Ozark sets up a devastating end with the thrilling first half of season 4
Ever since its debut in 2017, Ozark has toiled in the shadows of prestige TV shows like the Bryan Cranston-led hit Breaking Bad, Justified, Narcos, The Americans. While not as strong as its counterparts, Ozark has still evolved into a uniquely wry thriller over three seasons. The show’s tapestry of characters and their illicit activities might not be wholly original, but it’s spun in exciting and foreboding ways.
Ozark’s appeal lies in the many riveting power struggles at its core, none more fraught or intimate than the one between Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney). The former is a slick, mild-mannered financial advisor who loves to talk his way out of problems only to land in a pile of even worse life-threatening situations. Wendy’s political background makes her more of an impulsive criminal mastermind. Their dueling approaches heighten the already massive stakes in season four, now that the Byrdes are deeply entrenched with cartel leader Omar Navarro (Felix Solis).
Despite their intense internal struggles, Marty and Wendy’s tug-of-war—from muttering curses to yelling matches to joining forces as needed—is the anchor for the show’s tumultuous nature. Bateman and Linney’s chemistry is raw and impressive as they navigate the fragility of their bond. Bateman’s masterful comedic flair offsets Marty’s deadpan delivery, their dark banter making a doomed relationship between recognizably horrible people both heartbreaking and entertaining.