Fargo: The House Of Special Purposes
May 18, 2017 7:45 AM - Season 3, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Sy makes trouble for everyone while Ray and Emmit both deal with authority figures breathing down their neck. “This is how it feels to be alone at the top of the hill, tryin’ to figure out why.”
posted by jazon (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I just can't bring myself to like this season. There's so little focus on the actual good people trying to solve the murder - this episode was a good example of what I mean.
posted by destructive cactus at 11:54 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


I think I liked this episode more than you but agree in general. I mean, it's fine. But the first two seasons were amazing. This one mostly feels like they are retreading seasons one and two with dumber and/or meaner characters all around.

I think the line this show has to walk is showing mid-western people as being set in their ways and maybe a bit sheltered but not stupid. But other than Gloria Burgle it's a story about Varga coming to town with super powers and messing up the lives of a bunch of idiot yokels.
posted by Gary at 1:40 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]


But other than Gloria Burgle it's a story about Varga coming to town with super powers and messing up the lives of a bunch of idiot yokels.

I'm into it.
posted by codacorolla at 7:07 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]


I've been liking this season but I didn't much care for this episode. There wasn't anything really cool like the robot animation or the Peter and the Wolf intro. There was not enough Gloria Burgle. Somehow Nikki getting beat up seemed way more violent than I'm accustomed to for this show (and that's saying something). And it was just because Varga's goons thought Sy was having an affair with her or something?

Well, kudos to the producers for making me think that even though we didn't see it on camera at all. But I didn't like it.

There were three different scenes in this episode that could be described as "Varga tries to convince Emmet and Sy of how serious he is about taking over their company". I feel like I already got that message before.

New Chief just seemed like a cartoon villain of a cop, not even wanting to hear Gloria's explanation of what she found.

I did like the cover of World Party's "Ship of Fools", which apparently was sung by Noah Hawley himself.
posted by mmoncur at 1:44 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, two more things I did like:

- "STELLA!"

- The IRS agent trying to calm Emmett down and convince him of how routine this is by using (a) airport security and (b) surgery as metaphors
posted by mmoncur at 2:04 AM on May 19 [4 favorites]


- I really need for New Chief to have a reason for being such a dickhead. Right now I'm totally with mmoncur - he feels like a cartoon villain.

- As we were coming up to the meeting with Nikki and Sy I predicted she would die. And as awful as that would have been, I'm kind of wondering why she didn't. However, I do appreciate that showing Sy the atrocity is more impactful to him than simply beating him up. But I don't know why Varga cares to keep him alive at all.

- This is the first episode I've had any interest in Sy.
posted by soplerfo at 6:20 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


The idea that a small town cop would be openly disrespectful to a female subordinate's investigative abilities as a way to establish dominance, and because of latent misogyny is not very unrealistic to me. I guess it is a stock character, and it would be better to have something more fleshed out, but I don't find it beyond belief.
posted by codacorolla at 6:29 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping that the various pieces come together as the rest of the season plays out, and there's a satisfying "click" when it all makes a cohesive whole. I've liked the individual episodes, but this was the hardest to watch, both with the cup scene at the start, and Nikki being beaten at the end.

Everything is orbiting some central "thing", and I hope it's not just "everything is true in some perspective, the end". In both season 1 and 2 the elements all came together, maybe the picture is taking a little longer to form this time around.
posted by jazon at 7:09 AM on May 19


And it was just because Varga's goons thought Sy was having an affair with her or something?

I don't think it's about an alleged affair. I'm not sure if Varga has put enough pieces together to know Raymond triggered the bank fraud investigation that is going to make his money laundering that much harder. Possibly he just wants to make Emmit's problems go away to gain his trust.
posted by Gary at 10:12 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


And it was just because Varga's goons thought Sy was having an affair with her or something?

Varga had said "Sit back and take it" in regards to letting the partnership go forward. Sy is not sitting back, he's out trying to fix things, but Varga and the thug boyz are assuming he's working to thwart their efforts. Everything they do sends him a message of "We're in charge, we do what we want. We don't care what you are doing. Stand down. Bad things will happen."
posted by jazon at 12:39 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


"I think we should spend the rest of our lives together."

Given that this is Fargo, I suspect he's going to get his wish, but he might be over-estimating the available time-span.

(Just watching now, so perhaps the rest of the episode will bear me out...)
posted by Grangousier at 1:37 PM on May 19


Also, although not a roman à clef in any way, this story does resonate very strongly with what's been going on in Washington recently.
posted by Grangousier at 1:45 PM on May 19


...and that's why you should never open someone else's mail.

