Ozark Part 2 Season 4 Review: Netflix Drama Returns for Final Episodes

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From the beginning, ozark promised there was a toll to pay. When the crime drama premiered on Netflix in 2017, dropping ten episodes of blue-tinted, Missouri-based money laundering shenanigans, it was clear that the Byrde family, especially Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy ( Laura Linney), would eventually face harsh consequences for their actions. For paraphrase a meme a spectacle ozark is compared to the plus: “They can’t keep getting away with it.” With the second half of the final season arriving this week, the revival seems as inevitable as the tight-lipped grimace emoji Bateman deploys in nearly every episode when he learns his latest plan didn’t go as planned. foreseen.

This grimace of Bateman, transported from the satirical park of Development stopped to the dark world of a violent prestige drama, has always been Ozark’s secret weapon. His exasperation, understated even in the most gruesome scenarios, never gets old. It’s a look you have to assume Netflix execs took last month as the company’s shares tumbled nearly 35 percent after news broke of losing 200,000 subscribers earlier this year, a move that knocked about $50 billion off its market value. Whether you’re running a streaming service or cooking the books for the cartel, this isn’t the type of monetary loss you recover quickly from.

As a result of Netflix’s financial difficulties, there have been nearly constant speculation on what the latest development could mean for the company. Does the report $30 million prize for individual episodes of stranger things a sign of bloating? Has the emergence of competitors like Disney+ and HBO Max simply made it harder for Netflix to grow? Have we finally reached the top of Peak TV? It’s easy to respond to most of these finger-pointing and chin-stroking with a Bateman-esque shrug: the changes to come are already underway and are based on decisions that were made decades ago. years. Remember the words Marty said long ago ozark pilot: “Money is, in essence, that measure of a man’s choices.” You could say the same about stock price.

Julia Garner in Ozark
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From a brand building perspective, ozark, a thriller about a financial adviser fleeing suburban Chicago for a beach resort, was one of Netflix’s smart choices. It won the company multiple Emmys, reinvented Bateman’s career, and helped create a new star in Julia Garner, who plays the Byrde family’s rude assistant. (Garner recently played the title role in Invent Annaone of Netflix’s recent attempts to turn a gripping viral story into streaming gold.) As stranger things and The crown, ozark was part of a second wave of hit Netflix dramas to emerge after the success of Card castle and Orange is the new black transformed the company from a DVD-by-mail business into a Hollywood disruptor. These other two shows are both gearing up for new seasons which will premiere in May and November, which will then be followed by their final seasons, signaling the end of an era. ozark the end is only the beginning of an even greater end.

Devoid of sci-fi spectacle or historical pomp, ozark has always been one of Netflix’s smaller shows, a conscious throwback to the “difficult man” era of television. (The show ends at the same time as a real breaking Bad spin off, You better call Saullooks like another telling coincidence.) There is a compulsion to Ozark’s visual presentation and an uncompromising focus on its storytelling, which favors clockwork suspense over big twists. Created by Bill Dubuque (Accountant) and series pilot Mark Williams was noted for its shocking sense of constant escalation – a man being thrown from a skyscraper remains one of the most enduring images – but, under the direction from showrunner Chris Mundy, it settled into a more methodical pace punctuated by the occasional flurry of gunfire or electrocution. This mode reached its peak in the third season of the series, which was locked in the conflict between Wendy and her brother Ben (an excellent Tom Pelphre).

Over time, these bodies accumulate. Sadly, in its fourth season, the show is now paying the price for killing off many compelling supporting characters like heroine kingpin Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) or steely lawyer Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer). The series enters its final seven episodes with a problem: how do you create believable enemies and foils for the Byrdes in such a short time? Cartel leader Omar Navarro (Felix Solis) gets a sister for the Byrde family, Ruth teams up with Jordana Spiro’s returning local pal Rachel, and Wendy must face off with her judging and Bible-busting father (Richard Thomas). These rivalries feel like temporary solutions, band-aids applied to a gaping head wound.

ozark
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ozark is at its peak when it brings up the absurdity of the central relationship between Marty and Wendy. The scenes between the two of them and the times when they have to negotiate terms with their increasingly independent children have a sly comedic bent that the rest of the series often lacks. How funny should ozark be? This is a tonal question that the authors have never quite resolved. At its best, Linney’s willingness to go lyrical, coupled with Bateman’s deadpan reactions, makes for compelling television laced with spite and bile. If you stayed until the end, their endlessly toxic repartee is probably the reason. For all its violence and chaos, the pleasures of ozark were often on a human scale.

Going forward, it’s unclear if a show like ozark would be part of the Netflix portfolio. If the company is committed to cutting costs while offering more tent-style offerings like red notice, heartwarming reality series like sell sunsetand anthology shows like Anatomy of a Scandal, could a relatively low-concept offering about a white-collar criminal be dropped? The DNA of ozark is linked to a period of television defined by stressed people who look in a mirror and think: “I did a bad, bad thing.” As Netflix goes through its own period of creative introspection, saying goodbye to a show like ozark might be one of the least painful parts of the process. After all, as the Byrde family learned, blood washes.

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Dan Jackson is a senior writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He’s on Twitter @danielvjackson.