HomeTelevisionReview: Ozark Season 2 Starts Just as Dark and Brutal as Ever

Review: Ozark Season 2 Starts Just as Dark and Brutal as Ever

Ozark Season 2
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/Netflix

Jason Bateman scored big with the ability to not only star in but also direct several episodes of this series created by Bill Dubuque (The Accountant, The Judge). If you didn’t get hooked into binging this highly rated and award-winning show last year, do yourself a favor and get caught up in a hurry. In terms of Netflix originals, this series is on top for me, and I was very anxious to see how they kicked things off this year. One episode in, it did not disappoint.

Ozark ended with an unexpected turn of events last season, and this season thankfully picked up just a short time later with characters still dealing with the rash actions of Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery). Sometimes shows make a choice to jump ahead in the timeline and it forces them to spend the first episode of a new season explaining what has happened rather than just keeping the established momentum going. Avoiding that allowed Ozark to drop viewers directly into a brutal episode that also manages to narrate how numb everyone is becoming to the life and death decisions being made around them.

Martin Byrde (Bateman), Jacob Snell (Peter Mullan) and his wife Darlene must determine how to make their mutually beneficial plan to open a casino work for all parties involved after Darlene murdered Del (Esai Morales), who represented the Mexican cartel interests. Getting a casino approved, built and operating to launder money and support a drug trade all within a six-month period was already going to be a tall task, without also having to explain his disappearance.

As Martin said at the end of the first season, the cartel will just send someone else, and, at least for now, that person is lawyer Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer). McTeer is joining Ozark  fresh from her stint on Jessica Jones, and, if the first episode is any indication, she is going to bring intelligence that rivals Martin’s along with a cold demeanor towards violence.

What will be fun to follow this season is how the entire Byrde family will work together to stay alive and one step ahead of everyone else. The children, Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner), are now at least aware of the danger facing their family, and Martin’s wife Wendy (Laura Linney) is now fully immersed. Her political background will be leaned on heavily to convince local officials to allow the plans for the casino to move forward, and she also runs the local funeral home which will come in handy should any random bodies start piling up.

Martin not needing to hide his business from his family, as Walter White did for much of the Breaking Bad series, opens opportunities for interesting storylines but most importantly some terrific dialogue. Nobody can have a casual conversation about murder and money laundering over the breakfast table with his family before transitioning into them getting to school quite like Bateman.

One of the best parts of this show last year was Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore, whose character arc in Season 2 begins as her father, Cade (Trevor Long), is released from prison, forcing her to carve out her place in Martin’s business. The tension between her and Cade is mounting as you know he is simply deciding how to best insert himself into her arrangements with Martin. The talented actress portrays her internal struggle to be a good daughter to a father she fears and look after herself and her younger cousins with terrific poignancy.

The first episode did a great job laying out the plan for how Martin hopes to get his family away from all the dangers that surround them and introduce several ways that plan can go horribly wrong. The stakes have only increased for everyone involved, and I for one will know by the end of the weekend how it all plays out.

Overall Rating: 9 of 10

Ozark Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix

-Ben Murchison


Ben Murchison
Ben Murchison
Ben Murchison is a regular contributor for TV and Movies. He’s that guy that spends an hour in an IMDb black hole of research about every film and show he watches. Strongly believes Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the best show to ever exist, and that Peaky Blinders needs more than 6 episodes per series. East Carolina grad, follow on Twitter and IG @bdmurchison.

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