‘Ozark’, season 4, part 1: the brutal dilemma between ethics and survival taken to the limit
Assuming that the main attraction of Ozark is human relations and how drug trafficking and corruption frames them in an extreme context, the fourth season of the Netflix series continues its own: a rough sample but not for that less moving of the theater of life. One of the narrative axes developed through the three previous seasons reached its highest point. The future of the series seems uncertain in relation to some characters and that does not have to be a problem.
The first aspect to note is the dimension with which this season is presented: “Part 1” (of seven episodes). Although there will be no fifth season, what has been released is not the end. Therefore, there is a lot to deal with in the next chapters (for which there is still no clear release date). Beyond the fact that it can be understood as a commercial and production strategy, in series where detail is so important and relationships need time to be built, it is appreciated that they take the necessary time for development.
The relationship that began linearly with Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) having to manage his relationship with Omar Navarro (Felix Solis), season after season, diversified to involve the various components of the family. In particular, the character of Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) is one of those who has transformed the most over time, to the point of causing changes in Marty, a character who at times seems like a Zen monk rather than a specialist in Finance in Ozark.
Ozark: the pulse between ethics and survival reaches the limit
In a context marked by turbulence and triggers that are easily pulled, the character of Maya Miller (Jessica Frances Dukes) emerges as the leading figure able to handle between two waters without getting dirty in the process; not only that, but she also ends up playing her cards and being true to herself, as her decisions trigger an avalanche of events.
She, initially presented as pregnant, something that makes her character even more fragile, becomes a detective capable of contradicting superior orders because for her, ethics prevails above all else. The detail is key, if one takes into account that Ozark is a series in which the end justifies the means from the first chapter. Regardless of shapes, everything that gets in the way will be displaced. Maya Miller emerges as that character who invites the viewer to remember that, despite everything, there is a system and a level of rules to follow.
Another of the themes that runs through Ozark and that in the first part of the fourth season also reaches notable limits. In one way or another, all the main characters are marked by some sorrow, emptiness or longing in this regard. That absence or goal is positioned as a vehicle towards different paths. It happens with Marty and Wendy, who try to save their children. It happens with Omar, who wishes he could live the life he never had; and with Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery), who after her husband's death also sought some sort of company. Also with Ruth (Julia Garner) and the desire to give her brother the chance to have a better future.
Several of those longings are still in the air and will have to be resolved in the second part of the fourth season, the last thing that will be had on this series. In that sense, perhaps the beginning of this installment will serve as a symbolic resource. Marty and his family travel down the road and get into an accident, as if their freedom is marked by tragedy and suffering, regardless of who leaves behind the bags of cash.
The Ozark Earrings
After delving into two of its main themes, the finale of the first part of Ozark season four left open two unknowns, mainly: the decisions that Ruth will make to avenge the death of his relative and the role that Mel Sattem (Adam Rothenberg) will play in this entire plot, along with the information he has collected so far.
The recent series may be the absence of the character of Helen Pierce, the lawyer played by Janet McTeer, in relation to previous seasons. However, the mutation of the characters and the incorporation of other actors into the game means that this lack is not too noticeable. As it is not the conclusion on what has been worked on for three seasons, there are still pending to be dealt with. In the meantime, it's worth continuing to enjoy what is perhaps the most important series on the human condition and drug trafficking after Breaking Bad.