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Recap / Fargo S 03 E 03 The Law Of Non Contradiction

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In Los Angeles in 1975, Thaddeus Mobley (Thomas Mann) is approached by film producer Howard Zimmerman (Fred Melamed) to adapt his award-winning novel The Planet Wyh. Zimmerman introduces him to actress Vivian Lord (Francesca Eastwood), who seduces him into funding the film, though she and Zimmerman have no intention of actually making it. After learning the two have conned him, Mobley severely beats and cripples Zimmerman.

In 2010, Gloria is flying to L.A. and is reading The Planet Wyh. The novel's plot is represented throughout the episode as animated segments featuring the Unit MNSKY (voiced by McGregor): a small robot that can only say, "I can help!", yet can do nothing to help those around him as he roams the constantly changing world. Once in L.A., Gloria unwittingly checks into Mobley's former motel room and tracks down hospital-bound Zimmerman (Roger V. Burton) and a washed-up Vivian (Frances Fisher). Both of them initially deny knowing Mobley, but Vivian ultimately reveals the con to Gloria.

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Back in the motel room, the dual timelines mirror each other, as Mobley and Gloria prepare to leave town. Mobley vomits in the toilet, Gloria drops some makeup beside it, and both see the toilet manufacturer's name: Dennis Stussy with a faded "D". Back in Eden Valley, Gloria learns from her partner Donny Mashman (Mark Forward) that Maurice's fingerprints were identified, but he is dead. They are both slightly suspicious of the circumstances of his death and resume Ennis' murder investigation.


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  • The '70s: The flashbacks to the downfall of Thaddeus Mobley take place in 1975, complete with drug binges and sexual promiscuity to boot.
    Vivian: It's not a very clear time for me.
    Gloria: When?
    Vivian: The Seventies.
  • Absentee Actor: Played With. Despite a comical scene with Nathan on his school bus and the final scene at the funeral home, the entire story takes place in LA. This means that Emmit, Ray, and all characters relating to their plots are absent. However, Ewan McGregor and David Thewlis do voice over in The Missing Wyh segments of the episode.
  • Adorkable: Thaddeus Mobley starts off this way by ordering a cream soda at the bar of the Golden Planet Awards.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Downplayed. Gloria has Donny stop Nathan's whole school bus so that she can talk to her son over the phone, but he doesn't seem too embarrassed by it.
  • Breather Episode: There are no developments in the overall story other than Gloria realizing that she's investigating the wrong leads.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Officer Hunt's attempts at getting closer to Gloria are downright painful to watch.
    Hunt: Am I gettin' laid tonight or what?
    Gloria: What.
  • Catchphrase: MNSKY's "I can help," which doubles as Pokémon Speak.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The episode focuses on Gloria and her experiences in L.A.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: The cop is up front with his intentions. Gloria declines.
  • Fictional Counterpart: A newspaper clipping identifies the sci-fi award Thaddeus Mobley a.k.a. Ennis Stussy won as a "Golden Planet" but the shape of the trophy makes it pretty clear it's supposed to be a stand-in for a Hugo Award.
  • For Want of a Nail: A flashback reveals that Thaddeus Mobley took his alias, Ennis Stussy, from a stamp on a toilet reading "Dennis Stussy and Sons" with the D worn off] This saved his life at the time and also doomed him to die 35 years later and halfway across the country when he is mistaken for another "E. Stussy" and murdered.
  • I Was Quite the Looker: It's not hard to see why Thaddeus fell for Vivian back in the day. She lampshades this when Gloria comes to her diner and uses a picture of her that Thaddeus owned to claim that she must have known him.
    Vivian: Honey, you know how many walls I'm on in this town? (gestures to the same one on the wall of the diner)
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Howard Zimmerman used to believe that everyone had a purpose in the world, and that Tad's was to "provide the cheddar, then scram." When it goes beyond that, he turns into something of a cynic.
  • Mall Santa: The Santas from the convention aren't seen at any malls, but they fit the sleazy archetype to boot, seen playing cards by the poolside and one of them stealing Gloria's luggage.
  • Pokémon Speak: "I can help" appears to be the only phrase that MNSKY knows how to say.
  • Previously On…: Interestingly the only episode of the season to have one, probably because its plot deviates so far off from the central arc.
  • Recurring Extra: The man Gloria meets on the plane, played by Ray Wise, shows up twice in the story with no evident purpose other than to give her someone likable to talk to.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Gloria spends a full episode learning about her former stepfather's dark secret in California, but realizes that it has no bearing on her current investigation.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Part of Gloria and Hunt's painful bar conversation.
    Hunt: I gotta go drop the kids off at the pool.
    Gloria: You've got kids?
    Hunt: I gotta take a shit.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Downplayed. People seem confused by the excess of Santas at the hotel, but once it's explained to them, they don't seem to care.

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