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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Ozark 3: Breakups

A superb third season of Ozark now on Netflix, which I'll try to review without any specific spoilers.  The theme of the ten episodes was breakup - of alliances, families, loyalties - final and temporary.

The basis for Marty and Wendy at odds  was set in the second season.  Wendy clearly has strategic smarts which not only complement Marty's, but offer alternate pathways.   Navarro, the Mexican head of the drug cartel that Marty is dealing with - laundering its money in Marty's casino - is impressed with Wendy's plans and instincts.

Ben, Wendy's brother, is the best new character introduced in the third season, and, indeed, right up there was Marty and Wendy, their kids, and Ruth.   Ben is charming, lovable, but can be violent.  Marty and Wendy are not happy when Ben shows up at their door, but he easily connects with Jonah, and, for other reasons, Ruth.   Tom Pelphrey's portrayal of Ben is definitely Emmy worthy.

Back to Jonah, the children - Jonah and Charlotte, and add in Helen's daughter Erin - were especially important this season.   Jonah is growing up, and we see the first time he's kissed by a girl, and his going after a perceived enemy with a point-blank shotgun.  Women play a prominent in the interweaving stories, including Helen, FBI agent Maya Miller, Darlene, and the ever-redoubtable Ruth, with a heart of gold not too far from her sleeve.

All of these characters are put to the test, in every episode, and the resolution of their profound conflicts are both surprising and thoroughly believable in retrospect.   In addition to Pelphrey, Julia Garner was just outstanding again as Ruth, and deserves another Emmy.   Laura Linney as Wendy outdid herself in season 3, and deserves not only the nominations she's received for previous seasons, but winning an award or two herself this season.  And, as always, you couldn't ask for a better performance than Jason Bateman as Marty.

From the beginning of the first season, enjoyment of Ozark required a big suspension of disbelief.  Season 3 requires more of that.  But the dividends are very much worth it.

See also Ozark: Frying Pan into the Fire ... Ozark 2: Against All Odds and More

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