Up until now, we’ve had more or less a bit of everything in this series – the sublime (a lot of that), some unevenness and a bit of the ridiculous. With the end fast approaching there’s a lot to be tied up, but this penultimate episode felt melancholy and reflective in mood and tone; the narrative pyrotechnics that have exploded regularly throughout dialled back to focus on characters and their interactions. Characters were circling and taking stock, trying to understand their place in this world and what it all means. As Gloria Burgle ruminated: “You think the world means something, and then it means something else.”
We’re nearing the end of series three of Fargo, and now, with the Stussy brothers’ feud now over, it’s down to the last men and women standing to wage a battle royale. For what exactly? Like series one, a plain and simple, good, old fashioned battle between good and evil, featuring the flawed but determined Nikki Swango and the verisimilitudinous embodiment of rotting secretion, VM Varga. The question remaining from last week’s stunning episode was: did Nikki Swango survive the bus crash?
I hate to say it – and I feel cruel for saying it – but ever since Ray Stussy bit the dust in last week’s episode, Fargo became excellent. Ray’s unfortunate demise has paved the way for series three’s most interesting characters – VM Varga, Nikki Swango and Gloria Burgle – to emerge, fully-formed, and wage a battle royale until the end. In this way, series three mirrors series one, and this run has got better and better as it has gone along. Now, these three characters are actually sharing screen time together, I’ve no doubt that it’ll get better still if this episode is anything to go by.
I’m using this weekend to catch up on some the things I’ve missed during the week – yes, it has been one of those weeks – and Fargo is one of the things I just will not miss. After last week’s episode, where Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Nikki Swango was hideously beaten by VM Varga’s merciless henchmen, the series turned on its head. No longer was the focus on the feud between the Stussy brothers; now it had become something more poisonous and vengeful. Episode six was extremely tense.
After the brilliance of episodes three and four, we were back to relative normality in episode five of Fargo. And I say that with some regret because the weakest part of this story – in my opinion – just happens to be the main part of the story. Yes, we were back to witnessing the ever-disintegrating relationship between Ray and Emmit Stussy, and in this episode, they really did get to the point of no return.