American Horror Story – Season 7, Episode 6: “Mid-Western Assassin”

FX’s American Horror Story
Season 7, Episode 6: “Mid-Western Assassin”
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by Todd Kubrak

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Holes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 12.57.46 AMAmerica for Americans,” screams Kai Anderson (Evan Peters). “We are the Wall!” his crowd chants. Then a gunshot breaks the celebration. Ivy Mayfair-Richards (Alison Pill) starts running, Harrison Wilton (Billy Eichner) telling her to go. She stops as a police presence walks onto the courtyard.
The shooter is Ally Mayfair-Richards (Sarah Paulson). And on the stage, Kai lies unconscious. Or dead? Oh, we’ll see.
Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 12.58.33 AMCut back to Ally inside her home, Meadow (Leslie Grossman) outside telling her about the cult, that even Ally’s wife is involved, her husband. This surely will make the woman’s paranoia go through the roof, as if it weren’t already. She gets a call from Dr. Rudy Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson), saying that Ivy’d called him, they’re worried.
Ally goes across the street, where Harrison and Dt. Jack Samuels (Colton Haynes) are banging. She gets into the garage where Meadow’s hidden, amongst the barrels. She unties the poor wife. Only Meadow makes noise, alerting the men. They manage to get across the street to Ally’s car and speed off. They go to the Butchery, where the alarm’s going off. Why would they go there? Not that Ally’s one to think straight. Although if they go to the cops, they’ll just think she’s insane, plus there’s Dt. Samuels in the mix. So, it does make sense, I guess. And she’s also worried about Oz.
Now, Ally says: “Convince me.” She wants more proof. Meadow tells her intimate details about the cult’s plans. The trucks, that were just holding water. The dead birds, killed via poisoned feeders. All to drive people further into fear. Particularly those who don’t believe in much to begin with, because “if you already believed in something there wouldnt be room for him.” As in Kai, the all powerful cult leader.
Meadow discusses her love for him. Whereas Harrison was her friend, not a true husband, she felt Kai cared for her. He fostered her interests, made her feel special. Just like Manson did with his various women, just as many enigmatic leaders appealed to their followers throughout history. In a way, it liberated her. Of course, all liberation requires violence.
One day, however, Meadow discovered she wasn’t special, that it was all just rhetoric in order to lure her in; she witnesses Kai tell Ivy all the same things. But once you’re in with the cult, you can’t just walk back out. This made her lash out. Followed by retribution for her rebellion. Suddenly Kai ain’t so sweet and nurturing.
All this leads to her being saved when Ally showed up after she got tossed in that grave. The only way forward? Kill Kai.
Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 1.09.55 AMSkip to April 2017, at a city council debate. Kai’s grandstanding about the federal government, local change. Blah, blah, blah. “The boogeyman” nomenclature followed by his rant about illegals, Satanic murder, the fake news he’s been creating himself. A woman named Sally Keffler (Mare Winningham) challenges him, believing he’s, essentially, full of shit. She gives it to him in front of everybody, and quite truthfully. Afterwards, she declares a write-in candidacy for council, too. This does not bode well for her.
Sally: “People like Mr. Anderson and Trump are not the garbage, they are the flies that the garbage has drawn.”
Day after the election. Ivy meets with Winter (Billie Lourd) about their having left Gary Longstreet (Chaz Bono) to a grisly fate, the bloody hand, all that. So Winter takes her to Kai. He chastises her for having done what she did, trying to prevent Gary from exercising his voting rights as a “redblooded American.” They sit down and play the pinky truth game. She admits difficult truths.
This takes us into the history of the Mayfair-Richards clan. Ally was the one to deliver Oz, to breastfeed. This drove a wedge between them, how she seemed to lord the fact of her physical motherhood over Ivy in subtle ways, the resentment because of it. Kai delves deep to the core, uncovering honesty even where it feels revolting to the teller. Thus begins the process of driving Ally insane, so that Ivy can secure custody of Oz.
Back to current affairs. Ally’s gone to the wrong person: Dr. Vincent. She’s also left Meadow there alone. Elsewhere, at home, Ms. Keffler pours a drink and relaxes, as she hears banging at her door. It’s Ally, who saw her on TV. Sally lets her in after a moment, hearing her out. They talk about the “modern day Charles Manson” corroding their city. It all sounds mental, naturally. But the woman understands how this type of thing occurs when the “patriarchys threatened.” She has very definite, intelligent ideas about men, how the gender goes horribly wrong.
But they’re fast intruded upon by the clown cult. Sally goes for her gun while Ally runs. They manage to subdue Ms. Keffler, and then Kai reveals himself. He rants against the “overeducated elites” before sitting down to her open Facebook. He posts a status in his insane worldview voice. All leading to a supposed suicide.
Kai: “Knowing stuff has no value anymore
Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 1.31.48 AMWhen the suicide’s faked, they still have Ally left upstairs. She’s found by the elephant mask wearing clown. She wonders if it’s Ivy, and then she’s left alive. Oh, yes. This gives Ally the time to get back to Dr. Vincent. Except Meadow’s not there, doc says she left. Hmm. He claims there was nothing said about a cult, faking concern, as usual. She shakes him and his bullshit off.
Now we’re back at the beginning, the rally with Kai onstage. He even throws shade at Sally, for abandoning the people. What a pig. Just like his big orange papa. Ally watches nearby, she also sees Meadow in the crowd heading for the stage.
And it’s in fact Meadow who pulls the trigger on Kai. She fires on several people, as Ally pleads with her to stop, grabbing for the gun. Meadow puts a bullet in her own mouth after telling her: “This is the face of true love.”
This is how Ally’s left holding the gun in front of police, no one left to corroborate her story. Likewise, we discover it was all a twisted plan from Kai, using the love Meadow felt for him to elevate him onto a national platform. He enacts his own failed assassination using the power he holds over her.
Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 1.38.35 AMWow. My favourite episode of American Horror Story yet, as in out of the entire series. This just cuts to the true heart of what the title speaks to, this might be the biggest horror story of all in America, the sociopolitical landscape of the country in 2017. So much going on here. Loved Sally’s bit on the patriarchy, it’s so true, so relevant.
“Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag” is next! Some people hate Lena Dunham, I don’t. If you want to argue, go somewhere else. Because I’m here for this next one. Gimme some Warhol cultish madness.

