Fargo Aporia Review

(Every week, we’re going to kick off a discussion about Fargo season 3 by answering one simple question: who f*cked up the most this week?)

Defeat and disappointment are at the forefront of this week’s episode of Fargo. The most righteous and the most villainous characters on the FX series are thwarted in the second-to-last episode of the season. “Aporia,” as a title, is on the money. Keith Gordon, who also directed the season 3 finale, makes the stakes feel even more personal before the end.

Swango

Nikki Swango Coming For Ya

Swango is no longer the underdog; she’s top dog in “Aporia.” She’s calling the shots. Although they were a great team, her and Ray (Ewan McGregor) weren’t exactly criminal masterminds. Now, she’s revealed more of her cards and shown what she’s fully capable of doing.

Nikki was leading the charge when Ray and she devised some not-so-great plans, but during it all, it was evident there was far more beneath the surface of this bridge player. She’s been the most exciting character in the series – seeing how her next action, thought, or comeback will continue to define her has been one of things that has kept us the most interested this season. Watching Swango reveal more about herself, grow, and fight back has provided plenty of heartache and thrills.

Her first face-to-face meeting with Varga was everything one would hope for. Greed doesn’t get to Swango. Varga has blinded others with money, but he’s finally met someone who looks past the green and sees the man for who he is. She calls his bluff from the start in an emotional, unpredictable, and very amusing scene. “You’re a very distinctive looking guy,” Nikki tells her opponent. Varga smiles brightly, partly because he blends in with his outfit – a wise move Swango respects – but also as an acknowledgment he’s aware of how he strikes people. He seems to get a kick out of Nikki’s remark.

Gloria Burgle

Gloria Burgle and the Planet Wyh 

Throughout season 3, Gloria Burgle is disconnected from others. Characters grappling with the new world – “not the Minnesota I grew up in” – has been a major part of this season and the rest of the series. Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg), for example, had his eyes opened and witnessed a side of the world that scared him. The good cop is experiencing a sense of loneliness and a rift with the world not unfamiliar to a lot of the Coen brothers’ characters.

Phones, computers, faulty sensors, the trip to L.A., and the murders have all made Gloria Burgle feel isolated. What once made sense to her now does not. As a man texts away in the background, Gloria opens up to the one person standing on the side of good with her, Winnie Lopez (Olivia Sandoval).

Stussy’s story, “The Planet Wyh,” continues to play a pivotal role in the series – making “The Law of Non-Contradiction” even more vital. The cop’s takeaway from her stepfather’s story is one of despair. Even Coon’s delivery of “right” adds a loaded sting to her connection to the Android.

Lopez’s response is beautiful, and maybe no speech written by Noah Hawley and Bob DeLaurentis could’ve topped its simplicity – a warm, empathetic hug. It’s sweet when they say “I like you” – again, so simple and beautiful – but the hug, the acknowledgment she exists, is fantastic. It’s another powerful and silent scene from Fargo.

Varga

Varga Loses Control 

Never before has Rocky Road ice cream looked so unappealing. It’s almost as if Varga is hate-eating it. Even with ice cream, Hawley and Thewlis manage to make the big bad wolf more monstrous. This week, though, he’s not invulnerable. Varga commits the biggest mistake: he underestimated Swango and dropped the ball (possibly) for the first time in season 3. The villain tends to be many, many steps ahead of the pack, but this time he’s bested by Swango and Wrench.

Special shout out to Moe Dammick (Shea Whigham) for criticizing Burgle: “You believe it because you want to believe it.” The chief, who undoubtedly believes he’s the hero of this story, continues to reach new lows. Varga and Dammick, the two characters with the most skewed world views, seem to cause the most problems on Fargo.

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