Things are ramping up in a very welcome way in the penultimate episode of "Fargo" Season 3.
The episode, titled "Aporia," benefits from exciting reveals and power couples. Its strengths far overpower the frustrating stupidity that has been tainting this season thus far.
The episode begins with sprinklers erupting on a snowy lawn, which belongs to the man Meemo is about to murder. Blood mixes with milk and we are shown the name of the freshly murdered Marvin Stussy atop his newspaper.
We are then taken to Emmit Stussy in his interview with Burgle.
"A lie is not a lie if you believe it's true, do you think that?" Emmit asks.
This are starting to get pretty existential and weird on "Fargo."
By Zane Moses
Jun 08, 2017 | 10:10 AM
Then we finally get to hear the story of the stamp. Emmit got the car but he wanted the stamp. He got Ray to beg him for the car under the assumption it would get Ray attention from females.
Emmit references the greatest trick the devil ever pulled, which may be relevant in a season with so many religious allusions.
Emmit is more than confessing to murder; he is confessing his sins against his brother. How he sold the stamps to start his company, only keeping the one. How he "won," with his big house and family while Ray was stuck in a gross job in a gross apartment.
"Thirty years I've been killing him, that was just when he fell," Emmit says.
We are then taken to Varga in his big rig typing away at his computers. I am super excited to see how he slithers his way out of the mess he's in now. He decides to begin stage four.
Meemo takes off in the big-rig, listening to his classical tunes. Later in the night they stop at a rest stop and Nikki makes her move. She drops a grenade through the window, evacuating the driver's seat, and Mr. Wrench fires a barrage of bullets at the trailing car. The dynamic duo get into the big rig and drive off, the grenade being a dummy.
Nikki takes the big-rig to a dump, fetches a briefcase from the cabin, and drives off in a separate car with Mr. Wrench.
Poor Meemo has to deliver the news to Varga, who is mortified. The look on his face after he hears the news and his scared, disgusted frown gave me the biggest grin I've received from this show. Nikki calls Varga and asks for his name and a large sum of money.
Emmit is thrown in a communal cell in prison and is approached by a large man interested in his cardigan.
Gloria calls Winnie to tell her about Emmit's confession. Winnie is on scene at the murder of this Marvin Stussy fella. Gloria goes to eat lunch with her son.
Now Chief Moe Dammick finds himself on yet another murder scene. Another man has had his mouth glued shut. The murderer got glue on his hands and wiped it on the fridge, leaving a perfect fingerprint. The victim's name is George Stussy. Naturally, Dammick assumes the most obvious answer: that there is a killer targeting Stussys, alternating his kills. This is obviously exactly what Varga wants, and it's slightly frustrating how well this ludicrous plan worked out.
Cut to a perturbed Varga guzzling ice cream in a bathroom stall. We get a nice shot of his mouth as he angrily slurps and swallows his dairy product.
Varga goes to meet Nikki with a suitcase in tow. Nikki begins a monologue about bridge and how her strength was strategy. Varga introduces a new strategy when he offers Nikki a job at Narwhal; Nikki astutely points out that Varga is the boss.
Nikki continues her streak of keen observations by accurately detailing Varga's plan, all the way down to his sniper, Meemo, in the window. Nikki feels safe because she is in a public place and Varga will stand out — but Varga is one step ahead, as he has a multitude of plants in the building with the same outfit on.
"I'm guessing the Wildcat Regional was an amateur affair," Varga says.
"Semi-professional," Nikki returns before Mr. Wrench is revealed with a gun pointed at Meemo's head.
This is a wonderful game of chess (or should I say bridge?), which, thank God, Nikki wins. She wants to hurt Varga, which is why she doesn't take the job he's offering.
"I want to look you in the face and rip out something you love," Nikki says.
Nikki and Mr. Wrench dramatically walk away to triumphant trumpets, giving Varga until the next day to bring the money.
Burgle calls Emmit in for another chat. Burgle confesses to Emmit this time about her sham of a marriage.
"You think the world is something but it turns out to be something else," Burgle says.
Burgle obviously knows that the confessed murderer is a phony, because she has a brain, but that same brain is telling her that there is nothing she can do. Burgle asks Emmit who Varga is, and we get a delicious close-up of Varga's teeth behind Emmit's bumbling face.
Emmit doesn't squeal and leaves the precinct, entering a car with Varga in the back seat.
"The problem is not that there is evil in the world, the problem is that there is good, because otherwise who would care," Varga says.
Winnie meets Burgle for a drink; it's refreshing to see the two friends bond after the infuriating scene at the police station.
"Jesus wins in the end," Winnie says.
Burgle recounts the story of "Planet Wyh" to Winnie (remember the helpful robot?). The robot keeps saying he can help, but it's no use, which is how Burgle feels when she is not feeling like she doesn't exist. She tells Winnie about how automatic doors and soap dispensers don't work for her.
Then Winnie gives Burgle a nice hug, proving that she's real. Burgle goes to the restroom and tries the sink, which registers her hands!
Finally, we are taken to the IRA agent from episodes past. He receives a memo in his bland office, a flash drive and Stussy Lots accounts.
Although this episode struggled because of Dammick's involvement, once again, it was satisfying in the end. Dammick's only position is to be a stupid police chief who takes the easy way out, and in doing so handcuffs Burgle as she is getting to the root of the case. Dammick is no more than a plot contrivance and it is not exciting to watch.
Despite this, Nikki and Mr. Wrench are back in a big way and their presence is electric. The show just zips by when it cuts from the police station to whatever those two are up to.
On the other end of the spectrum, the friendship between Lopez and Burgle is as warm and believable as always and it is touching that a good friend can make Burgle feel like her life matters.
Finally, Emmit had his moment to shine in his confession, which makes his relationship with Ray more powerful in retrospect.