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American Horror Story – Season 7, Episode 4: “11/9”

FX’s American Horror Story
Season 7
Episode 4: “11/9”
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Written by John J. Gray

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Neighbors from the Hell” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Holes” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.17.23 AMJump back to Election Night, November 8th, 2016. Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) reports on the early polls, the spirit of the crowds. Then we’re introduced to Serena Belinda (Emma Roberts), someone Beverly’s clearly got no time for, and may give her the green-eyed monster. Outside people chant, Winter Anderson (Billie Lourd) proclaims “Down with the patriarchy.” Ivy and Ally Mayfair-Richards (Alison Pill & Sarah Paulson) head inside to cast their votes, the former making sure there’s no “funny business” from her partner like a Jill Stein protest vote, which we already know she cast. Everybody goes into the booth, marking their respective votes. Meadow Wilton (Lesie Grossman) writes in OPRAH.
We also see Gary Longstreet (Chaz Bono) being dragged in by Kai Anderson (Evan Peters). Gary’s bleeding; remember that wound we saw him with earlier in the grocery store where he works?
Welcome to Trumps America, motherfuckers!” Gary yells before returning his ballot.
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.19.35 AMA day after the election, Kai meets Harrison Wilton (Billy Eichner), his new trainer at the gym. They talk about what “flavour of gay” Harrison is, Kai says he doesn’t care about “leftist” labels. He’s a Plato guy, for the greater good of the community, the state. He says he’s a computer, works in coding. He doesn’t care about money; my guess is, he’s into power. He finds out more about Harrison, how they make him, because he’s gay, go in and hose down the loads in the steam room after guys beat off in there. This – a weak spot – is how cult leaders like Kai operate, they find that spot, then they work their way inside.
Before going home, Harrison finds Kai jerking off in the shower, so he watches for a minute. The beginning of a scary relationship. At the house, he and wife Meadow deal with the immediate foreclosure of their home, their eviction, which she’s been keeping secret. However, there are many other problems in their relationship, too. Least of which is the fact he’s not even straight.
When Harrison starts trying to give Kai the corporate bullshit, out of fear he’ll lose his job if he doesn’t produce at work, the latter of the two cuts him off. He tells him about the house, his money woes, which further brings out the cult leader in the young man: “Pain is essential, just like anger is.” His grandiose speeches prompt Harrison to go hard at his boss, spraying him with cleaning chemicals then crushing his larynx with a barbell. Then, of course, he’s got to finish killing the guy.
Afterwards, Harrison freaks out. We start seeing Kai work his magic, taking care of his new follower. Best of all, he’s a computer guy, he surely knows exactly what he’s doing, and that makes him even scarier than before. He has power, in his words, and in his digital capabilities/reach. Like Charles Manson for the digital age. That night, Meadow walks in on her husband, Kai coaxing him along, sawing apart his boss in the bathtub.
Kai: “You’re a part of something bigly
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.28.32 AMScreen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.40.59 AMKai starts digging into reporter Beverly Hope. She once reported on an accident where a man pulled a similar event to FHRITP, which happened over and over. Eventually, she kicked the shit out of a skateboarder and lost her shit. Like you can guess, it was remixed across the internet and she became a meme, a joke. Enough to drive anybody insane. So, is this another person for our cult leader to find? Will Serena Belinda become a target for her rage?
Speaking of Serena, she’s essentially sleeping with their boss, Bob (Dermot Mulroney). She was the one who reported on Beverly going into a mental hospital after her incident, as well. An aggravating situation to work in. Hard enough being a woman, she’s a black woman in a white male dominated business.
Finally, Kai comes to her. They talk together. He speaks what she wants to hear; needs to, maybe. He speaks more about fear and “weaponising” it. More than that we find out he served in the Armed Forces, went to Iraq. Claims he studied political science and feminist studies, too. Not so sure I believe him.
Serena’s taping a story, doing her best to pretend she’s personable and not a real bitch. From behind her approaches someone in a clown mask. Several clowns approach; the gang. Not long until she and her cameraman are stabbed, hacked to bloody death.
Meanwhile, the Wiltons are getting to know Kai better. Then Beverly shows up, wondering if it was him who sent the violence for Serena. He admits, wholehearted. As if we didn’t know already, this is confirmation he’s the ringleader of the clowns, they are Kai’s cult. And now, he has a die hard follower in Ms. Hope.
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.54.41 AMThe Mayfair-Richards’ are arguing, the day before election. Ivy is more active, whereas Ally is passive, like many, believing there’s no way a “reality TV” guy like Trump could secure the White House. Yet, we all know what’s happened. Out at a rally, Ivy experiences firsthand all the nonsense, even gets sexually assaulted by Gary, who pulls a Donald and grabs her by the pussy. Winter jumps in, defending her, and running him off. This is where we first witness Winter infiltrate their lives. Ivy takes her to the Butchery on Main, they have a coffee, chat. They bond over battling the patriarchy, getting closer.
After that we cut to Gary at the grocery store, excited for his chance to restore America to its supposed former glory, y’know, before a black guy took over. When he’s closing down, he finds Winter in an aisle, Ivy, too. They knock him out., then tie him up, leaving him by himself chained to a pipe so he won’t get to cast that all important vote.
Winter goes home and tells Kai what happened. Then he goes to see Gary, a saw in hand. Suggesting the only way out in time is to use it; you know where. For the privilege of voting, like so many red blooded Americans, Gary is willing to saw off his forearm. All the while the leader watches his pupil.
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 2.09.35 AMOne of the best episodes, if not THE best episode yet. Peters is so magnetic, this is some of his better work on American Horror Story. Every season he gets the chance to do something different, he has incredible range. Can’t wait for more, as well as more of Adina Porter, she is the business.
“Holes” comes next week. Gimme more intense spookiness. NOW!

American Horror Story – Season 7, Episode 2: “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”

FX’s American Horror Story
Season 7, Episode 2: “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”
Directed by Liza Johnson
Written by Tim Minear

