Fargo: season 3 episode 9 review – Aporia
The review contains spoilers.
It is said that we are only as human as the people we surround ourselves. So when Gloria realises how much Minnie cares about her and gives her a hug, we somehow get why the automatic tap and soap dispenser suddenly work again. Gloria finally feels hum we’re an again, as she remembers that there are people that care about her in the world, and she is suddenly more one with reality. One may argue and theorise why Gloria struggled with automatic soap dispensers in the first place, perhaps attribute it to the recurring exraterrestrial themes in the show. What matters is the idea that the show sends with the scene – human connections are good.
And that seems to be the recurring theme of the episode – the duality of humans, and the question if we are inherently good or mostly just pretty bad. That is quite a stray from the episode 9 formula that the show followed for the first two seasons, where the penultimate episode of the show would deliver an explosive, action-packed episode with a high body count. This week we are made to focus on character interactions and reflect on their decisions made throughout the season.
But that’s not to say it’s a bad episode per se – Carrie Coon is wonderful as Gloria as she spells out her insecurities, McGregor’s Emmit is more interesting than ever before confessing to her, and David Thewlis’ Varga remains as disgusting as ever. Aside from wonderful performances, we get Nikki’s character reblossom as she plays Varga, and the last episode is set up to tie every end up, loose or otherwise. And it’s all wrapped in a theme of the nature of humanity.
For Varga, the goodness of humanity is an issue, as he himself points out, “the problem is not that there is evil in the world; the problem is that there is good. Otherwise who would care?” This week, we see cracks appearing in his operation, and all thanks to Nikki – driven by the need for revenge, she uses a fake grenade to steal the truck from Varga’s men that has, to put it simply, important documents that will be able to help bring Varga’s business down.
And then she actually meets Varga, which is the highlight of the episode. She is confient, more confident than Varga himself, and it might be the first time we see him a bit lost and not knowing what to say. Nikki dominates their discourse, and while both try to outmaneuver one another, Nikki comes out on top at the end. It is confirmed at the end of the episode, when the IRS worker receives a letter full of evidence about Stussy Lots.
Emmit, meanwhile, bares his soul to Gloria and confesses to the murder of his brother… and then adds a whole lot more. He talks about the relationship with Ray, about fooling him into giving away the stamp collection. This is where the aforementioned brilliant McGregor’s performance comes, and Fargo reminds us that there was a reason for casting an actor of such high caliber, and it goes beyond just having a famous name in the cast list. “Thirty years I’ve been killing him,” Emmit admits, showing that glass in Ray’s neck was a mere formality.
The heart of the show remains Gloria, who we see reveal her deepest insecurities over to Minnie, who comforts her, confirming the bond the two cops have formed. We find out that Gloria struggles with feeling useful, only telling people she can help them, but feeling like she fails to do so, even comparing herself to the little robot from The Planet Wyh we saw at the beginning of the season. It is heartwarming to see Minnie comfort her next to the bar counter. That is where the ultimate answer to the humanity dilemma lies, and that is where it should lie.
While Aporia isn’t an episode 9 we’re used to, it is an important episode nonetheless. With just one episode left next week, we can safely expect something for everyone, both for those that want intense action sequences, and those seeking closure for this season’s many troubled characters.
Image credit: FX