After a quick jaunt to Symbolismwood last week we are back in the pillowy white confines of Minnesota.
The plot barrells forward in this one and some old friends stop by to tell us a story.
The Narrow Escape Problem is a biological complication where a larger particle is confined by a reflective boundary, except for a small window through which to exit. The problem itself pertains to calculating the mean escape time. The longer the particle waits, the harder it is to escape. Like marriage!
Let’s stop yappin’ and get to the action.
1) Peter and the Wolf
Hey, Billy Bob Thornton is back to give us our Symbolism of the Week - this time it’s mapping “Peter and the Wolf” over our major players. The comparisons aren’t quite 1:1 but like everything else on this show it’s close enough and charming enough that it’s forgivable.
If they are spot on then VM Varga is going to spend an episode eating Ray. But we know that’s not gonna happen because…
2) Bulimia is a problem that affects everyone.
Well, now we know why his teeth look like he found them in an abandoned cave.
Varga’s bulimia ties in to his whole modus operandi - leave no evidence that you were ever in a place. That includes the stomach.
He’s untraceable. He’s also unlikable but that is a problem for another therapist.
(but for real if you or someone you know is affected by bulimia and want help please reach out to specialists like the National Eating Disorder Association today)
3) “Get the man a cream soda for shit’s sake. Geez!”
Ray walking a mile in Emmit’s hair lets him get a glimpse of the way people above his social level operate. McGregor’s turn from Ray-playing-Emmit to Ray-as-Emmit is slight but shifts the power dynamic in the room from uneasy to controlled.
It’s liberating to watch him take control of a situation after sitting sidecar for most of the season. But we also know he’s a doof so this is bound to end badly.
I’m gonna miss Ray’s mustache though.
4) Safety Deposit Barks
Oh no don’t don’t don’t–
DAMMIT RAY THIS IS WHY YOU CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.
Because if those nice things are filled with the cremains of a dog you’re gonna taste them.
You think your brother, the Parking Lot King of Minnesota, is going around licking dead dogs? NO!
Think about that next time you think he’s in a better place just because of a stamp.
5) Three Sides To Every Story
This season is dealing with a lot of themes of duality this season. Let’s see how we can unpack Yuri’s speech about the different kinds of truth:
Pravda - man’s truth - what man chooses to see in the world. Your Emmits, Sheriff Moe Dammiks, and Buck Olanders. They don’t want to upset the apple cart too much because it might make them question their perception of the world.
Istina - God’s truth - what is objectively true in the world. These are your Glorias and now, your Winnies. They take in all the information, sort and process, and create order out of the chaos that perception develops.
Nepravda - untruth, or the truth according to the person in charge. This is the sticky kind of truth in which VM Varga deals. Later on he’ll wield this in Emmit’s study as he lures him to the dark side. Varga operates in the shadows, a puppet master pulling strings to make his perceptions reality.
For a guy who throws old men off of parking structures Yuri has some based knowledge.
6) Notice me Senpai!
When Nikki and Gloria cross paths for the first time Nikki looks at the camera.
In that moment I realized: THIS is the showdown I want to see this season.
7) “You wouldn’t happen to have a putter-inner by chance?”
And with that amazing piece of dialogue we meet Winnie Lopez, who looks to be a major player in this mystery.
Welcome to Fargo, Winnie Lopez. Hope you survive the experience!
Oh Ray, you are DEFINITELY screwed.
9) Don’t bang the cattle
I’m happy Ray isn’t in the parole office if it means we don’t have to see any more of Scotty the cereal slurping red pill neckbeard.
“There’s probably broken glass down there” is the midwest equivalent of “women are bitches because they won’t bang me.”
10) Sy Is A Dick
Oh look who’s here to gloat! And in the vehicle he used to ASSAULT the best character on the show–
CORVETTE! You’re ok! And you got new boots!
11) Justice, Like Lopez…
I knew I liked Winnie Lopez. Squirm, Sy, squirm.
Michael Stuhlbarg is great in a very uncomfortable-to-watch scene. He speaks in a high pitch the entire time, he won’t stop fidgeting, he doesn’t even take off his coat. He’s freaking out about the possibilities of danger from the police and from Varga’s men, wolves right outside the wall.
Sy is definitely the grandfather from “Peter and the Wolf.”
12) It’s his bellweather.
Ray no shows the Lurdsman meeting to hang out with his cool box of stuff. We don’t get closure on this scene this week but damn if this betrayal isn’t going to cause some problems down the line.
I mean, we all know a high roller like Burt Lurdsman was gonna smell a messed-up chi on someone like Ray from a mile away but still.
The key to Nikki this season has been that, I believe, she truly does love Ray. She’s a femme fatale in action but she has real heart. She’s shown that she’s willing to go to any lengths to accomplish her goals and the person closest to her just derailed what she thought was going to be the next major step in her vision.
Ray doesn’t need to worry about Emmit or Varga or the police. He needs to watch out for Nikki.
13) You’ve no idea what ‘rich’ means.
Varga wants to be partner in Stussy Lots. His worldview and mission statement call back to nepravda. He paints a future where refugees wielding pitchforks are coming to take the money and the only way to exist amongst the sheep is to look and operate like them.
He’s preying on the fear that everyone that ever has two pennies to rub together seems to develop - that someone else wants what is yours. It’s a deal with the devil he offers Emmit in the most overt moment of the season.
Emmit is a small man playing at living a large life. He’s driven by fear of being exposed. When was the last time someone had a talk with Ewan McGregor about fear?
Perhaps ignoring the prequels wasn’t such a great idea after all?
14) Bridge Partners
Forty percent into the story and everyone finally has a seat at the table and a partner.
Ray and Nikki, together, representing pravda.
Gloria finally has her tag team partner in Winnie, who both represent istina.
And breathing stomach acid and used cigarette butts is Varga and his boys, representing nepravda.
Say, how was Winnie made aware of Gloria in the bathroom anyhow? Oh, right, because none of the automatic sensors on the soap or the faucets of hand dryers would work.
Turns out that WAS a thing!
(please know that I shout “Was that a thing?” at my laptop eight or nine times an episode)
15) Did Anyone Else Hear A Drum When Gloria Met Ray And Thought About Yuri Being The Shotgun Blast?
Peter and the Wolf
Galactic - You Don’t Know
We’ll be back next week, which will look a little something like this:
Officer Lopez and the gang will be waiting for you there.