* For a recap & review of the Season 7 premiere, “Election Night” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Neighbors from the Hell” – click here
Pic 1Ally Mayfair-Richards (Sarah Paulson) wakes to the terrifying clown with dick noses on its face in her bed. She rushes to her wife Ivy (Alison Pill) who wants to call the police, but convinces her to grab a knife instead. Anyone wonder if perhaps the wife’s in on the psychological torment? Crossed my mind. Right now, Ivy’s right alongside Ally as they check upstairs, finding no evidence of any clowns. Further making her look insane to everyone else. Worse, Ally’s continually questioning her own mental health, spiralling into a deep, dark place.
But those clowns are most certainly real. Young Oz (Cooper Dodson) knows this all too well. Having seen the clowns kill the people across the street. And now he’s being taunted by them in his own home. Or is he? Twisty (John Carroll Lynch) appears in his bedroom. Then the creepy clown from mom’s bed arrives. Not only are Ally and Oz kept in the dark as to what’s genuinely real, as is the viewer.
The moms find their boy having a nightmare. Although we know at least part of the nightmare is influenced by the real clown he saw. A terrifying mix of the comic he’s reading and the eeriness Winter Anderson (Billie Lourd) let him witness. Poor kid. Poor mom, too.
Pic 1ANow we’re seeing that video of Kai Anderson (Evan Peters) being used out of context, without his racist singing and piss balloon. Used for political purposes. A press conference sees Kai talking about the “PC police” who were trying to hold down President Trump before his election. Furthermore, Mr. Chang who was murdered recently leaves a vacant seat on the city council. A spot Mr. Anderson is running for, hoping to win.
Meanwhile, across the way from Ally a couple having things delivered in large, blue barrels, stored in the garage. This house belongs to the Wiltons now, formerly that of the Changs before they were slaughtered – Harrison (Billy Eichner) and Meadow (Leslie Grossman), concerned citizens we also see in clips on the news re: Kai. Plus, turns out they’re only married on paper. Harrison’s gay, he gets a bit of free time now and then to go bang guys.
At the Butchery on Main, Ally has to deal with her own immigration issues. One of the staff, Roger (Zack Ward), takes issue with an employee named Pedro, who speaks Spanish when he wants everyone speaking English. Everywhere, even at her own business, she finds you can never go too far in American without tripping over a xenophobe or a racist.
Back at home, Oz is being manipulated further by Ms. Winnie. She plays the pinky game with the kid, just as Kai did with her. While this is an expected scene, nothing out of the ordinary for where this plot seems headed, there’s more to it: this is how cults work. The leader – such as Kai – doesn’t have to go out and pull people into the fear he craves, he indoctrinates one, who indoctrinates the next, so on, and so on.
Moreover, Winnie’s using anything she can from Oz to turn the family’s life into a living hell: “Youre going to give me your fear, Oz. Im going to keep it for you.”
Pic 2When Winnie leaves Oz at the neighbors’ place this freaks his parents out. They rush over, to find him in glee watching Harrison do a bit of beekeeping. Once Ally sees the honeycomb, the holes in it making her phobia throb, she nearly passes out. But it’s only a passing moment. You can imagine what sort of madness THAT is going to involve Ally in eventually.
And Harrison’s into bees because “every single member of the hive is completely committed 100% to a singular task.” Just the same as a cult. A wonderful, morbid visual metaphor.
An alarm goes off at the Butchery. Oz would rather be home alone with Ivy, so Ally heads down to shut it off and check the place out. Yeah, that’s smart. She’s trying to pull her weight, though; makes sense. Still, as the place goes quiet, the darkness stretching out, we can already feel terror coming. What does she see in the meat locker? A dead Roger on a meathook.
Naturally traumatic. Ally gets a visit from Dr. Rudy Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson). She’s missing appointments. We also see the full events of the meat locker: Roger was still alive, but when tried helping he only sank further onto the hook. Nasty. When Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) turns up, he’s only concerned with the “usual suspects” like Pedro, wanting to know about immigration status, et cetera. He also appears to have contempt for the lesbian couple.
After all this, the Wiltons insist a gun is the only way Ally will feel safe again. Even throws in the ‘Obama was going to steal our guns’ line crazy right-wingers use, that we now know (and many of us knew then) was utter horse shit. No offence to her, it’s just not a hot idea for Ally to have a gun. Something bad can and will likely happen.
Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 1.30.16 AMSuddenly, Kai turns up on the Mayfair-Richards doorstep. Ally comes to the door, listening to his nonsense about hoping to get elected. “You need to give a humiliated man some way to redeem himself in his own eyes or else hes at risk of being drawn into darkness,” he tells her. Before pontificating more that this was how things were before the Nazis took over. As if to excuse their actions. Much like a lot of shitposting right-wing dummies on the internet do in arguments when they have nothing in their heads. He keeps playing on fear, trying to terrorise her subtly. At least for now.
Kai: “Its so easy until its you theyre coming for
Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 1.41.08 AMWinnie keeps worming into the Mayfair-Richards’ inner workings, manipulating not only Oz but Ally, as well. She draws the mother a nice bath, suggesting a glass of red wine to relax. Ah, what a perfect nanny, right? She’s already playing a bit of the seduction game, maybe setting up a hopeful moment of infidelity to further drive a wedge between the wives. Things get… touchy, in the tub.
Before anything gets too sensual, the lights go out. A clown enters Oz’s room, though tells him it’s only a dream. Harrison runs over claiming the power outage is across several states, that it’s terrorism, saying there’ll be riots and who knows what else. Real? Or the perfect way to send a multi-phobic woman into a fit of madness?
Sure enough, the clown-mobile pulls up. Quickly, they’re in the house, the power’s been cut from inside. Ally gets to her gun, then to Oz. They move for the back door. When she opens it, she sees somebody and fires out of fright. Is it Pedro? Who is it?
No matter. They’re definitely dead.
Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 1.54.57 AMOh, SHIT! Really loved the follow-up, especially considering they didn’t do more weird, sexual clown stuff like the first. While that was super creepy, American Horror Story can be better than that. And they are in this episode. Dig it. Starting to get very eerie, can’t wait for more Kai.
“Neighbors from the Hell” is next week.

American Horror Story – Cult, Episode 1: “Election Night”

FX’s American Horror Story
Season 7, Episode 1: “Election Night”
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy

