It goes without saying, but this post contains SPOILERS for Fargo Season 3, Episode 3, "The Law of Non-Contradiction."
Fargo Season 3's third episode took a detour to Los Angeles that provided a contemplative interlude permeated by a wonderfully Lynchian tone. With a pensive pace, daring use of animation and symbolism, and plenty of nostalgic callbacks to other Coen brothers films, "The Law of Non-Contradiction" said a lot in the subtlest of ways and brought some tantalizing questions to the fore, not least:
- Did Ennis/Thaddeus decide to go to Minnesota because of the alien encounter of 1979, or was he already there when it happened?
- Who murdered Ennis/Thaddeus? While Maurice is the prime suspect, he seemed unsure if Ennis was dead when he arrived in Nikki's bathroom. Also, gluing an old man's nose and mouth shut seems a little malicious for an attempted burglary, eh?
But while you puzzle over those questions, remember that with Fargo it's not about the answers, but rather how we arrive at them. And on that note, let's take a closer look at the Easter Eggs, references, and interesting facts you might have missed from Fargo Season 3, Episode 3, "The Law of Non-Contradiction."
1. Minsky's Useless Machine
The box that Gloria finds in Room 203 at the motel is actually a device called a Useless Machine, or a Leave Me Alone Box. The first Useless Machine was created based on plans by MIT cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky, who also penned several important works regarding philosophy and AI. It's also interesting to note that Thaddeus named his robot protagonist in Planet Wyh MNSKY.
We see in the animation of the book's story that at the very end, the robot turns itself off using a switch that looks very similar to the one on the useless machine. Coincidence? This is Fargo, of course not. But the question is, was MNSKY useless? Is a Useless Machine even actually useless?
2. Young Vivian And Old Vivian Are Mother And Daughter In Real Life
If you thought the casting directors really went all out trying to find actresses who could convincingly play younger and older versions of the same character, you'll be satisfied to know that the two are actually mother and daughter. Young and old Vivian Lord are actually Francesca Eastwood and her mother, Frances Fisher; they're also the daughter and ex-partner of Clint Eastwood, respectively.
3. The Diner Is The Same One The Nihilists Go To In The Big Lebowski
Sharp-eyed Redditor Kent_Didlio spotted this one. What a gloriously nihilistic callback. Nicely done, Mr. Hawley.
4. The Law Of Non-Contradiction
Up until now, all of the Fargo Season 3 episodes have been named after principles in the game of Bridge, as we addressed in last week's post. This episode brings us our first, but not last, logic-related title. A law straight out of classical logic, the Law of Non-Contradiction states that something cannot be simultaneously true and untrue in the same context. For example, right now as I type this sentence my computer is on. In this very moment, it cannot be true that my computer is both on and off. Capisce?
5. A Barton Fink Callback
"The Law of Non-Contradiction" had a lot in common, both tonally and otherwise, with the Coen brothers' movie Barton Fink. One of the most visually obvious correlations comes when Gloria sits on the beach after hearing Vivian's story. The image almost perfectly mirrors the mysterious woman's stance in Barton Fink as she sits on the beach, gazing out at the water.
Check out the trailer for next week's episode, "The Narrow Escape Problem":
'Fargo' airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on FX.
What else did you notice in "The Law of Non-Contradiction"?