By JASON MARTIN (@JMartZone – September 8, 2018)
Jimmy Small is no longer with us, and if you’ve paid attention to the progression of his character in Season 2, it all aligned with making you emotionally attached to someone in order to take them away when it would resonate with you as a viewer. Harris Yulin has been terrific throughout these six episodes, whether he was on screen for seconds or minutes. When Buddy and Wendy were in the car reminiscing about old music at the Fox Theater in 1965 Detroit, you could see the peaceful death coming.
If you could choose how to go, you’d choose something like this. He’s able to help the Byrdes by burning the Snell field, he’s able to share a few laughs and one last story with Wendy, and then his eyes close and he stops breathing. It wasn’t painless, as his last months were filled with pain and the realization of mortality that exists within any human being, but the very end was as pleasant as he could have imagined.
Jonah is heartbroken, but he also steps up at the memorial service and speaks in a way no Byrde has in public at ANY point on this show. He’s honest to a fault about his best friend, this old man that helped teach him certain things about life, that didn’t always treat him like a child, and that simply listened to what the boy had to say and reacted to it. Marty should have listened to Buddy more often, but he did start to do so in the second season. One of his parting thoughts was that Marty needed to start acting, rather than merely reacting to what others were doing.
Be aggressive. Be assertive. Take control.
We’ll see if that lesson actually takes in the long term.
The FBI is now searching Snell property and they discover bones. I began racking my brain to try and remember what I’d forgotten, or who the skeleton could belong to, but I didn’t think about it being family land with a long history. The ancestry angle thwarts Roy Petty and dashes his hopes, saves Jacob and Darlene, and also assists Marty, Wendy, and now Charles Wilkes, who has risen up the Roy radar and has to deal with an interrogation of his own.
Wilkes being naive to what exactly the Byrdes are involved in rang false to me. You’re telling me this smart agriculture mogul and intelligent investor didn’t know ANYTHING about the cartel beforehand? I just find it hard to believe, but it’s used here to tell us Charles Wilkes isn’t a crook and he is a true believer in various causes and various people. He wasn’t evil in any way, even if he could be accused of opportunism. This time, though, he picked a criminal and a manipulator and got himself into something he wasn’t prepared to handle.
“You don’t work for the cartel. You are the cartel.” That’s a great line, even if we’re all left saying, “duh.” He wants to protect Wendy and get her out, leaving Marty to survive in the game as long as he can. “I have seen people shift money from account to account. It’s not sustainable.” Well, it sort of has been for ten years, Chuck, but ultimately we all know he’s right. She tells him to leave, turns, and walks away. She chooses her family in that moment.
Rachel cannot deal with what happened to Ruth, but Petty is still Petty. He calls her a petty thief helping to launder money for a Mexican drug cartel. That’s not incorrect, and all he ever operates with are facts that can be stated to exclude any feelings from an equation. Rachel wants to talk to Roy’s boss, but he knows that can’t happen, because he knows he’s way out of bounds with his activities during this case. His response is to call her a whining brat, then tries to force oxycontin on her for Ruth, but she smacks it out of his hands. “I don’t want any more drugs.” Good. Hopefully it stays that way.
Cosgrove and the Kansas City mob, as well as the FBI attend Jimmy Small’s funeral, for different reasons obviously, but it was Jonah finding his friend’s Rolodex that led to Frank and his crew being there. “Hell of a kid you got here,” Cosgrove tells Marty, and he’s wise beyond his years on that one. Wendy believes Buddy saved the family and Jonah does his speech, Marty drinks at the lodge afterward, but it’s Jonah researching Buddy, getting info on Gretchen, knowing about him and imparting what he knew to the crowd that was the episode’s most powerful moment.
Jimmy Small as an iconic, legendary UAW union negotiator is so perfect for Buddy the character. Had we not already known some of his history, we’d have all nodded “yes” when we found that out. I will bet he wielded a crowbar or two in his day.
Mason’s predicament changes, not thanks to his lack of permit, but thanks to his lack of steering clear and letting the spilled milk lie without any tears or lawsuits or inquiries. Marty’s predicament changes also, because Rachel reveals after kissing him in the Lodge that she’s wired. Did she kiss him because she was overwhelmed by him or did it happen to shut him up so she could show him her bra with the microphone attached to it? It could be both, because he did try to help her with that recording and give her a chance to escape if things go badly for him.
He’s always been both a good guy and a bad guy, depending on the situation. Ruth and Rachel had that conversation in the previous episode as a matter of fact. Here, he was not a prick, and now he knows something huge that Roy doesn’t. It’s a powerful way to end what was a great episode, but one that ran 67 minutes, which is just ridiculous. Still maybe my favorite episode of the entire series thus far, because of the emotion and the heart behind all the darkness.
“Outer Darkness.” But maybe a LITTLE inner light on Ozark as well.
I’m @JMartZone. To Buddy.