When this episode jumped five years forward and updated us on what seemed to be Emmit Stussy’s final fate, the first thing I thought of was Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows.”
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes/Everybody knows. Of course, that wasn’t what I was thinking at the beginning of the episode. Then, I was thinking of documents and language. Documents because that’s what we were seeing–Emmit signing documents the full meaning thereof he doesn’t seem to grasp until it’s far too late, Gloria signing a document she will temporarily hold, and intrepid IRS agent Larue Dollard puzzling out the meaning of the documents that he’s been given.
I was thinking of language because of how endearing it was that Nikki’s learned enough ASL to communicate with Mr. Wrench and because that’s what Varga uses as his ultimate weapon. It’s like that old saw–if you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with bullshit. Varga’s stories are designed to lull you into complacence.
And Emmit falls for it every time. In this episode, a gun-wielding Emmit hesitates just long enough for Varga to get the drop on him, although it’s unclear how Emmit thought this would play out. Then again, it’s unclear that Emmit has really thought at any point. He entered into a business arrangement with Varga and Narwhal when he didn’t even know Varga’s name, after all.
Let’s forget Emmit for a minute, just like the episode does, and turn back to Varga. He and his “fire team” are told to meet Nikki at a warehouse to exchange the drives for cash. It goes awry. Just as Varga is waiting in the elevator, he receives a mysterious message telling him that the drives are with the IRS. He escapes into the elevator shaft as Meemo and the rest of the team are gunned down by Wrench in the hallway.
And Nikki lets Varga go, but she can’t do the same for Emmit. It’s here that she fails in her mission, by letting herself be consumed with her own wrath. So she dies on the side of a lonely Minnesota road and Gloria stays with her until they finally remove the body. Okay, then.
Those papers Emmit signed gave his company, his life’s work, over to a company called Realignment (ha). That company is run by the widow Goldfarb, who, of course, has been working with Varga all along. The whole thing is actually legal, except for the part where they didn’t pay any taxes. Emmit pleads to misdemeanor tax fraud and gets a brush on the wrist–not even a slap. Five years later, he’s doing pretty well. He’s back with his wife and Sy has come back from death, although he’s now in a wheelchair. That’s how it goes. Everybody knows. Everybody also knows about another old saw, one about death and taxes. Taxes have already come for Emmit, and now death, in the form of Mr. Wrench, is waiting in the kitchen. Emmit, like always, never even sees it coming. [And that’s when my mental Leonard Cohen jukebox temporarily switched to “The Future”: “I’ve seen the future, brother: it is murder.”]
Gloria’s paper was her resignation from the sheriff’s department. Five years later, she’s also doing pretty well. She’s an agent with the Department of Homeland Security and has Varga in a little room. He tries to bury her in bullshit, but she’s too much for that. She’s thinking of the fair, about eating fried Snickers bars with her son. And that’s the final position of this season and this episode. It’s not like The Lady or the Tiger. In a few minutes, Gloria says, Varga (or Daniel Rand, as he’s known now) will be transferred to Rikers, where he will await charges relating to the deaths of six people. Varga, on the other hand, maintains that the knock on the door will be a message for her to stand down and then he will be on his merry way, while she knows her place in the world. The lady or the tiger. Which one is right is left up to us, as the episode ends like it began, in an interrogation room where we don’t yet know the story. It’s a frustrating ending for the audience, but not all that surprising after this season. The good don’t always win and we don’t always know the final answer, even if we think we deserve it. That’s how it goes. Everybody knows.
8/10 – I liked it? This season has been polarizing, as y’all have certainly let me know, and I would bet cash money that this episode is going to be the most divisive of all. Overall, though, I have a positive feeling about the season. Then again, this show, like Varga and his speeches, might just have lulled me into thinking that because it ended with a smiling Carrie Coon.