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Recap / Fargo S 03 E 08 Who Rules The Land Of Denial

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After the prison bus crashes, Yuri, Meemo, and Golem attempt to get to Nikki. However, with the help of Mr. Wrench, Nikki escapes, and the two, shackled together, run into the woods. After a long pursuit, they are discovered, attacked, and wounded by Yuri and Golem, but manage to kill Golem by decapitating him with their chain. Mr. Wrench senses Yuri nearby and wounds him with an axe. After breaking their chain, Nikki and Mr. Wrench happen upon a bowling alley where Nikki meets Paul Marrane (Ray Wise). Marrane encourages her to fight the evil in the world. He tells her a car is available, and she and Mr. Wrench flee in it. Yuri reaches the same bowling alley, and Marrane confronts him with the sins of his past.

On Christmas morning, Gloria is called to the scene of the bus crime, and Varga poisons Sy, sending him into a coma. Two-and-a-half months later, Nikki and Mr. Wrench are still at large, Yuri has gone missing, Gloria has been officially demoted to deputy, and Varga has expanded Emmit's business after becoming his partner. While visiting Sy, Emmit is approached again by Gloria and Winnie, and is shocked to discover his late brother's car parked in his parking space. Further abnormalities occur when Emmit discovers all the pictures in his office have been replaced by photos of the infamous stamp, and that someone has placed a fake mustache on him while he slept. Emmit starts to feel incredibly guilty about having killed his brother and starts to believe that either Ray is still alive or Nikki is plotting revenge. Varga gives Emmit tranquilizers to calm him, which Emmit feigns taking. Later, Emmit arrives at the police station, where he announces that he has come to confess.

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  • Annoying Arrows: Zigzagged. Nikki and Mr. Wrench are each shot by at least one bolt from a crossbow and a big fuzz is made and blood is lost over the removal. But they seem little worse for wear a few scenes later.
  • Butt-Monkey: After filling this role all season, Sy's finally taken out of the game after being poisoned and made comatose by Varga.
  • Call-Back: Yuri mentions to Golem how he used to know a Helga, alluding to the opening scene of the series. The whole ordeal comes back to bite him in the ass when he comes face to face with her and the lost souls that the Cossacks murdered hundreds of years ago.
  • Casual Car Giveaway: Paul Marrane lets Nikki have his green beetle under the condition she delivered a message "to the wicked".
  • Chained Heat: Nikki and Mr. Wrench are chained together for half the episode until they find an ax.
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  • Cuteness Proximity: Nikki is a tough cookie but she softens up noticeably when a kitten is put under her nose.
  • Delayed Causality: It takes several seconds after his decapitation before Golem's head falls off his shoulders.
  • The Dragon: After serving as Co-Dragons with Yuri for the bulk of the season, Meemo becomes Varga's top henchman after his partner disappears.
  • Eldritch Location: The bowling alley. Not only is it located in the middle of nowhere, but Nikki had a strange encounter there with a man who hinted to be some kind of supernatural being. After Yuri enters the bowling alley and meets the same man, he is never seen nor heard from again.
  • Gaslighting: Emmit believes Ray and Nikky are doing this to him.
  • Genre Shift: This episode introduces outright supernatural elements into the plot, which for the entirety of the season had been grounded in reality.
  • Glass Cannon: When Yuri has Nikki and Mr. Wrench pinned down at the tree stumps with a crossbow, Golem runs at them from different angles from cover and slashing at them as he passes. When they manage to trip him with their chain, he is easily overpowered.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Nikki and Yuri both immediately go to the bar of the bowling alley and ask for something to drink.
  • Killed Offscreen: The two teenagers with their crossbow. Yuri suddenly appears behind them. Then the scene cuts away to show Yuri in possession of the crossbow.
  • Magical Realism: This is the first episode of the whole show to rely heavily on outright supernatural plot elements, including Paul's reappearance at the bowling alley and Yuri's disappearance at the hands of the supposed spirits of the deceased.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Yuri walks into the bowling alley with a recently chopped off ear and nonchalantly asks for napkins. And vodka.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Yuri.
  • Match Cut: There is a smooth transition between scenes when the camera focuses on Sy's face in the hospital bed.
  • Off with His Head!: Nikki and Wrench finally break their chains by pinning Golem to a tree stump and slicing his head off with them.
  • Reality Ensues: Walking around the woods wearing a wolf's head and pelt as a hat is an excellent way to get yourself shot by hunters.
  • Reincarnation: Paul Marrane talks about this, and implies to Nikki that Ray was reincarnated in the body of a kitten.
  • Run for the Border: Varga assumes Nikki would have gone to Canada.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The scene where Meemo chases after an innocent couple who witnesses the bus scene is a direct shout out to the original movie.
    • Nikki sitting at the bar in the bowling alley and someone speaking to her about philosophy is very reminiscent of the final scene of The Big Lebowski
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Mr. Wrench flings his wood ax into the shadows and manages to clip Yuri, taking him out of the fight.
  • Time-Passage Beard: The beard Sy sports after the Match Cut in the hospital bed clues us in on the Time Skip that occurred.
  • Time Skip: The episode jumps straight from Christmas Day 2010 to March 2011.
  • Uncertain Doom: The last we see of Yuri, he's been confronted with his crimes by Paul Marrane who has an almost supernatural knowledge of who he is and what he's done. Yuri seems frightened, and Emmit says after the Time Skip that he disappeared. Whatever Paul did to him probably wasn't good.
  • Unexpected Character: Of all the characters one could have expected Nikki and Mr. Wrench to run into, seemly one-off Paul Marrane wasn't on anyone's list.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The bartender at the bowling alley doesn't seem to notice Nikki's sorry state, and later he doesn't bat an eye when Yuri arrives covered in blood and missing an ear. Probably because the bowling alley is an Eldritch Location.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: This is only Golem's second episode, and he dies towards the beginning.
  • Worst Aid: Mr Wrench removing the arrow from Nikki's leg.

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