It’s Not Ozark’s Fault That I’m a Fool!

Well, Ozark is back and I think that Stuart Sweet was right all along.

Yes, you read that correctly and no, this is not a gag post. This is Buckler bashing Buckler at its best! Bottom line, Stuart panned the pilot episode then rage-quit somewhere during season two. I kept watching it like the naïve, wide-eyed rube that I am. To make matters worse, I gloriously praised the show in several blog posts. Now, in its fourth and final season, I’m not loving it like I used to. I’m also too invested to quit. So, what you have here are the confessions of a weak and failed streamer.

I’d like to share the Ozark season four trailer here, but foul language prevents me from doing that. Needless to say, you can find it on YouTube if you’re not already binge-watching. So, let’s just jump right into the show that Stuart called a “low-rent, kudzu-filled imitation of Breaking Bad.”

Ozark’s Problem-Solution-Problem Format

This was one of Stuart’s biggest gripes about the series. In a blog post, he said this is where the show “really drops the ball.” He went on to post, “They have a problem. They find some miraculously convenient way to solve it. Lather, rinse, repeat.” He’s not wrong here. The first few episodes of season four are rife with this plot device. Its problems coming at the Byrdes from every possible direction.

Speaking of problems, I have a problem with this plot device. The Byrdes always seem to miraculously save the day. They deftly solve every problem sent their way by:

  • Drug cartels,
  • Psychopathic heroin producers,
  • Local mobsters and other thugs,
  • The FBI,
  • Crooked politicians,
  • And their exceedingly bratty children.

The couple solves things with an inhuman level of patience. (Marty being a bit more patient than Wendy if I’m being honest.)

After three seasons of this, I’m having a problem with Ozark’s plot device. The truth is that any normal human would have snapped under the pressure. If the Byrdes did that, we obviously wouldn’t have a show. But I’d like to at least see Marty snap on someone just once. And by “someone,” I mean his snotty son, Jonah (Skylar Gaertner). I was wrong when I thought he was the more level-headed of the Byrdes’ kids. (Chalk it up as another way I got taken for a fool.)

If They Wanted to Use This Format…

Don’t stretch Ozark out over four seasons. (I’m talking to you, show creator Jason Bateman.) Like I said above, there are only so many last-minute saves any couple can manage. Sooner or later, someone is going to snap, and I mean in a BIG way. A mini-series would have been a better approach for this concept. Then again, maybe that’s how this season – and series – is going to end.

Wouldn’t it be great if the Byrdes finally get pushed to their limits? If that happened, the show might detonate in a very big and real way. Jason Bateman promised that season four would have a lot of action. If this show went out on a big bang, it might drown out the small but annoying flaws it has had along the way. I sure hope it does. You have NO idea how hard it is for me to type the words, “Stuart Sweet was right.” It pains me much more than calling myself a fool!

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.