This article contains SPOILERS for Season 3 of Fargo. You have been warned.
The opening scene of last night’s episode of Fargo, “Who Rules the Land of Denial?” was one of the most intense of the entire series, and it was Fargo near its best. The appearance of Mr. Wrench was no Easter egg, as he helps Nikki—who turns out to be alive—escape the wrath of Yuri and the fake cop that were trying to kill her.
When they escaped the bus, the action in the woods was beautifully crafted and hard-hitting, with Mr. Wrench and Nikki being hunted like wild animals.
WARNING: Video NSFW:
After the thrilling chase which involved probably the goriest moment in Fargo (a decapitation with a chain), Nikki and Mr. Wrench escape—after some time—to a bowling alley. Was that the bowling alley from The Big Lebowski? Regardless, it looked like a reference to the Coen brother’s film (of course, FX’s Fargo is based off the Coen brothers’ Fargo film).
It’s cool to see Ray Wise as Paul Marrane—the mysterious character that showed up in episode three on the airplane next to Gloria, then in the bar, now back in episode eight. Were they in purgatory? That was my first thought. But with Marrane being in episode three and noticeable by Gloria and the scummy cop played by Rob McElhenney, it’s unclear how he ends up in purgatory spreading wisdom and sending messages. Maybe Wise’s character is a sort of supernatural being. The scene was a dream-like sequence, not unlike something out of the 1990-91 ABC series (which just returned—to Showtime this time—nearly 30 years later) Twin Peaks, which Wise starred in.
So the fate of Nikki and Mr. Wrench is up in the air. They took the Green Beetle car and were not seen for the rest of the episode. (We also got verification that Nikki really did care about Ray, as she showed through her love of the little kitten that Marrane had, named Ray).
The rest of “Who Rules the Land of Denial?” looks at Emmit’s side of things with Varga. Unfortunately, Sy gets poisoned by Varga and is in a coma, leaving Emmit completely and utterly alone. His family left him, his brother is dead, and his fixer is in a coma—it’s hard not to feel really bad for Emmit. He’s truly a mess and basically gets drugged every night to go to sleep—Emmit’s simply a zombie covering for a mob operation. We then leap forward over two months to early March.
Gloria and Winnie are still trying to question Emmit, however, and they catch him at the hospital visiting Sy. Aside from being at the hospital with Sy, Emmit would’ve made Varga proud by easily shooing the officers away. But when Emmit sees Ray’s red Corvette, he gets frazzled. Then when Emmit returns to his office with the stamp plastered all over the place, it gets to him even more.
We don’t know who did all this to mess with Emmit—it doesn’t seem like it was Varga or his crew—but it has to be Nikki, right? She must be alive (not purgatory), wanting to get some kind of revenge on Emmit and Varga. It’s anyone’s guess what she (and Mr. Wrench) were doing all this time.
Emmit wanted to know what was going on, so when he came home he had a lot of questions for Varga, and he clearly is worried about Sy. The exchange between Emmit and Varga, who obviously thought Sy would be dead, was comical.
“Sy’s not dead.”
Anyway, we were led to believe Emmit took the pills to knock him out for the night, but he finally snapped out of it and decided action was necessary. Through some great acting, he just acted like the pills were taken and when he got to bed, opened his hand, revealing the pills—stay woke, Emmit.
Gloria was back in the station, filing divorce papers and ready to head home, but she gets quite the surprise when Emmit appears.
“My name is Emmit Stussy, and I’d like to confess.”
It was a simple ending, but it sent chills, especially after seeing Emmit’s (again, Ewen McGregor has done a great job as he and Ray) exhausted and weary face—with nowhere else to go.