Fargo: The Lord of No Mercy
May 25, 2017 10:55 PM - Season 3, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Gloria and Winnie get closer to the truth; Emmit tries to make things right; Nikki and Ray prepare for payback; Varga cleans up a mess.

This episode received some of the strongest reviews this season from Alan Sepinwall and the AV Club. It also included a hell of a cliffhanger (that left me thinking I would have been OK with an hour-30 or two hour or whatever episode).

Featured music included the Son House version of "John the Revelator," "The Cossack's Song," by the Russian Red Army Choir," and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23, "Appassionata," (which Lenin was really quoted as saying what Varga recited, although the idea about WWI being started by a sandwich is in doubt, and then, then the moon landing thing deserved a, "Wha-what?".

Fake stories, perception versus reality, truthiness, Russia just happen to play major roles in "Fargo" this season. The 2007-'08 credit crunch and recession, as well as private equity (via an explanation from Nikki Swango!), also get firm nods in this episode.
posted by raysmj (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm having mixed feelings this season. I'm enjoying it, I like most of the characters, but I... just don't really care about the story that much. Maybe I was spoiled because I loved Season 2 so much, I dunno.

And yeah, that Moon landing thing really pissed me off. I can understand that it was just another one of Varga's stories but I really don't want to see anything anything that gives even a shred of legitimacy to nutjob conspiracy theories. I don't even like when people joke about Moon landing hoaxes or chemtrails or whatever.

I'll keep watching it, I mean it's not like True Detective S2E1 where I was just like "nope!", but I'm just not finding it as interesting this year. Hopefully S4 will be a bit better.
posted by bondcliff at 7:09 AM on May 26 [2 favorites]


Was it just me, or was the "THIS IS A TRUE STORY" opening much more overt this time?

And yeah, that Moon landing thing really pissed me off. I can understand that it was just another one of Varga's stories but I really don't want to see anything anything that gives even a shred of legitimacy to nutjob conspiracy theories.

I think Sy was pretty much an audience surrogate here; he was seduced by Varga's storytelling until the moon landing conspiracy jolted him out of it.

As viewers we're often shown Varga as having a snakish charm -- the fascinating eccentric -- but which is regularly undercut by something which reveals him as repellent. Last week: the cock-mug, the ravings about Jews. This week, the bloody toothpick for us; and the conspiracy theory for Sy.

The "return to the house for something precious / sudden surprising death" plot felt very much like a nod towards Pulp Fiction.

I also very much liked the symmetrical compulsiveness of the tax inspector and the lawyer.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:08 AM on May 26 [2 favorites]


I thought the same about the Moon landing conspiracy as Kyle. I thought it made him seem not as on top of things as he had come off earlier. (Scott Tobias, writing at the NY Times, evidently thought much the same.)

Interesting about the nod to "Pulp Fiction." The mixing animation of an homage sort in with live action in Ep 3 already seemed kind of "Kill Bill"-esque. I was thinking that this episode was meant to bring in a bit of"No Country for Old Men" as well. And I've seen people mention that the glass breaking scene echoed "The Grifters." It's been far too many years since I've seen that one, though--like, 25-ish.
posted by raysmj at 9:23 AM on May 26


I think Sy was pretty much an audience surrogate here; he was seduced by Varga's storytelling until the moon landing conspiracy jolted him out of it.

I got that, but I still hate anything that gives even a shred of legitimacy to conspiracy theories. Anything that even acknowledges that they exist. It's just this weird thing I have. Not really a fault of the show.
posted by bondcliff at 10:36 AM on May 26 [2 favorites]


The lawyer was the henchman who's usually wearing earbuds. I'm sure he was imitating the IRS guy on purpose, which was delightful to watch.

I'm liking this season and look forward to watching every week. Fargo's m.o. is to have an all-powerful baddie who's prone to story telling and pontificating being foiled by a cop doing good cop work. (And all three within a 150-200 mile radius, just guessing) Somehow they make it interesting every time for me.
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:47 AM on May 26


I was fully on board to accept that Fargo takes place in an alternate universe where the moon landing WAS fake, just like I accepted the UFO last season, but I think it was a deliberate lie Varga told. "Perception is reality." he's messing with Sy and Emmett and wants them to question reality a bit, classic manipulation technique.

I am still underwhelmed by this season but it felt like at least something happened in this one, and not the thing I expected. I like the character development of Emmett from victim to reluctant patsy to full-on conspirator.

I did love seeing Mr. Headphones play lawyer with the IRS guy.
posted by mmoncur at 12:03 PM on May 26 [3 favorites]


I finally was able to see this episode, and it feels like the pieces are coming together. I like that Varga narrated the stories, and was struck: Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman also narrated starting stories in earlier episodes, correct? So the three main "bad guys" so far have given narration. Who'll narrate next week's opening?
posted by jazon at 7:40 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


I wonder whether IRS guy is actually FBI guy.
posted by Grangousier at 4:33 AM on May 27


I think Sy was pretty much an audience surrogate here; he was seduced by Varga's storytelling until the moon landing conspiracy jolted him out of it.

To me, I think part of the intention was to contrast the levels of credulity between Emmet and Sy - in the first scene- and Gloria and Winnie - in the interrogation that we see later on. In the first scene we see that Sy is surprised by the moon landing story - but does not give it the derision it merits. In the second case we see Varga's claim that there were 24 Hitlers in the phone book - get short shrift from Gloria -making him look a bit of a fool (the claim, so far I am am aware, is also false - Hitler would have been "Schickelgruber" had his farther not changed his name to "Hiedler" which then got mis-transcribed as "Hitler" - apparently - so it was not at all a common surname). The female police characters in Fargo survive by being a whole lot better at detecting bullshit.
posted by rongorongo at 11:47 PM on July 8


Also, on the subject of truthy tropes and to American readers - no, that is not something that we commonly do to our teeth!
posted by rongorongo at 11:55 PM on July 8


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