Fargo’s third year may not quite have had the suspense of last season but season three of Noah Hawley’s show was the best so far for exploring what’s really going on in America.
The Coen Brothers’ original film and all thirty episodes of the FX show have been prefixed with cards reading:
THIS IS A TRUE STORY
but never has that moniker been more approriate than season three…
So, listen up, bitches.
As every screenwriter worth his road salt knows, your ending is in your beginning. Fargo opens in an East German Stasi office where an innocent man, Yuri Gurka is told that if the government says he is guilty of murder then he is guilty of murder… even if he’s the wrong Yuri Gurka and has an alibi. This cold open not only telegraphed the final scene of the series, it also set the theme for the season.
Along the sleighride, Noah Hawley treated us to everything we’ve come to love and expect from Fargo; snow, kooky characters, those wonderful Minnesotan accents and idiosyncrasies, the tundra backdrop, mistaken identity and murder, the cruel hands of fate and coincidence, good versus ominous creeping evil, right versus wrong, omnipotent strangers in bowling alleys and UFO’s…
But season three has also given us a beautiful and well hidden metaphor for the current political discourse in America. Trump’s America.
Or to be more specific, Donald Trump himself.
FARGO SEASON THREE IS A STUNNING ESSAY ON REALITY, TRUTH AND LIES
The first time we meet successful Minnesota businessman, Emmit Stussy, he is dressed in a white tuxedo, drinking Champagne and giving anniversary speeches from the staircase of his million dollar home, paid for through his parking lot empire.
A well-meaning “businessman” has recently lent him a million dollars to expand the parking lot empire and everything is looking peachy.
Emmit’s Parking lot empire represents America. His permafrost covered home is the White House and he is the Republican Party.
Also at the party is Emmit’s younger brother Ray, put-upon and pissed-on parole officer to girlfriend Nikki Swango.
What better way to explore two conflicting realities than through twins (well, who are as good as twins even though Ray is younger) played by the same actor – Ewan McGregor?
Ray sees a cruel world that owes him and has a chip on his shoulder the size of the twin cities regarding a decades-old sibling rivalry over ownership of a 2 cent stamp.
Brilliantly played by David Thewlis, in swings interloper V.M. Varga who (in return for last year’s Faustian million dollar loan) sets himself up as a silent partner in Stussy’s parking lot empire and takes over Emmit’s office, business, home and life.
Varga is Trump, you see. A junk-food eating, disgusting creep of a businessman who operates outside the law, above the law and beyond reproach; he steals his way into the Stussy Empire just as Trump stole his way into the Republican Party (Ray) and White House (Ray’s home)
And now the GOP is paying the price for this deal with the devil.
Once inside, Varga begins to systematically drain Stussy’s business – lining his pockets with an estimated two hundred million dollars in loans from under the nose of Emmit Stussy and his trusty sidekick Sy.
And just like Trump’s modus operandi, everything else in the series, the murders, the lies… is a distraction.
As a 71-year-old, I see this as Trump’s swan song. His one last chance to take America for every penny he can before he dies. He used the Republican Party as a way in and now, just like Varga, Donald J. Trump is draining America of trillions of dollars, selling off her resources and lining his and his cronies’ pockets.
Whereas Varga used intimidation, violence and murder to coerce those around him, Trump uses the tools of a narcissist; gaslighting, accusations and confusion to distract the nation with Muslim bans and yes, even covfefe tweets while he plunders America with the help of Russia… and China.
If Varga’s henchmen, Yuri and Meemo are Russia and China, then Gloria Burgle and Winnie Lopez are liberals or perhaps the liberal media searching amongst all the lies and confusion for truth… where there is none.
When Gloria’s new boss, Chief Moe Dammik “solves” all four Stussy murders and he tells her “Those are facts.” to which Gloria replies “Hold on. I got different facts.” it’s like watching an MSNBC interview with Kellyanne Conway.
These two lines are unalienable proof that the show is dealing with the alt-right’s alternative fact, post-truth America where reality simply doesn’t matter any more.
TRUTH CROSSES THE FINISH LINE SECOND. TRUTH IS A LOSER.
Just like Gloria, we know there is a bigger picture, a bigger lie – we just don’t know what it is yet. Fargo’s murders, the ubiquitous blood in the snow, the Ray storyline and even, to a certain extent, Nikki Swango’s story were big, beautiful distractions.
The main events of the show aren’t important. The theft of an Empire from under its owner’s noses is the bigger picture.
Just like Gloria advises her thirteen-year-old son “We’ve got to stick together” it is three women – Nikki, Gloria and Winnie who dig through the blood-soaked snow to uncover the truth.
Nikki goes from jailbird to hero but her biggest gift was sacrificing one million dollars and providing Inland Revenue Services Agent Larue Dollard with information which could, potentially, take Varga down.
In a story exploring how two realities can exist at once, it’s no coincidence or surprise that Fargo ends with an ambiguous cliffhanger – Varga overconfidently stating someone will walk through the door to free him from the Stasi-like Homeland Security interrogation room, while Gloria says he’s gonna be eating mashed potato in the State Pen for his foreseeable future.
And that’s where Fargo leaves us, in the televisual equivalent of Schroedinger’s cat’s box where both realities are true at the same time… or as the Hindus and Buddhists call it – non-dualism.
In my reality, it was Fargo’s Inland Revenue who (maybe) brought down Varga. Could the IRS be the America’s guardian angels in bringing down Trump before he sells off the greatest looking country on earth to the highest bidder?
As for another season, showrunner Noah Hawley has a second series of Legion and a movie to write and direct before he can even think about a fourth season of Fargo.