When we were first introduced to the Netflix series Ozark, there were a lot of comparisons made both thematically and setting wise to Breaking Bad and other family dramas. However, in its second season, Ozark sets itself apart from the rest of them with its gritty style. In this season, we see the Bryde family balance their obligations to the Cartel with the family conflict that residents of The Ozark bring to the fold which makes for some masterful storytelling.
We start off the season right where we left off. The Bryde family led by the money laundering accountant Marty Bryde take care of the body of Del, the Cartel henchmen that the Snell family killed in the inaugural season. Along with that, the families decided to join together to make a casino on the lake, which turns out to be a much more difficult task then they thought. (MINOR SPOILERS) Things don’t go as planned. A rift starts between the Snell family and the Cartels and the Bryde family are caught in the crossfires.
Marty Bryde (the protagonist of the show played by Jason Bateman) is pretty much putting out fires all throughout the season. Whether it be uncovering a snitch in the operation, adopting children or even bribing some politicians, the Bryde’s made it work. By the end of the season, we see Marty ready to give it all up and run away, while Wendy, his wife, has learned to enjoy her role in the criminal organization known as the Navaro Cartel. This marks a significant change at the end of the season when it’s hinted that Wendy is now wearing the pants in the relationship.
As you could imagine, the children of the Bryde household Charlotte (played by Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (played by Skylar Gaertner) come through as completely different people at the end of the season. Charlotte decides that the only way for some kind of escape from her families criminal activities is Emancipation. Noah, on the other hand, gets rather involved in his parent’s scheme, even learning how to laundry money to offshore accounts. To say the least, the entire family goes through some pretty dramatic changes throughout the season. One of which is the death of their tenant Buddy played by Harris Yulin, who was one of my personal favorite characters in the show.
This season also offers a powerful lesson in something called leverage. Without leverage, the Bryde family would have died in the 2nd episode. Each member of the family finds a way to leverage something they have against another person to get them what they want. They always find a way to get what they want and it’s always because they have leverage.
Stylistically, the 2nd season keeps the gritty nature of the show with its dark colors and brutal depiction of reality, especially when it comes to death. We see more than a lot of death in this season and its fitting that with all things on the line, the last episode of the season is rather anti-climactic. There is literally constant action throughout the entire season and in the end, and with all that said the Bryde families goals of building a casino on the lake actually become successful. Mixed with masterful storytelling and powerful acting, Ozark has become one of Netflix’s must-watch shows.