By Gemma Margerison, Third Year, Film & English Literature
A show that only began in 2017, Ozark’s plot line has taken so many twists and turns it gives Breaking Bad a run for its money. Starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as its frontrunners, the acting, directing and production is executed perfectly, resulting in a flawless final product
Admittedly, Part 2 of season 4 delivered a far more compelling narrative than the first instalment that was released back in January of this year, but that’s not to say that the show’s writers did not set us up for a dramatic conclusion. It’s now clear to see that show-runner Chris Mundy was laying the groundwork for the epic finale that Part 2 brings viewers, and it did not disappoint.
Having said that, there is an opinion floating around fan forums that the final episode of part 2 was somewhat anticlimactic, striking an unsatisfactory tone amongst viewers. I have to say, I somewhat agree with the sentiment when it comes to the final moments of Ozark’s ultimate episode. The ending delivered shock, although it left me feeling slightly deflated. “Is that it?” I thought to myself as the last ever credits appeared and Netflix’s recommended shows popped up in the left-hand corner. But perhaps that’s the inescapable fate that these epic series set themselves up for, after all, how could anything live up to the shock-factor of Season’s 3 final episode
Still, nothing detracts from the fact that, as ever, Ozark’s production was incredible. The iconic scenery of the Ozark lakes and Chicago cityscape is depicted through stunning cinematography and a chilling tonal quality that really sets the mood for the Byrdes’ iniquitous schemes. With this in mind, perhaps the starkest quality of this series was the character development of the infamous Wendy Byrde (Linney), who quite clearly demonstrates that Marty (Bateman) no longer calls the shots in their enterprise.
Wendy, the show’s most prevalent power-hungry control freak, despite hosting a whole family of cartel king-pins, takes matters into her own hands to make some bold moves while leaving Marty blind-sighted by her impudence. Still, even Marty has undergone some major character development since season 1, with a bent moral compass much more susceptible to turpitude than the Marty we once knew.
But the stand-out performance of the season has to go to the brilliant Julie Garner, portraying the feisty Ruth Langmore. Having already swept up a whole host of awards for previous seasons of the show, I have absolutely no doubt that her performance in season 4 will add to her collection. A stunning combination of grief, pent-up rage and brazen self-confidence, Ruth’s character delivers a range unparalleled by the Byrdes, whose iniquitous machinations have surpassed their capacity for good in recent narratives.
Bidding a farewell to a few fan favourites in Part 1 of Season 4, Ruth’s character takes a vengeful turn in Part 2, causing some serious problems for Marty and Wendy. We also see a shift in Ruth’s willingness to bend to Marty’s every demand as she too takes matters into her own hands to carve out a life that the older generation of Langmores could only dream of.
Still, one can’t help but feel dispirited that Ozark is actually over. I wanna know what happens next, ‘What’s the next move?’ as a strategising Byrde might say. But underneath that yearn for more, I understand that quitting while they’ll ahead is the smartest move to make. Of course, that’s not to say I wouldn’t wholeheartedly embrace the announcement of a season 5, or even a spinoff film or episode. But without certain main characters, it is difficult to see how that might play out. And even if it continued in the same format, the plot of season 5 would risk delving into an absurdity that even die-hard fans of Ozark would deem implausible.
Even in the final episodes of S4P2 we saw the Byrdes losing control of the situation, indecisively changing strategies, treating the life and death of their peers like a game of chess. To maintain that level of tension while producing new and convincing plot lines is a feat that not many television series have achieved, and it’s likely that the creatives behind Ozark realise this too. But it still doesn’t make it any easier to see it go.
Featured Image: IMDB
What did you think of Ozark's long-awaited finale?