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Recap / Fargo S 03 E 02 The Principle Of Restricted Choice

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Concerned for his business, Emmit asks his lawyer to investigate Varga. An Internet search causes the lawyer's computer to crash and Varga's men to toss him off a parking garage. Varga then takes ownership of an unused wing of Emmit's offices.

While coping with the introduction of a new police chief (Shea Whigham) and Ennis' funeral arrangements, Gloria learns that her stepfather wrote science-fiction novels under, what she believes to be, a pseudonym: "Thaddeus Mobley". She also investigates the gas station that Maurice stopped in on the night of the murder and discovers he took a page from a phone book with Ennis' contact information, arousing her suspicions.

Nikki suggests Ray make peace with his brother while she steals the stamp. He cordially visits Emmit and the two make peace, which gives Nikki enough time to search his home office. However, Emmit already moved the stamp and in its place was a picture of a donkey (ass). Enraged due to believing this was a message to Ray, she leaves a used tampon in one of his desk drawers (where she also finds details of a safety deposit box Emmit holds). Emmit later tells his business partner Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg) that he sent the stamp away to have the frame replaced after a cleaner had damaged it. Sy meets with Ray to tell him he can no longer have contact with his brother and then rams Ray's Corvette twice and accidentally hits another car as he leaves.

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Tropes:

  • And Then What?: Emmit seems to think that the first step in getting Varga to retract his deal is to have Irv friend him on Facebook and work from there.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Sy suspects sex slaves are being carried in Varga's big truck, while Emmit is thinking of drugs.
  • Cool Car: Sy's yellow Humvee, though it's later revealed to actually belong to the company.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sy has a moment.
    Sy: Your brother's a loser.
    Emmit: He's not a loser.
    Sy: Well, he's doing a pretty good imitation.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When Nikki breaks into Emmit's house to steal the stamp and finds a framed picture of a donkey instead she concludes that he has anticipated her move and left her a cunning personal insult while moving the stamp to a safety deposit. In reality, the stamp's frame got broken and Emmit just sent it out to get fixed.
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  • Flipping the Bird: Ray flips Sy off while he's walking out of the lounge, and Sy returns the favor after backing into his car twice and driving away. This results in him losing control of his Humvee and hitting another car on the way out.
  • Make an Example of Them: Just look what happened to Irv.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Gloria asks the gas station owner why he keeps his phone book on a chain, to which he replies that people used to steal them back in the seventies, nodding to when exactly that happened in the second season.
    • Emmit mentions that he should talk to Stan Grossman about setting up some condos on one of their lots.
  • No Periods, Period: Nikki mentioning her period becomes a plot point later when she leaves her tampon as a Calling Card at Emmit's house.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Implied with Ennis.
    Funeral Director: He didn't talk much—except to curse.
  • Tempting Fate: When assuring Ray that the two of them are in the clear concerning their murder of Maurice, she tells him that nobody really investigates elderly murders as much as young ones and that there's no possible way to trace Ennis's murder back to them.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Yuri and Meemo. They playfully hit each other after throwing Irv off of a parking garage.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Emmit reads a newspaper article about Ennis Stussy's murder, and doesn't even comment on the similarities in name and location.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Irv is introduced in this episode and offed almost immediately as a first glimpse of Varga's true operation.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Irv gives one of these to Emmit and Sy.
    Irv: You borrowed a million dollars from a man without knowing his first name.
    Emmit: I know how it—
    Irv: It's not a question, I'm just assessing the level of stupidity.
  • Worthy Opponent: Nikki calls Emmit one of these after she's forced to leave his house without finding the stamp.

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