It has arrived: the season 3 finale of Fargo.
This could end up being the last season of the critically acclaimed show, so I had hoped it would go out on a high note. In my opinion, it did exceed in some aspects, while failing in others. It was probably the first season finale of the show that I didn’t love, despite the episode title clamoring for me to find “Somebody To Love.”
The opening scene cuts between Gloria giving her resignation from the Meeker County Sheriff’s Department, Larue going through all the tax records he received at the end of last episode for Stussy Lots, and Emmit basically signing his life away to Varga. Gloria’s name and number are slipped into the files Larue got, which at first gives the impression that it was actually Gloria who sent them over, but Larue learns after calling her that it wasn’t and must’ve still been Nikki. Gloria is initially confused as she had no idea about anything in the files, but once hearing that Varga is involved with them, she suddenly changes her mind about not being interested and heads over, making sure to take her resignation letter out of Moe’s inbox before departing.
Cutting to a hotel room, we see Nikki and Wrench preparing quite a lot of weapons for whatever course of action will come next in regards to Varga. It also seems that Varga has upped the security over Emmit’s home, as we see a few armed bodyguards patrolling the outskirts of the mansion. Even more guards occupy the main lobby nearby where Emmit finishes signing all the documents Varga requires. Right on time, Nikki calls and alerts Varga to the location in which they’ll be meeting up for the exchange. During this time, Emmit eyes that Meemo has a handgun in a holster beneath his jacket and, after some hesitation, finally goes for it to control the room. More of Varga’s henchmen appear and take aim at Emmit, but Varga is able to dispel the moment by tricking Emmit with another of his false truths: the gun may actually have a fingerprint scanner that will not only prevent him from using it, but could also kill him. Meemo takes advantage of the moment and knocks Emmit out with a fireplace poker after Varga blinds him with his breath sprays.
Varga and Meemo drive to the location that Nikki disclosed and Meemo seems skeptical about it, though Varga hushes him. A small mexican boy appears at Varga’s window and offers for them to follow on foot as Swango is in a building nearby. Meemo elects to go, but Varga has everyone march forward, showing that he’s brought quite the army to this exchange. King Midas Storage is the destination and a note is left on the ground informing everyone that they are to head to unit 327 on the third floor of the storage building. Arriving at the third floor, Varga’s henchmen take the lead and travel the tight corridor to check for any traps while Varga waits behind by the elevator. They reach unit 327 and are greeted by a single table with a note, advising them to leave the money and that the drives are in unit 107.
At the same time, Varga receives a text from an unknown number informing him the drives are actually with the IRS and he’s been deceived. Panic appears in his face for the 2nd time this season and he quickly shuts the elevator door after noticing another unit across the hall beginning to open. Meemo and the henchmen almost make it to the elevator, but are left behind. Varga flinches in the elevator as he hears gunfire erupt from floor 3, but then realizes that there may still be trouble waiting for him below. He was right, we see that Nikki had taken care of the guards left behind on the ground floor and is patiently waiting for Varga to make his appearance. The elevator opens, but only Varga’s trench coat remains as he had escaped through the elevator hatch. Mr. Wrench appears from the other elevator with the briefcase of money, confirming that he had most likely killed Meemo and the others. Nikki takes a few bundles from the case and then shows that she’s learned some sign languages over the timeskip. She wants Wrench to take the rest of the money as her main target is that of Emmit and now he’s left defenseless at his home after they took care of most of Varga’s men. This is the beginning of Nikki’s downfall, as she believes the wicked man she is meant to punish is Emmit when it actually was Varga.
Speaking of Emmit, he awakens on the floor of his dining room from his unconsciousness with the two-cent stamp stuck to his forehead, but it seems he doesn’t realize that. He takes the opportunity of being away from Varga and quickly makes a go to his office, but the stamp falls to the ground just outside the car. Upon arriving to his office, it seems the papers that he signed have come into effect pretty quickly. Renovations are being made to turn Stussy Lots into Realignment and Emmit has basically been bought out of his company, but is left with quite a bit of debt in the form of $300 million. Goldfarb is the one seated in his former office, confirming that she really was in cahoots with Varga all along. She advises Emmit to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in regards to Stussy Lots, but, on the bright side, his personal wealth that Varga set aside for him will remain untouched. Goldfarb then has two security guards, oddly both named Mike, escort Emmit out of the building that was once his own.
