‘Fargo’ Season 3 Episode 9 Recap: Aporia

Fargo Season 3 Episode 9
Carrie Coon as Gloria Burgle and Ewan McGregor as Emmit Stussy in ‘Fargo’ season 3 episode 9 (Photo by Chris Large/FX)

FX’s Fargo season three episode nine is titled ‘Aporia’ which seems like the perfect title for this season’s penultimate episode. Episode nine begins with Marvin Stussy of St. Cloud, Minnesota quietly going about his morning routine, fetching his newspaper, and preparing his breakfast when he’s stabbed to death by Meemo (Andy Yu) while looking in his refrigerator.

Meanwhile, Emmit (Ewan McGregor) has turned himself in and prepares to be interviewed by Deputy Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon). Although three police stations are closer, he wants to speak with Gloria because she gave him her card. He begins by telling her anyone who claims to be his lawyer should not be let in. He doesn’t want to speak with anyone and says, “Don’t trust anyone who comes, if they do, which they may not.”

Emmit admits Ray was right and that he did trick him out of a fortune. Their dad played tennis every Saturday and on one such day Emmit was in the driveway throwing a ball against the house and Ray was inside eating. Their dad returned home, stepped out of the car, and fell to the ground, dead. Emmit attempts to keep his emotions under control as he tells the story. He then blurts out that he killed Ray.

“First, I tricked him. Then, I killed him,” says Emmit. Even though there were years in between the events, it was like no time had passed when he killed Ray in his apartment. Emmit asks Gloria if she believes there’s a special level of hell for those who kill loved ones on Christmas Eve and she doesn’t respond. He reveals that at 17 he wanted his dad’s stamps, not his red Corvette, and he hinted to his chubby brother that he’d get laid (for the first time) if he had the car. Ray begged Emmit for the car, as if it was his idea. Emmit feels horrible for tricking his brother and for cutting his throat, leaving him to bleed out on his floor.

Gloria asks for more details and Emmit explains he sold all but the 2-cent stamp to start and fund his business. He framed the 2-cent stamp, but knows that stamp was “like a stick in the eye” every time Ray saw it. It meant Emmit won and Ray lost. He recalls the events of the night Ray died, beginning with how he brought the stamp to Ray and apologized. Emmit wanted to settle the feud once and for all, but Ray was still mad and that’s when the frame broke and the glass pierced Ray’s neck. Emmit says he didn’t mean to do it, and he didn’t hit him with the frame. It just happened. But, Emmit’s not saying it wasn’t murder as he believes he’s been slowly killing his brother for 30 years.

Meanwhile, Meemo meets with Varga (David Thewlis) in the 18-wheeler parked in a Stussy lot. Varga reminds him what matters is that Emmit sign the papers. They also have to get Emmit out of the police precinct ASAP.

Varga takes off and Meemo, accompanied by a small assortment of goons leave the lot, drives the 18-wheeler. Meemo’s in the 18-wheeler with one associate while two others follow close behind in a car. They’re stopped at a red light when suddenly the passenger side window crashes in and Nikki’s standing right outside the door, tossing in a grenade. Meemo leaps from the truck and takes cover in a nearby pickup while Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard) opens fire on Varga’s men in the car.

Nikki jumps into the truck’s driver’s seat and she and Mr. Wrench drive away with it after she tosses the fake grenade (which is actually a paper weight) out the window. They drive the truck to what looks like a salvage yard and then check out what’s in the back. Varga’s complete monitoring setup is there, with its computers, cameras, etc. Nikki doesn’t say anything as they look around inside, grabbing a briefcase, books, and hard drives before leaving. They get into a car mere feet from the truck and take off, leaving the backdoor of the truck wide open. (Nikki meticulously planned out this attack!)

Meemo makes it back to the Stussy Lots office just as Varga receives a call from Nikki. He quickly figures out who he’s talking to and in response she calls him by the name of one of his Cayman Island account numbers, and then lists off one more account number. He’s briefly shocked but recovers enough to tell her numbers mean nothing without passwords and the answers to six security questions. She demands to know what his initials, V. M., stand for and then tells him she wants $2 million to be delivered to the lobby of the Clarion Hotel, reminding him to come alone.

Fargo Season 3 Episode 9
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Nikki Swango and Russell Harvard as Mr. Wrench in ‘Fargo’ season 3 episode 9 (Photo by Chris Large/FX)

Back at the station, Emmit’s escorted to a holding cell while Gloria gives Winnie Lopez (Olivia Sandoval) a call. Winnie’s out at a crime scene and after Gloria asks about her conversation with Ruby Goldfarb at the restaurant the night of Ray’s murder, Winnie has news of her own to share. There’s a dead man in his kitchen with his throat cut by a piece of glass and the weird thing is, his last name’s Stussy.

