Fargo Recap: Season 3, episode 9, ‘Aporia’


In the case of Nikki v. Varga

Fargo comfortably settles into ‘Aporia,’ its penultimate episode of the season, with a murder. While Vargas men continue to run wild, Emmit sits at the police station, waiting to give his confession. This is an interesting turn of events, to be sure. Emmit isn’t quite a broken man yet, but he’s close. He sees his taking of the stamp (which he admits to tricking Ray out of) and then later killing him as two connected events. He feels bad now about how this all shook out, but it took some doing to get to this point. Even when he admits to how he killed Ray, there’s not much remorse or hesitation in his voice. Remember: he didn’t even try to help Ray when the glass got lodged in his neck. He only backed away.

‘Aporia’ also features the triumphant return of Wrench and Nikki, now officially teamed up and out for revenge. What actually went on at the bowling alley? We’ll probably never find out. It’s worth pointing out that both of them seem to be fully healed from their wounds, which muddles the timeline of this a bit. But maybe that’s not so important, because Nikki knows all about Varga now. She knows his bank account numbers. This is the only time so far that we’ve seen Varga visibly shaken. This now seems to a war between people out the outskirts of society – not even Gloria knows who Varga is yet, and Emmit isn’t telling. Speaking of Gloria, another Stussy has been murdered. This new Stussy is killed in the same way as Gloria’s stepdad, so who is out there killing Stussy’s?

Image Credit: FX

This is the time in which most shows wind down, but Fargo doesn’t seem all too interested in that.  This new murderer confesses to all of the killing thus far, though it’s fairly obvious this is a setup, likely Varga related. Gloria is given the news while interviewing Ruby Goldfarb, who, by the way, treats Gloria like she’s an idiot, and is more involved in all of this than we originally knew. This new wrinkle invalidates Emmit’s confession, and so he’s free to go.

Varga is now on the ropes, a position in which he is unaccustomed to. He goes to meet Nikki in person, but she’s not having any of it. She won’t be cowed by him, and in turn he refuses to be intimidated. The one thing that Varga failed to take into account is Wrench. While it’s not so important how Wrench and Nikki came to discover everything about Varga, it is a tad puzzling. We’re left to assume that Wrench used some considerable connections in order to get it done.

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While ‘Aporia’ starts off with a bang, it’s a relatively slow and contemplative affair that’s told mostly through extended dialogues. The scene with Varga and Nikki is brilliantly played, even though Nikki’s approach lacks nuance. And later, when Gloria confronts Emmit about Varga, he freezes up, lacking Nikki’s focus and courage. Throughout the episode there are closeups of Vargas  mouth and teeth, emphasizing his animal-like (and disgusting) qualities. He is a wolf that has Emmit firmly in his grasp, and when Emmit leaves the station and enters the car with Varga, there is a definite sense that he has been lost.

Gloria has now been thoroughly beaten down. In a conversation with Winnie at the bar, she opens up for the first time. Gloria has been a closed-off character, which has made it difficult for us to connect with her. But in a real human moment with Winnie, the facade cracks, and we now see that the two of them are more than coworkers, they’re fiends.

In the end, Nikki goes through with her blackmail threat to Varga. There is very little action in ‘Aporia,’ but a lot of subtle, moving parts. Still, there is only a single episode left, and it’s difficult to imagine how it’s all going to be tied up. Unless, of course, it won’t be.