Fargo: 3.05 The House of Special Purpose
This review contains full spoilers for the fifth episode of Fargo.
After hours of promising a big conflict but never letting very much happen, the pieces are finally falling into place in Fargo. The House of Special Purpose firmly establishes what appears to be the main theme of this season -- the truth -- while also reminding viewers of the peril in the show's world with a shocking and nerve-wracking conclusion.
Much like Ennis Stussy's murder in the season premiere, the major events of this episode are unintended consequences of Ray and Emmit's fighting. Or perhaps I should say Nikki and Sy's fighting: these two seem to have contempt for the other side than the brothers, and they also bring the biggest ideas to the table. Here, it's Nikki who hatches the sex tape plan, even though that backfires: the wife watches the video, squandering a blackmail opportunity and prompting her immediate removal from Emmit's house, causing him great dismay. Also, Ray's withdrawal of ten grand from Emmit's bank account drew the attention of the IRS, who now must conduct an investigation into the parking lot company's books. Even though Varga's fake books may get them off clean, the implications that Emmit is now running an illegal operation (whatever that illegal activity may be) finally dawned on him.
Sy has also bitten off more than he can chew. Driving the Hummer into Ray's Corvette brought the cops to the office, which apparently worried Varga. More sinister than ever, he's apparently focused on outing Sy from the company, psychologically tormenting the "fixer" and trying to debunk Emmit's faith in him. Completely paranoid, Sy made the first step towards selling the company to a self-storage mogul and tried to make a final deal with Nikki. But Varga won't leave him alone, and his henchman beat Nikki to near death in front of Sy as a warning.
All this excitement is building, but Gloria and her new cop buddy Winnie (an odd addition to the roster) are kept out of it by the new chief. Much like Bob Odenkirk's dumb chief from season one, Chief Dammick doesn't believe his underling's completely valid and reasonable theory. Only this time, it feels very forced. Shea Whigham plays his chief straight and practical, while Odenkirk was weak-stomached and obtuse.
In Fargo's final half, look for more mentions of truth and fact, as that plays very prominently in The House of Special Purpose. Characters like Nikki, Gloria, and Yuri Gurka ponder on the power of facts over beliefs. A staple of the show since it's beginning ( the opening ironic reminds us that "This is a true story" every episode), creator Noah Hawley is making it even more prominent after the "alternate facts" scandal in the recent election of President Trump. As tension escalates and eventually explodes, the truth of how these feuds began will be lost in a sea of accusations and blood.