‘Fargo’ Frozen Five: Nikki Swango Is Out For Blood (And Money) (But Mostly Blood)

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. “Thirty years I been killing him, that was just when he fell.”

Poor Emmit. He’s so sad now. I mean, understandably. Look at where he started this season. He was a happily married millionaire businessman with a loyal business partner and a brother he feuded with but still loved. Now, his wife left him because his brother made a fake sex tape of him, and his brother is dead because of his actions, and his friend Sy is in a coma because of the shady underworld figure who more or less turned their business into a money laundering operation. I feel bad for him. Kind of.

And all of that brings us to his confession and his story about the stamps and the sports car. (The Stamps and the Sports Car sounds like the title of a fable, which it is, for the most part.) It’s like the whole thing finally dawned on him, just in the days since Ray’s death. It was a great, sad, triumphant scene (triumphant for Gloria, at least, who has had this thing pegged from the jump, and appeared to be on the verge of vindication), and then things all promptly went in the toilet again for both of them, courtesy of a fake serial killer and Moe’s evolving mashed potato theory.

4. “I wanna hurt you, not be your pet.”



After a few rough weeks (brutal beating, dead boyfriend, almost killed in jail, almost killed in the woods), Nikki Swango is back and she has a plan. And a fake grenade. And a deaf fugitive associate who knows his way around an automatic weapon. This is terrific news. I yelped with delight when this happened.

I am, to be clear, very much here for Nikki Swango going all John Wick on Varga and his crew to close out the season. Although maybe John Wick isn’t the best analogy, because she’s not just killing everyone. She’s playing chess, moving pieces here and there, talking tons of trash while painting her toes and stealing sensitive documents and slipping flash drives to pencil-pushing government employees. She’s sees the whole board right now. Maybe the better analogy is Lucy, from Lucy. Tough to say. Depending how the finale plays out, maybe someday we’ll be saying Lucy went half-Swango. Maybe someday soon.

This is one of the fun things about Fargo. The lady who murders a guy with an air conditioner at the beginning of the season might end up becoming the hero before the story is over. That’s some kind of journey.

3. “I mean, who the hell is this out-of-the-blue guy, even?”

A few things:

– Gloria was thisclose to closing the case before Moe came in and messed it all up. She had Emmit’s confession, and she was sticking it to the widow Goldfarb regarding her timeline, and she’s got a pretty good idea about what Varga is up to. (Or at least that he’s up to something and it’s not above board.) She’ll still probably figure it out. Gloria doesn’t seem like one to let things fizzle out, polite tone and numerous utterances of “Oh, geez” aside.

– There’s something about the phrasing of this quote that brings me so much joy. “Who the hell is this out-of-the-blue guy, even?” There’s like three different parts of it that I love (the “even” at the end is my favorite), and that’s before we get to the thing where she said “hell” instead of “heck.” Imagine how livid she must have been to do that. I bet she snapped a pencil in half when she got back to her desk. And then I bet she apologized for making a scene. Let’s not get carried away here. This is still Minnesota.

– Speaking of phrasing, Moe the Dumb Chief does that thing all stupid people do where they work in an official sounding word sometimes to try to sound smart. I caught a “domicile” or two this week during his explanation of how there’s a serial killer who kills Stussys only, for some reason.

– Electronics are working for Gloria now thanks to the power of a Winnie Lopez hug. Winnie is quietly making a solid case to be the top non-Swango character of the season. Let’s do a fourth season of Fargo but about her investigating a diamond heist while on vacation in Monte Carlo. Her useless husband can come along, too.

Biggest question now: Who gets to Varga first, Swango or Burgle?

Second biggest question: Would you buy an album by a female folk duo called “Swango & Burgle” without even hearing a single song?

2. “The problem is not that there is evil in the world. The problem is that there is good. Because otherwise, who would care?”

I could write out a full take on how Varga — the mysterious figure who sees all the angles and bends the world to his liking — finally met his match in a bridge-playing small-time crook and recent parolee, and how much that must eat him up inside, but I think these three screencaps I took during his phone call with her make that point much better than any run-on sentence I can string together.

1. “You think the world is something, then it turns out to be something else.”

This is something Gloria said after Moe dismantled her case, but it applies to almost everyone on the show this season. We discussed Emmit’s fall at the beginning, but there’s also Sy (currently in a coma), Nikki (seeking vengeance after Ray’s death ended her bridge goals), Varga (Swango’d), and even Ray (his whole life, basically), among others. Lives have been turned upside down left and right, and it’s all brought us to where we are now: Heading into a finale with multiple schemes in play and a suspicious cop poking around with clean hands now that she can work the automatic sink in the bathroom.

I’m ready.