A review of tonight’s Fargo coming up just as soon as I have to leave the cat…
“We all end up here eventually, to be weighed and judged.” -Paul Marrane
A lot happens over the course of “Who Rules the Land of Denial?” Nikki and Mr. Wrench escape certain death at the hands of Yuri and his crew, and Yuri’s pursuit of them may have taken him out of the picture. Varga poisons Sy, placing him into a coma from which he seems unlikely to ever wake. There’s a three-month time jump to a point where Gloria is now low woman on the totem pole in Moe’s department, even as she and Winnie are still going after Emmit on their lunch breaks. Someone is convincing Emmit that Ray is haunting him, which in turn inspires Emmit to break free from Varga and Meemo’s control and go to confess to at least some of his many crimes.
That’s pretty eventful for a season that’s been a bit more leisurely-paced than its predecessors, and we could certainly take a while to speculate about who’s actually haunting Emmit(*), to appreciate the brutality of the action scenes in the woods (or to talk about whether they were too darkly-lit to fully convey all that was happening) and Mr. Wrench’s continued ultra-competence at all things violent, to consider Moe’s decision not to fire Gloria for insubordination and just force her to serve foreclosure notices, to wonder why in the world Sy Feltz would drink anything VM Varga gave him after the mug incident, etc.
(*) My money is on Nikki (with or without Wrench’s help), but it could also be Varga in an attempt — that ultimately backfires — to make Emmit more dependent on him. (Also, Meemo’s hilariously deadpan response to the mustache suggests it’s not them.)
You’re welcome to discuss all that and more in the comments, but I really want to talk about a single scene from this episode: Nikki and Wrench taking refuge in a bowling alley that appears to be located somewhere in the afterlife.
On the one hand, this is yet another unexpected bit of overlap with Carrie Coon’s other TV show (you may have heard that it ended on Sunday). Kevin Garvey experiences mortal danger and finds himself in a karaoke bar, or an idyllic beach; Nikki Swango gets a pitstop in a bowling alley, whose only other customer is surprised to hear that’s what she’s seeing. Kevin has to assassinate someone, or sing a ballad, to make his way back to life; Nikki has to pet a kitten that may be her lover reincarnated, and she has to promise to deliver a message to the wicked when the time comes.
On the other, it feels entirely Fargo/Coen-y, and not just because Gloria Burgle’s LA traveling companion Paul is revealed at the bowling alley bar in a shot mirroring The Dude’s first encounter with The Stranger in The Big Lebowski: