Photo: Chris Large/FX.
Emmit awakes in his home with that damn two cent stamp stuck to his forehead, of the sort Swango has been leaving him. He drives to Stussy headquarters to find that some redecoration is happening, thanks to Mrs. Goldfarb. She explains to him that he’s sold his company to her but much of his personal wealth, gotten during his unsavory deals with Varga, is hidden in offshore accounts. I think it’s interesting that he assumes that she works for Varga — frankly, it seems far more likely that she’s the source of Varga’s purse strings.
As that’s happening, Dollard explains to Burgle what Varga was doing to Stussy’s company. It’s not money laundering, it’s perfectly legal to “strip mine” a company in the way they did. Except for one small thing: they didn’t pay their taxes. Burgle gets a call from Officer Lopez (Olivia Sandoval), alerting her to the bodies Swango left behind. Burgle puts out a BOLO and goes to warn Emmit, but he’s in his car, driving to wherever his wife is staying to beg for his life back. His car breaks down, and who should pull up behind him but Swango…with a shotgun. Just as she’s going to kill him, she begins repeating the instructed Bible verse and a police officer shows up. So, if she hadn’t done what Laura Palmer’s dad instructed her to do, she might have had a clean kill. Instead, she ends up dead in a shootout with the officer, who she kills. Emmit is left alive, with no evidence he was ever at the scene and drives away. Nikki Swango, a true American bad ass, died so that a mediocre white man could live. If that isn’t a metaphor for the value of women in modern society, then I don’t know what it is. As her body is carried away, Burgle stands over it with the Minnesota wind ruffling her hair. “Okay then,” she says and walks away.
Emmit manages to reconcile with his family as well as with his business partner Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg) and, in a flash forward, we learn that he serves two months of probation for misdemeanor tax evasion and is suspected to have kept a huge sum of the money. But, five years later in 2016, the bill comes due for Emmit Stussy. Mr. Wrench comes to his home during a holiday meal and shoots him in the back of the head as he searches for the Jell-O salad.
If this all leaves you feeling like we’re left in a world ruled by vendettas and random violence, Hawley tries to end with some hope. He brings Burgle, who is now an agent with the Department of Homeland Security, and Varga face to face one more time in an airport holding room where she questions him. After an avalanche of circular talk from Varga, he tries one last time to create doubt for Burgle. “In five minutes, that door is going to open, and a man you can’t argue with will tell me I’m free to go. And I will stand from this chair and disappear into the world, so help me God,” Varga tells her. Burgle insists that she’ll be eating fried Snickers bars at the state fair while he’s in Riker’s prison.
We don’t know which prediction comes true because the episode ends with Burgle looking at the clock above his head, a knowing smile on her face. I suppose the ending you imagine is a litmus test for your character. Do due process and hard work win out over cheating the system? Is fundamentally good enough to triumph over objectively evil? Do you view it as man versus woman? Or a pugnacious detective finally getting her man?
The future is unknown, in so many ways.
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Photo: Chris Large/FX.