I’ve spent a good deal of time in the last few entries discussing how Wendy deserves some sort of punishment since she is more overtly corrupt than her husband. The fact that this episode opens with something of an extended flashback to show just how her brother Ben died would seem to push more in that general direction.
But I don’t want to give the impression that Marty is somehow off the hook for everything that has happened.
I think the big thing here is Wendy does a lot of what I call “poking the bear”. She doesn’t just do bad things. She deliberately and blatantly does bad things and then rubs it in people’s faces when she thinks she is untouchable. She isn’t always, but she acts like she is. Except, that could really describe a lot of the women of Ozark. True, not all of them. But Darlene and Ruth both act with some measure of impunity after they think they’ve gotten away with something or they want to challenge a rival. In Ruth’s case, it might be more of a way of saying she isn’t to be challenged because she’s a survivor. As she tells Frank Jr. in this episode, she doesn’t want to be the next Darlene or Marty.
And true, there’s a lot going on with Wendy here as she is left alone with the kids while Marty flies to Mexico to run the cartel in Omar’s absence. And Wendy’s gonna Wendy, like sending the local acting sheriff to mess with Jonah as part of an attempt to stop Ruth from shipping that heroin. She also has her father to contend with, and he seems more like a righteous pain-in-the-ass than anything else right now. Heck, Charlotte isn’t happy with Wendy at this point, but that has more to do with how Marty went to Mexico to possibly die than anything else. Perhaps Marty is just the preferred parent for both Charlotte and Jonah right now. Given Wendy’s bear-poking habits, I can’t say I blame either of them.
However, Marty is no saint. He’s just a lot more low-key about it. Sending him down to Mexico was perhaps the only real option Omar had to keep control of the cartel, but does that mean Marty has what it takes to do the sorts of things needed to keep a violent criminal enterprise under control? The only people he really confides at all in are Father Benitez and Omar’s sister Camila, AKA Javi’s mother. The priest seems like he might be a decent human being, so that tracks. And Camila is Omar’s sister and all. But for now, Marty is running the show down there.
There’s something to be said about how Marty runs things down there, and it’s essentially like a bookkeeper. Such that it doesn’t take him too long to realize that one of Omar’s lieutenants is skimming money.
And then Omar is attacked in prison. He’s comatose apparently, but he managed to kill his attacker while handcuffed and with multiple stab wounds to the back.
So, who ordered the hit? Camila thinks it could be the man who was skimming. She even has some proof. And if you torture someone long enough, they will confess to just about anything whether it is true or not. That is essentially what happens as Marty watches the man’s torture in chambers that he himself was probably tortured in at one time. He even orders and watches an execution. So, while Marty keeps his face dispassionate at all times and rarely even holds his head up to look at people, he is the one making these orders in places where he was tortured and nearly killed himself.
Now, I suppose, Camila’s helpfulness was awfully convenient. The dead man is dead based largely on her suspicions, and she was already scouring the Ozark region for her son in a previous episode. So, it wouldn’t surprise me if she was behind a lot of this, especially since the story being told is Omar killed Javi. If so, I think I can see why she might fly under Marty’s radar for the moment. Unlike other women he knows, she doesn’t go around poking bears.