* For a recap & review of Season 6 My Roanoke Nightmare episodes, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” – click here
Pic 1We start with clips of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump leading up to the U.S. Election 2016. Including violent events at rallies and protests, clips of the Donald talking about his wall, the Rust Belt, and Hillary fighting back.
Cut to Kai Anderson (Evan Peters) praying in front of the television as the election’s being announced: “The revolution has begun.” He chants USA happily, his hair died blue like part of the American flag, humping the TV. Across town are Ally Mayfair-Richards (Sarah Paulson) and her friends, she literally weeps as the announcement is made while her wife Ivy (Alison Pill) consoles her.
We can tell already just by Kai’s dungeon-like basement, his near worship of the events transpiring, he’s going to be trouble. Afterwards, he blends up a load of cheesies and impersonates his hero in the mirror, complete with the little finger symbol.
And what is wrong with CNN for not giving us a trigger warning before they announce the results. I just, I dont know whats real anymore. She was supposed to win.”
Satire of both left and right is alive and well! Can’t fault Ryan Murphy & Co. for being one-sided, already giving it hard to the liberals, too. We see Winter Anderson (Billie Lourd) lamenting the election results. Kai shows up, Cheeto-faced and Trumpified. Perhaps he’s not so much a Trump fan as he is an anarchist, seeing this new Trumpmerica as an opportunity, to further instil fear in those who are now living afraid in the era of the Orange Menace. We’ll see.
Pic 1AOh, a callback to Season 4 Freak Show! Two people hump out near the lake. They joke about Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch). All of a sudden he shows up. Of course the guy pulls a gun, putting a bullet into the clown. Nothing works. Then, Twisty has his murderous fun, killing the guy, chasing the girl. Soon, he’s back at his old bus, the place is a little grown over with weeds, but still the same ole shack.
But it’s only a comic book. Twisty’s a pop culture icon, y’know. Ivy and Ally’s little boy is reading the comic when he’s meant to be sleeping. When Ally catches him, seeing the clown on the cover, it triggers a near panic attack, anxiety flaring and sending her into fits. Because she coulrophobia, an irrational fear of clowns. You can see where this is headed; a terrifying place for her. Lucky she has an understanding partner who cares for and loves her.
We see Kai dolled up a bit, speaking in front of a group about “fear” and references everything from Trump Tower to rap music in his speech about “freedom of movement” and “fear as currency.” Then this leads into his not wanting more cops, certainly not those needing overtime to watch a Jewish community centre. He’s most certainly an anarchist.
Kai is, essentially, a boiled down version of many far-right bros, believing Trump (and people he’s given legitimacy to, such as Steve Bannon) has given them a green light to create a world of chaos in America, so that when fear reigns people will come running for the supposed strong to protect them, relinquishing rights and whatever else is needed. More than anything Kai is starting to represent the wounded male ego, epitomised in one mad, violent young man.
Kai: “Theres nothing more dangerous in this world than a humiliated man
At her doctor’s office, Dr. Rudy Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson), Ally talks about her phobias. How since the election, that fateful night, everything’s feeling shit, amplified in its awfulness. The world and everything in it is terrible. She also comes from the worldview of a lesbian, speaking of Obama and, for the first time, feeling a part of the American conversation. Vincent prescribes something many of us could all use: anxiety medication and less social media. Truly, though, Ally is symbolic of many people in America who’ve been having a terrible time since Trump won.
Pic 2The dreadfulness of the atmosphere in this season is already palpable. Poor Ally goes to the grocery store, experiencing multiple assaults on her senses. From loud music, creepy people in masks, humping clowns in the aisles. Through the prism of her phobias, we see her general fear of masks, of being unable to see the face of others; a parallel to the idea of her not knowing who may be a Trump supporter, who may oppose her very existence as a lesbian, so on. Later, with Ivy, it’s also a view on how many personal relationships, in various ways, have been altered by the state of America and how the election has divided people.
Also, an idea – Paulson’s character, in a sense, illustrates how many people often won’t people marginalised voices. Yes, she has phobias, many of which are irrational. However, as is sadly the case with LGBTQ voices, black voices and other voices from POC, the Indigenous communites(etc), their fears aren’t always considered.
Now we see the first interaction between Kai and the couple of Ally and Ivy. He tosses coffee on them, most likely on purpose. I wonder, has he been watching her already? Or is that coming next? Well, we already see Winter applying for a position with the couple as a nanny for their boy, worming her way in as the pro-Hillary supporter, the type of person they’d love to have around. Inside access. We cut between her interview and an honesty session with Kai. Ominous.
Out on the street Kai sees a bunch of Mexicans. He pisses in a condom, singing like a racist, then tosses it like a water balloon telling them they’re “not welcome.” While someone records in the background Kai lets the Mexican guys beat the shit out of him. Ah, the ole Breitbart-style journalism! Meanwhile, Winter’s also working on the couple’s kid, showing him creepy shit on the dark web. Like dead bodies.
Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 1.23.33 AMPoor ole Ally continues falling apart, Ivy doing her best to not go insane right along with her. It’s a tragic situation, because partly there’s some genuine mental illness happening, also because she’s spending too much time obsessing. And another part is that it’s understandable, especially as a lesbian, worrying what Pence and Trump will do to her life, her family’s life. There’s genuine concern underneath the obsession.
On the street outside the Mayfair-Richards place an ice cream truck shows up. From out of the back come several clowns, men and women. The same group who were at the grocery store. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Bozo!
When Ally and Ivy arrive the street’s blocked with cops and all sorts of flashing lots, tape blocking the road. A murder at a house nearby. Worst part is that the kid saw the clowns, now nobody else does, so this is going to look to Ivy as if Ally’s influencing their boy negatively with her phobia. Could cause a further divide in the married couple.
Doesn’t help that Winter took the kid over to the house, where he witnessed the murder of the people inside. One of whom happens to be the guy at the municipal council meeting that embarrassed Kai. Yikes. Problem being that Winter negates the story, furthering the tension and pushing the couple farther from the truth.
And Ally, she’ll never escape those clowns. Not even in her own bed.
Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 1.29.28 AMScreen Shot 2017-09-06 at 1.39.59 AMI don’t give a shit, I love this series. Cult comes out of the gate swinging, not afraid to jab at the left and right of the political spectrum. People will automatically assume this is a Trump hatefest. And sure, part of it is, or at least it’s attempting to show the real world division in America through the lens of the horror genre. I’m excited to see more, because it’s bound to get very fucked up. Judging by the premiere, anyways.
“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is next week. Buckle up, snowflakes and deplorables.

Fargo – Season 3, Episode 10: “Somebody to Love”

FX’s Fargo
Season 3, Episode 10: “Somebody to Love”
Directed by Keith Gordon
Written by Noah Hawley

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 3 episode, “Aporia” – click here
Pic 1Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) is resigning her position as Deputy. I wonder if she’ll take things into her own hands. Larue Dollard (Hamish Linklater) is handling things at the IRS, inspecting the books from Stussy Lots. And ole Emmit (Ewan McGregor) is signing his life away to V.M. Varga (David Thewlis), looking on lovingly at the transfer of equity the way some people leer over something sexual. That wolf is a creep.
So when does it all come together? Well, Larue finds a piece of paper left by Gloria, saying “We should talk” with her number included. Just before she leaves the station she gets his call. But she didn’t leave it; hmm. He’s found “blatant tax fraud” among other madness.
Meanwhile, in a motel room, Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard) are gathering an arsenal for whatever they’ve decided comes next. Looks like maybe a minor war.
Pic 1AVarga: “On some level, food knows its food.”
There looks to be a fiery spirit in Emmit’s eyes. Not in a good way, either. He grabs a gun from out of Meemo’s (Andy Yu) holster, rebelling against his capitalist captors. He doesn’t want to be food. Certainly not for someone like Varga, who for his part goes on about everything from the Medici family to technological advances. They manage to knock Emmit out, and all of them clear out like ghosts.
When Varga and the boys head off they meet a boy who speaks of Swango. The kid leads them – a veritable army for such a situation – to King Midas Storage, an abandoned-looking property. They find spray paint leading them up to the 3rd floor. Up they go. Carefully. They find a note saying to leave the money, that the drives aren’t far. Except Varga receives a text saying the IRS has the drives, to leave. He does, leaving his men to their fates. He also manages to escape the elevator, weaselling his way from out of the grasp of Swango and Wrench who’ve got the cash. She doesn’t want much, only a couple stacks; the rest she gives to him. “All I want is the brother,” she signs to her friend.
Emmit wakes to an empty house, all the men gone. Stamp stuck to his forehead. He rushes up to the office, which is being converted, no longer Stussy Lots. There he finds Ruby Goldfarb (Mary McDonnell). She’s in fact an arm of Varga. They’ve put him into bankruptcy, though his money’s hidden. Ah, how the rich stay rich by getting momentarily poorer! Also how dumb people who think they’re good businessmen are used by other, more powerful businessmen and political-types as pawns in an elaborate economic game.
Pic 2Now everybody’s on camera during the ambush, from Mr. Wrench to Nikki to Varga, all of whom are now on the police radar. Gloria realises it was Ms. Swango sent the package to the IRS and who was looking for Varga, and she’s hoping to go find Emmit before it’s too late.
Speaking of him, he breaks down on the road by himself. A truck stops and out steps Nikki, shotgun in hand. “Are you as low as you can go?” she asks him at gunpoint. He admits he could probably go lower, judging how far he’s fallen so far. Then he accepts his death, asking her to kill him. She repeats the words the Wandering Jew (Ray Wise) said to her once before.
Before she can kill him a cop stops to see what they’re doing at the roadside. He asks for license and registration, all that. When Emmit tries telling him about the gun, the cop pulls on him. Nikki goes for the shotgun, the cop pulls his pistol, they both fall to the pavement. A bullet right between her eyes. Once again Emmit left in a wild position. Although alive. Somehow he slips through the cracks with an eerie luck.
Pic 3After all’s said and done, Gloria tells her son Nathan about his sorta-grandpa Ennis, the “root cause” of everything. She doesn’t actually tell him, just that the world is chaotic; perhaps the thesis of Fargo, from the film to the series. It’s all about the randomness of the universe, encapsulated via microcosm in these little pockets of Minnesota.
Emmit goes back to his wife, weeping. Five years later, we see him doing better. He filed for personal bankruptcy, did probation for two years. Claims say he’s got millions stashed away. If he were a man with less money, he’d be fucked. But God bless the capitalist dream, right? Here Emmit sits, the ruins of his life still around him such as the barely mobile Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg). And while he gets dessert from the fridge – get it, just desserts? – Mr. Wrench sneaks in behind him with a silenced pistol to put him out of his misery, finally.
Pic 4Varga: “Human beings, you see, have no inherent value other than the money they earn.”
These five years on, Gloria is in a new career. Working with the Department of Homeland Security. She’s got V.M. Varga in the interrogation room. He dances around things, as usual. Bringing in the Russian connection again. Equating things in cold, capitalist terms. Doesn’t matter much, he’s being charged with a ton of shit, and Gloria will go out to enjoy the “great American experiment” in freedom. Or that’s what she believes. He believes he’ll be let free, too. Is this the power of the villains? Do they always get away with it, no matter from how high up they’re being rained upon?
We’re impatient. We want justice and we want answers. We don’t get them, not straight out. The bad guy merely fades slightly, and our hope remains in the face of Gloria. It MUST remain. Else the battle is lost.
Timely, no? Resist the villainous. Never give up; be a Gloria.
Pic 5What a fascinating season! I loved it, and it’s possibly my favourite of the series so far. I’m disappointed we didn’t see more of the Thaddeus Mobley bit, I feel that was a waste. It didn’t detract, though. Serving a purpose to get us into the character of Gloria Burgle.
Either way, this was great, a jam packed, exciting, funny, weird and wild season. Look forward to a Season 4. C’mon, FX. You know you wannagotta.

