For me the big reveal of this episode was this: It never was about the stamp for old Ray Stussy. Sy was right, Emmitt’s brother would always want more from him. And the stamp was the chip on his shoulder, the reason he wasn’t a success like his brother. It was his excuse.
So when Emmitt offers it to him late in this episode, Ray refuses. If he takes it, and still isn’t a success, then it wasn’t the stamp that was keeping Ray back, it was him.
Maybe I am reading too much into this, but that is what I got from this episode.
Also, Ray died as he live, bickering with his brother.
The episode picks up pretty much right after last episode, with Nikki badly beaten and Ray fretting. I must have written down at least 10 times in my notes watching this: “NIKKI NEEDS A DOCTOR!!!” Those bruises look like she has some internal wounds, and the ice baths and non-stop popping of aspirin only adds to this.
Ray is now on the warpath, and he and Nikki want revenge. And like any Minnesotan, Ray grabs his gun right out from the refrigerator and is ready to fight.
We then get an eerie monologue from Varga on how truth is in the eye of the beholder. He talks of the stocks/housing crash, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand happening during the assasin’s pit stop for a sandwich and ending with the faking of the moon landing.
The last bit is too much for poor Sy to cope with. Varga is a man who seems to follow the mighty words of George Costanza: “It’s not a lie, if you believe it.”
What Varga is proposing/telling Sy and Emmitt is his plan to double the size of Emmitt’s empire. In three months. A plan that Emmitt seems to be OK with. Sy isn’t sure, what with that IRS agent poking around the books and whatnot.
Well, Varga has a plan for him, and it is in the shape of Meemo posing as an attorney who mimicks the anal retentiveness of the IRS guy.
Meemo doesn’t threaten or cause violence here, he throws the law right back into this pencil pusher’s face. The guy leaves, but there is now an air of secrecy to the Stussy books that I am sure the IRS is going to be interested in.
Ray and Nikki are on the trail of Yuri and Meemo, and they see them at the truck with Varga. Ray wants to pop out and blast them away, but Nikki is figuring things out. Back home, in the ice bath, she correctly deduces that after the housing crash of 2008, Emmitt probably went to a source outside a bank (the banks were, of course, financially on fire then. Thus making a loan for property damn near impossible) and got caught up with the wrong people. He is into something, she says, against his will now.
We then go back to Varga, picking his jacked up teeth with a metal doohickey, which seems to be making his dental hygiene situation somehow worse. He sees Gloria and Winnie head to Ray’s office. They are there to follow up on the vehicle damage that Sy caused, and also to see if they can connect more dots between Maurice and Ray to the murder of Ennis Stussy.
I liked this scene, since Emmitt has no idea what they are talking about. Company car in an accident? Murder of another Stussy? An E Stussy, in Eden Valley, whereas Emmitt is an E Stussy in Eden Prairie. Dots are connecting….
….Until Varga catches wind of what is going on. He was told that Ray wasn’t going to be an issue, and yet here we are: Cops in the office investigating a murder case that migth be connected to Ray. So Varga starts interrupting like he is a lawyer on the O.J. Simpson case, throwing doubt everywhere, all the while refusing to tell them who he even is. Which is pretty ballsy if you ask me. He even throws doubt on the Stussy name connection by saying there were 24 Hitlers in the phonebook around WWII, does that mean all of them were responsible for the Final Solution? It is a Hail Mary in logic, but is enough to throw Gloria and Winnie off thier rhythm.
Also, I love how Winnie immediately starts staring daggers into Varga, she knows right off the bat something is wrong with this situation.
Now we get to what I think adds to the mystery of Gloria Burgle: We know she is often not recognized by electronics. Even startling so at times. And when Varga does a Google search of her, nothing pops up. This is interesting because by 2010, almost everyone has a presence that could be located on Google. Heck, she was the chief of police for Eden Valley, and not even news stories pop up with her name.
This is odd. As someone in the news media, a public official like that at that time would most certainly have a Google hit. As chief, she would no doubt have been interviewed at one time or another by the local paper, even a metro considering how close to Minneapolis she is. This is almost impossible, and I believe it goes hand-in-hand with the electronics not recognizing her and her almost alien quality when she was in Los Angeles.
