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. “Mash a potato, know what you get? Mashed potatoes.”
Two things worth noting regarding the investigation into the suspicious death of Ray Stussy.
Gloria Burgle has this sucker figured out. All of it. Most of it. She doesn’t have the Varga stuff yet, in total, but one imagines she’ll start seeing new angles in the wake of her interrupting the attempted murder of Nikki Swango by the coward DJ Qualls (or whatever name his syringe-toting uniformed hitman goes by on this show). Hell, she laid the whole thing out from beginning to end — botched robbery to air conditioner to sibling rivalry — in one breath. Maybe two. And she’s doing a whole bunch of loose cannon stuff to investigate it all. We like Gloria Burgle.
We also like her idiot boss, Moe. I like him, at least. He’s not a new kind of character or anything. A police chief who gets in the way of a hot shot’s hunch is about as stock a plot device as you can insert into a story, but he is just so much of that thing that I almost find it charming. Like, he’s a caricature of every Maalox-chugging, self-important authority figure, and I’m not sure if that’s the point or not, but I love it a little either way.
In conclusion, this is a great sentence, with or without context.
4. “Ebenezer Scrooge and the like.”
Emmit Stussy is doing great.
Wait, no. I’m sorry. I misspoke. Emmit Stussy is doing bad. Very bad. Both in that he’s shouting out alibis before Lopez even reveals a crime took place and in that he appears to be sympathizing with the pre-spirit-influenced Ebenezer Scrooge, the one whose name became synonymous with maniacal, heartless greed. That’s not ideal. And it’s throwing a wrench in Sy’s plan to sell the business to the widow Goldfarb and pull both of them out of Varga’s clutches, which might be a blessing in disguise, because that plan is clearly terrible. Varga does not seem like a man who lets loose-lipped former associates cruise around care-free in yellow Hummers once their business is done. Sy is so dead.
Also, in addition to the Varga thing and the investigation and the fact that whoooops he just killed his brother, his wife is still off with the rest of his family, thinking that her husband made a sex tape with a hooker. So, yeah. Let’s go with “bad.”
3. “There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile.”
Less Varga than usual this week, but the little bit we did get was loaded with metaphors and meaning. The “there was a crooked man” recital fit, because Fargo is nothing if not a series about crooked people in crooked houses, and there was something almost literal about him slicing open Emmit’s Christmas presents. All of which is fine and great. I just want to point out that, after that opening scene in front of the tree, the line between Varga and the Grinch is getting pretty blurry. I hope the next episode starts with him tying antlers to Yuri’s head.
2. “You like pie?”
A nice little bit of business at the end, with Gloria offering Nikki some pie and a way out, then their paths literally diverging before Yuri — in wolf’s clothing, also literally — forces the bus off the road and boards it, presumably to take Nikki out once and for all. Where it gets interesting, though, is that Nikki’s seatmate on the bus is one Mr. Wrench, the deaf hitman from season one. Look, here he is.
What are we thinking here? A quick little appearance, just to wink at the audience and reward us for remembering a face? Is Mr. Wrench going to put Yuri down, either to protect Nikki or because he’s working with DJ Qualls and wants to bring her in (which would mean the syringe was filled with a sedative, not poison) or just because he sees a strange man wearing a wolf skin and boarding the mangled bus with menace in his eyes and assumes it’s a threat that requires eliminating? Maybe he’ll kill Yuri and the prisoners will get the bus upright and drive off, like a land bound Con Air? Con Bus, if you will.
Could go a lot of ways.
1. “The world is wrong.”
With this season of The Americans in the books, and Philip Jennings and his permanently contorted frowny face on hiatus until more things wreck every part of his soul in the final season, the title of Saddest Man on TV is back up for grabs. Or rather, it was up for grabs, until poor Sy Feltz turned into a puddle in his wife’s arms after dropping Emmit off at home, now pretty sure that Emmit killed Ray and fresh off Emmit half-blowing the business with Ruby Goldfarb and half-accusing him of being in cahoots with the second dead Stussy of the season. He’s is so far over his head that he couldn’t find the surface with a shovel and a second guy down there with him who is really good at shoveling. Everything is falling apart for Sy, in a bunch of different ways, and it’s bumming him out spectaclarly. So he’s our new winner.
I mean, “winner.”