Fargo – Season 3, Episode 9: “Aporia”

FX’s Fargo
Season 3, Episode 9: “Aporia”
Directed by Keith Gordon
Written by Bob DeLaurentis & Noah Hawley

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Who Rules the Land of Denial?” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Somebody to Love” – click here

a·po·ri·a
əˈpôrēə/
noun
  1. an irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction in a text, argument, or theory.

Pic 1AAn older gentleman is killed in his home by the silent, deadly Meemo (Andy Yu). This man is Marvin Stussy.
At the station, Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) sits to talk with Emmit Stussy (Ewan McGregor), who’s there to confess, so he said. He warns not to let anybody in if they say they’re his lawyer; ahem, V.M. Varga (David Thewlis), ahem. The remaining Stussy talks about his dead brother, their father – “basically bald from the shins down” from wearing nylon socks – and family memories. He admits to killing Ray at his apartment. He laments what he’d done, all their lives, to his younger brother. He tricked his brother all those years ago into taking the Corvette, just as Ray told us originally. In between Emmit tells Gloria how he cut his brother’s throat when they fought over the framed stamp.
Emmit: “Thirty years Ive been killinhim. That was just when he fell.”
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.04.10 AMVarga’s still scheming. I’m curious as to his endgame. He’s got Meemo driving a transport truck and headed lords knows where. At a red light, Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) tosses a grenade through the truck’s window, as Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard) fires an assault rifle on them. Well, the bullets are real. The grenade ain’t; just a paperweight. The two bandits make off with the truck easily. An awesome little trick. Nikki and Wrench look through the back of the truck when they can, they find a briefcase of particular interest. That’s all they take with them when they leave the vehicle behind and head out in a car.
Needless to say Varga isn’t thrilled. He gets a call from Ms. Swango. She has lots of information now, using it to extort $2 million. Although I doubt he’ll give it over. I can see a great deal of violence heading their way. Heading every which way.
At the station, Emmit’s locked up. Bit of a culture shock when he has to explain that he’s not wearing a sweater: “Its a cardigan.” Gloria talks with Winnie Lopez (Olivia Sandoval), she’s at the scene of the latest Stussy killing. Suspicious, no?
I’m also STILL HOPING they give us even an ounce more of Thaddeus Mobley before the end. Only one episode after this left, so it better happen fast.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 12.56.43 AMOver at a different house, another Stussy, there’s a dead body. More Stussys piling up. Moe Dammick (Shea Whigham) is starting to wonder if there’s something strange happening around their jurisdiction.
Moe: “This guy must really hate Stussys
Ruby Goldfarb (Mary McDonnell) comes in to speak with Gloria, telling her about the dinner she had with Emmit and Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg). She explains they were speaking about business, et cetera. They get around talking about when the men each left, all the little details. But a big commotion starts when Moe believes he’s got the killer of all the Stussys, including Ennis. Now we see the V.M. endgame in full, clear vision. What we also cannot dispel is the fact Gloria isn’t going to let this stand. Her intuition knows better.
You’ve never seen anything as oddly disturbing as Varga sitting on the toilet eating chocolate ice cream from a tub. Not long after he goes to meet Nikki. They have their tenuous meeting, she’s as slick as he is, and she is incredibly smart. Up above, Meemo waits with a sniper rifle to take her out on command. No good when Wrench is on the ball, pointing a gun at the back of HIS head. He signals Swango downstairs, allowing her more confidence. She threatens turning a hard drive over to police, and this visibly frustrates him. Not used to dealing with a tough lady like her. She gives him one more day to produce the $2 million. Or else…?
Gloria and Emmit sit down for another chat. She talks about her husband, how he came out as gay and in love with another man, then left. “You think the worlds somethinthen it turns out to be somethinelse,” she says. After that she lets him free. Because a Stussy killer is on the loose. All part of the Varga plan. Now the remaining Stussy brother is out of the pan and into the fire.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.14.31 AMVarga: “Its not that there is evil in the world, the problem is that there is good. Because otherwise, who would care?”
Finally, Gloria mentions to Winnie something about the Mobley books – The Planet Wyh. She talks about the robot, always trying to help. She says she relates to the robot, how she feels trying to do her work, to do justice. AND she also mentions the oddities – such as the automatic doors not working for her, the soap dispensers, so on. “I dont actually exist,” Gloria says. Except in this bar, the dispensers work for her, the automatic faucet. Like a new start, a fresh outlook on life.
Larue Dollard (Hamish Linklater) at the IRS finds a package waiting in his office. Inside, a stack of papers with a flash drive, pertaining to Stussy Lots Ltd. Oh, mercy. What’s the fallout from this going to be? Varga won’t like his business dealings pried into any more, on top of every other Emmit Stussy issue plaguing him.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.48.52 AMGreat penultimate episode to this fascinating season. Truly, I’ve loved Season 3. I don’t know if I love it more than the first season, which is my personal favourite. Regardless of that, they all match up in quality. They’re each awesome in their own rights. “Somebody to Love” is the finale next week. Sad to see these characters go already. Hoping to find some explosive moments in the last episode.

