'Fargo' recap: Did I tell you what I like about Minnesota?

Goran Bogdan as Yuri Gurka, David Thewlis as V.M. Vargas, Andy Yu as Meemo
Goran Bogdan as Yuri Gurka, David Thewlis as V.M. Vargas and Andy Yu as Meemo on 'Fargo.'
Chris Large | FX

Every week on "Aw Jeez: A 'Fargo' podcast," hosts Tracy Mumford and Jay Gabler recap the latest episode, and interview experts about the mayhem, the mob and the Minnesota moments in season three of "Fargo." Listen to the audio for more analysis and an interview with bridge expert, Barbara Seagram. | Subscribe to the Aw Jeez podcast

Another week, another "true story" of Minnesota mayhem on "Fargo."

Eden Valley police chief Gloria Burgle is still puzzling over the details of her stepfather Ennis' murder. The how isn't a mystery — "They glued his nose and mouth shut. Are we thinking cause of death is somehow a cliffhanger?" — but the who is a stumper.

She pages through the trove of old sci-fi paperbacks she found buried beneath his floorboards, all written by a man named Thaddeus Mobley. (The names of these novels are not to be missed: "The Planet Wyh," "Space Elephants Never Forget," "Toronto Cain: Psychic Ranger," "Organ Fish of Kleus-9," "The Plague Monkeys.")

Gloria's best guess: Thaddeus and Ennis are one in the same. Her stepfather was hiding a secret life as a sci-fi tycoon. At some point he gave it all up, changed his name and fled to the quiets of Eden Valley. So what else was he hiding?

Gloria's morning murder musing is interrupted by her faithful deputy — the kind who quaintly forgets his gun in the car. Their two-person police department is about to be swallowed up by the county force, which could put Gloria out of a job.

The Eden Valley police department, it turns out, is housed in the town's public library. The visiting county chief warns Gloria that they're going to have to shape up and modernize — you know, start using things like computers — but Gloria has an allergy to anything tech-related. Not even the sensors on automatic doors seem to detect her presence. (Off-the-rails fan theory here: Gloria Burgle — ghost?)

Meanwhile, Emmit Stussy calls in his brightest legal eagle to sort out his million-dollar-loan-that-wasn't-a-loan problem. His lawyer, Irv Blumkin, calls it like it is: "You borrowed a million dollars from a man without knowing his first name."

Ewan McGregor as Emmit Stussy
Ewan McGregor as Emmit Stussy
Chris Large | FX

So what, says Emmit. Google him. Facebook him. Find out whatever you can about V.M. Varga, the mysterious and menacing Brit slowly leaching away Emmit's parking lot empire.

But Varga is far more tech savvy than the rest of the Luddite cast, and definitely more than Irv, who needs help finding the "Enter" key. There's only one result for Varga on Google, and it's a virtual bear trap: Click it and your computer will snap your photo, then crash.

Irv doesn't think to ask where that photo went.

He's going to need more than just the IT kid to get out of this one.

Varga, meanwhile, is making his presence known at Stussy Lots Ltd. He parks a mysterious semi-truck in one of Emmit's parking lots at the edge of town. The cargo is unknown — but the driver carries a whip.

Emmit's mustachioed sidekick, Sy Feltz, isn't sure how to take this latest development. There could be anything in that truck. And it's better not to know, he says. How else can you keep plausible deniability?

Across town, Ray's trying to cover his tracks on last episode's murder-by-A/C unit. Somehow, a cooling unit to the head is marked as "natural causes."

The sidewalk splatter doesn't seem to have tamped down the romance any between Nikki and Ray, but there's a new problem now. Ray's chi. It's all blocked up, Nikki says. His energy's all off: If he's not careful, he's going to sabotage their bridge game.

The only way to get his head back into the game, Nikki says, is to clear things up with Emmit. Put the blood feud to rest. Either forgive him — or take back the stamp, once and for all.

They attempt a two-pronged approach. Ray comes knocking at Emmit's Eden Prairie mansion late that night, asking to make amends. Nikki, meanwhile, slips into Emmit's office to snatch up the Prometheus stamp.

One problem: It's not there.

Trouble in paradise: Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ewan McGregor on 'Fargo.'
Trouble in paradise: Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ewan McGregor on 'Fargo.'
Courtesy of FX

On the wall, in the stamp's place, hangs a new painting: A donkey. An ass. A taunt? Nikki thinks so.

While the Stussy brothers, in a true "Parent Trap" moment with Ewan McGregor acting opposite Ewan McGregor, try to bury the hatchet, Nikki leaves an unforgettable message for Emmit and his stamp switcheroo act. She also catches sight of a safe deposit slip in Emmit's desk drawer. (Call it a premonition: What's the point of having one actor play two characters, if there can't be an impersonation-at-the-bank scene?)

Though Ray and Emmit actually manage to have a moment of brotherly healing in Emmit's frozen driveway, Nikki's unsubtle message back in Emmit's office sabotages any fragile truce the brothers might have made.

And Nikki and Ray are still no closer to getting that stamp — which, it turns out, Emmit did not hide. It's just being re-framed after the cleaning woman dropped it.

Misunderstandings and miscommunication on "Fargo" never end well.

Speaking of things not ending well, back to Irv Blumkin. Turns out, Googling V.M. Varga marked him for death — and you thought your search history was bad. Two of Varga's henchmen confront Irv in a parking garage, and send him screaming over the edge.

Those henchmen? Meemo and Yuri. Could this be an early connection back to our 1988 Berlin opener? That interrogator was on the hunt for a Yuri — and he didn't care who he caught instead.

As the episode closes out, Sy lets Ray know that Nikki's bloody message is the end of it. No more money. No more talking. The relationship between Ray and Emmit is over. To prove his point, Sy backs his Hummer over Ray's beloved Corvette. O-V-E-R.

But Emmit's day is still worse: The elevators open to reveal Varga and his henchmen, pushing banker boxes and dollies, moving their operations right into Emmit's office.

After searching the world for a perfect place to hide his criminal enterprise, Varga says, he's settled on Minnesota.

"Did I tell you what I like about Minnesota?" he says with a smirk. "It's so perfectly, sublimely bland."

Emmit could object — but remember what happened to Irv.

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