‘Fargo’ Frozen Five: Get The Man A Cream Soda

The Fargo Frozen Five is a weekly countdown of five notable things from FX’s Minnesota murder show, meant to serve as a supplement to our standard recap coverage. It will probably get weird at times. In a way, that’s kind of appropriate.

5. “Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I’ll begin.”

One of the complaints about this season of Fargo has been that it is rehashing too much from the first two seasons. Similar pieces, plopped into similar places, etc. I imagine that if this was an issue for you, you might have heard Billy Bob Thornton narrating Peter and the Wolf in the opening and thought, “So, what? Is this just this season’s version of Mike Milligan reading “Jabberwocky” from last season?” And I can see how you might think that.

But also, I do not care. Not even a little. It was very cool and fun and when I recognized that it was Billy Bob — Lorne Malvo himself, back from the dead, kind of — I started smiling from ear to ear. Especially once all the characters and instruments were assigned. Nikki as the cat? Yes, of course. Varga as the wolf? Obviously. Part of me wishes they had just opened the season with it because it explained the characters as well as any monologue or “Oh geez” we’ve seen so far. But then we would have missed out on the phrase “unfathomable pinheadery” and Gloria’s Hollywood adventure, so I guess this was fine, too.

4. “There you go, using three syllable words for a one syllable problem.”

Gloria is back from Los Angeles and back to the investigation proper. Some notes:

– Gloria is a bit of a sneaky loose cannon. She’s polite and very Minnesota about it all, but she plays by her own rules and gets results. I can’t wait for the scene where she gets taken off the case.

– Officer Lopez, the cop Gloria met in the bathroom who proceeded to spill all sorts of very personal information about her and her husband attempting to conceive, is now my third favorite character on this show, behind only Nikki Swango and Sy Fultz. (Sy’s attempts at being a tough guy crack me up. Any scene with him in his yellow Hummer is a joy.) And she’s an important one, too, because she was the one who really made sense of the Stussy/Stussy/Stussy murder fiasco. We like her. Hopefully she does not get murdered.

– I like that most of the authority figures on this show are morons. Gloria’s new boss, played by Shea Wigham, can’t count syllables and wants to close suspicious murder investigations without investigating the murder. Ray’s boss just wants to talk about Nikki Swango’s butt all the time. Emmit and Sy got roped into the Varga mess through incompetence. The only clever people on the whole show are Gloria, Nikki, and Varga, and they’re swimming like sharks through an ocean of idiots.

– Gloria’s electronics trouble now extends to automatic faucets and hand dryers. I still think she’s a ghost. I know it doesn’t make any sense. Everyone is talking to her and looking her dead in the eye. Let me have this.

3. “Using her poontang to hoodwink and bamboozle.”

Man, rough week for Ray. He lost his job, skipped an important meeting to get drunk alone in a bar, and ate a tiny bit of cremated dog. Also, Gloria is putting things together, what with Maurice being his parolee and his brother being involved in that hit and run. At some point she’ll figure out that Nikki lives in the apartment directly above the Maurice-shaped splat on the sidewalk. And he shaved off his mustache, too. Bad times, all around.

Hey, is anyone else getting a whiff of Peggy and Ed Blumquist in the whole Nikki-Ray situation? A woman with big dreams and a willingness to take shortcuts in morality to get there, a dope who is getting roped into her ambitious plans in a way that ruins his career, a low-level criminal killed at their hands and an ensuing frantic cover-up? Again, as I said above, I kind of don’t care because it’s fun and interesting, and Law & Order made the same episode like 200 times, but I do see the complaint, if you’re dead set on making it.

2. “You’re living in the age of the refugee, my friend.”

Shouts to V.M. Varga for revealing his plan to some degree, and for being a pleasant dinner guest. Pleasant-ish. He did show up unannounced and try to strong-arm his host into signing contracts that will get both of them rotten-teeth-deep in trouble, and he did excuse himself immediately after to go vomit everything into their toilet. That’s not ideal. But he was very nice to Mrs. Stussy. Counts for something.

You can see how this is all coming together, right? Ray’s dumb stamp robbery led to two murders, which got Gloria on the case, and Emmit sending Sy to handle it led to the diner hit-and-run, which looped in Officer Lopez, and their joint investigation will result in questions about the parking business, which will upset Varga. All the chess pieces are in place. Now it’s just a matter of, like, murdering most of them. That’s what it’s called when you take an opponent’s pieces, right? Murdering them? Because “I murdered your pawn” just sounds right.

Anyway, my working theory is that Sy will hit Varga with the Hummer. Let me have this, too.

1. “Would you get the man a cream soda, for sh*t sakes?!”

My new goal in life is to have enough money that bank managers offer me cream soda when I show up. I’m not exactly sure how much money that will take, but I imagine “cream soda money” is somewhere in the neighborhood of “eff you money.” Maybe more.