The season three finale of FX’s critically acclaimed dramatic series, Fargo, begins with Deputy Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) typing up her resignation letter. Elsewhere, IRS Agent Larue Dollard (Hamish Linklater) looks over the paperwork he received on Stussy Lots Ltd. And over at Emmit Stussy’s house, Emmit (Ewan McGregor) is being forced into signing paperwork by V. M. Varga (David Thewlis), with Meemo (Andy Yu) looking over one shoulder and V.M. hovering over the other.
Something catches Larue’s eye that he hadn’t noticed before. It’s a small slip of paper with a typewritten message reading, “We should talk. Gloria Burgle 555-0122.” He gives Gloria a call while over at the station she’s nearly out the door with her belongings. When the phone rings she can’t resist picking it up, but then is confused when Larue has questions about the documents she sent. Gloria quickly figures out the connection when he mentions Stussy Lots, tax fraud, and V.M. Varga. She snatches up her resignation letter and heads off to meet with Agent Dollard.
It appears Nikki (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard) are preparing for a gun battle, sawing off shotguns and laying out their collection of weapons on a motel room bed.
Emmit’s also ready to fight back after signing a stack of papers passed to him by Meemo. He lays his head on the table, claiming to be exhausted while Varga goes off about food knowing it’s food. When Varga takes a call from Nikki, Emmit thinks it’s time to make his move. He grabs Meemo’s gun and points it alternately at Meemo and Varga. Of course, Varga and Meemo get the better of him, knocking him out and retrieving the gun. While he lays unconscious on the floor, they clean up the place, making sure not to leave a trace of their presence.
Varga, Meemo, and a handful of Varga’s men arrive at the meeting point and are instructed by a young boy to head into a nearby warehouse. They follow the kid to the door but pause outside as two of the men check out the deserted lobby. It’s clear, but there’s a message in red spray paint on the floor telling them to head to the third floor, locker 327. They call for an elevator and wait, guns drawn, for one of the two elevators to arrive. The first one is empty so they get in and head to the third floor, leaving two men behind to take elevator #2.
Varga hangs out in the elevator as Meemo and the rest of the thugs head down the hall to locker 327. There, they find a chair with a note instructing them to leave the money and go to the second floor for the hard drives. One of the thugs passes that note to Meemo as in the elevator Varga receives a text telling him to get out because the IRS has the hard drives.
Varga warns his men, but then closes the elevator before they can get inside. Inside the elevator, Varga can hear gunfire and screaming coming from the third floor hallway.
The two henchmen waiting by the cars outside the warehouse are dead feet from the warehouse’s entrance. Inside the lobby, Nikki waits with a shotgun for the elevator to descend and deliver Varga. Unfortunately, Varga’s coat is on the floor of the elevator but he’s somehow managed to escape.
Nikki covers elevator #2 as the door opens and relaxes when its only passenger is Mr. Wrench carrying the briefcase with $2 million. It’s covered in blood and Nikki tells Mr. Wrench the money is all his; she just wants Emmit Stussy. Nikki takes two small stacks of money and the shotgun and heads off, alone.
Returning to Emmit’s place, the camera zooms in as he opens his eyes. The 2-cent stamp is glued to his forehead but he doesn’t notice. He’s stunned to see Varga and his men are gone and the house has been left clean, as if they were never there. It’s not until he’s about to open his car door that he notices the stamp is on his forehead. He takes it off and tosses it to the ground as if it means nothing anymore.
Emmit arrives at his office to find workers installing new signs indicating the company doing business there now is named Realignment. He enters what used to be his office and Ruby Goldfarb (Mary McDonnell), who’s been working with Varga all along, greets him with the news his company is in debt $300 million and has been sold to her. She instructs him to file for Chapter 11 immediately, but then reveals his personal wealth is all intact and carefully hidden. After delivering that news, she has two security guards show him out of what used to be his office.
Catching up with Gloria and Larue, the IRS agent is explaining Stussy Lots used to be just a normal parking lot business completely on the up-and-up. However, they received a loan of a million dollars from a fake company and that’s when everything went south for Emmit Stussy’s company. Varga was added as a partner and a leverage bleed-out took place, with Varga acquiring Stussy Lots and borrowing millions of dollars in its name and then selling the company for way below what it was worth. That’s legal if you follow the law and pay taxes, but Varga did not. Their talk is interrupted by a call about the warehouse slaughter.
