I was lauding Justified just yesterday (the entire series is now available in a blu-ray set, by the way), but Ozark is gearing up to give it a run for its money as the preeminent country noir television show. Netflix’s yarn about a Cartel money launderer who sets up shop on the Lake of the Ozarks had a damn fine first season. Season two ups the game.
Season 2 opens with Ruth’s dad Cade out of prison, Cartel point man Del dead, and Marty’s partner at the Blue Cat missing. That’s a helluva lot to deal with when you also have to conjure a riverboat casino out of thin air.
I was a little disappointed to see Del’s death get almost swept under the rug. The season is really dominated by the maneuvering to make the casino happen. Which is mostly political, but the Kansas City mob does make an appearance. Two significant new characters are introduced in Charles Wilkes, a politically-connected Kansas City businessman whose Ozarks lake house is a figurative smoke-filled room, and Helen Pierce, a Cartel lawyer who takes over as the boot heel on the Byrdes backs.
This is definitely the season of the women. Laura Linney didn’t impress me as Wendy Byrde in season 1. She takes a much bigger role in season 2 as she drives the political machinations for the casino, and Linney knocks it out of the park. Julia Garner remains phenomenal as Ruth Langmore.
Agent Petty continues to be the worst character on television.
My only complaint, and the reason for that missing half star, is a slow start. But those last four episodes, whew boy. Holy shit.
Ozark has been renewed for a third season. Seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix.
4.5 of 5 Stars.
Adam Chitwood on season 2 at Collider – review.