There is no law of inevitability, despite the title of this episode of Fargo. There is, however, common sense. Every rock you roll up a hill is going to roll down the other side of the hill eventually. That’s where we are this season: the inevitable downhill roll when actions beget reactions and the big comeuppance comes for the bad guys.
Open on Christmastime at the Stussy mansion. There’s a stuffed bear, there are Christmas lights galore, and there is V.M. Varga (David Thewlis) with a knife opening presents as if he’s been a good little boy. (Shout out to Ray (Ewan McGregor) for getting Stella (Linda Dash) a bottle of Jo Malone perfume, something I also became obsessed with in 2010.) In the meantime, Officers Burgle (Carrie Coon) and Lopez (Olivia Sandoval) are finding a present of their own: Ray Stussy’s (Ewan McGregor) dead and bloated corpse.
Nikki (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) may have dogged Meemo (Andy Yu), but she doesn’t dodge the long arm of the law. The cops find it incredibly easy to locate her, although it’s unclear how they do that so quickly since she’s in a motel that she carefully insisted Ray pay for in cash. The Fargo universe has good guys who are just as omnipotent as they are competent, often, so whatever. She lands in jail, talking to Sheriff Dammik (Shea Whigham), who has her pegged as an abused woman at Ray’s hands given all those bruises covering her body and their relationship as parole officer and parolee. He hasn’t listened to Burgle yet, and he’s not going to start now. When she presents Dammik and his superior with her theory, a.k.a. the actual version of events so far, they blow her off. Lopez is sent back to traffic duty, but Burgle charges her with finding Emmit instead and breaking the news that his brother is dead. Dammik (Ever notice how close that name is to dammit? I do every time I mistype it.) even insists she go on leave over the holidays, until her office transfers under his purview. She wishes him happy holidays and promptly goes to talk her way into seeing Nikki. The need to fill out forms in triplicate with permissions slows her down but does not stop her. She somehow pulls a hero move (or does all the paperwork) and gets in to see Nikki just in time to find her handcuffed with a dude dressed as an officer (played by the always creepy DJ Qualls) who plans to kill her. It has all the suspense of Oz without quite as much actual violence, and I thank Officer Burgle for that.
Dammik and some officers burst in on it and…do not believe Burgle. Is this shit for real? They’re holding her in place when she points out there are cameras, and they can just watch the tape. She doesn’t even work in this office, and these dipshits don’t know that already? Again, we are wading through epic levels of infuriating bullshit. At least now they’re a little more willing to believe she may be on to something with her theory and let her talk to Nikki. While Dammik is throwing daggers, Burgle tries a little sweetness and gets through to Nikki. Coconut pie: solid choice.
Donny Mashman (Mark Forward), Burgle’s deputy, gets called to the library, but before he can get out, he has a disturbing run-in with Yuri (Goran Bogdan). Apparently, Vargas sent him to Eden Valley to fuck with the local po-po now that they know Nikki and Ray have a tail. The mind games here, though, are next level thriller. Yuri leaves behind the reports he was reading, which happen to be Ennis Stussy’s case files. That’s a message for Burgle, but I don’t think his intimidation will work on her. I’m a little worried his brutality may.
While all this is happening, Emmit and Sy (Michael Stuhlbarg) are having dinner with Mrs. Goldfarb (Mary McDonnell). She’s feeling out buying them, but Emmit is acting crazy, from the moment he sits down and talks about buying her out to the uncomfortable conversation about his sex tape and wealth. When he tells her, “Don’t blame money, it’s people…,” is the moment I realize he’s a lost cause. This guy stabbed his brother in the neck mere hours ago and this is where his mind is? His whole scene only gets weirder when Lopez shows up to deliver the news about Ray, but before she does, he’s offering up and alibi and suggesting they investigate Nikki. Total Captain Obvious move. He then accuses Sy of working with Ray, because he’s way out of his mind with the crap Varga has been feeding him and the betrayal he feels from his brother. The heart to heart that inspires leaves me not inspired that Emmit is going to make the right choice, which would be any choice that moves him further away from Vargas.
The episode ends with a gorgeous shot of Nikki being transported to jail, to in theory be in protective custody, in a midnight blue bus with a bunch of male criminals. Yuri and Meemo show up, flip the bus, and begin breaking through the various locks to get to her. We leave her passed out and handcuffed in the bus but not yet in their claws. My money is on Nikki waking up before they get to her and fighting for her life. After that last run-in with Yuri, there’s no way she’s going to quietly do a single thing that he wants.