Fargo – Season 3, Episode 8: “Who Rules the Land of Denial?”

FX’s Fargo
Season 3, Episode 8: “Who Rules the Land of Denial?”
Directed by Mike Barker
Written by Monica Beletsky & Noah Hawley

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Law of Inevitability” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 3 episode, “Aporia” – click here
Pic 1There’s quite a setup going on along a dark road. Meemo (Andy Yu) and the boys are preparing for the big moment when the prison transport passes. Yuri steps into the road wearing the bear’s head. The bus flies off the road, smashing up everybody inside. Including poor Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard), among others. Then, in come the boys to try and collect her.
While Wrench fights off the cop assassin (DJ Qualls), Nikki tries getting them free. They escape out the back, into the woods.And the three criminals wearing their respective animal heads must give chase, plus deal with a couple witnesses on the way.
In the forest, Nikki and Wrench attempt ridding their chains. Although they keep quiet for fear of being found amongst the trees. They walk on until morning, though unsure of where to go next. At the same time, a hunter puts an arrow into the bear head Yuri’s wearing, almost putting him down for good; problem is, now he’s got a crossbow to hunt his own prey.
Pic 1AThe death of Ray (Ewan McGregor) haunts Nikki, she doesn’t stray far from thoughts of him and their last moments together, that final conversation before he left to go get their money. Yet she pushes on, she and Wrench walk through the day and into night once more. When they find an axe, he tries to break their handcuffs. Soon arrows are flying at them. Wrench takes one in the shoulder, a knife in the back. Nikki gets one through her calf. But they manage to take down the one dressed as a cop, literally CUTTING HIS FUCKING HEAD OFF! Yes! The surprising bits of blood on Fargo never disappoint.
It doesn’t slow ’em down, either. Wrench shoves a stick in Nikki’s mouth to bite on as he removes the arrow from her leg. A bit worse for the wear, however, they’re free of the cuffs now, too. And Wrench even sliced off an ear with the axe before Yuri and Meemo made off.
The unlikely pair of Nikki and Wrench stumble onto a bowling alley where they’re able to rest for a moment. And drink whiskey. We see a familiar face from when Gloria (Carrie Coon) went on her Mobley investigation: Paul Marrane (Ray Wise). He’s sitting at the bar next to Nikki. He even hauls out a precious little kitty, perfectly named Ray. Is the dead Stussy’s soul kicking around in that cat? Never know.
Note: the name Paul Marrane is a different name given to the Wandering Jew, which obviously connects to some of the Jewish and Hebrew-related quips this Paul provides Ms. Swango; a very interesting little addition to the writing. Also, a great explanation of why Paul shows up so randomly. Never anything random in Fargo.
Paul: “Simply deliver a message when the time comes
Nikki: “A message. To who?”
Paul: “To the wicked! Tell them, though thou exalt thyself like the eagle, though thou make thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord.”
Further note: This exchange – particularly the final bit – is from an essay by P.H. Sweetseh called “The Bible Birds No. VII – The Eagle” which you can find in a periodical called The Ladies’ Repository.
Pic 2Yuri ain’t doing so hot. Bleeding from the top of his head, from the hole in it where his ear once sat. He’s also visited by Mr. Marrane, who clearly knows him well. He says he’s brought a message from Helga and a rabbi. This takes the Ukranian back to an older time, seeing a vast crowd of people standing in the hills. What could it mean?
Back to Christmas Day with Gloria and Nathan (Graham Verchere), they’re trying to do the holidays right even if things aren’t exactly top shape. She gets a call, of course, and has to run. Out to the bus crash, where she worries about Nikki and whatever happened to her.
Meanwhile, Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg) goes to see Emmit (McGregor). But the last Stussy alive is… resting. Meemo and Varga (David Thewlis) are kicking around the house, the wolf is, as always, having a lunch. Feasting on leftovers he’ll surely yak later, like a true capitalist pig. Either way, the bond between Emmit and Sy is weakening, as Varga drives a wedge between them purposefully. After having tea, Sy leaves for the office. Something ain’t quite right with that tea, though. It’s got him in a bad way. So much so he vomits over the floor by the front desk. “Well thats not right,” he says before hitting the floor and getting rushed to the ER soon after. God damn, that’s cold.
Sy winds up hooked to machines. For a couple months, in fact. Grows a beard, goes through hospital staff. There sits Emmit at the bed’s edge, acting as if things are fine and knowing they’re not. Outside the room waits Gloria and Winnie (Olivia Sandoval), asking questions he doesn’t want to answer. People around him aren’t faring so well these days. When Emmit arrives back at the office he finds pictures plastered everywhere around the place, they’re a 2-cent stamp. Ole Sisyphus pushing that goddamn boulder; the absurdity of life. And you betcha Stussy is freakin’ out now.
Pic 3There’s something creepy about Varga and his computers, stowed away in that secret room. He’s not just Googling anymore, he has a properly sinister setup. Then Emmit calls, believing Ray’s still alive due to all those stamps and because his car was at the hospital. No time for any of that nonsense. The wolf has other business for them.
Varga: “You won
Emmit: “I won? What did I win?”
Varga: “Life
When Emmit passes out after some drinks, he wakes with a moustache on his face. It won’t come off. He’s literally transforming into his brother. Creepy thing is, Varga and Meemo, they’ve got no part in it. So they claim, so it seems. Above all, their evil influence has fully swept Emmit away, to another place. He’s no more in control of his life than he is in control of the business at this point. Varga’s the darkness behind the curtain, pulling on the strings.
Instead of falling into sleep with the sedatives they’ve given him, Emmit goes to the station. To confess.
Pic 4One of my favourite Fargo episodes; period! Such a great mix of symbolic writing, solid plot, and further character development. Excited to see the penultimate episode “Aporia”  next week. One closer to the finale. I wonder how everything will tie up? Either way, I’m digging this season. Personally it might be favourite, though I’ll be sad if we don’t see anything more come out of Thaddeus Mobley. Would be a real wasted opportunity.

