Ozark is Dark, Menacing and Compelling Viewing

Ozark is a Netflix series starring Jason Bateman as a financial adviser working for the Cartel who kills his partner. He moves to the Ozarks to launder $500m.

Updated 4 May 2022 – with Series Finale chapter

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When Ozark arrived on Netflix full of exciting promise, it was dark, menacing, and captivating, with a stellar cast in a stunning scenic location. Ozark stars Jason Bateman as a financial adviser in Chicago who has got in too deep, laundering money for the Drug Cartel. When events spiral out of control, the Cartel executes his business partner. Then, he saves his own life by offering to launder $500 million in the Ozarks.

Jason Batemen Ozark
Photo: Netflix

Following the dramatic opening scene, the entire family moves to the Ozarks and tries to build a new life there. Their survival depends on how successful Marty is at setting up a money-laundering operation for the Cartel. They meet some colourful locals, the standout being Ruth Langmore, the redneck trailer park trash who comes to work for Marty. Julia Garner has won multiple Emmys for her role.

Ruth Langmore and Marty Ozarks
Photo: Netflix

Jason Bateman

I enjoy many of the shows that Jason Bateman stars in and what he brings to them. His character Marty Byrde is the epicentre of this show, with Laura Lynley playing the wife, Wendy.

Jason Bateman plays Marty Byrde with an ultra-calm demeanour that disarms and neutralises each person required in his next task and calms his adversaries for long enough to plan how to get around them. Yet, at the same time, that demeanour covers a razor-sharp mind planning ten steps ahead and never strays from the final objective.

What their Survival Depends On

The series is incredibly engaging in how it deals with survival and the consequences of the choices we have to make. Marty understands the value of being exceptionally good at what you do and recognises that his survival depends on it. But unfortunately, his wife, Wendy, has a terrible habit of solving things by digging the hole deeper.

For the most rational understanding of Ozark, it is best to examine events from the perspective of Marty Byrde. I stated before that Marty understands that his survival depends on him being exceptionally good at what he does. Marty is also particularly good at looking at the totality of what is happening and comprehending the consequence of decisions. Like a game of chess, he looks at the entire board, not just at one piece.

Wendy achieves remarkable things and impresses those she deals with but fails to look at the consequences of her actions, the impact or fallout. She solves one problem that leads to two more. Ben is the primary example of this, a terrible short-term decision with horrendous long-term consequences.

The Byrds Ozarks
Photo: Netflix

Final Season

The final season wasn’t as strong as the preceding ones. These episodes were slower and lacked story progress, whereas the early seasons were fast and unpredictable. In addition, there appeared to be some plot holes in the story, for instance, the speed at which Ruth got her casino license. While at the same time, many political and law enforcement story arcs played out, giving the impression that there were too many balls in the air.

The car crash scene is also significant and shown twice, finally making more sense at the end. The car ride is the first time they are back together as a family, and when they survive the crash, it symbolises that they can get through this ordeal.

Ozark Series Finale

Updated 4 May 2022 – * Contains Spoilers from Ozark Series Finale *

However, I did find the series’ finale credible and was surprised and relieved by how many people remained alive. There were some lukewarm series finale reviews, but you better appreciate what transpired by reading the fan comments on reviews or going to Reddit.

Some fans and reviewers are disappointed with the death of Ruth. This last season has been building to this inevitable outcome, and she made numerous poor decisions getting there. In hindsight, Ruth was never better than when she worked for Marty. When she resigned, it started a trajectory that led to that fateful night.

Ruth also acts on impulse, focusing on the immediate emotional need and not the unmistakable consequences. She was righteous about what the Byrdes did, yet Ruth killed Wyatt Langmores father, resulting in Wyatt marrying Darlene Snell, a woman old enough to be his grandmother. Ruth then goes into business with Darlene, who previously murdered a pregnant woman and cut her baby out, making Marty and Wendy look like saints in comparison. These choices were not going to end well.

In the final episodes, Ruth takes a controlling stake in the Casino, setting her on a path against the Cartel. Marty tells her that the Casino’s sole purpose is to launder money. Finally, when she is at home and sees visions of her dead relatives, it foreshadows what will happen.

Who did Jonah shoot?

Fan theories question what Jonah shot at the end. Reviewers theorise that Jonah was the person who could have gotten out. However, the story does not indicate that. Instead, Jonah left the house to work in the motel and launder money for Ruth and Darlene, digging himself deeper. Jonah, of all people, should have known better because of his early personal experience with Darlene.

When Jonah and Charlotte agree to go with their grandfather, who is not a good person, it is another poor decision, focusing on what they get away from and not on what they are going.

There is precedent to Jonah using a rifle at the house and being prepared to use it when threatened. In the first season, Jonah exhibits quite disturbed behaviour.

In the final scene, Jonah fires the gun he is holding, and the only viable target of the shot is Mel Sattem. Mel Sattem is threatening to bring down his family and behaving like an obsessed crazy man unable to stop. He would not have shot Wendy at this stage because he had reconciled and come home, and the Goat Jar wasn’t the target because it was Ben’s ashes.

Watch the Ozark Season 1 Trailer. Ozark is on Netflix.

Photo: Netflix

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