September 28, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Ozark “Wartime”

Season Three, Episode One

For a while now, much of the problem for Wendy and Marty Byrde has been outsiders trying to do things that could get one or more of the Byrdes killed.

Right about now, there’s a different threat going on.

Sure, the Cartel is at war in Mexico with a rival, and there are always various Snells and Langmores hanging around to cause trouble.  If anything, that trouble is predictable, and I was mildly surprised to see Ruth isn’t mad she isn’t running the show.

If anything, Ruth’s biggest problem is with Frank Cosgrove Jr.  She tossed him overboard after he ruined her poker tournament.  That’s a problem since he’s the son of the Kansas City mob boss who blew up Marty’s office last season.

No, the real problem for the Byrdes is actually coming from inside the house!

Mostly because Marty and Wendy have very different ideas on how to keep themselves alive.  After all, it was Wendy’s balking that kept the family from running off to Australia after the casino got approved.  Marty is there, plugging away at things, dealing with fallout of all kinds of missing persons, and all he can think of is the best way out is to keep his head down, don’t risk too much, and look for an opening.

Wendy thinks the best way out is to find a way to funnel the money into more legitimate businesses to fall back on, even getting a meeting with the Cartel boss to propose bailing out another casino and some other small, legal investments in case the crime stuff comes to an end.

So, Marty’s plan is to stay unnoticed and look for something as cautiously as possible while Wendy thinks they should somehow go bigger and endear themselves to the bosses with more legal ways of doing things that don’t involve drugs.

Yeah, that’s gonna be a problem.

That said, as many of these dark, anti-hero shows that I have seen…it sure is a nice change of pace where the problem for the male lead isn’t that his wife somehow objects to what he’s doing and tries to play the moral high road, whether because she has no choice like with Skyler White or because she’s a massive hypocrite like Carmella Soprano or she’s just portrayed as a cold ice queen like Betty Draper.  Skyler and Betty were often in the right compared to their mates or at least had obviously been wronged while Carmella, still a hypocrite, didn’t deserve to be cheated on at the very least.  It was something of a pattern for shows about “cool” criminals and antiheroes to have wives who to one degree or another didn’t approve of the men’s actions, often to the point they were hated by certain portions of the fanbase unfairly.  To have Wendy as, if not an equal partner in Marty’s wrongdoing than at least a more enthusiastic one, is in my mind a welcome change to the genre.

Granted, both are in positions that could get them all killed, so it may not matter much which angle either Marty or Wendy end up taking.