OZARK: THE COMPLETE FINAL SEASON
Starring: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz, Skylar Gaertner, Julia Garner, Lisa Emery, Charlie Tahan, Jessica Frances Dukes, Felix Solis, Damian Young, Alfonso Herrera, and Adam Rothenberg
Creator: Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams
The first part of Ozark's farewell season is a welcome appetizer to what may be coming in Part Two. It admittedly drags some as it sets up for the end, but the ride is as eviscerating as ever. As always, there are some twists and turns, though not as many, as it mainly focuses on the Byrde family; However, that isn’t a bad thing, as that has always been a very engaging aspect of the series. The character shifts are very interesting, and the show’s setup for the final episodes is insane. It’s the beginning of the end in true Ozark fashion.
The problem with Ozark’s final season is probably making it a two-parter because Part Two (and the series as a whole) ends with a bang after a slow start in Part One. Like in previous seasons, the acting by the entire ensemble is off the charts (especially Laura Linney and Julia Garner), and the show keeps the audience on the edge of their seats with its tense and unpredictable nature. Building off Part One, these episodes slowly work towards a big conclusion, and while it’s not as bombastic as I would’ve hoped, it’s still a satisfying ending to one of the best shows in years.
Ozark isn’t exactly spinning its wheels with Part One of its final season, but it’s clearly just moving pieces in place for the stretch run. The Byrdes are still trying to avoid murder while navigating the Navarro Cartel, yet that storyline takes a back seat to the family drama caused by the hateable Wendy Byrde (a fantastic Laura Linney). And while the tension is lacking, an air of dread permeates these episodes. A couple of new characters (a hot-headed cartel lieutenant and a dogged P.I.) are a little too cliché, but they don’t detract from a generally solid (if somewhat underwhelming) setup for Part Two.
Be it by design or circumstance, Ozark’s final seven episodes undoubtedly ratchet up the overwhelming sense of dread, even while still lacking tension. Honestly, we should feel that these characters are in constant danger as we approach the finale, but that feeling never materializes for some reason. Maybe there is just too much story, as it does get lost in itself at times; However, Julia Garner and Laura Linney (Wendy is even more hateable, if you can believe it) make it easy to overlook those detours. Overall, while it could have used more explosiveness and provided more catharsis, it’s a befitting ending to an excellent series.