If there's one thing Fargo has done consistently well over its last three seasons, it's wrapping up each given story.
Fargo Season 3 Episode 10 was no different. The season finale managed to achieve the perfect mix of thrilling and satisfying, with legitimate twists and turns but also much-needed resolution for this cast of characters.
Every major player appeared in the finale and got exactly what they deserved – karmically speaking.
The hour began with Gloria tendering her resignation as deputy. Luckily, just in the nick of time, the nerdy IRS dude called her at the station and roped her back into the Stussy case.
As expected, it was Nikki and Wrench who mailed the documents to Larue Dollard at the end of Fargo Season 3 Episode 9. But in an exceedingly clever move, they sent the docs anonymously – save a note in it telling him to phone Gloria Burgle with any questions.
Gloria wasn't ready to jump back in, until Dollard named VM Varga. There, her ears perked up.
It's been clear from the beginning that the real final battle would be one of wits, between Gloria and Varga. All of the other characters have been (relatively speaking) small fish to fry.
Neither Emmit nor Ray nor even the continuously amazing Nikki/Wrench combo has ever been a real match for either Gloria or Varga.
Dollard clued Gloria in on exactly what went down with Stussy Lots, also filling in the blanks for any viewers who still might not have been entirely sure how Varga managed to manipulate everything just so.
Elsewhere, Emmit's life continued to spiral downward.
After being "rescued" from prison and brought back into Varga's manipulative orbit, Emmit found himself forced to sign document after document, not knowing (or much caring) what he was signing.
As it turned out, he was selling his company to Ruby Goldfarb for a mere $100,000! But more on that in a minute.
Finally, with nothing left to lose, Emmit pulled a stupid move, holding a gun on Varga with a literal troop of armed "soldiers" training their own guns on him.
Hilariously, Varga was neither bothered or scared by Emmit's antics. He easily distracted Emmit with some standard Varga-talk, then pepper sprayed him, had Meemo knock him out, and then had his men wipe the house clean of any trace of them.
Varga got what he wanted when Emmit signed those papers, so Emmit was no longer a concern. For Varga, if it hadn't been for the Nikki issue, he clearly would've packed up and moved on to the next company "squeeze."
But alas, Nikki was a problem. And boy, was she a great one.
The entire sequence where Varga, Meemo, and the rest of their men go to meet Nikki to hand over the money in exchange for the harddrives was nothing short of epic.
Everything from the cinematography to the lighting (particularly Varga in the elevator, while the rest of his men – including Meemo! – were slaughtered) was perfection. Nikki and Wrench planned their two-man masacre perfectly.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Nikki and Wrench are (were, I guess) a match made in heaven. I could've watched their expert assassin antics for an entire season.
I also love the idea that Nikki, who was not terribly book smart, managed to outsmart the far more verbose Varga with her common sense, craftiness, and street smarts.
I didn't love Nikki for most of the season, but everything she's done post-Ray has been far more engaging.
Of course, Varga is the personification of a slippery weasel – and he was never Nikki's to catch.
How fitting was it that he vanished without a trace up the elevator shaft, leaving only his jacket behind? It's almost like he didn't really exist, as has been mentioned of the character before.
Nikki didn't spend too much time angry over letting Varga slip from her grasp. After handing over Varga's money to Wrench, she went to take down Emmit, in revenge for his killing of Ray.
Naturally, that went quite poorly. Emmit narrowly escaped being gunned down by Nikki thanks to the interference of a state trooper. And the trooper and Nikki killed one another.
It all happened so quickly that at first I didn't realize Nikki was also dead. What a bummer! Weirdly, I was kind of rooting for her to succeed and survive at that point. At least she got to tell Emmit about Ray the kitten and also sorta half-delivered the speech that Paul Marrane told her to deliver.
He's a kitten now — Ray. In case you were wondering. I looked in his eyes. My Ray. Who never got to say goodbye. Who you left bleeding on the floor. Sadness in his eyes. Your own brother.Nikki
The direction and cinematography of the two fallen bodies, and Emmit haplessly standing between them, was gorgeous. A few of the shots truly looked like artwork. Morbid, dismal artwork, but artwork nonetheless.
It seemed for a moment like Emmit had managed to escape. And he did – just not for long.
Emmit's section of the narrative was filled with paralells to Lester's story back on Fargo Season 1.
Like Emmit, Lester was the epitome of a hapless man. Also like Emmit, Lester had a time jump during which he got away with everything scot-free and seemed to have gotten everything he wanted.
And once again, just like Lester, Emmit paid the final price in the end.
I don't fully understand why Wrench waited a full five years to take his revenge on Nikki's behalf, assassinating Emmit during a family dinner. But it was a strangely satisfying moment.
I want to applaud Ewan McGregor once again for creating two fully-formed and unique characters this season, and for also managing to make each of them simultaneously sympathetic but unlikable. RIP Emmit!
Finally, the season was capped off with the creme de la creme – the Gloria/Varga final face-off.
In the five-year time jump, Gloria was revealed to have become a Department of Homeland Security agent, which was a hugely satisfying moment. How great was it to see her all confident in her abilities and self-secure?
That was much needed after a season of watching her have to deal with a far stupider male superior.
The season ended on a cliffhanger, technically.
Gloria and the DHS had finally caught Varga en route from Brussels. Presumably (from the way Gloria and her colleague talked about it), Gloria had been on the lookout for Varga and wanting to take him down for years.
Their final conversation dealt with the season's major theme – the nature of truth and reality.
In Varga's view, those two things are subjective, such to the point where he (an obvious megalomaniac) legitimately believes he can will the future to take the shape he desires.
We see what we believe, not the other way around.Varga
For Gloria, who is basically the personification of justice and righteousness, truth is immutable. Reality cannot be bent to one's will – it just is.
Intriguingly, the season refuses to answer for us which of the two is correct in this bizarro world of Fargo. The clock ticks, as Varga and Gloria sit across from one another. Gloria is sure that guards will arrive to take Varga away to Rikers. Varga is equally sure that a superior (obviously male, *insert eye roll here*) will come in and demand that Gloria release him.
We never see the clock hit that 5-minute mark, so we'll never know Varga's ultimate fate. And truly, that's the best – the only – way for it to end.
- I've liked most (if not all) of the "This is a true story" opening scrawls. But the finale's version was easily one of the most inventive and definitely my favorite of the season.
- He appearad only briefly, but I was glad to see that Sy finally woke from his coma at some point during the last five-year time jump. Clearly, he was still suffering the effects of what happened to him, which was sad. But at least he lived.
- Of course Ruby was in league with Varga. I totally called that in my review of Fargo Season 3 Episode 9, after she covered for Emmit when questioned by Winnie and Gloria.
- I feel like more could have been done with Winnie this season. She was such a quirky, perfectly Fargo character, and she was totally underused.
- Where on earth did Nikki find that little Hispanic boy to lure Varga into her trap? What a weird detail.
- I kind of wanted Meemo to live? I don't really know why. That look he gave Varga when Varga closed the elevator door on him broke my heart a little bit.
What did you think of the season finale? Share your thoughts by commenting below, and remember that you can watch Fargo online here at TV Fanatic anytime!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.