For four seasons we have been together with the Byrde family on a journey that began just like any other, a father trying to do well by his family, and ready to do whatever it takes to fulfill that promise. When Ozark started back in 2017, it was seen just like a Breaking Bad clone. In many ways the show could never take that label away, but through pure force of will, and excellent execution, Ozark created its own mythology, feeling, and it can be proud of standing tall among its peers.
This last season of Ozark ended with a bang, and with the usual implications that come out of the crazy twists that the series has been known for. This last batch of episodes manages to maintain the same level of consistency as all the other seasons of the show. And it is also brave enough to try to pull off an ending that will remind you of the one pulled off by The Sopranos, some years ago. Looking back in retrospective, it is the perfect ending for a show that made his main mission to keep audiences on their toes.
So, what happens? What would be spoilers, but let’s just say that the progression of the plot isn’t as interesting as the progression the characters suffer throughout this last batch of episodes. Marty, Wendy, and the kids they are all just so different as to when they began this journey that it is an impressive achievement in terms of writing. The writers always knew that Ozark is in itself a story about the unpredictability of life, and how we must adapt to it in other to survive.
Survival is without a doubt the main focus of the characters in the show. Even when some characters, like Ruth, are trying to actually live a life that goes beyond that primal instinct, the rest of the characters need to bring her back to the basics and the results are explosive.
Those who kill by the sword, die by the sword. There is no greatest truth in the world of Ozark, and the show keeps reminding the characters of their actions at every moment. In this final episodes, the consequences of the characters actions follow them right to the very end, and the foreshadowing for one of the major twists in the last part is sublime. It is one of those moments that make retreat in your sofa, as you know that what will come next won’t be pretty.
For having only 7 episodes, this last part of the last season packs each episode with a punch and never lets it go. Not everything is perfect thought. It is true that the show manages to create a very satisfying ending. However, knowing that this is it, this is the last we will see of the Byrdes, at least for now, makes you realize that there is still so much we don’t know about these characters.
For example, Marty, who still remains the main protagonist of the show, also remains as some sort of mystery to the viewer. In contrast to characters like Wendy or Ruth, we don’t know a lot about Marty from before the series began, and with this ending, it might well be that we will never know as much about him. Jason Bateman still delivers one hell of a performance, and of course has the honor of directing the last episode.
Laura Linney, on the other hand, pulls a lot of the focus during these last episodes. The actress has mastered the ways of Wendy, and well, Wendy is just one hell of a character. Linney’s performance is full of nuance and terrifying implications in every way, which make for good television and cements Wendy as one of the coldest and most despicable characters on television. Which makes you wonder why Marty loves her so much? Even the kids turn their back on her, but Marty remains there, faithful to the end. I guess they were truly made for each other.
Visually, the show has found its own style thanks to the pervasive, and often distracting blue filter. It has made Ozark a show that can be identified everywhere, and I guess it does have a symbolic meaning after all. However, it is hard not to imagine that a more diverse visual palette could have made the show look as good as the story it tells.
The ending! Oh, the ending! It will make people theorize, and discuss for years to come, but we have to say that although it closes the story, it doesn’t really close it forever. It feels like the producers and creatives are not really ready to let Ozark go forever and are keeping the door open for a comeback in the future. A movie, a limited season, everything is possible. Nevertheless, those last seconds of the show do feel right with everything that has happened so far.
Ozark is the kind of quality show that Netflix should never have stopped making. Quantity is good, but when most of your content is so disposable, it is going to hurt your audience’s expectations one way or the other. That Ozark found a way to always be good until the very end is an achievement, and it should be applauded. Let’s hope that Netflix has more of this type of quality shows in the near future. It needs them.