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Recap / Fargo S 03 E 09 Aporia

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Meemo kills Marvin Stussy, a dentist in St. Cloud, in the same manner as Ray. Emmit is interviewed by Gloria and talks freely about his having manipulated Ray to take the Corvette instead of the stamps upon their father's death as well as confesses to having accidentally killed Ray. Varga instructs Meemo to infiltrate the police station to get Emmit out. However, while Meemo is on the way, Nikki and Mr. Wrench ambush and commandeer his truck using a fake grenade, and they steal financial information from the remote office inside to blackmail Varga for $2 million.

Winnie alerts Gloria to the coincidental last name of the earlier assassination victim. Meanwhile, Meemo killls one George Stussy by suffocating him in his kitchen, nose and lips glued like Ennis' were. A hired patsy of Varga's, Donald Woo, is picked up for the murders and deliberately takes the fall, admitting to having committed all four. Ruby, when interviewed at the station by Gloria about her dinner with Sy and Emmit, is vague about the details. The interview is interrupted by Moe Dammik's arrest of Woo, closing the case and resulting in Emmit's release, whose confession Dammik dismisses as Emmit's guilt about his "loser" brother.


Varga meets with Nikki, and in order to get out of the blackmailing he repeatedly attempts to both poison and to hire her, but she refuses his tea and his job offer. Wrench neutralizes Varga's sniper, Meemo, and Nikki gives Varga 24 hours to pay her ransom or she'll send his and Emmit's financials to the IRS.

Gloria reveals the other Stussy murders to a shocked Emmit and confronts him about Varga's control of the events. Meemo and Varga pick up Emmit when he is released. Grabbing drinks together, Winnie reassures a disheartened Gloria. IRS agent Larue Dollard (Hamish Linklater) finds in his office a seemingly anonymous package containing the Stussy Lots financials.



  • #1 Dime: Emmit lampshades this trope during his confession where he mentions that he sold all of his father's stamps but one which he kept on the wall. This parallels Stavros in series one keeping the red ice scraper on display in his office.
    Emmit: I kept the two-cent, hung it on the wall of my study. Like it was my first dollar I ever made.
  • Beneath Notice: This is invoked by Varga who dresses and behaves in a way that people assume that he is a middle management drone and thus pay him no attention until it is too late. This trips up Nikki who is savvy enough to see what Varga really is but fails to realize how the average person might perceive him. She has an Oh, Crap! moment when she realizes that Varga could kill her in a public place and witnesses would likely fail to notice that Varga was present.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: One of the Stussy victim's blood dissolves in milk poured on the floor.
  • Call-Back: When testing the widow Goldfarb's alibi, Gloria recounts that she'd reported Emmit a half hour late to their meeting back when it happened, as opposed to five minutes late that she claims three months later. This is to establish that the Time Skip serves as a device to obscure certain details of the crimes that happened at the beginning of the season.
  • The Chessmaster: While Varga's been manipulating the variables that have kept the season's conflict going forward, Nikki manages to outwit him in the hotel lobby, crediting Bridge strategy as her way of doing so. Despite this, Varga is still on top of the police and Emmit.
  • Continuity Nod: Gloria confides in Winnie that she feels like the android MNSKY from The Planet Wyh.
  • Control Freak: Varga's previous antics always suggested this, but this episode shows how fragile his composure actually is when his control gets threatened.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Nikki looks taken aback when Varga tells her it was actually Emmit who murdered Ray. But then, she points out that while that might be true, Emmit didn't try to kill her in a jail cell, nor did he cause the bus crash.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Varga falls to this trope when he gets too arrogant in his dealings with Nikki and fails to do the criminal arithmetic that would let him realize that she has to have at least one accomplice.
  • Genius Bonus: The episode's title "Aporia" is ancient Greek and means: "impasse, difficult of Passing, lack of resources, puzzlement", denotes in philosophy a philosophical puzzle or state of puzzlement and in rhetoric a rhetorically useful expression of doubt. It refers to Emmit's situation with Varga, by selling his soul to the Devil himself.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Gloria tells Emmit that she and Roy married right out of high school.
  • Ignored Confession: Emmit's murder confession has no weight after a scapegoat with a False Confession and lots of evidence shows up.
  • Invented Individual: Turns out there are no higher-ups at Narwhal. Varga is the boss.
    • Varga has Meemo kill two people with the last name Stussy using M.O.s identical to the deaths of Ennis and Ray to create the illusion of a very unusual serial killer, and has a patsy take the fall and "confess" to all four crimes.
  • It's Personal: Nikki makes it clear to Varga that she's not interested in money, she simply wants to hurt him.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Meemo has one when he thinks a grenade's been thrown into the cab of the truck he's driving.
    • Varga has this reaction when he sees Meemo, who had just gone off to do a job, return to the Stussy Lots offices looking flustered.
    • Nikki has a small one when it looks like Varga's gained the upper hand by filling the hotel lobby with people who have dressed just like him.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Varga's facade cracks quite noticeably in this episode as his Control Freak nature gets tested.
  • Orgy of Evidence: We are told the Silent Scapegoat had evidence from all four crime scenes in his trunk. How thoughtless of him.
  • Out-Gambitted: Varga's ignorance of Nikki's partnership with Mr. Wrench lets the latter get the drop on him and Meemo.
  • Post-Stress Overeating: When Nikki's got Varga stuck between a rock and a hard place, he resorts to aggressively eating a tub of ice cream on the toilet.
  • Power Walk: Nikki and Mr. Wrench walk away from their meeting with Varga with confidence and in slow motion.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: Varga has Meemo kill two men named Stussy in St. Cloud and Eden Valley in ways that mimic the deaths of Ennis and Ray. He does this to make it seem like all four were killed by a very unusual serial killer and does so to neutralize Emmit's confession of Ray's death. He goes as far as securing a willing patsy who confesses to the whole thing.
  • Shout-Out: When Nikki and Varga meet, she tells him that she loved him in Death Of A Salesman.
  • Silent Scapegoat: Varga found a random guy to confess to all four Stussy murders and spend the rest of his life in prison.
  • Slashed Throat: One of the new Stussy victims is killed this way.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Discussed. When Emmit is told he is free to go, he protests that he doesn't want to be treated differently just because he is rich.
  • We Can Rule Together: Varga offers Nikki a position in his company. She declines.
  • Wicked Cultured: This episode reveals that Meemo is listening to classical piano music on his headphones.


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