April 14, 2024

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Ozark “Trouble The Water”

Season Four, Episode Twelve

I’ve been asking to see Wendy punished somehow of late since she’s been so blatant about her wrongdoing in so many ways, unwilling to back down and compromise when it might be a smart move, or at least one her more cautious husband advocates.  Then I get to the end of this episode and I ask myself if I got what I wanted.

I’m not sure.

Here’s what it comes down to:  at one point, Marty suggests Wendy’s father Nathan is “playing chicken” with them because he suddenly took the Byrdes to court to get custody of Charlotte and Jonah, siting an unsafe environment.  The thing is, Nathan doesn’t know just how unsafe it is.  He just has some strong suspicions, not made any easier by P.I. Mel’s sudden disappearance when the Byrdes pulls some strings to get him reinstated in the Chicago PD.  From there, it struck me that there are a lot of people playing, if you will, games to get back at the Byrdes in one form or another.  There’s Camila’s work to take over the cartel.  That’s Wendy’s idea, working off the thought that Camila will be too busy to cause more problems but missing how Marty is supposed to coordinate stuff with the FBI if Camila isn’t part of the plan.

Then there’s Ruth and Rachel working to get Ruth’s juvenile record expunged so Ruth can use what she has to buy out the casino in a very legal manner.  Ruth made an offer to the Byrdes earlier.  Marty was amenable.  Wendy wasn’t because Wendy doesn’t compromise.  That’s like a game of 4D chess or something with Ruth, something that will go the way it does because the money man behind all the casino stuff wants to get back at the Byrdes and is willing to help Ruth and Rachel for that reason alone.

Again, Marty is no saint, but he’s a lot more lowkey than Wendy and a lot more likely to fly under the radar as a result.  Wendy, as I have said many times, just can’t resist poking the bear.

And this time, it doesn’t work.  Apparently, since Charlotte is almost 18, she can make her own decision, and her way of thinking is someone needs to make sure Grandpa stays in the dark about what’s really going on.  As for Jonah, seeing as how he’s been living in a motel room on his own anyway, he is also allowed to make his own decisions, and he chose Grandpa since he hates his mother right now.

I can buy that.  That said, this is still Ozark, so I doubt Nathan is the good man he pretends to be.  Wendy’s lines about what he was like when she was growing up are, to me, probably true, and in many ways, this potential loss of her children to a man she does not get along with (at best) is the end result of just how arrogant she’s been.  Marty isn’t happy either, but he’s told by both his kids that A) his knowledge of what Grandpa is like came from Wendy and B) he ultimately always does what she wants most of the time anyway.  And yeah, those are true statements.  Marty didn’t grow up in Nathan’s house, and Wendy doesn’t listen to Marty’s more cautious approach to, well, everything, and he does ultimately go along with whatever it is she decides, often because she’s already acted and he doesn’t really have a choice.

There might be some commentary in there about whether or not any husband can or should control his wife, but in the case of the Byrdes, it’s just very apparent.

As it is, that led to a moment I never thought I’d see:  Wendy begging.  Not for show either.  She is legitimately begging her father not to take her kids, repeating a line she had earlier used with Marty about how she knows she is hard to love.

Marty denied that.  Nathan, well, he’s unmoved.

Now, I would not be surprised if Nathan was a religious hypocrite.  It would fit this show just fine.  He’s already been shown to be extremely self-righteous.

But that was a very raw, highly effective moment.  Wendy was just broken.  And here’s something else:  does she legit believe she’s hard to love?  That’s harsh.

So, does this count as a punishment?  Well, maybe not.  It will probably be more of set-back.  I mean, there’s still two episodes left.  A lot can change in two episodes.