As much as Walter White insisted over and over again that he did what he did “for his family,” that series ended with his final admission that all that was a lie, something that actually seemed to help him bond one last time with his wife Skyler in something like forgiveness. I always loved that scene, but the fact is, Walter White didn’t do what he did for family. He was a liar, and he told himself that one more than anyone else.
Point is, I think Ozark is much, much more about how crime ruins families since whole families are involved in the various crimes.
Look at the families we have here for this episode. The Byrdes are falling apart because Charlotte wants an emancipation and even hired a lawyer. The lawyer knows…something. How much isn’t said. Wendy reacts emotionally. Marty reacts calmly, and for once, his advice on how to handle things is better by trying to talk quietly to Charlotte and not going to see the lawyer. Talking to Charlotte doesn’t work, and Wendy goes to see the lawyer anyway.
Jonah, meanwhile, is turning into another Marty who takes all this stuff in stride. That might be worse.
The Byrdes weren’t built on a foundation of crime, of course. Other families were. The Langmores, for example, are looking more and more like that as Cade really wants to get Marty’s Cartel money despite that being a stupid idea, now going on to rob the strip club that Ruth runs with Wyatt as back-up. Marty opts not to report them to the sheriff, and Ruth has a story and a promise to get the money back. Wyatt, who has an actual future if he can get out of this place, is easy to bully, but he still thinks Marty killed his father. Cade is…another story, and Ruth’s shotgun doesn’t seem to get him any closer to not being an asshole criminal.
But that’s petty ante stuff next to the Snells.
Flashbacks show how they met…Darlene just interrupted a date Jacob was on with the promise to not be a boring girl like the one he was out with. That worked.
Now, getting Jacob to play ball in the present is relatively simple. They both survived a Cartel hit, Jacob taking a bullet, but he’s always been the more reasonable one. He will sell the land once Marty points out that, under eminent domain law, the government will just take it, and he’ll play along for the gaming commission.
Said gaming commission would make one undebatable request. It turns out it’s for a non-union work site. Marty agrees, and that won’t make the Kansas City mob happy.
But then there’s Darlene, the boiling cauldron of rage for the wrongs committed to a family she only married in to. The woman who seems to make everything worse. The woman whose actions nearly got the Snells killed anyway. Jacob, he’s the reasonable one. He sees he’ll have to murder his wife.
And she beats him to it by poisoning his morning coffee with something designed to be quick and painless.
Plus, since that’s the girl he married, he ain’t even mad.
Crime does weird things to people. Some people, in the world of Ozark, just seem to be better built for it.