‘Fargo’ Review: A Battle Between Ewan McGregors Has Never Felt So Wretched — And Season 3 Never More Exciting

Painful, tense, and thoroughly engaging, "Fargo" kicked things into high gear in Episode 6, as the Ewan McGregor blood feud reached a point of no return.
Fargo Season 3 Episode 5 Ewan McGregor
Chris Large/FX

[Editor’s Note: The review below contains spoilers for “Fargo” Season 3, Episode 6, “The Lord of No Mercy.”]

Immediate Reaction

Gloria Burgle to the rescue!

After an episode of incredible tension and unexpected tragedy, we didn’t realize how badly we needed to hear Carrie Coon say, “Screw it,” whip the cruiser around, and high-tail it back to “the P.O.’s domicile.” While the simultaneously ominous and uplifting strings certainly served to get our hearts beating, “Fargo” may as well have played Bonnie Tyler’s famous “Footloose” jam “Holding Out for a Hero” — because one is on the way!

It’s just we had to hold out a little too long. Just enough road blocks were thrown in front of Burgle to keep her from cracking the case earlier, and all that time led to an inevitable tragedy. Ray (Ewan McGregor) is the first major victim of Season 3 (unless you count the annual pilot sacrifice of Scoot McNairy’s Maurice LaFay), in a particularly well-orchestrated offing. First we thought Varga would get him or Burgle would save him, but we never suspected his brother to do the deed, accidentally or not.

“Things of consequence rarely happen by accident,” Varga said, when informed of Ray’s death. While Emmit (McGregor) will be thinking about that for a long time, this episode wasn’t an accident either — the timing, visceral rush, and first major tragedy make it the most emotionally absorbing hour of Season 3, and one that’s got us as eager as Chief Burgle for what’s next.

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Fargo’: The Danger Lurking in Season 3 Becomes Very, Very Real as Ewan McGregor’s Brothers Go to War

MVP (Most Valuable Performer)

Fargo Season 3 Episode 6 David Thewlis

We don’t want to talk about Varga — who we blame for Ray’s death, even though it happened before his order could go through — but we do want to talk about David Thewlis. The way he masochistically plunged the toothpick into his bloody tooth; how he walked into the room filled with cops and took control without raising his voice; his calculated recitation of true stories, from insolvent banks to Lenin’s opinion of Beethoven.

Thewlis is as subtle in his actions as Varga is direct, and his first scene with Carrie Coon exemplified it perfectly. One got the sense, first, that Varga would be better off staying out of this. Burgle was immediately suspicious of the intrusive “associate” who wouldn’t give his name, and he likely raised more flags with his prepared answer for the “Stussey” connection — “24 exactly?” Burgle slyly replied to his Hitler comparison — than Emmit would’ve on his own.

But Varga doesn’t care. He noted how Burgle didn’t back down, like so many other polite Minnesotans, and moved forward. The “unstoppable force v. an immovable object” example comes to mind, but this was a straight-up showdown between good and evil. And that Thewlis didn’t blink, but rather slyly smiled, when faced with his first challenge said so much about the man Burgle will have to stop.

Next page: Aces Quotes for Everyday Use

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