This review was made possible by 6 episodes of Ozark Season 4 Part 2 provided to Streamr by Netflix. Watch all 7 final episodes of Ozark on Netflix, on Friday, April 30 and continue below for my thoughts on the show’s final stretch.
The Final Episodes
In an odd move, Netflix provided all 7 episodes of this final season to critics but asked that all discussions of the finale be left for after the episodes drop. As a reviewer, this puts me in the spot of having to speak of a season of television I’ve already watched, without discussing how it all wraps together. With a show like Ozark, that wrap-up is all important. It can, and has previously, changed the entire way the episodes before it land with the viewer. When ignoring the series finale, the first 6 episodes of Ozark Season 4 Part 2 land with varying degrees of satisfaction.
The episodes pick-up exactly where Part 1 of Season 4 left off: Darlene (Lisa Emery) and Wyatt (Charlie Tahan) have been killed by Javi (Alfonso Herrera) and Ruth (Julia Garner) is on the war path. The first of these six episodes is spectacular, exploring Ruth’s grief and anger as she struggles with a battle between her morals and her desire for revenge. Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy (Laura Linney), in the meantime, feel close to finally escaping the hell they’ve been enduring for the past few years.
Those hoping that the ending of Part 1 meant these final episodes would be Ruth’s time to shine may come out disappointed. In fact, after Julia Garner’s magnificent performance in the first of these episodes, she isn’t given much to do until Episode 6 (or 13, of the season over-all). She makes moves, but much of it feels more like puzzle pieces being put in place for a big ending than emotionally rounded story telling. Truthfully, that was the feeling I got from most storylines throughout the middle episodes here. This is a show that knows where it’s going, and it’s putting the pieces in place but without the whole picture, it almost feels meandering. One character repeatedly reminds another that they are almost out – and at times it feels like the show speaking to us: we’re almost there, it’s telling the viewer, just trust me here.
None of this is to say that this is a bad season of television. This show has earned its viewers trust. Even when at previous lows, Ozark has always been an amazing series. Much of this comes down to the performances, and it should come as no surprise that this doesn’t change here. I referenced Julia Garner’s painfully good performance in the first of the 7 episodes above; Laura Linney, meanwhile, continues to amaze as well, escalating to a superb breakdown in the sixth episode. Among supporting players, just about every single character from the show who is still alive returns, to varying degrees of effectiveness.
The Final Moves
Threats move in on the Byrds from all angles throughout these final episodes of Ozark, but even with most episodes clocking in at over 50 minutes, so many of these dangers don’t feel fleshed out enough to sell the tension. Events do eventually escalate with a sixth episode that left me on the edge of my seat and dying to press play on the series finale to find out how it all would end – but most of what happens before it felt more like the show was telling me there was danger ahead rather than making me feel it. Ozark Season 4 Part 2, however, still remains always compulsively watchable.