And if I, the viewer is baffled by this, it gets worse when Varga is just as shocked as I am by that. The Eden Valley Police website is devoid of any “contact us” areas, or even “about us” parts, which is commonplace for any government related website.
If you are interested, here is the link to the current Eden Valley PD website. It shows the chief, but click on the department, it eerily comes up a blank page.
Varga sends Yuri to find out what he can from the police department, wanting to know what he is dealing with here. He sends Meemo to go out and get Ray and Nikki — to execute.
Ray is taking care of Nikki, who again NEEDS A DAMN DOCTOR! We hear a knock on the door and footsteps outside the window. It creates an air of “Oh (REDACTED), is that Meemo?” No, it is Gloria and Winnie, looking to follow up their talk with Ray. Considering Ray is armed, and Nikki is in bed with bruises, they lay low until they leave.
The heat is on, Ray tells Nikki, they need to get out.
In Nikki’s vehicle, they take off. And, we see, Meemo is following them. This caused a bit of dread in me.
Well, our two lovebirds check into a motel that allows cash payments — they do not want to be tracked — and get somewhat settled. Ray mentions he spent his last $20, and Nikki asks him if he brought the getaway money. He didn’t. What with the rushing to get the hell out of dodge, I don’t blame Ray. But he offers to drive back and grab it.
He leaves, and we see Meemo lurking in the shadows of the motel. At this point, I silently screamed “Don’t kill Nikki! I can’t handle that at this point!”
Ray returns to his apartment, and finds Emmitt sitting in the dark waiting for him. Emmitt is tired of all the fighting, tired of Ray and he always at each other, tired of the whole situation. He offers the stamp to Ray as a peace offering to end this madness.
As I stated at the start of this, Ray needs that stamp as his excuse in life. If he has it, he will have to face some truths about himself he doesn’t want to confront. Emmitt pushes on him, Ray pushes back until the frame smashes into Ray’s face — and jugular.
Now, I get that Emmitt is in shock that this happened, but dude should have grabbed a towel and applied pressure to his brother’s wound and called an ambulance. But like Nikki, Emmitt seems adverse to doctors, so he watches his younger brother bleed to death before his eyes.
Having committed murder, Emmitt calls Varga for help. And this is a situation where Varga’s expertise seems like a natural fit: Getting rid of a dead body and cleaning up a crime scene.
We then get an eery scene with Nikki grabbing some ice as Meemo sneaks into her motel room. While in the shower, Meemo gets a call from Varga for his assistance. We get a nice tense scene with Nikki creeping back into her room, armed with a bent wire hanger, only to find Meemo has pulled a Malvo and has vanished from the premise.
There is a reason for this. When Varga and Meemo show up at Ray’s, they need a story to explain what happened.
This is when things get more twisted. Varga, making sure to set up an alibi for Ray, creates a scene where Ray had beaten Nikki in areas that do not show. In a fit of rage, she kills her abuser and flees. Varga is setting up Ray’s murder to be thrown on Nikki. He is setting her up, which is his way of killing two birds with one stone.
Then we see Gloria driving back to Eden Valley. But she decides to make a stand, calls St. Cloud PD to tell them to inform Winnie to meet her at Ray’s place. Which, at the moment, is in chaos.
- I am not sure if we needed to see Nikki’s beatdown in the flashback at the start of the episode.
- NIKKI NEEDS A DOCTOR!
- I like that Ray keeps his bullets in a pantry and his gun in the fridge.
- “The shallow end of the pool is where the turds float.”
- I loved that scene with the IRS agent and Meemo mirroring him exactly.
- “A shark in a suit is still a shark.”
- “I didn’t get your name,” Gloria tells Varga. “True,” is his reply. Just the cockiness of that floored me.
- “Chief, not detective,” Gloria incorrectly corrects Varga, standing her ground.
- No record of Gloria on the internet is impossible, right?
- Even a criminal mastermind like Varga uses Google. There is an endorsement right there.
- “It’s a certain madness, brotherhood.” Emmitt tells Ray.
- “Can’t give me what was mine from the start.” Ray tells Emmitt.
- Ray should have just taken the damn stamp.
- “Things of consequence rarely happen by accident.” Varga tells Emmitt.
- “I’m so rarely seen, maybe I don’t exist.”
- RIP Ray Stussy.