The third film in “The Godfather” trilogy contains the often mimicked and imitated line spoken by an aged Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” and that phrase could sum up the first part of the finale season of OZARK in a nutshell.
Part four of “Ozark” premiered yesterday on Netflix and when I say it opens with a bang and ends with an even bigger bang, I truly mean it.
The stakes have been raised for the Byrde family as the series picks up immediately after last season, after a brief jump into the future, where Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy (Laura Linney) meet the big bad Omar Navarro (Felix Solis) in person, in Mexico, during a very bloody initial encounter.
When Navarro decides he wants Marty and Wendy to use their FBI connection for an unprecedented – and darn near impossible – purpose, the Byrdes’s exit from the cartel life becomes even more precarious and dangerous.
Adding more to fuel to the fire are the growing suspicions over the deaths of both Ben and Helen -with a private investigator (Adam Rothenberg) hired by the family of the latter whose “Spidey senses” tell him there’s more to the disappearances of both.
Under their own roof is their son Jonah (Skylar Gaertner), who is still mourning and wrestling with the death of his uncle Ben – leading to actions that cause his family to question his allegiance and fight to keep him from destroying the family and himself.
Also problematic for the Byrdes is Navarro’s irrational, and subsequently more dangerous, nephew Javier (an entertainingly frightening Alfonso Herrera) who becomes more interactive by season’s end in the Navarro organization – adamant about them stopping Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) from selling heroin and verbalizing his wishes to keep the Byrdes functioning in the cartel.
And lastly, there’s the aforementioned Darlene, who is fighting to keep the baby she stole and her once lucrative poppy/heroin business – of which she has become a partner with her extremely young boyfriend Wyatt (Charlie Tahan) and his cousin and former Byrde employee Ruth (portrayed by the remarkable Julia Garner). Darlene’s anger and animosity towards the Byrdes, and her refusal to stop selling product, fosters more wrath from Javier – who the Byrdes are trying to appease.
There’s a cat and mouse game with the FBI, the utilization of the Kansas City Mob and a more sympathetic Ruth towards Frank Cosgrove, Jr. (Joseph Sikora), a compliant and helpful Charlotte (Sofian Hublitz) after seasons of being unaligned with the family, and a physically developed Three (Carson Holmes) who’s as big as his older brother Wyatt – all of which I found greatly entertaining and the latter hysterical, although I understand the nature of delayed production/shooting.
I also enjoyed the extended role of FBI Special Agent Maya Miller (an exceptional Jessica Frances Dukes) who is resolute in bringing down the Navarro cartel at all costs.
The moral dilemmas, questionable choices and toxic interactions are all on 1000 as the show’s writers up the ante in the first part of this final season – and the soundtrack remains fire!
It’s binge-worthy, popcorn munching, muscle tensing while yelling at the TV shenanigans and I enjoyed every second of screening it.
I rate it 4.5 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
Part I of season four of OZARK is streaming now on Netflix.
Until next thought, Thomasena