For my thoughts on the first part of the fourth season of Ozark, click here.
The second part of the final season of Ozark kicks off right where the first part left off with Ruth (played by Julia Garner) hell-bent on getting her revenge on the man that killed her cousin. That’s a bit of a problem for the Byrdes — Marty and Wendy (played by Jason Bateman and Laura Linney) — as that man is Javi (played by Alfonso Herrera), one of the most pivotal members of the drug cartel that they work for, and if the Byrdes are going to get out of this business alive, then they need a few things to work out for them, and a vengeful Langmore, who Marty is fond of, can only complicate matters.
The truth is that I’m more mixed on these final episodes of the show than I expected to be after the first half of the final season, which I thought was really strong. In general, I would say that this second half is alright but fairly underwhelming, even though the concluding event feels very true to the show. As I give my thoughts on this final half-season of the show, I’d like to start by describing my problems with this half-season, but then I’d also like to hand out a lot of praise afterward. Because even though I have mixed feelings about a lot of things this season, the acting was uniformly good throughout the show.
Frustratingly, my main problem with the first part of the final season is still a huge problem with the concluding part of the final season. I get that the writers chose to show the Byrde family car crash at the beginning of the season to keep you hooked, but, tension-wise, it was a catastrophic decision to show it that early when it doesn’t happen until the very last episode of the show. Ultimately, it isn’t even like that scene is particularly game-changing. I also have to seriously question why they decided to supersize the season because they, frankly, don’t have enough material for it. In the second part, the show just ends up spinning its wheels and going round in circles again and again. Nothing here is particularly fresh or innovative and that is just really disappointing.
So, what works? Well, the acting is what works. I think the writing leaves something to be desired (there are some really strange and over-the-top moments in this second half), but Julia Garner and Laura Linney and Jason Bateman always follow through and deliver credible performances. Although I don’t think it leads to something particularly impactful, I also want to highlight the sequence in which Jason Bateman finally owns up to his frustrations and puts them into words in front of his character’s daughter. It is a very satisfying scene and one of Bateman’s best on the show. Bateman is quite good this season, as he always is, and his scenes in Mexico are some of this particular season’s very best.
Although most of this second and final part of the last season of Ozark lacked the energy of the first half, and even though this half is still hindered by the tension-damaging flash-forward that also was a huge problem for me with part one, this culmination of the show is still fairly solid. The tension-heavy last twenty-some minutes of the show are particularly great, even if the series’ very ending will be controversial to some corners of the fanbase. Is it a tad anticlimactic? Yeah, perhaps it is (and, frankly, there are a lot of little decisions the showrunners have made in the second part that I disagree with), but the show’s coda feels very true to the cynicism and darkness that has always been an indelible part of the show. It’s not the triumphantly excellent show conclusion that many may have dreamt up (it feels more like the show limps across the finish line), but it does feel true to the show its creators have been building for years.
– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.