Fargo – Season 3, Episode 7: “The Law of Inevitability”

FX’s Fargo
Season 3, Episode 7: “The Law of Inevitability”
Directed by Mike Barker
Written by Noah Hawley & Ben Nedivi & Matt Wolpert

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Lord of No Mercy” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Who Rules the Land of Denial?” – click here
Pic 1Happy holidays in North Dakota!
Under the Stussy Christmas tree, using a knife with care, V.M. Varga (David Thewlis) was opening all the gifts that were there. He unwrapped one, then he unwrapped another, and meanwhile Chief Burgle (Carrie Coon) and Officer Lopez (Olivia Sandoval) find Emmit’s (Ewan McGregor) dead brother.
And as Ray (McGregor) lies dead with the blood round him, shocking, Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) stays at a motel, paranoid, and the cops have come knocking.
Pic 1AOut to dinner, Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Emmit meet with Ruby Goldfarb (Mary McDonnell). What disturbs me is that there’s a seemingly total absence of remorse on the remaining Stussy brother’s part. Obviously he’d hide that, yes. But he seems almost… more confident in himself, now that the hump on his back is gone forever.
Emmit: “You dont get where I am by stickinto the plan
At the station, Moe Dammick (Shea Whigham) interrogates Nikki, who’s now put square in the spotlight for the murder of Ray Stussy. Those bruises, her record. Oh, my. It ain’t looking good, for damn sure. I’ll never bet against Swango, though. Not until she’s in the ground, that woman has got nerves of steel. And her mind’s as sharp as a fucking tack.
Officers Burgle and Lopez lay out their case to the higher-ups, everything from the Stussy connection to Maurice and all the other pieces. Nobody’s giving them the time of day, sadly. These women are pretty much the only hope for Nikki to walk out clean, far as I can see. Maybe cops and criminals will come together in order to see justice fully served? A guy can hope.
Later that night a call comes in to the station, sending Donny Mashman (Mark Forward) out to check out a break and enter, possibly burglary. When he has to run back inside before heading out he finds Yuri Gurka (Goran Bogdan) reading a book in the dark, threatening even when he’s not actually threatening. The cowardly officer goes on, as the big Ukranian claims he’s not even there, walking away with a file on the Ennis Stussy investigation.
Pic 3Sy: “Whats the saying? If you love somethin‘, let it go…”
Ruby: “If it comes back its yours…”
Emmit: “If it doesnt, hunt it down and kill itis the version I heard.”
There’s a real danger going on with Emmit. He drinks and rambles about his life. He talks about how people are menacing, out to get others. We know that he’s actually raging at his dead brother Ray, trying to justify himself to himself. At the same time, Sy’s trying to keep things from going off the rails, which isn’t helped by the fact Officer Lopez turns up again. Y’know, with the bad news Emmit already knows. Right away he slips up, before she can even tell him his brother’s dead he gets going with his alibi. Immediately, Winnie sees the strange way Emmit acts. Holy Christ, he can’t keep it together at all.
There are worse things happening, as well. Emmit starts accusing Sy of being in cahoots with Ray before his death. So, of course, the good friend and partner blows up. Even calls the dead Stussy a “libtard“; sort of quietly affirms my thoughts about certain aspects of this season relating to the current sociopolitical climate of the US, how Varga and these business types represent some elements of the current administration running the show. The extortion of Varga specifically is well represented visually in a shot juxtaposing him against Emmit; he on the side of a large, upright, stuffed bear, the last Stussy on the other with his bright Christmas tree and the gifts all wrapped up again.
Nikki, she’s still sitting in a cell, and Gloria’s imprisoned in her own way within the constraints of not just the legal system, a bit of a patriarchal bureaucracy holding her back. That night, Swango is visited by a man (DJ Qualls) who cuffs her and goes to slip a syringe in her wrist. Interrupted by Gloria. When the man escapes, Moe and other officers find her there looking a bit crazy. Only the security footage will tell the tale; when they check it, the computers go down. Very suspicious.
Pic 4The only advice Nikki has for the cops: “Follow the money.” She’s carted off to jail in a bus full of creepy, greasy dudes. Next to whom? Mr. fucking Wrench (Russell Harvard), that’s who. That familiar drum-heavy theme plays again. So nice to see him after all this time. I wonder if it’s a one-off, or if he’ll wind up playing some kind of part in Season 3’s last few episodes. Well, for now, someone wanders into the road – Yuri with the bear head on – and sends the prison transport bus crashing to its side. The Ukranian is there for our lady. Perhaps Mr. Wrench might help defend her? Here’s to hoping.
Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 2.38.28 AMJust, whoa! Another fascinating chapter in this series. Love the way they bring back characters, connecting pieces. I’m still curious if the former life of Ennis as Thaddeus Mobley will come back into play, too. I don’t doubt it for a second. But how? So many questions. All hail Fargo. We’re not worthy.
Next episode is “Who Rules the Land of Denial?” and there’s a ton of shit about to crack open wide for our grim pleasure.

Fargo – Season 3, Episode 6: “The Lord of No Mercy”

FX’s Fargo
Season 3, Episode 6: “The Lord of No Mercy”
Directed by Dearbhla Walsh
Written by Noah Hawley

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The House of Special Purpose” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Law of Inevitability” – click here
Pic 1Open on a concerned Ray Stussy (Ewan McGregor), sitting through night until morning worrying about Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) after the brutal beating she took at the hands of Meemo (Andy Yu) and Yuri. She only remembers so much. They did an absolutely savage number on her.
But Nikki isn’t one to stay down, neither literally nor figurative, either. Then there’s Ray, he certainly isn’t going to let any of this stand. A pretty solid, unbeatable team. Capable of anything.
Note: love that opening, silent shot going from night until morning, it’s a fantastic moment of filmmaking.
V.M. Varga (David Thewlis) tells of history, his interests of course lying in food. World War I started “over a sandwich.” Then he tells of the moon landing being filmed on a “sound stage in New Mexico,” which Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg) just refuses to believe. Roundabout is the sly, bulimic wolf convincing Emmit (McGregor) and Sy to do more things they don’t really want to do. I can’t help feeling the character of Varga, and his actions/intent, are similar to the shady businessmen we see shambling through the corridors of power today.
The poor IRS auditor (Hamish Linklater) is caught in the middle of all the nonsense. Meemo poses as an upstanding lawyer in order to take care of their problems. Meanwhile, he and Yuri are followed by Stussy and Swango as they plot their revenge and bide their time.
Pic 1AUp at the Stussy offices, Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) and Winne Lopez (Olivia Sandoval) arrive to talk with Emmit and hoping to speak with Sy about his vehicular accident. While picking his nasty teeth bloody Varga hears them speaking, so he greases his way into the conversation. The two officers bring up Ray’s name, the homicide of Ennis Stussy, Maurice LeFay, so on. The tangled web of Fargo‘s chaotic world. The officers have connected the dots and believe – what we, the audience know to be true – Maurice, dumb as he was, killed the wrong Stussy. Too many coincidences. And as we know, in Fargo there are rarely any coincidences that amount to nothing.
I worry now. Because Varga’s a dangerous, creepy man. His picture of Stalin on the wall, his Google habits. He’s interested in Ms. Burgle, so he dispatches Yuri to the little Eden Valley Police Department where there’s no computers, only files. Reconnaissance mission. Furthermore, he gives the order on Stussy and Swango: “execute.”
Soon, someone comes knocking at their door as they hide out together. Only it isn’t the V.M. death squad, it’s the police. So, what’s their plan? Fucking bolt. They pack up what they can carry in two arms then pile into the car, heading for a motel. With a tail. Then Ray realises he forgot their getaway cash. He leaves Nikki alone – with Meemo lurking in the shadows – while rushing home.
Pic 2When Ray gets home to get his money, he finds Emmit waiting in the dark. He wants to end their feud. He’s tired. He offers up the stamp to his brother. “You cant give me what was mine from the start,” Ray balks, wanting him to take it back. In a struggle a piece of the glass in its frame smashes, poking into Ray’s neck. He pulls the shard and starts bleeding out all over the place. And his brother stands there, doing nothing. Watching him die.
Emmit makes a call. To whom? Oh, you know: Mr. Varga. He’s an unsettling man, even while listening to a beautiful piece of classical music. The remaining Stussy needs help, and he sure called the right lad. One thing I know is that Emmit thought he was in deep before. He was, sure; financially. At this point it’s beyond any money troubles, he’s in the dirty moral soup.
Varga: “Things of consequence rarely happen by accident
Back at the motel, Meemo waits to kill Nikki. Right before she walks into the room he gets a call, though. Then he’s gone without a trace, and she’s left alive. He’s helping Varga over with Emmit at Ray’s place. Those perpetual criminals have it covered. They’re using Nikki’s wounds, her criminal past, all to make it look as if she killed Ray for being an abusive partner. Yikes, that is coooooold blooded.
And trusty ole Gloria, she’s headed to Ray’s place. She has suspicions. Oh, my. OH, MY!
Pic 3What a wild, unexpected episode. This series only gets better with every season and each episode. So much to love. The characters are well rounded and even downright symbolic at times. Loving Varga and Gloria most this season, as well as – of course – Nikki Swango!
Up next week is “The Law of Inevitability” and I can only imagine the fallout of what happened this episode.

