Fargo: What’s the deal with Varga?


There has never been a character like Varga on Fargo

Each season of Fargo has somehow managed to be a distinct beast even though some of the general plot beats are always the same. Someone (or someones) get in over their head? Check. Criminal element? Check. But through its previous two seasons, which featured characters like the terrifying Lorne Malvo, there has never been anyone like Varga. In fact, Varga is a new sort of creature in the world of Fargo; something vile but all-powerful. He is a criminal element with a shadow longer, and more complex, than any we have seen before.

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The first time we meet Varga it’s almost easy to write him off as another example of Fargo’s eccentricities. And if that were the case, there wouldn’t necessarily be anything wrong with it. Varga is a plain dresser, preferring mostly browns and tans and often looks like a dad at the end of a long day at the office. To match the shabby appearance, his gums bleed and he’s bulimic. The bulimia is not something that has been directly addressed by the show – we only see Varga in the bathroom a couple of times post-meals and nothing is said of it. There’s a lot going on here, and Fargo wants us to know it by the way it focuses in on his face, his horrible teeth. His stringy hair.

To counter this, he is alarmingly erudite and articulate. He likes to speak in riddles and parables, and almost always in soft tones; Varga is not a yeller. And again on the other side, he is antisemitic and made Sy drink from a mug of water that he dipped his penis into.

He is a creature born from a swamp, but also one that can make excellent dinner conversation. This makes him a true enigma in the world of Fargo, and after eight episodes, we still haven’t really been able to figure him out. How can you stop a man who can have you killed for googling his name?

It’s as if Varga is a representation of all of the building darkness that we’ve ever seen in Fargo – this man is the end result.

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And we’re not confident that when all is said and done, he won’t just slink back into the shadows in which he came from. Varga is the personification of chaos, and sometimes, of malice. Even if he is felled, the ideas that he represents will continue to haunt Fargo, and our imaginations, forever.