Once again, Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and Julia Garner give it their all and their compelling performances just add to the gripping storyline.
Last Updated: 09.42 AM, Apr 30, 2022
After Javi (Alfonso Herrera) brutally murders her cousin, Ruth (Julia Garner) decides to exact revenge on the former, threatening the Byrde’s carefully crafted deal with the FBI. With their entire lives on the brink of destruction, Marty (Jason Bateman) tries to take matters into his own hands by convincing Navarro (Felix Solis) to let him go to Mexico and handle the business. Meanwhile, PI Mel Sattem (Adam Rothenberg) digs deeper into Helen’s mysterious disappearance.
Ozark is not a show known for pulling its punches, and the fourth season makes it evident that there are more than a few shockers in store, right from its very first episode. If the last season left viewers blindsided, this season tries to take it up a notch, with its fast paced story and superb writing, making it almost impossible for even seasoned fans to guess where the story’s going.
The writers of this season have done a phenomenal job to keep the story moving at a brisk pace that does not falter in the least to keep viewers engaged. After the explosive finale of season four part 1, the Byrdes certainly had their work cut out for them when it came to damage control. With Navarro behind bars after agent Maya pulled a fast one on the FBI, and Ruth going on a vengeance fuelled rampage to hunt down Javi, Marty and Wendy scramble to make sure that their carefully crafted plan does not crumble. But as they get to work, it becomes clear that they are not on the same page.
One of the starkest things noticeable this season is how much Marty and Wendy’s goals have shifted from each other. Although they started off the ordeal having each other's back, their trials and tribulations took quite a toll on them, and each came out the other end vastly different from how they started. As the show progressed, Wendy came out as one of the most powerful and influential characters on Ozark with her uncanny ability to make things go the way she wanted enabling the Byrde’s to get out of many messy situations. Her abilities are in top form this season as well, and we see her doubling down on her aggressive power plays to get what she wants. But her fraying emotional state, caused by the loss of her brother and her children’s drifting away from her, starts to impact her abilities, and perhaps for the first time on the show, we see her slip more than once.
As Wendy grows colder and more steely, Marty’s conscience starts to grow louder and his guilt at running the lives of several people starts to gnaw at him. Ruth’s pain in particular, having lost almost her entire family after meeting him, puts things into perspective for Marty and he soon starts to become a shell of his former self. We see the stark contrasts in Marty and Wendy’s personalities being showcased in the way they choose to move forward after their latest new crisis. We see Wendy on a warpath, determined to go to any length to not let things slip away from her. Even her own children are not spared from her hostile takeover attitude, and while it seems to work for her in almost every case, it fails miserably when it comes to her family. Meanwhile, Marty is on the brink of surrender, and tries to grasp at any lifeline he can find to get him and his family out of their mess, and in the end, he is left sidelined at the very game he started, with Wendy calling the shots.
Jason Bateman and Laura Linney once again knock it out of the park with their performances. Be it the Byrde’s cold, calculating bits or the ones with their emotional turmoil, the stars essay them brilliantly. There are scenes in particular, showing Wendy and Marty’s vulnerable moments in all their rawness, that are just sublimely executed by the actors.
The show manages to strike the right balance this time when it comes to its emotionally volatile sequences and the thrilling, intense parts as well. The grief, each character goes through, especially Ruth, is given its fair share of weight and time, and the writers achieved that without affecting the story’s pace one bit. Julia Garner as Ruth is a scene stealer as always. Wendy’s murky family history also makes for some intriguing bits in the story, especially the arrival of her abusive father who comes in search of her brother Ben.
Other than the Byrdes and Ruth, two other characters who get their share of the limelight include Camila Elizondro (Veronica Falcón) and Mel Sattem (Adam Rothenberg). Although the story does not make as good use of Mel as it should have and sidelines the character, newcomer Falcón is given her due as the iron-willed sister of Navarro. The character is one that keeps viewers guessing as to her true motives every time she appears on screen, and Falcón’s imposing screen presence definitely adds to the character's intimidating aura. Jordana Spiro’s comeback as Rachel also opens the doors for some climatic events guaranteed to keep viewers at the edge of their seats.
The writing this season is crisp, simple and engaging in the best of ways and the story is a through and through nail biter till the very end. As the show gets closer to the endgame, viewers are left genuinely worried for the Byrdes and Ruth. The excellently-placed score also does a great job at adding tension to some already intense scenes.
But despite the riveting way the series moved forward, the very last part of the finale seemed to be lacklustre compared to the rest of the season. The Byrde family saga seems to have wrapped up a bit too hastily it seems. Although the Byrdes have a lot more to offer, and their troubles are not exactly over, their story seems like it has been cut short.
In one word, Ozark season 4 part 2 is riveting. Briskly paced, emotional and engaging, the Byrde family are given a splendid farewell, barring some letdowns in the finale. Laura Linney, Jason Bateman and Julia Garner give some of their careers’ best performances as well.