March 26, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Ozark “In Case Of Emergency”

Season Three, Episode Seven.

So many times in fiction, I see this trope where someone says everything that went wrong did so because of the protagonist(s) doing whatever they were doing.  Sometimes that may be true.  Other times, if you’re seeing the story from the protagonist’s point of view, a more common situation in a novel, it seems less likely in part because the protagonist seems at least a little sympathetic to the audience in whatever they are doing, so it’s easy to doubt that the protagonist is somehow responsible for every bad thing that happens

I am starting to think in Ozark that this situation, where the protagonist just makes everything worse without exception, is truly the case.

Here’s the thing:  I could easily point out that characters like Darlene Snell and Wyatt Langmore are blaming Wendy and Marty for things they either did themselves or were clearly done by others.  Darlene, for example, confesses to Wyatt this episode that she killed Jacob, the love of her life, and this is the Byrdes’ fault.  Wyatt had been blaming Ruth for what happened to his father, but Darlene suggests instead it was also Marty and Wendy’s fault.

Now, my initial impulse would be to say that Ruth and Darlene were ultimately responsible for what happened.  Heck, I still think that.  But then I thought about it some more and came to a different conclusion by way of an analogy.  In my mind now, the Byrdes aren’t so much fish-out-of-water criminals from the big city who don’t get this more rural area they moved to.  No, they’re an invasive species.

If we look at what has been happening since the series started, we saw the two move to the Ozarks and blunder into various local criminal enterprises they didn’t know existed.  Yes, selling heroin and whatever the Kansas City Mafia were up to is probably not victim-free enterprises, but they weren’t involved in gang wars where they didn’t even know which gangs were involved.  Did Marty know the Snells existed when he took over that strip club?  He didn’t know the Langmores as much of anything.  He didn’t have to deal with the Kansas City Mafia…or any other mafia for that matter.

Now, he does.  He came to this area with his money and financial expertise that doesn’t really take people into account.  I mean, I would probably never have enough scratch to get a financial planner like Marty to take personal care of my portfolio.  That there’s a whole indictment of our financial and legal system at work here, but that’s a discussion for someone who knows a hell a lot more about that stuff than I do.

We’ve seen the older generation of Langmores all go down as they tried to get their “share” of Marty’s wealth without Marty’s knowledge on where it came from or what to do about it.  Jacob Snell would have continued to quietly sell heroin during a boat-side church service.  Heck, Pastor Mason and his whole family would be alive and well were it not for the disruptions the Byrdes caused just by moving into the area.

This episode brings that more to the forefront as Helen realizes she needs to put Marty and Wendy’s marriage counselor down for knowing too much.  Though for such a serious drama, it sure was funny seeing that little old lady pull up in that expensive car.

So, maybe there is something to blaming the Byrdes.

Especially now that Ruth is probably turning on them.  Frank Jr. beat the snot out of her, putting her in the hospital, and her one request was Marty and Wendy kill him.  The Byrdes don’t do that…well, Marty doesn’t.  Wendy sure did with Ruth’s father.  Marty knows they need to stay on Frank Sr.’s good side.  And Wendy at least likes to tell herself she’s better than that.  I don’t think Marty knows better than to lie to himself at this point, but Wendy sure does.  These are not good people, and they are making things worse for everyone around them.  And while Walter White did that and only really affected his own family and his sidekick, the Byrdes are hurting a hell of a lot more people.

So, sure, these are bad people doing bad things, but putting some people with ties to even worse people into the mix just made everything worse.

By the by…Wyatt, I know you’re a fictional character, but when you are living and sleeping with a woman who confesses to killing the love of her life and very recently…RUN!

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