Gloria has met up with Larue and he explains the rundown of the documents he received in the easiest way possible to her. Stussy Lots was once a traditional real estate company, but after the million dollar loan that was given by Narwhal and the induction of Varga as a partner, the company started to face a bleed out phase. The Narwhal group borrowed millions in the name of Stussy Lots, which was pocketed by those who were listed as partners, and then they intended to sell Stussy Lots for a fraction of its cost once they were done with it. In this case, Goldfarb’s company was the one that came in to grab the company once it was down. This is typically legal, but not in the way that it went down with Stussy Lots, as the money borrowed was all transferred to off-shore accounts without any paid taxes.
Gloria receives a call and moves to King Midas Storage, where we see the confirmation of Meemo’s death. Winnie is there to provide the details to Gloria, including photos that were taken in each of the elevators, as well as the main lobby of the building. Gloria sees Mr. Wrench (Who neither of them recognize), but more importantly, Nikki and Varga. Gloria connects that it was Nikki who sent the files to the IRS and then realizes that Nikki’s last target will be that of Emmit as he’s the last who was involved in the death of Ray Stussy. Gloria tells Winnie to issue a BOLO and then heads out to begin searching for either Nikki or Emmit.
Emmit is driving to God-knows-where, but his car starts to act funny and he pulls to the side of the road to investigate. Opting to make a call for help, he notices that he has no cell service and takes out his anger on the poor phone. A truck moves in from the distance and pulls up right behind Emmit’s car. It’s Nikki and she’s ready to put her shotgun to use. She asks if Emmit is at the lowest point in his life and he explains that if she had asked him the day before, he would’ve said yes, but upon today’s recent events, he’s realizing he can still continue going lower. Despite this, Emmit proceeds to plead for his life, trying to win Nikki’s sympathy with mentions of his children and wife. Nikki doesn’t fall for it though as she has been watching his life and knows he has nobody to love anymore. She also seems to believe that not only did he kill Ray (Which is partially true), but he also poisoned Sy (Which isn’t true). My favorite moment of this is that Nikki throws out there “He’s a kitten now, Ray. In case you were wondering”, which bewilders Emmit. After some more pushing on his conscious though, Emmit decides that it would be better if he was dead and tells Nikki to kill him. While reciting what Paul Marrane told her to tell to the wicked in which she seeks, a squad car arrives in the distance. Perhaps a divine intervention due to Nikki preaching to the wrong person.
The officer approaches Nikki and Emmit and asks for their business being on the side of the road. Nikki tries to get out of it, but the officer doesn’t bite and asks for both of them to reveal their license and registration. While the officer is occupied with Emmit, Nikki attempts to slowly go for the shotgun that is resting on the back of Emmit’s car, but the officer notices her movement and demands she remain put. Emmit goes from silently trying to get the officer’s attention to outright yelling that Nikki has a gun, which prompts the officer to pull his handgun out. Emmit is forced to step out of the vehicle and Nikki continues to move towards the shotgun. Upon Emmit yelling for the officer to shoot Nikki, she pulls the shotgun out and shots are exchanged. The officer is shot in the chest and Nikki gets a bullet to the temple. Emmit panics over what has just unfolded, but then quickly decides to get the hell out of there before more cops arrive. We get a flash cut of a response team, followed by paramedics, followed by forensics, followed by another more paramedics, while Gloria simply stands and watches. “Okay, then” she exclaims and then also decides to depart the crime scene once everyone else has left.
She tags down a school bus and retrieves her son from it, deciding to have a sit down at the side of road with him and ponder how to explain what has all went down regarding his grandpa and the events from there on over some popsicles. “There’s violence to knowing the world isn’t what you thought” she explains, but Gloria knows that Nathan is still too young to grasp everything, so she opts to simplify it for now and just say the world doesn’t always make sense, but they can make it through everything just by sticking together in the meantime.
Emmit has arrived to his destination, which is revealed to been his wife’s new home. He tearfully collapses into her arms at the sight of her and it seems that she forgives him. We cut to five years later (So we’re now in 2016) and it seems the Stussy family has been repaired from the events that unfolded. Sy is even here! Though it’s obvious he’s still not fully recovered as he struggles to say words and is in a wheelchair, it was nice to see that he didn’t succumb to the poison like Varga had originally hinted at. On-screen text reveals that Emmit filed for Chapter 11 in 2011 and pled guilty to misdemeanor tax fraud and was placed on two years probation. Attempts were made to prove that Emmit had an off-shore account with as much as $20 million in it, but they were unsuccessful. Emmit notices that they forgot the salad for the dinner and gets up to retrieve it from the fridge. Before opening it, he glances at the photos displayed over the fridge and smiles, happy that the past events are finally behind him. Suddenly, a silenced pistol appears behind Emmit’s head and it’s revealed Mr. Wrench had tracked him down. He shoots Emmit, partly as revenge for Nikki and partly to finish the job she wasn’t able to do, and then departs.