Gloria’s son, Nathan, shows up at the station with lunch for his mom. They’re discussing upcoming weekend plans when Goldfarb calls saying she’ll come in for an interview. Gloria’s happy about how the case is moving along and believes she’s close to closing it.

Chief Moe Dammik (Shea Whigham) arrives at a different crime scene where a man is sitting in his kitchen, dead. He’s taped to a chair and has his nose and mouth glued shut. His name: George Stussy. Chief Dammik thinks all these Stussy deaths were committed by one person, and a neighbor wrote down the license plate of a maroon Cadillac that left the scene in a big hurry.

The cops find the “killer” at a gas station and he’s taken into custody.

Ruby Goldfarb isn’t happy about being called in for additional questioning, putting on an attitude as Gloria attempts to get to the truth about her dinner date with Sy Feltz and Emmit Stussy. As they’re going over the timeline for the dinner, there’s a rush of activity in the station. Gloria checks it out and Chief Dammik is overjoyed and proud of himself that he solved the murders. Gloria doesn’t understand since Emmit confessed, but Dammik insists all the murders were committed by a man who hated the Stussys. The “killer” had a stockpile of evidence from each of the murder scenes in his trunk – and he confessed to all the murders.

Meemo informs Varga that Emmit Stussy will be let out soon and that the operation is moving to “stage 5.”

Varga appears overconfident as he meets Nikki in the hotel lobby, ready to hear her demands. They verbally spar and Nikki more than holds her own. She describes why she loves playing bridge and he expresses his detest for games. He offers her tea which she wisely refuses. Instead of handing over the money, he offers her a job and is impressed when she calls him on his line of bullsh*t about being in middle management. He adds a zero to her salary offer and still she refuses.

Varga wonders what Nikki’s game plan is and she lays it out. She’s not sure the briefcase he’s carrying has the money in it, but she is sure Meemo is somewhere close by watching them and ready to shoot her if she hands over the books and the hard drives. (Meemo is in fact listening in on this from a floor above, rifle aimed at Nikki’s head.) Nikki continues laying out her plan, saying Varga is a distinctive-looking guy and this is a public meeting spot. But when he tells her to look around, every single man in the lobby is dressed exactly like him. She compliments this move while at the same time Mr. Wrench has located Meemo and holds a gun just inches from the back of the assassin’s head.

Mr. Wrench signals Nikki through her earpiece and she lays her cards on the table, telling Varga his man has been spotted and is no longer part of the equation. She demands her money as Varga confirms for himself Meemo is no longer covering him. Varga wants his property but Nikki threatens to turn one hard drive over to the police since he didn’t comply with her demands. Varga warns her she can’t win this game and reminds her she’s asking for petty cash while he’s offering her a fortune. Nikki then reveals the kicker to this plan: it’s all about hurting him, not the money.

Varga tells her Emmit actually killed Ray, but Nikki knows Varga was behind the attempt on her life in the jail and flipping the bus. Varga admits he doesn’t like her and Nikki’s fine with that. She gives him another day to get her money and then casually walks out of the lobby along with Mr. Wrench.

Back at the police station, Gloria’s ordered to let Emmit go and he’s just as confused as she is. She explains what’s happened since he’s been locked up and that a serial killer who hates people named Stussy has confessed to all the murders. Emmit can’t believe people were killed just because they share his last name. Gloria asks who’s pulling the strings, acknowledging she believes it was the man she met in his office. Emmit’s about to say something and stammers a little before apologizing. He doesn’t divulge the pupper master’s name, so Gloria simply opens the door and sets him free.

Meemo is waiting outside to pick him up and Emmit looks like a dead man walking. He sits next to Varga in the backseat of the car as Varga explains, “The problem is not that there is evil in the world. The problem is that there is good.”

After a rough day, Gloria meets up with Winnie at a bar. Gloria believes the good guys lost, but Winnie says, “Jesus wins in the end.” Gloria talks about the sci-fi books her stepdad wrote and that she feels like the android in his stories. She also confesses to feeling “unreal,” that automatic doors don’t open for her, sinks and soap dispensers don’t work for her, and no one hears her when she makes a phone call. Gloria believes she doesn’t actually exist. Winnie pokes her and then instead of making a speech, she tells Gloria to stand up. Gloria does, and so does Winnie. Winnie hugs her long and hard, and it’s exactly what Gloria needed.

Tears in her eyes, Gloria heads to the restroom to clean up before they get down to heavy drinking. For the first time, the sink turns on when she places her hands under the faucet. The soap dispenser also senses her presence and works.

And now a player from episode five and six puts in a surprise appearance. IRS Agent Larue Dollard (Hamish Linklater) arrives at his office and discovers a large manila envelope in his chair. Inside is a huge stack of papers and a flash drive. The camera zooms in to show the top paper is labeled, “Stussy Lots Ltd. Accounts Payable Record.”

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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 10 ‘Somebody to Love’ Recap