Ozark: Season 2/ Episode 5 “Game Day” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card featuring Roy's headphones, Charlotte's hidden money, Buddy's flare, and the cuffs Ruth had on when water boarded.
Roy's headphones, Charlotte's hidden money, Buddy's flare, and the cuffs Ruth had on when water boarded.
71.8% (1)

As Charlotte continues to be a liability, the Cartel tries to find and handle all issues which could threaten the casino investment – including Ruth.


Network
Netflix
Director(s) Phil Abraham
Writer(s) Paul Kolsby
Air Date 8/31/2018

Desperate For A Win: Roy, Ruth, Marty, Wendy, Rachel, Agent Evans

With a huge amount of FBI members under his command, Roy is feeling himself quite a bit. For while he only has the small fish under investigation, he thinks he has it made. Making it where he talks down to Agent Evans, who is just warning him of his big head, and really presses Marty, Wendy, even Ruth.

But, with not much headway coming with Marty and Wendy, since they know Roy is full of it, and his tricks are using old information, like Wendy’s affair, they just roll their eyes. However, Ruth, who we are reminded is a teenager, is under different circumstances. After all, she already has a record, just assaulted a guidance counselor, killed her uncles, and now is led to believe the Cartel is going to kill her. Now, is Ruth a badass? Yes, but you go to remember she is still a kid. One who, when talking to Rachel, let’s us know there was no plan B if Marty went down. Everything rides on him knowing what he is doing and not screwing her over.

Commentary

Roy showing how full of himself he is.
Roy: You’re a worker bee, and I’m the queen.

Ruth continues to be the character which brings the most interest to me. This teen girl, who I could swear was less than 20 but over 18, presents a stark contrast to what should be seen and expected of actors playing minors. For, on one hand, we got Charlotte, who I wish would get killed off yet then we got Ruth.

Charlotte represents privilege and the naivety, if not stupidity, which comes with that. Something most kids on shows deal with and it makes them a consistent liability to their parents. Which I can only assume is lazy writing or dealing with the unfortunate obligation, if not assumption, that characters who are married or in long relationships must have kids. Yet, as seen in Sharp Objects, that doesn’t mean the kid has to be made into someone you are praying gets killed off. They can be made interesting as well.

Look at Ruth. She may be stripped of privilege and a little worse for wear, but is the rare example of utilizing a young character in an adult show. Ruth isn’t some princess, of the same ilk as Charlotte at least, and she gets to show the real complication of being of being young and in that situation. On one hand, she is making money hand over fist, has authority, and it allows her to help her family. Yet, at the same time, she is taking on an adult role with the maturity of a know it all teenager with an attitude problem. Leading to moments, as mentioned in the third topic, where we get reminded, as tough as she is, it is only because the world doesn’t let her be a Charlotte. Being like Charlotte would require a level of vulnerability which would be a weakness.

The kind that, for her world, would lead to her being abused, made into a sex object, and far from any sense of empowered. Which is all Ruth wants. She wants the power to not run things like the cartel, what the Snells got going on, or even perhaps do like Marty. She just wants to live comfortably, with minimal BS, and have reasons to get up in the morning.

And this is all to say, considering all Charlotte can be going through, surely there could be more to her than a button to blow Marty’s life up. Heck, even Jonah found purpose by seeing Buddy as some sort of grandfather type and following in his dad’s footsteps by making a shell company.

I Just Wanna See My Kids: Helen, Marty, Charlotte, Jacob, Darlene, Wendy

With Charlotte’s $5,000 found, it complicates things for Marty. Now there is some semblance of evidence but not enough to say the case is closed and handled. So, naturally Helen has to hand hold and watch over everything and it sucks for her. For one, the accommodations in the Ozarks are not like in the city. Hence why summer tourists own their own homes and don’t rent out rooms, unless they are middle class or lower. Two, Helen has kids.

An important detail because it helps you understand that it isn’t just Marty and Wendy doing things for money which are within a moral grey ground. In reality, whether a Langmore or someone like Helen, there is a good chance you’re working on the wrong side of the law or simply for a butthead of a person. Such is life.

However, the big to do here is how the Cartel, wielding their power, keeps shifting the deal and expectations of stakeholders of said deal. As usual, Jacob and Darlene are the main ones who don’t like it because, while the increase in business is nice, they don’t appreciate the shared responsibility. Which, now calls for their poppy field to be burnt down. Particularly since local law enforcement can’t protect them and Helen is trying to eliminate liabilities.

But, problem is, take away the field, what do the Snells have in this deal? Charles is digging up land, Marty has money to launder no matter what, so what do they get? Well, that is where Wendy comes in since her closeness to Charles means she can make arrangements. In particular, Darlene wants a boy. Not a grown boy like Jacob gets her, but a baby to mold. Which Wendy is a bit apprehensive about, but it seems the line she keeps drawing always gets pushed back anyway. So why stop now?

