Tuesday, April 9

Ozark Review: Jason Bateman and Laura Linney Could Teach Lady Macbeth a Thing or Two | television police drama

Poor Janet McTeer. Not since the Pacific breeze blew Steve Buscemi’s ashes off the Dude’s beard in The Big Lebowski has a character’s remains been treated with such disrespect. At the beginning of the fourth season of Ozark (Netflix), Wendy and Marty Byrde, like a pair of Lady Macbeths, are washing the remains of cartel lawyer Helen Pierce (McTeer) from her clothes in the bathroom of Mexican drug lord Omar. Navarrese. palatial complex.

At the end of season three, Navarro’s hit man killed Helen, because she was working at an angle contrary to the cartel’s interest (trying to take over the Byrdes’ money laundering casinos). “He had his brains blown out two feet from us,” Wendy tells her children later. “We had to wash pieces of our hair.”

The long-awaited and Covid-delayed final season, with an eight-episode stretch to be cut now and the final six to arrive later this year, rejoins Wendy and Marty on the journey they began three series ago. They left Chicago for a resort in the Ozarks, laundering money through a bar and strip club to fund the non-profit Byrde Family Foundation where they could funnel the heroin money to do good things, how to finance rehabilitation centers for addicts.

However, instead of going straight, they sank deeper and deeper into evil. By the end of the third season, they were laundering drug money for the Navarro cartel through multiple casinos, teaming up with the Kansas City mob to sell heroin, and enticing the US military to attack and take out a cartel. rival. Wendy kills her own brother to prove her loyalty to Navarro, she helps her thug brother Javi get rid of the local sheriff who asks too many questions and now plans to offer her traitorous son Jonah to the FBI. Say what you will about Lady Macbeth: she, at least, had no brothers to add to the death toll or sons to betray the feds.

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Laura Linney’s performance as Wendy is all the more chilling because her face says apple pie, but everything she does turns to evil. Meanwhile, Jason Bateman’s Marty is a study in how far a pragmatic accountant can go into the depths of evil without the strain showing on her face.

If one of the great pleasures of Ozark is that strong women drive the plot, not just Wendy, but also heroin farmer Darlene Snell and trailer dump business genius Ruth Langmore, not to mention her daughter Charlotte Byrde, who dreams of beating herself and her brother Jonah. to the Pacific Northwest beyond the clutches of her parents and the mob; none of them is a role model. Even Ruth, who is the symbolic moral conscience of Ozark, her every qualm subtly recorded in Julia Garner’s stunning performance, is like everyone else: Pursuing Ozark’s version of the debased American dream: profiting from evil without consequence, and then blows up the city with a bank account inflated by drug money.

Once the Byrdes have gotten McTeer out of their hair, they go to Navarro’s flashy party (the crab alone was $10,000), where Omar tells them that he too dreams of being straight, without going to jail or being murdered. by his upstart nephew Javi. . “I’m sorry,” Wendy says. “That’s impossible.” “Isn’t this exactly what you were doing with your foundation?” Omar asks reasonably. “You can become a pillar of society, but you won’t do the same for me.” “Sorry. Not feasible. Temperature drops several degrees. “Okay, why are you still alive?” The stage is set for the final season: the Byrdes must help one of the world’s most wanted drug lords to walk free or go the way of McTeer.

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The series premiere, The Beginning of the End, actually opens with one of those tantalizing foreshadowing scenes that Ozark does so well. The Byrde family drives to the beat of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come soundtrack, as if their troubles are behind them. Remember the last scene of The Sopranos, in which the mob family is having dinner at Artie Bucco’s restaurant. We expect a terrible outcome: splashes of machine guns, ziti full of explosives, but it never comes. Rather, he realized the possibility that, against all odds, crime may, in fact, pay.

Ozark ironically reverses that Soprano ending. A giant hurtles down the wrong lane of Missouri’s black roof toward the Byrdes, forcing Marty to swerve and crash. It was an accident? Was Navarro’s hitman behind the wheel of the approaching truck? Will the Byrdes survive to do what the Macbeths failed: escape their bloody past? Nothing seems more unlikely, but I’ve been wrong before.


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