Big6 Blog: Ozark: S2E4 “Stag” Review

By JASON MARTIN (@JMartZone – September 8, 2018)


It really is astonishing just how smartly Ozark handles Roy Petty, making him impossible to like and somehow even less sympathetic as a character. Every action he takes is designed to make you at least lean towards Marty and Wendy, not to mention Ruth or now Rachel. As much a mess as Miss Garrison is, you feel for her. There was a time when she simply managed the Blue Cat Lodge and had a relatively normal life.

That time has since passed, and is hard to even recall all that often.

Now she’s seeking out Amy Winehouse on a jukebox both for herself, and probably to mess with Petty as well, and having the most unprotected of sex with a stranger in a filthy bathroom.

But what Roy Petty did while listening to the audio of Russ asking Ruth to kill Marty Byrde and take his money? You’ve got to be kidding me. This is someone on the right side of the law that breaks it routinely and is just a reprehensible, sniveling, despicable little twit. The most likable thing he’s done is watch old Dragnet reruns, because I used to get down with Jack Webb and Harry Morgan on Nick at Nite growing up as well. And so did you. But that’s literally it. Dude is a jack wagon.

I didn’t see Sam Dermody and his timidity working as a motivational, self-help to success speaker, but sometimes people can surprise you. He’s had a tough go as of late with the problems surrounding his mother, which is similar to Roy, though not identical in terms of the respective situations. But both guys attempt to be PLAYING tough guys, while in reality being anything but. Sam is as well-adjusted as you could expect, and Roy is way past out of control.

What a beautiful scene with Wyatt and Russ, played perfectly by both Charlie Tahan and Marc Menchaca. It was a moment of heart in a series that often runs from its emotions in favor of dark color palettes and an overall feeling of hopelessness. It came through a drug-induced haze, but it showed the love between father and son, despite all obstacles or hardships along the way. Wyatt is conflicted, because he knows the Langmore plan was, at one point, to kill Marty Byrde, who happens to be Charlotte’s father.

From the outset, we’ve learned Wyatt Langmore is nothing like the rest of his family, and Ruth even says so when she goes after Mrs. Jacoby at his school. He’s smart enough to go to Mizzou, but he doesn’t have the right pedigree or the right look and maybe a community college would be more his speed for a few years. What’s interesting about this scene is that while Ruth continually insists Wyatt isn’t like the rest of them, she doesn’t even realize what we already have…

…she isn’t either.

Speaking of “realize,” has Wyatt pieced together through Charlotte’s weed-enhanced words what happened to Boyd and his father that night on the dock? It’s exactly what Marty worried about with her spending time around him in an impaired state. If he doesn’t know for sure, he’s pretty close to a conclusion, based on just how directly he interrogated Marty about being at the Blue Cat the night it happened. He has a lot of questions, and Byrde barely escapes the barrage, then tells Charlotte she can’t see him again, which of course has zero chance of happening.

Charles Wilkes gives Wendy the skinny on our friend from the gaming commission, namely that he’s more than willing to accept a bribe and that he’s dirty. Money isn’t the key. When you look at Beecher, you’d think it would be, but no, he’s somehow a Deadhead. He follows the Grateful Dead, and a few VIP backstage passes might be enough on their own to get the green light for the casino project. It’s worked in the past.

When they try it, Wendy gets a bad feeling as she notices there’s no luggage in the room, which is immaculate and doesn’t look like someone is staying there. She bails on the idea, worried Beecher is too quiet, and makes a decision on her own to pull the ripcord. Marty has already been irritated with her for making choices without including him, sometimes just working with Wilkes and not including him in the process. It also happens with Mason and the “blood money” argument in town. This move with Beecher doesn’t help matters, as he tells her she’d better be right, because without the recommendation, “we’re f—ed.”

Cade Langmore is an ass, illustrated again by his behavior at the club. The major benefit of this scene is that it showed how in charge Ruth actually is, as she handles the situation and then fires the dancer that was involved in the trouble. Sam, “face” of the operation? Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing none of the people attending his seminars saw that act, or he’d be out of work on the word of mouth alone. He tried to use his techniques, but Cade was having none of that. “Money for services rendered” led to being socked in the grill.

Back to Petty, who puts the fear of a gun barrel into Rachel and suggests if she strays from the line one more time, there will be a hole already dug for her grave in the woods. He doesn’t realize what she did helped sell she could be trusted to her mark, but Roy isn’t interested in using his brain. He’s so focused on taking Marty Byrde down, as well as his wife, and maybe now his children once he heard a few key words on the wire, that he doesn’t know fact from fiction or day from night anymore.

The horseshoe sequence wasn’t quite as revealing as it looked like it might be at the start. Ruth and Rachel share a common feeling about Marty, even though Petty is able to pick up info on the money from the lodge. They bond over stealing Byrde’s (read cartel) cash and ending up working for him as a result. “Has he ever tried to f–k you with his overt act sh–? The blue bag with the flash drive and cash is enough for Roy to lose his mind and think he’s finally got Marty. (I’ll bet you a lot of money hidden inside a wall that he doesn’t).

Buddy is faking being dead and showing he’s near death, but Marty stopping to help him shave is another snippet of humanity. He was weird when he arrived, but now he’s a member of the family and one that at least three members of the household (especially Wendy and Jonah) go to for a sense of normalcy and grounding.

Here comes Roy Petty and the FBI the next morning. That smile is the largest we’ve seen from Jason Butler Harner in the series, but it’s not going to last. He’ll score some victories, but ain’t no way he’s going to find what he came for…

…right?

I’m @JMartZone. I’m not leaving without that letter.

 

 

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