Commentary

Helen complaining about her life in the Ozarks.
Helen: Those sheets at the Ramada? Ugh. Like sandpaper, and I miss my kids.

Taking note Ash was probably like a son to Darlene, it does make you wonder why she solely invested in him? Though Darlene has trust issues, I’m kind of surprised she didn’t perhaps make everyone who worked on the family like family. Because, with how serious she is taking this adoption thing, it seems beyond just trying to fill the void Ash left. Much less realizing, once she and Jacob dies, the land is to whoever buys it. It really does seem she, perhaps, sacrificed one of the things she always wanted for Jacob or because the lifestyle they had would make a child too much of a liability.

With that said, I appreciated Helen noting how important her kids were to her. Speaking to Marty as a person, in other words. For it reminds you that a lot of what is done isn’t personal, it’s business. Ash being killed was to keep the deal alive, how hard Helen is stems from the same reason Ruth is how she is and why Wendy puts some oomph in her voice. You can’t be all that feminine and maternal with people. Like seen with Darlene, if you trust the person, you can let that armor down, as she does with Wendy, but generally doing so will make it where you will have to go to an extreme to be respected.

Loyalty Tested & Friends Betrayed: Buddy, Wendy, Darlene, Helen, Ruth, Marty

With Darlene wanting a child to even consider burning down the poppy fields, so comes a serious conundrum. Yet, as increasingly is becoming consistent, Buddy steps in to provide advice which actually gets taken. For while Marty has proved himself to be good at analytics and doing his whole cause and effect thing, he takes too long to act. Something which may work for those like the Cartel, but when it comes to Snells and Ruth types? Too much time waiting makes them nervous and they need action – solutions.

So, with that in mind, as Wendy talks about adoption options, Buddy is burning down the poppy field. All while Helen waterboards Ruth. Yup, because Marty learns Ruth wanted to kill him, Helen feels that she just can’t let him hesitating on trusting her go. So, Cade gets put face down to the ground, Wyatt and Three apparently just sleep through all the hubbub, Marty, who tries to calm things down, gets handcuffed, and Ruth waterboarded. Reminding you a bit of what Del did before he killed Marty’s former partner.

But, luckily, Helen finds nothing and perhaps gains a certain respect for Ruth.

Commentary

Ruth after being waterboarded and Helen saying she is good.

Few questions: Where were Three and Wyatt during all this? Last I checked, Wyatt still has the habit of sleeping on the roof and Three, being the average, or simply, person he is, you’d think he would have walked outside. On top of that, considering how badass Jacob and Darlene appear to be, you telling me a man who walks as slow as Buddy, with a flashlight, turning on the motor of a vehicle, that drew nobody’s attention? One of the main things you sell is heroin yet there is no one patrolling the perimeter of the field? What is the point of a gate, and seemingly having at least one security person, if you leave yourself that vulnerable?

Not to forget, who does Wendy and Buddy think will take the blame for this? The Cartel? Charles? Since you know him catching wind of the poppies wouldn’t be good for his resort either now. He may do some shady politics, but that is in the form of blackmail. He doesn’t deal in drugs. Oh, and also, how the hell is Buddy supposed to get out of there? I would assume he’d have to take the main road to get back to the car and it isn’t like he can run and hide. Never mind his coughing would give him away. Plus, him sitting in the car trying to look innocent, who’d that fool?

All of those questions really do lead me to believe we’re heading for the kind of drama which may be a bit unrealistic, in terms of its solution. Since Darlene, of all people, being messed with? Distracted while this goes down? Man! In real life, based on her personality, Wendy would be shot for the disrespect.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. With Charles building on the land, does that mean Snell sold it over or they are leasing it?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

[…] Ill humor in the morning brings about a darkened day.
— Jacob

[…] when you think you’re gonna die yesterday, today is sweet.
— Buddy

Highlights

  1. Taking note of how similar Ruth, Wendy, Darlene, and Helen are in terms of wanting to do so much for their families and realizing, to get that job done, they can’t be the sweethearts they really are. They have to be tough to the point of seeming unfeeling. Yet, if you seem like you are honestly trying, that your goals align with theirs, they’ll let you peek behind the shield and even wave to you. Before telling you to get back on the other side. It compensates for how Charlotte is written.

Low Points

  1. While I enjoy Jonah showing he is watching his dad, maybe following in his footsteps, Charlotte being so dumb, it makes you wish Marty had to make the same sacrifice Jacob and Darlene did.

Follow Wherever I Look on Twitter, Like us on Facebook and Subscribe to the YouTube Channel.


Ozark - Episode List

Title card for Netflix's Ozark

Find Ozark Exclusively on Netflix

Collected Quotes From The Show


Check Out Other TV Recaps


How Would You Rate This?

Negative Mixed Positive