Ozark really pushes you to appreciate how complicated getting things to work is as Marty juggles multiple stakeholders who are ready to cut out.
|Senator Mercer||Jackson Beals|
|Frank||John Bedford Lloyd|
The Forgotten: Rachel, Roy, Darlene
With Ash dead, Darlene is looking to find someone to fill that void. Leading her to desire adoption but with being told it isn’t likely to go through since she is up there in age, as we see often this episode, her pride gets the best of her.
Things aren’t that much better for Rachel as it seems she has just been on a major bender and between the $100,000 she has left, a DUI, among other offenses, and Agent Petty catching onto her, it’s either become an informant or go to jail.
I would have been fine with seeing Rachel OD just to wrap that up and we’d then move on. For Agent Petty using her just seems like a wasted combination. If only because, considering Ruth’s dynamic with her dad, gone into with the next topic, him coming after her would had made more sense and be a credible threat. For Ruth has a lot to lose between Wyatt and the kids, this future she has planned out, and more. All that Rachel has to lose is her freedom and honestly, considering how far down the rabbit hole she went, it seems jail would be hard but might be necessary.
But, considering Roy, Agent Petty, has shown himself to not be the best on the force, better to take on someone easy than to go for a big fish right? As for Darlene, we’ll get to her later.
Once You Know Better, You Do Better: Ruth, Cade, Ronald
Though working for Marty is a lot of work, at the same time he is helping her better herself. Taking on jobs which require less risk, no guns, and she remains empowered. Problem is, Cade seemingly can’t handle his daughter doing so well and the idea of her being his boss, to satisfy his parole officer Ronald? HA!
With that in mind, he robs a store to remind Ruth who she is, what their family does, and seemingly to begin messing up her picket fence plans and becoming far more than he was capable of being. Making it seem, if Ruth may have to choose between family and Marty again? She may just choose Marty.
What has to be understood about the Langmore family is that they’ve been stuck in the social status position they are in for generations. So change is scary. Especially for Cade since change is being led by his daughter who has taken to this man who she betrayed family for. On top of that, while Ruth is thinking mortgages and long-term planning, like Wyatt going to college, Cade sees a quick fix.
And it is that type of thinking which helps you understand why Ruth has outgrown her family. As noted in the last season, Ruth is tired of struggling and relying on the stupidity of the men in her family. After all, it hasn’t gotten them anywhere! All Ruth ever got out of that is a name for herself which makes it so most don’t screw with her. However, under Marty, she doesn’t have to rely off Cade’s name, she has her own. She also has her own money and is gaining stability her father could never provide.
Which isn’t to say her relationship with Marty is all peaches and pies but there is a certain amount of trust and respect there. A big thing in that area, and Ruth has learned to appreciate it. Hence why she knows taking a skim off that paddle boat money won’t be an issue for if she negotiated a better deal, that would be cool with Marty. The money would be her bonus.
Yet, with her dad hating seeing her do well, between trying to mess up her life or get to Wyatt, expect Ruth to have to make some tough decisions soon.
Everything Rides On Communication & Cooperation: Senator Mercer, Frank, Lulu, Terry, Jim, Jacob, Darlene, Marty, Wendy, Helen, Buddy, Charles, Jim
There are so many moving parts to getting everything consistent enough that Marty can, perhaps, just let Ruth handle things. First and foremost, Darlene and Jacob need to set their egos aside. Because a shipper asks if their product is pure, they decide to not let their people load up a van. Something which becomes a big enough problem to get kicked up to Helen’s desk who is getting tired.
Following that, we have the casino issue which has so many layers to it. First, there is Frank, a regional mobster, who is head of the local Teamsters, who has to be swayed. Which, with the help of Buddy, who knew Frank back in the day, that’s handled. From there it is up to Wendy to wrangle some votes. Which is sort of easy, at first, since it is just greasing palms.
However, there comes a point where she has to get dirty and that includes using one of Ruth’s girls, Lulu, to get into a compromising position with Terry, a senator’s husband, and then comes Charles. In another life, Wendy would probably do as she has done before and cheat on Marty. Which, she might have been tempted to do. For with Wendy thinking Charles’ help was all based on sex, Marty questions, when she brings it up, why didn’t she just do it so the bill would pass. An insult, to say the least.
Yet, from what it seems, that isn’t Charles’ goal. Him using Jim to get to Senator Mercer in a kinder way than Frank having one of Mercer’s men lose a hand, it was because he believes in Wendy. Not to imply he may not call a favor later, but he has a true investment going on.
I wanna say, I appreciate how complicated things are getting and how so many moving parts have to be in sync for things to go right. For, in my recollection, most of the time shows and movies simplify things. It’s one or two groups that need to get along and that’s it. With Ozark? We get the Snells who can’t deal with being disrespected. Especially Darlene who is becoming a serious liability. Since, at this point, it seems she is just coming up with excuses to mess up whatever Marty has planned.
Yet, then comes into play that adoption thing. Pushing the idea it might not just be Marty but Darlene really feeling like her feelings and dignity aren’t taken seriously in the world anymore. Which adds an interesting layer since, while older gangsters aren’t anything new, usually the wife isn’t this involved. So Darlene getting to show herself as both a victim of ageism and a terrifying badass makes for a cool duality.
As for the rest? We got Frank who has to deal with his mob people as well as the Teamsters, who Marty promises jobs to in order to seal that deal. Then you got Helen who is the lawyer for the cartel who wants product and who Marty launders money for. Following that, we got Charles who is invested in Wendy, Ruth who is the closest thing to an assistant Marty has, and this is before crooked cops likely come into play. Never mind each party’s family and associates.
Making for a rather big machine where, as seen in this episode, it only takes one part messing up to perhaps destroy the whole thing. Cade putting Ruth in danger, or jail, means Marty has no one to rely on when immediate matters come up. Wendy gets seduced away and that means Marty loses the person who is more skilled at situations which call for schmoozing over business deals. Heck, even Buddy, him being alive and treated well is the sole reason Marty was able to get Frank to back off and now has some form of mob protection over the casino.
In the first season, I didn’t really enjoy this show but season 2, I don’t know what shifted, but I’m enjoying myself immensely. Well, outside of this pending Rachel and Agent Petty stuff.
Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments
- Charlotte has taken up smoking weed.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Taking note Buddy is dying, was him helping Marty because they feel like family? Because, I can’t see it as him wanting a cut. Much less, while not suicidal, it seems dying in a gunfight isn’t necessarily the worst way to die – in terms of Buddy’s attitude towards things. He did antagonize Frank about his wife, knowing it is a touchy subject.
- Understanding the full weight of Marty making all these different stakeholders happy, and the part he, Wendy, and Ruth play in getting things done.
- Ruth clearly outgrowing her father and the ways of her family.
- Wendy getting down and dirty and pushing the line forward in terms of what she will and won’t do.
- Rachel and Agent Petty since I can foresee that being the most annoying part of the season.
On The Fence
- Darlene’s attitude for while you get it, there is also a part of you which pushes the idea she really desires someone to take her out.