Fargo – Season 3, Episode 5: “The House of Special Purpose”

FX’s Fargo
Season 3, Episode 5: “The House of Special Purpose”
Directed by Dearbhla Walsh
Written by Bob DeLaurentis

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Narrow Escape Problem” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Lord of No Mercy” – click here
Pic 1Mac Davis’ “It’s Hard to Be Humble” plays as we see Emmit Stussy (Ewan McGregor) driving, and at home a package arrives marked FOR YOUR EYES ONLY. She gets a bit curious, eventually opening it to find a DVD intended on going to her. You betcha – a sex tape, and it’s Ray (McGregor) dressed as his brother having sex with Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
Cut to the pair themselves getting ready to record their video. Blackmail, baby. It’s getting slippery. And I can’t help but wonder that once the going gets especially tough, is Nikki in it all the way with her man? I’m not so sure, to be honest. Then Ray busts out a ring, down on one knee. She says yes, too. So I guess I’m wrong. For now my thoughts about Ms. Swango – the soon to be Mrs. Nikki Stussy – are assuaged.
Pic 1AEmmit’s wife has packed up and left. This is it. He is pissed, seeing the video and the damage its causing so quickly. Wonder what he and Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg) are gonna get up to, how they’ll try and fight back.
They’ve got other issues, though. Such as the big, bad wolf V.M. Varga (David Thewlis) and his odd techniques. He pops his dick and balls into Sy’s WORLD’S BEST DAD mug while asserting his power over a chick v. egg quip. A dash of antisemitism. Then his thugs make Sy drink from the mug. Blech. A nasty, hostile takeover, essentially.
Out at a swanky restaurant Sy meets with Ruby Goldfarb (Mary McDonnell). They chat about life. Then they discuss business matters. She’d like to acquire Stussy Lots Ltd. rather than have a partner. Or else become the competition. But the meeting is cut short when Emmit texts with an emergency. And of course you know the sly wolf’s boys are keeping tabs on where he goes.
Sy: “Yever have that feelinlike you stepped off the map into the, well, unknown, I guess?”
When Sy gets to Emmit’s place he finds his buddy sobbing in a corner over his wife leaving. They’ve got problems on top of problems on top of other problems. Now, the friends are turning on each other a little. Sy wants to be let loose, to solve their problems with Ray once and for all. Emmit agrees: “Shackles are off
Pic 2Back to Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) and Winnie Lopez (Olivia Sandoval), they’re getting closer to where they need to be, all the Stussy connections, Maurice LeFay (Scoot McNairy). Only a few more dots together before they’re right on top of Ray and Nikki. Yoowzah.
On the phone, Sy talks with Nikki. He wants to meet now that things are already fucked up. Then she piles on saying they’ve got video proof of Emmit banging his secretary. Oh, man. A meeting’s set for one hour.
What sort of bad shit’s about to go down? Note: there are possible trails of evidence for everyone here – first, Sy leaves a voicemail for Emmit at his house with possible incriminating evidence; second, Ray freaks out on a bus in public, looks like a guy behind him is taking video of his very personal fight with Emmit re: blackmail. Whoopsy!
And wouldn’t ya know it, Officers Burgle and Lopez get talking to the balder Stussy. They want to know all about the brothers’ relationship, Maurice, the car accident courtesy of Mr. Feltz, so on. Only problem is Moe Dammick (Shea Whigham), he’s the new boss and he’s trying to shut Gloria down constantly. He says it’s “random life” and there’s no Stussy connection.
Emmit runs into Varga, the ever mysterious, creepy bastard. The guy is so sleazy, particularly his Jew fixation. He’s sowing the seeds of discontent, saying that Sy might’ve been in cahoots with Ray all along. Oh, the chaos is brewing. He explains his entire plan as a souffle. Fitting, for a guy who binges then purges when eating.
Pic 4No sooner do they finish their conversation does a man from the IRS (Hamish Linklater) turn up to see Emmit. Christ, what timing. He’s there about the $10K withdrawal from his account recently, the one made by his brother in disguise. The IRS may need to see his books. Hmm, that’s no good with the wolf prowling around as of late. Nothing good’s going to come of this, nothing at all. In fact, the poor tax man may be in trouble himself with Varga keeping an eye on things. Moreover, ole V.M. is pretty much pulling the strings at this point, so much so he’s already got fake books cooked for the company.
Emmit: “The jig is up
Finally, Sy meets with Nikki. They’re quite a ways out from the main road, at one of the Stussy lots. Great tune called “Track Suit” by Minor Mishap Marching Band plays during this scene, too. Nikki requests $200K and the contested stamp. However, Yuri and Meemo are there to interrupt. The Russian has lots to say about America v. Siberia before they beat Nikki brutally. The random chaos of Fargo reigns, once again. Instead of doing anything sensible, Sy rushes off. The tough girl ain’t dead, though. She manages to get to her vehicle and get home. Ray finds her in the bathtub with internal injuries, definitely not doing well.
Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 2.36.10 AMThe wild world of this series gets wilder. I can’t wait for “The Lord of No Mercy” next because I feel like something bad and big is coming. Maybe Ray and the wolf Varga will come face to face soon enough.