Fargo is a television show of the highest quality, written, directed and acted to an impeccable standard. It's also a show that is decisive and full of intent, rich with subtle references, call backs and clues. In short, it wastes none of its runtime on anything that isn't absolutely required.
With that in mind, some viewers may've been confused by the ending of the most recent episode, "The House of Special Purpose." After a tense hour filled to the brim with blackmail, intimidation and violence, the show ends with Ray comforting Nikki as she lay battered and bruised in the bathtub, beaten at the hands of V.M. Varga's henchmen.
But, just after the scene, a bizarre silhouette appears with the seeming significance of a Windows 98 screensaver. As discussed only seconds ago, nothing is left to chance in #Fargo, and this shot is no different. So what does the faded image of a Wolf-like creature have to do with the #television show's plot? The answer is in the metaphor.
What The Wolf In 'Fargo' Means
To understand the meaning of the wolf silhouette, we need to go back to the opening of the previous episode. Rich with all the things that make Fargo a modern masterpiece, the show's lead characters are compared to instruments in the orchestra for the musical composition, Peter and the Wolf. Check out the video below:
Created in 1936 by Soviet composer Sergei Prokofiev, Peter and the Wolf was a composition that included a narration, telling the story of Peter, his pet cat, and a group of animals. In the story, Peter has to outwit the Wolf in order to save his animal friends.
In accordance with the tale, the characters are linked to the animals as follows:
- Emmit: Bird.
- Ray: Duck.
- Nikki: Cat.
- Sy: The Grandfather.
- Varga: Wolf.
How The Composition Can Explain 'Fargo's' Storyline
Perhaps unsurprisingly, rotten-toothed villain V.M. Varga is the Wolf. Applying this to Fargo, the composition illustrates how the show's characters must out maneuver the wolf (Varga) in order to save themselves. It's interesting to note that in the composition, the cat (Nikki) escapes the wolf (Varga) by climbing a tree. But the wolf then swallows the duck (Ray), before being distracted by the bird (Emmit), allowing Peter to catch the wolf.
Whether or not this tells us much about where events will be going next is unclear. However, Nikki may've just had a narrow escape from the Wolf, leading Ray (as the duck) into the grips of Varga. That'll leave things up to Emmit, as the bird, to distract Varga (Wolf), leading to his capture.
Prokofiev's composition ends ambiguously, with the narrator telling the listeners:
"If you listen very carefully, you'll hear the duck quacking inside the wolf's belly, because the wolf in his hurry had swallowed her alive."
Considering Varga's bulimia has been revealed in this episode, this seems like a metaphor within a metaphor; does it mean Varga will, in his haste, trap Ray but leave a way to be exploited? Only time will tell, but the level of depth of Fargo is astonishing — even an innocuous silhouette can point to something much bigger.
Did you make the connection between the image in the credits and the opening of the previous Fargo episode?