Varga making Sy drink the pee and then spit it up all over his office was pretty a short-sighted move. Now his new office smells like pee.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:48 PM on May 19


There's some question whether there was anything but water in that cup, since it certainly wasn't ALL pee and you definitely hear one of the lackeys pouring water.

But either way I don't think Varga cares...
posted by mmoncur at 2:52 AM on May 20


I predict that Nikki's plan (presuming she's alive enough to have one) is to have Ray convince Sy and Emmett that she's dead, to make better blackmail material (Sy watched your "business partner" murder my girlfriend, and I'll tell the police all about it if you don't pay up.)

Which would explain why she managed to drive home and didn't call an ambulance like a sensible person.
posted by mmoncur at 2:55 AM on May 20


I think part of the fundamental dynamic of the Fargoverse is that no one ever does anything in the manner that a sensible person would. If someone spilled ketchup on the floor, they'd hatch a complicated plan to secretly construct a false floor to conceal the condiment rather than just wipe it up, as long as they had a vague idea of how they could make a moderate amount of money out of it.
posted by Grangousier at 5:42 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


Which would explain why she managed to drive home and didn't call an ambulance like a sensible person.

I'm sure, as a con with a (now fired) parole officer, Nikki might not want to get emergency services and law enforcement involved in her shake-down-boyfriends-brother blackmail schemes.
posted by jazon at 2:57 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


Now his new office smells like pee.

That can only be an improvement over his chronic barf breath.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:30 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


they are retreading seasons one and two with dumber...characters

It's not just the characters that are dumber; the writing is also much, much dumber this season. So much dumber, in fact, that I'm regretting paying for the show on Amazon. This is a terrible drop-off in quality from last season, with ridiculously stupid interactions and motivations (Varga's big speech last week about capitalism and the ravenous poor was laughably clunky and ham-handed), and it doesn't show much promise of getting anything but worse from here. Disappointed barely begins to cover it.
posted by mediareport at 3:33 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


There's some question whether there was anything but water in that cup, since it certainly wasn't ALL pee and you definitely hear one of the lackeys pouring water.

Not to fixate on the most scatological part of the episode, but I'm pretty sure it was actually 0% urine, and the display was just of Vargas thoroughly rubbing his genitals all over the inside of the mug before making Sy drink from it. When Sy is sputtering it's clearly just water coming out.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:44 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


This season has been hit or miss for me. Some episodes have enough interesting things going on that the tepid pace of the overall story is tolerable, but this one seemed to repeat pretty much all of the major plot elements without really breaking much new ground.
I like that the two cops have teamed up for the murder investigation.
I found it hilarious that Sy was begging Emmit to have the shackles removed when we had already seen that the most he was capable of was standing in a lot and pointing (at Ray) in impotent rage.
I wonder why the thugs didn't rough up Nikki's face?...the looks that Sy gave made the beat-down seem much more severe, and that level of cruelty would certainly admit that her looks are part of her power.
I guess I'm not as big a fan of Ewan Mcgregor as i thought, because I am not really enjoying his turns as the brothers Stussy.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:48 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


^ seconding everything he just said.
posted by komara at 4:44 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm not as big a fan of Ewan Mcgregor as i thought, because I am not really enjoying his turns as the brothers Stussy.

I think he's mostly alright, but he hasn't really got the accent nailed down at all. There's something to be said for a subtler Minnesota accent, but he's mostly missed it and landed somewhere in Canada. The rattle in his voice makes him sound uncannily like every second-tier grizzled CBC newsman, as if he's been on a diet of Export A and Crown Royal since 1953.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:19 AM on June 2


(Speaking of which, I couldn't help but notice the very prominent placement of a Royal Bank of Canada sign in the background of one shot. Poking around, looks like there's one directly across the street from the filming location for the "Stussy Lots" headquarters. RBC did make some forays into the US, but for whatever reason, only in the southeast. That shot was immediately followed by a rare daylight drive through a very Calgary-looking Calgary, so maybe it was left in as a winking in-joke, or maybe out of ignorance or indifference, but it kinda took me out of it.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:38 AM on June 2


And it was just because Varga's goons thought Sy was having an affair with her or something?
I assumed that the goons mistook Nikki for the the Storage Queen in the final scene.
posted by rongorongo at 3:10 PM on July 6


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