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The Narrow Escape Problem
Season 3, Episode 4
Episode Information
Air Date:

May 10, 2017


1.05 million

Written by:

Monica Beletsky

Directed by:

Michael Uppendahl

Episode Chronology
Previous Episode:

The Law of Non-Contradiction

Next Episode:

The House of Special Purpose


The Narrow Escape Problem is the fourth episode of Season 3, and the twenty-fourth episode overall. It premiered May 10, 2017.


Emmit and Sy try to figure out what they have gotten themselves into; Nikki and Ray track down some collateral; Gloria learns more about Maurice.


The episode opens with narration sequence that likens the characters to characters from the opera Peter and the Wolf, with the music fitting each Peter character accompanying each Fargo character. Emmit Stussy, picking out a tie for the day, is the songbird, Ray Stussy, shaving his mustache, is the duck, Nikki Swango, fitting Ray in a wig that makes him look like Emmit, is the cat, Sy Feltz, toying with a model of a Stussy parking lot, is the grandfather, and Yuri Gurka and Meemo, entering V.M. Varga's wing of Stussy Lots, are the hunters, shutting the door behind them. Varga is likened to the wolf, shown eating a large breakfast before going to a restroom to forcefully vomit it up. Gloria Burgle, driving in her squad car, is Peter. The narrator asks "Are you sitting comfortably?" Then says "Good. Then I'll begin."

Ray, disguised as Emmit, visits his bank and forces Buck Olander to grant him access to Emmit's account and safety deposit box, using information Nikki had memorized in "The Principle of Restricted Choice". He withdraws $10,001 dollars and looks inside the box, only to find a family dog's ashes as opposed to the stamp. Emmit and Sy discuss this, both irate, and note Yuri and Meemo exiting the building with a briefcase. As they pass it on to Varga, Gloria goes through the contents of Maurice LeFay's wallet as she examines his corpse, finding both a torn out page of the phonebook with Ennis' address and a card for Ray's parole office. She argues about the circumstances of Ennis' death with Moe Dammick, before leaving to go visit Ray.

Waiting to see him, she encounters Saint Cloud traffic police officer Winnie Lopez while using the restroom, who is there to talk to Ray about Sy hitting his car. When Gloria sits down to see Ray, she is shocked to see that he shares a last name with Ennis, and asks Ray about the strange circumstances of the robbery. Ray dismisses it based on Maurice's drug usage and failed urine test. As she leaves, she finds a friendly note from Winnie tucked under her windshield wipers. Ray is called to his boss Scotty Pullover's office, where he and the county's deputy director show Ray pictures of him with Nikki. To save Nikki from consequences, Ray allows himself to be fired. Outside, Sy smirks at him as Ray walks by, revealing him to be the one who told on Ray.

Winnie visits Sy in front of Yuri and Meemo to talk about the incident at the diner and tells him a waitress whose car he hit is demanding compensation. Ray, depressed over the loss of his job, drinks alone at a bar, missing an important meet with Nikki and sponsor Burt Lurdsman. Varga shows up to Emmit's house for dinner unannounced, charming his family, vomiting in his toilet, and requests that Emmit make him a partner with Stussy Lots. When Emmit refuses, Varga warns him that his external show of his wealth puts him in danger, claiming that the lower class will soon rise up against him. He reveals that he is fully aware of Emmit's feud with Ray, and Emmit convinces him that Ray and Nikki are not problems. After more talk from Varga, Emmit gives in and signs contracts that make Varga a partner. He tells Emmit that he is no longer in the parking lot business, rather the billionaire business.

Gloria puts her son Nathan to bed as Winnie arrives at her house with new information. She informs her that not only do Ennis and Ray share a last name, so does Emmit, and that while Ennis lived in Eden Valley, Emmit lives in Eden Prairie. Mystified, Gloria ponders this as her tea kettle whistles.


Main Cast

Guest Starring




Season 3 episodes

01. "The Law of Vacant Places"
02. "The Principle of Restricted Choice"
03. "The Law of Non-Contradiction"
04. "The Narrow Escape Problem"
05. "The House of Special Purpose"

06. "The Lord of No Mercy"
07. "The Law of Inevitability"
08. "Who Rules the Land of Denial?"
09. "Aporia"
10. "Somebody to Love"