Fargo The House of Special Purpose Review
Written by Bob Delaurentis
Directed by Dearbhla Walsh
Ray Stussy/Emmit Stussy: Ewan McGregor
Gloria Burgle: Carrie Coon
Nicki Swango: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
VM Varga: David Thewlis
Sy Feltz: Michael Stuhlbarg
Officer Lopez: Olivia Sandoval
Chief Dammick: Shea Whigham
Yuri: Goran Bogdan
Meemo: Andy Yu
Stella Stussy: Linda Kash
Larue Dollars: Hamish Linklater
One thing Fargo does consistently week after week is delivering a stellar episode. There are few hiccups, like what I initially thought about episode three this season, but the series will ultimately steer itself right. The House of Special Purpose, the fifth episode the season, shows how even in its errors the episode still pulls off the impressive feat of being pretty good.
In all its faults, The House of Special Purpose is still engaging. Even as a lesser episode, it is miles better than most other shows. There are three major flaws with this episode, which some stem from previous episodes. First off, the top of the show sees the departure of Emmit’s wife, Stella after she discovers a sex tape with who she thinks is her husband with his secretary. My issue is she seems to forget a couple of things: does the woman in the video not remind her of someone who’s been to her home?; can she not tell the difference between her husband and his stockier twin? A minor gripe, but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.
The Chief Dammick Issue
Another major issue with the episode is Chief Dammick, who is only there to hinder Gloria’s investigation. Dammick’s argument, when first introduced, made sense; Gloria is no long chief and she should follow proper protocol. Now it seems like Dammick’s only role is preventing Gloria from completing an investigation. His character is written purely as an obstacle for the hero to overcome. Along with Officer Lopez, Gloria’s theory is closer to reality than Dammick sees it, and as Gloria inches closer to the truth she’s told to back off and focus on more important things.
Fargo has its fair share of incompetent police officers, season one’s Oswalt comes to mind, but Dammick is trying to top that list. Maybe there’s some subtext of a man preventing a woman to succeed, but there haven’t been clues hinting to that conclusion.
Finally, my final issue is Yuri and Meemo’s beating of Nicki in the final ten minutes. Sy is warned, using a penis-ladened mug, to stay content as the company begins its growth. Sy’s meeting with a blackmailing Nicki turns violent with Meemo and Yuri mercilessly beating her as a warning to Sy. Why not just kill her? Yuri and Meemo have killed for lesser offenses. Maybe Mary Elizabeth Winstead was too expensive of an actor to kill off five episodes in?
The House of Special Purpose is taken from the home of whom Russian Imperial family, the Romanov’s, were brutally executed. The title hints at the death of both Stussy brothers, or even the death of Emmit’s family. Ipatiev House, also known as The House of Special Purpose is the location where Emperor Nicholas II of Russia was executed along with his family, son, and four daughters, the youngest being the famed Anastasia.
The House of Special Meaning
The House of Special Purpose could hint at a physical location as in Stussy Lots. Sy was threatened in his office, but whether Meemo and Yuri would actually pull the trigger in a crowded building remains to be seen.
The fate of Larue Dollars, played by chameleon Hamish Linklater, rests in Varga’s hands. “Did he mention children? Is he married?” shows the brutality with which Varga relies upon to get what he needs. Even with investigating fake books, how long will it take for Dollars to be satisfied with his findings?
How long will Ruby Goldfarb remain an important piece to the Stussy puzzle? She’s adamant on taking over every parking lot in Minnesota. Her demeanor towards Sy comes off as snobbish yet determined. With the extension of her limp wrist, she’s almost disappointed Sy didn’t kiss her hand. Couple that with a thinly veiled threat and Goldfarb could be another opposing force for Emmit.
Carrying over thematic elements from the previous episode, The House of Special Purpose ends with a close-up of a wolf. This may represent Ray’s ferocity and violent nature coming to the forefront. It could have a bigger meaning, however. In my last review, I mentioned Peter and the Wolf and how the wolf, in its hunt, is captured by the boy and put on display in a parade. As Gloria and Officer Lopez get closer to solving the case, Ray might be the one who’s arrested. Could there be multiple wolves? How will Nicki’s beating affect Ray’s relationship with his brother?