Netflix original series, “Ozark,” premiered its third season on March 27. “Ozark” is a winding tale of a family’s financial struggle and gain, and their loss of trust in each other and everyone around them as they are settling into their second year of living in the Ozarks of Missouri.
Their financial success is tied to their employment to one of the most prolific drug cartels in Mexico -- no big deal. Money laundering and corruption is not an unfamiliar suit in this Lake of the Ozarks portrayed by Netflix.
Season three of this drama series opens with the family at the peak of their power. After a long struggle making a name for themselves, Marty and Wendy Byrde and their children are comforted by their multiple profitable businesses and a new multi-million dollar casino.
Their money laundering is easily hidden and for once they are feeling safe and in good standing with their cartel leader.
Obviously, these circumstances rapidly change; there is no comfort in a situation so dangerous, and the Byrde’s risky behavior keeps the viewer on their toes. The family is consistently thrown into situations of violence, murder, theft, gang involvement and all of the deceit you can think to rattle off in an hour-long episode.
Yes, these riveting elements keep the show engaging, but what stood out was how easily greed and fear can manipulate someone’s morals. The slow-burn of Marty and Wendy’s failing marriage as they struggle to run an illegal business together is the truth of their greed. The heart of their marriage no longer lies in their love for one another and their children, but in protecting themselves from the FBI and from the threat of the cartel.
These seemingly normal people are pushed to their brink, forced to be calm and collected as they face nerve-wracking scenarios threatening everything they have worked for.
Keeping a brave face has been a common theme throughout the series, but the third season especially emphasized how far these characters will go to protect their reputation. They are now fully prepared to demolish everything and everyone that makes the mistake of standing in their way.
How strong is the bond of blood when it is compared to money?
The most moving part of this season was the introduction of Wendy’s younger brother, Ben. He struggles with bipolar disorder and wants to be content with who he is off of his medication. Wendy knows his mental struggle too well for him to be so volatile, and begs him to stay “sane” for the sake of their perilous family business.
Ben’s character captivated me from the moment he entered season three’s screen; his bubbly personality, vulnerable moments and unpredictability made him the perfect character to offset the Byrdes’ schemes.
Watching his loving relationship with Wendy and her children, and eventually, his intimate relationship with their business partner, Ruth, creates an air of hope for this family.
Maybe Ben’s unencumbered emotions will bring humanity back into the lives of this broken family and their associates.
This series has so many facets, especially this season, so it is hard to analyze every moving part keeping the Byrdes’ heads above water with the Mexican cartel. While watching the series, you long for them to win, but you also hope they lose as you see all of the innocent lives that are affected as they try to save their own.
This battle with morality is strong in every character and I think there are ways to reflect yourself in at least one of them. What would you do?
There are still many seasons to go, as the audience awaits answers and seeks the Byrde family’s redemption in the heart of Missouri.