There’s a lot of tightrope walking going on in a typical episode of Ozark as the Byrdes basically do what they can to keep themselves alive. By this point in the series, I’ve seen and commented on how they have essentially stayed one step ahead of the Cartel and the Snells. But it’s not like those are the only things out to get them. There’s also the feds in the form of FBI Agent Roy Petty. Much of what’s been going wrong for the Byrdes around this time as they try to get their casino up and running has been caused by Petty, and they don’t even really know he exists.
That may change.
To review: Petty found Rachel with a load of stolen Cartel cash under arrest for drug use and a few other problems. Dealing with Marty led her to a bad place, and it’s enough to essentially blackmail her into going back and trying to get some dirt on Marty. Despite all this, it is important to note Petty really wants the Cartel and plans on using Marty to force him to rat out his own superiors. Or something. Classic RICO stuff. Squeeze people lower down the totem pole to get the big boys. Heck, that’s what he’s doing to Rachel.
Since she has no choice, she goes back. Rachel’s sudden reappearance doesn’t quite work with Marty and Wendy. Wendy is wary of her in general. Marty is wary of everybody. He doesn’t talk the business in front of people in all but the most oblique manner anyway. He didn’t share much with Rachel to begin with. Plus, Rachel really doesn’t like Roy monitoring her all the time, so she has her own way of getting back at him.
Like screwing a random man at a restroom and calling him “Marty”.
Or pointing out that Roy was a rather suspicious fellow that was sitting around the Blue Cat, tipping Marty off that the FBI are nearby.
That almost gets her head blown off. By Roy.
Of course, Roy didn’t put all his metaphorical eggs in one basket since he has a state gaming rep under similar surveillance. Roy knows the guy takes bribes and just has to wait for him to take one from the Byrdes. That’s where Wendy comes in handy when she senses the trap.
Either Roy is very bad at this, or the Byrdes are very good. I suppose both is a possibility. This episode also plays up a bit that Wendy is more observant and empathic to people, hence her concern for Buddy’s health even as the old man is dying in the basement. Marty barely notices even when told what’s going on. Then again, he was smart enough to sideline convicted felon Ruth while the state is looking closely at all of his businesses. Ultimately, this episode shows Roy as being less than a noble man in the grand scheme of things. He may be just as dangerous as the Byrdes’ other associates. Rachel is doing what she can to stay alive and out of prison while still thumbing her nose at Roy, so good for her. True, the same could be said for the Byrdes, but Rachel doesn’t have nearly as many potential enemies as they do. Something about the Ozarks is making Roy a lot more desperate.
Then again, it’s casual conversation between Ruth and Rachel over Marty’s…ways of doing things that gives Roy enough dirt to get a search warrant of the Byrdes’ house.