, doesn't believe the last one.

"Let each man say what he deems truth and let truth itself be commended unto God," Varga says.

Varga's point is that the Stussy company will use a $50 million loan to buy 16 new lots. Sy objects to the outlandish plan but Emmit convinces him to jump in with both feet. While Sy gets his worries about the IRS quelled, Emmit is preoccupied with the threats he and his brother shot back and forth at one another.


We then are treated to a brief scene of the IRS agent being ejected from the offices through legal mumbo-jumbo delivered by Meemo. Yuri and Meemo then leave to go to their secret lot with a tail, Nikki and Ray.

Ray is concerned with Nikki's health, but Nikki refuses to see a doctor, preferring an ice bath. Nikki assumes that Emmit received a loan when his business almost went under and he got caught in some shady dealings. Once again this proves how shrewd Nikki is as Ray struggles to keep up.

We then get another edition of "How vile can V.M. Varga get?" We get a nice close-up of him picking his brown teeth and we get to hear every brief mouth breath he emits.

He then panics as Officer Burgle and Officer Lopez show up at the office. His mouth breathing doesn't let up as he approaches Burgle and Lopez talking to Emmit. Varga intrudes on the interrogation in the most shady way possible, even refusing to give his name.

After two creative episodes, "Fargo" goes more straightforward this week and moves the story forward.

Burgle outlines the case that they have accrued up to this point. Emmit denies that there is a feud between the two brothers. Varga steps in by asking what connection there is between the crime and Emmit, as it seems like the investigation should be targeted at Ray. Varga accurately points out that the case Burgle is outlining is mere conjecture.

"In 1932, there were 24 Hitlers in the German phone book. Now, are you suggesting that they were all responsible for the Final Solution?" Varga says.

Emmit gets upset when he realizes what the officers are suggesting, that Ray was trying to burgle his home. Unfortunately, Varga doesn't let Emmit answer any more questions and asks the officers to leave, even intercepting the business card as Burgle hands it to Emmit.

The close-ups of Varga's mouth continue as he tries to Facebook-stalk Burgle on his computer, aptly placed next to a picture of Stalin. He asks Yuri to pick up the case file on the Stussy murder. Then the slimeball sends Meemo to execute Ray and Nikki. It seems as if the uncharacteristically low body count of this season is about to increase.

Immediately afterward, Ray and Nikki receive a knock on the door. Ray and Nikki are overly cautious but it turns out that it is the two officers coming to question Ray. Burgle and Lopez leave after there is no response.

This week's "Fargo" doesn't have much to do with the overall plot -- and it's brilliant.

"Heat's on, we better blow," Ray exclaims as the drums start and the couple leaves for a motel with a tail of their own.

Ray screwed the pooch, though, and forgot the getaway money he got from the bank. He leaves the ailing Nikki in the room to get the money.

The tension mounts as Nikki goes to get ice.

Ray finds a surprise when he gets back to his place, fortunately it is not the lethal kind yet. Emmit is sitting on the couch admitting defeat.

"I'm a fair man. I treat people honestly, help them when they're down," Emmit says.

Then Ray unleashes his insecurities by asserting that he is not less than his brother. Ultimately, Emmit gives Ray the stamp in its glass case.

Then Ray takes the stamp -- courteously, I might add -- and apologizes to Emmit for ever crossing him and leaves. Nikki and Ray ride off into the sunset and Emmit turns himself over to witness protection after he busts Varga's operation.

This isn't that type of story, is it?

At the mercy of his pride, Ray refuses to take the stamp. He shoves it back at Emmit, who shoves it forward at Ray. The two tussle until Emmit pushes the stamp case up and it shatters on Ray's head. One of the pieces lodges in Ray's neck and the body count goes up by one.

Emmit stares in disbelief as Ray slowly bleeds to death, his breaths getting slower and slower until they cease.

Instead of calling the police, Emmit calls V.M. Varga, who recites Emmit a quote: what Lenin said about Beethoven's 23rd sonata.

"I know nothing that is greater than the Appassionata, but I cannot listen to it too often. It affects one's nerves and makes one want to say kind, stupid things, and makes one want to stroke the heads of those who, living in such a foul hell, can create such beauty."

Emmit chokes back tears as he invites Varga to come clean up the mess.

Meanwhile, Nikki is walking back to the room and Meemo is waiting inside. Before she enters, Meemo receives a phone call. Nikki is suspicious and enters her room and equips herself with a coat hanger. Fortunately, Meemo is called to the scene of the crime.

Varga does an apt job as a fixer and tells Emmit exactly what he needs to do. He stages the scene of an ex-convict girlfriend, fed up with her beatings, taking her revenge out on Ray.

The situation is complicated by Emmit's threat-filled phone call with Ray, but unless there happens to be a transcript of the call, it shouldn't be a problem. Yes, it appears the crime scene is going to be tied up with a nice bow.

We finish the episode with Burgle en route to the fresh crime scene.

This episode is classic "Fargo." It has death, dark humor, miscommunication and a large helping of happenstance. Fargo is a show that is based around the absurdity of life through a brilliant combination of the mundane, the fantastical and the sinister. It has regular mid-western folk dealing with massive criminal organizations, biblical incidents, aliens and even robots.

This is no more clear than in the death of Ray. Emmit was extending an olive branch, an atypically moral thing to do, but it quickly soured when a piece of glass happens to lodge itself in Ray's neck. The brief moment of genuine growth is interrupted by a childish shoving match and an unpredictable act of chance.

The death serves as an ideal usher guiding us toward the home stretch of the show. The cunning and pissed-off Nikki will have to deal with her fiance's death while she is being framed for her murder. Emmit will have to live with the burden of the incident. And Varga will continue being the most repulsive character in television history.