We see that Gloria has now joined the Department of Homeland Security in the five year time skip and has arrived in New York as Varga was picked up on face recognition when he touched down from Brussels. He tries to play off that he is an accounting software salesman under the name Daniel Rand (Apparently Varga is now Iron Fist), but Gloria scoffs at his story and asks if he doesn’t remember her. Varga remains cagey and states they may have met once in his younger days, but Gloria shows him the photo captured from King Midas Storage of him. This prompts him to go off on one of his countless “truth” tales, but Gloria shuts him down by exclaiming “I’m pretty sure you made that up”. A debate over what can be considered truth and fact follows as Varga offers that anything can be doctored and manipulated to follow one’s truth. “We see what we believe, not the other way around”.
He continues to preach that the Stussy murders were all done by the same man who just decided one day that he wanted to kill people who shared that name, but Gloria balks at the idea and explains it simply wasn’t what happened. Varga retorts with “And yet, if evidence is collected, if confessions are made, if the verdict of guilty is entered in the court of law, then its happening becomes as the rocks and rivers, and to argue that it didn’t happen is to argue with reality itself”. Continuing to ignore Varga’s philosophical wonderings on the idea of truth, she asks if he knew about the death of Emmit Stussy, which we learn apparently happened three months prior to this current scene. He states he had nothing to do with it and Gloria nevertheless informs him of what will follow: Varga will be taken to Rikers and charged with felony money laundering and six counts of conspiracy to commit murder, while Gloria will take her son to the state fair for his birthday. Varga has a different idea of what will happen: five minutes will go by and a superior to Gloria will tell Varga he’s free to go, to which he’ll disappear forever to make sure he won’t be caught again. “The future is certain. And when it comes, you will know without question your place in the world”.
We don’t get to see what happens next as Varga decides he’s through wasting his breath and hums in patience, while Gloria eyes the clock and waits for the five minute window that Varga promised. A slow pan to the door is then cut to black. This entire season of Fargo had played with the idea of the opening credit’s notion that the film and each season of Fargo have been based on true stories. How can anyone actually be sure a story is true as anything can be believed and manipulated as Varga explained in this final scene. So we’re left to decide if Gloria’s hard facts were the real truth or if Varga’s final proclamation actually had merit behind it. I’m actually fine with this as the ending of the season as it’s a fitting close to the theme of truth.
What I’m not okay with was the endings of the other main characters of this season, especially in that of Emmit and Nikki. I know that everything doesn’t always end great for characters of the Fargo universe, but I don’t think Emmit actually deserved to die in the end. However, I do think that if he didn’t die, it would’ve been too much of a happy ending for him. He didn’t deserve to die, but he also didn’t deserve to have $20 million or more stuffed in a off-shore account and be reunited with his family after everything that occurred. And as for Nikki, I mostly am sad that she ended up dying in general as I really wanted her to become Ms. Numbers and ride off with Mr. Wrench into the sunset to become a new mercenary group. And where was her plot resolution? She didn’t avenge Ray in killing Emmit OR Varga. I mean yeah, Mr. Wrench did end up killing Emmit, but still. I expected more from her character after the bowling alley scene in episode 8 as Paul made her out to be the only one who could take down Varga, but she instead takes Paul’s message to mean that of Emmit instead of Varga. Her death could mean that she wasn’t the right person for Paul’s mission and that she too had become wicked, but that would leave Gloria and now we aren’t even sure if she was able to take down Varga. So this finale ended up being mostly good, but I just feel it didn’t sink the landing in regards to some resolutions. Here’s hoping we can get a season 4.
Somebody To Love – 4 out of 5
- The entire King Midas Storage scene
- Gloria and Varga’s final scene
- Sy survived!
- The fates of Emmit and Nikki
- Paul Marrane stuff seems pointless in hindsight
Fargo Season 3 overall gets an 4 out of 5