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Monday, September 3, 2018

Ozark 2: Against All Odds and More

Tina and I binge-watched Ozark 2 on Netflix, about a year after we did the same for the first season.  The second season is at least as good, which is to say, excellent indeed, in many ways a unique piece of television narrative.

As in the first season, the Byrde family is against all odds in their (Marty and Wendy's) attempt to set up a casino or at very least survive in the Ozarks.  Their in-and-out enemies include not only the cartel and the FBI, but a variety of psychos, miscreants, and killers including the Snells (or at least, Darlene Snell), the preacher Mason, Ruth's father Cade, and just for good measure the Kansas City mob.  Some of these characters don't survive the season, but I won't tell you who.

I will say that Wendy has a more prominent and crucial role than in the first season, and Laura Linney gives this a tour-de-force performance, one of her best in any role in her long and storied career.  We see her delivering every conceivable emotion, ranging from rage to tenderness, balancing her maternal instincts with an iron will to survive.

Indeed, for a variety of reasons, women play a more decisive role in this second season than in the first, with not only Wendy, Darlene, and Ruth on center stage, but Helen the cartel lawyer in some critical scenes delivering memorable lines.   The Byrde children - Charlotte and Jonah - are also more central to the story, and it's great to see Harris Yulin as Buddy back in action (it is only me, or does Yulin look like at least two or three other actors).

Ozark has carved out an original and compelling niche for itself, and I'm looking forward to more.

See also Ozark: Frying Pan into the Fire

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