[Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for “Fargo” Season 3, Episode 10, “Somebody to Love.”]
In a way, “Fargo” Season 3 could only end ambiguously. Not only do the connections to its fellow Carrie Coon-led prestige drama demand it — the last words of the season are “wasting our breath,” after all — but the overall goal of the season was to examine the gray area between fact and belief. The gap between the two should be evident, but the world has shifted into a space of alternative facts and chosen truths. Just like the man brought in front of a German officer at the start of Season 3 was found guilty despite evidence to the contrary, Gloria’s mountain of proof couldn’t keep Emmit Stussy behind bars.
So with all this uncertainty in a world demanding certainty, why was the open-ended finale ultimately unsatisfying?
The easy answer is that we want answers. Whether we want to simply know what happens next — whether it’s Snickers bars for Gloria or a vanishing act for Varga — or if we merely want to know what Noah Hawley & Co. think will happen next, we instinctually want resolution to the narrative as well as the central thematic problem. It’s whether or not such finality is necessary or merely desired, and I would argue it’s the former.
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All season, the audience hasn’t merely been asked to invest in the theme of facts and alternative facts, but also the characters. We may care less what happens to Varga, even if it would be better to know he’d rot in jail, deprived of deep-fried Snickers bars for the rest of his life. But we do care about Gloria, and what happens next will determine the course of her life, to one degree or the other.
Now, one could argue we knew Gloria would be OK after Episode 9, that her resolve was strengthened and closure to her arc given when she shared a few drinks and a few stories with Winnie Lopez. Specifically, it was when Winnie shoved Gloria to disprove her secret belief. When she touched her, she illustrated that Gloria does exist. She’s real. She’s here, and in that moment, “Fargo” offered an ending to Gloria’s ongoing thread. Her resolve strengthened, she went back out there and kept doing the work of the righteous.
And in seeing her stride down the hallway in that Department of Homeland Security jacket, it’s clear her perseverance has been rewarded. But we can’t help but feel that since Gloria was fighting for truth itself — for moral rights as much as legal ones — promotions aren’t good enough. She needs to defeat the purveyor of false truths, the embodiment of America’s evils.
To say, realistically, what would or wouldn’t happen is obviously an impossible task to assign a TV writer. And yet, even if we can’t know for certain that our country will be OK, we need to know if Gloria will be. Rather than providing a bit of cathartic fan service by showing Mr. Wrench take vengeance on Emmit, it may have been more satisfying to let the corrupt businessman represent our failing societal laws than ending on a question mark for the best character of Season 3.
Give us an answer for Gloria, no matter how harsh, rather than let us wonder if she’ll get that Saturday with her son. “Fargo” is too reliant on its citizens to leave us wondering whether they’ll be happy or miserable for the next 40 years. Theme cannot trump characters, especially in a world built on them.
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