It’s Christmas Eve on this week’s episode of “Fargo,” but instead of a happy Yule, it seems like every character has found a proverbial lump of coal in their respective stockings. If last week’s episode pushed many of the characters past the point of no return, this week’s installment — written by series creator Noah Hawley, Matt Wolpert, and Ben Nedivi, and directed by Mike Barker — put each on a collision course likely to end in further bloodshed. Below, read our “Fargo” recap that details the Top 5 moments from Season 3, Episode 7.
Nikki is in a pinch — Just as Varga (David Thewlis) planned, Nikki (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is arrested for Ray’s (Ewan McGregor) murder and taken to the St. Cloud police station, where she is immediately interrogated by the unctuous Chief Dammik (Shea Wigham). As far as Dammik is concerned, it’s an open-and-shut case: Nikki used Ray to get off probation, but couldn’t take his abuse, so she killed him. Nikki asks for a lawyer, but Dammik presses on and encourages Nikki to create a sob story. But Nikki says nothing. Wigham is perfectly odious as a guy who sees everything in black and white: “Mash a potato and you know what you get? Mashed potatoes.” But I was even more struck by Winstead as Nikki maintains her composure, all the while struggling to make sense of Ray’s death while struggling to keep her head above water.
Gloria — “Should I start?” Gloria asks as she and Winnie (Olivia Sandoval) are summoned by Dammik and the St. Cloud chief of police. Gloria lays out the particulars of the case– getting a few digs in at Dammik along the way– and asks to talk to Nikki. Despite clearly knowing more about this case than anyone else in the room, Gloria is dismissed and Wigham tells her to start looking for a new job. But Gloria isn’t nearly finished, and sends Winnie to track down Emmit while Gloria tries to get to Nikki. Coon continually commands every scene she is in as she stubbornly refuses to give in to the incompetence around her.
Emmit channels Varga — Emmit (McGregor) has followed Varga’s instructions and gone to his dinner meeting with Sy (Michael Stuhlbarg) and the widow Goldfarb (Mary McDonnell) to discuss her proposed buyout of Emmit’s business. But Emmit is jumpy, and even uncharacteristically blunt with the widow, even telling her about his wife leaving him over a fake sex tape. Emmit then launches into a tirade about the troubles of being rich: the fake friends and the “jackals” trying to “pick the meat off your bones.” He then quotes economist Adam Smith and disparages poor people with “their grubby hands outside the glass.” It’s a line right out of the Varga playbook, and Sy is taken aback to hear his friend and partner sounding more and more like Varga.
The dinner is interrupted by the arrival of Officer Sandoval, but before she can deliver the news of Ray’s death, Emmit begins establishing his alibi. After he “learns” of Ray’s death, he immediately says that Nikki had a motive to kill him. But Sandoval hasn’t said that Ray’s death was murder, and suddenly Sy jumps in hoping to distract Sandoval’s attention. But the damage is done, and Sandoval takes Sy and Emmit’s sudden exit as an opportunity to talk to Mrs. Goldfarb.
An inside job — As Nikki sits alone in a holding cell, she is visited by a man in uniform (DJ Qualls) who orders her to put her hands through the bars. After he handcuffs her, he produces a syringe only to be interrupted by Gloria with her gun drawn. The man suddenly delivers a roundhouse kick straight out of a Bruce Lee movie, knocking Gloria to the floor and giving him the chance to escape. Wigham, still distrustful of both Gloria and Nikki, reviews the security footage only to find that a glitch has erased any record of Gloria’s story. But Gloria will not back down, and pleads with Dammik that she be allowed to talk to Nikki.
Finally, Nikki and Gloria are face to face. Gloria presents the facts as she sees them. Nikki, while still maintaining a certain amount of silence, simply tells Gloria that Emmit may not be the driving force in all of this, and that Gloria should “follow the money.” As Gloria leaves, she tells Nikki that she will visit her after the holidays and bring her pie. Nikki, realizing that she might actually have someone on her side, asks for coconut cream pie.
Prison break — After the attempt on her life, Nikki is placed in protective custody as she is put on a prison bus to be transferred to the state penitentiary. As the bus travels on a deserted road, a shadowy figure steps out into the road, and in a dazzling sequence, we see the bus crash onto its side as the prisoners are tossed about like rag dolls. Nikki lies unconcious as several masked figures board the bus, including Yuri (Goran Bogdan), whose eyes are focused squarely on Nikki.
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