Review: Season two of Ozark

Readability

Review: Season two of Ozark

By John Ruberry

When sea­son one of Ozark con­cluded last sum­mer, the Byrdes, a drug money laun­der­ing fam­ily from the Chicago area, decided to put roots down at Lake of the Ozarks in Mis­souri. Marty Byrde (Jason Bate­man), is the number-​crunching erst­while finan­cial plan­ner strug­gling to keep all of the balls he is jug­gling up in the air. He’s aided, for the most part, by his wife Wendy (Laura Lin­ney), a for­mer Demo­c­ra­tic polit­i­cal operator.

Click here to read my review of the first sea­son of Ozark.

In sea­son two, which takes place in Novem­ber, off-​season in the Ozarks, the Byrdes are again plot­ting their escape from Mis­souri, but first they must open a casino on the lake built on land owned by Jacob (Peter Mul­lan) and Dar­lene Snell (Lisa Emery), who man­u­fac­tures heroin for the same Mex­i­can drug car­tel Marty is indebted to. Get­ting a casino up-​and-​running of course means obtain­ing a license, so the Byrdes scheme with con­ser­v­a­tive pow­er­house Charles Wilkes (Dar­ren Gold­stein) to smooth over the numer­ous blem­ishes and scars the power laun­der­ing cou­ple have.

The sins of the par­ents taint the Byrdes’ chil­dren, high-​schoolers Char­lotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Sky­lar Gaert­ner), who ini­ti­ate their own crim­i­nal enterprise.

The Byrdes are rem­i­nis­cent of Tom and Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, while not “care­less,” as F. Scott Fitzger­ald described them, the Byrdes, to para­phrase his words, smash up things and crea­tures. And I’ll use Fitzgerald’s exact prose here, the Byrdes “let other peo­ple clean up the mess they had made.”

Those messes include arson, child abduc­tion, sui­cide, water­board­ing, and murder.

The sins of the Byrdes visit the Lang­mores, a small-​time crim­i­nal fam­ily, who in the first sea­son served as stereo­typ­i­cal red­neck foil. Yes, they live in trail­ers. The de facto leader of the fam­ily is Ruth (Julia Gar­ner), who is about 20 years old. She has trans­formed, maybe, from being a thief prey­ing upon the Byrdes to being the util­ity infielder and per­haps more for the Byrde operations.

Roy Petty (Jason But­ler Harner), plays a tor­mented FBI agent, who, like just about every other Ozark char­ac­ter, has no moral com­pass. He’s a law unto himself.

Hmm…an FBI agent who is unac­count­able. That doesn’t hap­pen in real life, does it?

There are many lessons in Ozark. Not only do drugs destroy lives, so does drug money. Ten years before the Byrdes fled Illi­nois Marty and his busi­ness part­ners made a deal with the devil when they started laun­der­ing money for that car­tel. And that’s a job that no one can quit. And dis­missal by the car­tel does not entail being escorted by human resources out the door with a sev­er­ance check in your hand.

As the sec­ond sea­son of Ozark was released only a week and a half ago there is no word about a third. I expect there will be one with many more messes cre­ated by the Byrdes. When the Byrde fam­ily is asked by a pho­tog­ra­pher to smile at the con­clu­sion of the final episode – they can only come up with grim grins.

The future appears to be an unhappy one for them.

John Ruberry reg­u­larly blogs at Marathon Pun­dit.

By John Ruberry

When season one of Ozark concluded last summer, the Byrdes, a drug money laundering family from the Chicago area, decided to put roots down at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), is the number-crunching erstwhile financial planner struggling to keep all of the balls he is juggling up in the air. He’s aided, for the most part, by his wife Wendy (Laura Linney), a former Democratic political operator.

Click here to read my review of the first season of Ozark.

In season two, which takes place in November, off-season in the Ozarks, the Byrdes are again plotting their escape from Missouri, but first they must open a casino on the lake built on land owned by Jacob (Peter Mullan) and Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery), who manufactures heroin for the same Mexican drug cartel Marty is indebted to. Getting a casino up-and-running of course means obtaining a license, so the Byrdes scheme with conservative powerhouse Charles Wilkes (Darren Goldstein) to smooth over the numerous blemishes and scars the power laundering couple have.

The sins of the parents taint the Byrdes’ children, high-schoolers Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner), who initiate their own criminal enterprise.

The Byrdes are reminiscent of Tom and Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, while not “careless,” as F. Scott Fitzgerald described them, the Byrdes, to paraphrase his words, smash up things and creatures. And I’ll  use Fitzgerald’s exact prose here, the Byrdes “let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

Those messes include arson, child abduction, suicide, waterboarding, and murder.

The sins of the Byrdes visit the Langmores, a small-time criminal family, who in the first season served as stereotypical redneck foil. Yes, they live in trailers. The de facto leader of the family is Ruth (Julia Garner), who is about 20 years old. She has transformed, maybe, from being a thief preying upon the Byrdes to being the utility infielder and perhaps more for the Byrde operations.

Roy Petty (Jason Butler Harner), plays a tormented FBI agent, who, like just about every other Ozark character, has no moral compass. He’s a law unto himself.

Hmm…an FBI agent who is unaccountable. That doesn’t happen in real life, does it?

There are many lessons in Ozark. Not only do drugs destroy lives, so does drug money. Ten years before the Byrdes fled Illinois Marty and his business partners made a deal with the devil when they started laundering money for that cartel. And that’s a job that no one can quit. And dismissal by the cartel does not entail being escorted by human resources out the door with a severance check in your hand.

As the second season of Ozark was released only a week and a half ago there is no word about a third. I expect there will be one with many more messes created by the Byrdes. When the Byrde family is asked by a photographer to smile at the conclusion of the final episode–they can only come up with grim grins.

The future appears to be an unhappy one for them.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.