Review: ‘Ozark: Season 2’ Returns with a Vengeance

This Ozark: Season Two review contains no spoilers for the second season, but does address plot points from Season One. In other words, if you haven’t watched the first season, hop on Netflix right now!

The worst thing about watching the first three episodes of Ozark: Season Two is that you have to wait a month until you can see the rest of the episodes. Netflix, curse you!

But also, Netflix, thank you.

If you loved the first season of Ozark as much as I did, you’ll be pleased to know that Season Two picks up right where the last episode left off, both in terms of plot and quality. If you recall, Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy (Laura Linney) were on the verge of solving all their problems by introducing Marty’s boss and drug lord Del (Esai Morales) to local criminal family patriarchs Jacob (Peter Mullen) and Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) to strike a deal on a new casino. And then Del insulted the Snells, Darlene blew his head off, and suddenly Marty found himself in an even bigger fuck sandwich than he was in before.

Cue Season Two!

Without going into spoilers or plot points, and not that I’m good at that anyway—I retain such details like a colander and am not sophisticated enough to dive into the nuanced theorizing and analysis that you’d expect from an Ozark aficionado—suffice it to say that the first three episodes of Season Two has me salivating for the show’s return on August 31.

Bateman, who directed the first two new episodes, immediately reminds you why he’s great for the role of Marty, a fast-talking, scheming kind of guy who will do whatever he needs to do to survive—he has amazing survival tendencies, though you could argue he has almost sociopathic qualities in the way he is willing to ruin other people’s lives to do so—but he’s sort of a nice guy anyway.

While he is more or less doing the same things he was doing before (nothing wrong with that!), the first few episodes seem to tease that even greater things lie ahead for Laura Linney’s character (certainly nothing wrong with that!). Meanwhile, Ruth (Julia Garner) proves once again to be the show’s most interesting and unpredictable figure as she continues to soak up Marty’s tactics like a master apprentice—will that be to Marty’s gain or detriment?

It’s also great to see Rachel (Jordana Spiro) return, one of the few characters in the show who, when stacked next to Marty, make it painfully obvious just how blindly ruthless our lead protagonist can be.

If the first three episodes are any indication, Ozark Season Two escapes the season two lull so many quality shows face these days—perhaps that is because, much like its main character, the show was clearly designed with such utter confidence that the very thought of failing is inconceivable.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: TV Series