Gloria arrives on the scene as Meemo’s being wheeled out on a gurney, dead. Officer Winnie Lopez (Olivia Sandoval) is already there and reports there are five dead bodies on the 3rd floor and they have a photo of Mr. Wrench (who they don’t recognize) and Nikki inside the building. She then shows Gloria a photo of Varga, the apparent target. Gloria figures out after seeing the photos that it was Nikki who sent the Stussy Lots paperwork to the IRS. She also figures out Nikki will now be after Emmit.
Speak of the devil… Emmit’s the only car on the road when his vehicle breaks down in an area without cell phone coverage. He smashes his phone on the ground in frustration. Fortunately, a truck arrives on the scene shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, it’s driven by Nikki.
Emmit knows he’s in trouble when Nikki steps out of the truck, shotgun in hand. She asks him, “Are you as low as you can go?” Emmit says yesterday he thought he was at his lowest while sitting in jail, but now this has happened today. Nikki tells him she knows Varga plucked him and she’s there to finish him off. He claims he didn’t mean to kill Ray, but Nikki’s not in the least bit sympathetic. She confuses Emmit but telling him Ray’s a kitten now and then begins reciting the verse Paul Marrane (Ray Wise) taught her at the bowling alley.
Before Nikki can pull the trigger, a cop arrives on the scene. Nikki tries to get him to leave, keeping the conversation upbeat as she urges him to drive away. Emmit manages to indicate Nikki has a gun and she grabs the shotgun she stashed on Emmit’s bumper when the cop pulled up. The cop and Nikki take aim at each other and fire at pretty much the same time. Both fall to the ground, instantly dead. Emmit’s unscathed and after examining the bodies, he gets in his car and drives off.
Later, Gloria arrives on the scene and watches Nikki and the officer’s bodies being removed. She says, “Okay, then,” a very Fargo-ish reaction.
Emmit, shaken by everything that’s gone down, shows up at his estranged wife’s door. When she opens it, he falls to his knees, sobbing and holding her tight.
Flash-forward five years and we learn Emmit declared personal bankruptcy in 2011 and pled guilty to misdemeanor tax fraud. He was given a sentence of two years on probation. A note on the screen says rumor has it Emmit has $20 million stashed away in an off-shore account.
The family is seated around the table eating dinner, with Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his wife joining the Stussys. Sy doesn’t move but he manages to say he’s feeling as good as new. (That’s obviously not true.) Emmit remembers they left a salad in the refrigerator and goes to his kitchen to retrieve it. He glances at the family photos on the refrigerator door (noticeably absent is any photo with Ray). As he opens the door to grab the salad, a muzzle appears in the frame. The camera pans the length of the gun to reveal Mr. Wrench has broken into Emmit’s home. Mr. Wrench shoots Emmit in the back of the head. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Gloria Burgle is now an officer with the Department of Homeland Security. She sits across the table from V. M. Varga who was just picked up entering the country and who at first does not recognize her. He claims to be a citizen of the air when she asks where he lives, and when she brings out his picture from the elevator in the warehouse, Varga responds by asking, “Are you familiar with the Russian saying the past is unpredictable?” She thinks he made that up and he doesn’t argue with her. They chat about the Stussy murders, evidence, and arguing with reality.
Gloria asks Varga if he knew Emmit was murdered three months ago in his home, and Varga doesn’t react to the news either way. Gloria asks point blank if he killed Emmit and he doesn’t reply. She informs him agents are about to arrive and take him to Rikers. He’ll be charged with three counts of felony money laundering and six counts of conspiracy to commit murder. Meanwhile, she’ll be spending her Saturday with her son at the state fair.
Varga says, “No, that’s not what’s going to happen next. What’s going to happen next is this, in five minutes that door is going to open and a man you can’t argue with will tell me I’m free to go. I will stand from this chair and disappear from the world, so help me god.”
Gloria replies, “Rikers and Snickers bars. You’ll see.”
Varga won’t debate the matter any longer and closes his eyes. The camera pans to the clock as Gloria smiles, certain she’ll be proven correct.
More on Fargo:
– Fargo Season 3 Episode 1 ‘The Law of Vacant Places’ Recap
– Fargo Season 3 Episode 2 ‘The Principle of Restricted Choice’ Recap
– Fargo Season 3 Episode 3 ‘The Law of Non-Contradiction’ Recap
– Fargo Season 3 Episode 4 ‘The Narrow Escape’ Recap
– Fargo Season 3 Episode 5 ‘The House of Special Purpose’ Recap
– Fargo Season 3 Episode 6 ‘The Lord of No Mercy’ Recap
– Fargo Season 3 Episode 7 ‘The Law of Inevitability’ Recap
– Fargo Season 3 Episode 8 ‘Who Rules the Land of Denial?’ Recap
– Fargo Season 3 Episode 9 ‘Aporia’ Recap