Ozark: Book of Ruth
August 7, 2017 8:10 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Jacob educates Marty on his business. Ruth devises and sets in motion a deadly plan. Rachel learns Marty is cooking the books at the Blue Cat Lodge.
posted by aabbbiee (6 comments total)
I've seen 7 or 8 episodes so far. After the first two, I could not understand why critics were panning the show as a not great Breaking Bad copy. But I just watched all 62 BB episodes for the 3rd time, and yeah, they are not on the same level.
posted by growabrain at 9:48 PM on August 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

The AV Club disliked it too.

Okay, yes, this isn't Breaking Bad. It's not on that level. But Breaking Bad was the best show of the decade, and arguably this has been the greatest decade for good television in the history of television, so I am not quite sure why "it's not as good as Breaking Bad" is a reason to dislike it.

This quote (from your article): "And Ozark doesn’t really give its characters much to lose beyond their own lives — the tangible stakes are present, but the spiritual ones are nowhere to be found."
What? Why isn't it enough that he's fighting for the lives of his family, his children? Why isn't that enough? If Martin Byrde could make a different choice, if he could go back and make the choice not to be a money launderer, then he probably would make that choice. But he doesn't have many options right now, and he's desperately doing whatever he can to keep his family alive.
posted by aabbbiee at 7:34 AM on August 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's coming back at episode 8, the flashback
posted by growabrain at 7:32 PM on August 8, 2017

I know it isn't as "good" as Breaking Bad but I find the characters so much more relatable and interesting to watch. I mean I don't think Laura Linney is capable of playing someone without any agency at all (she's just too good!) but I was really relieved that she got to be an active participant in the story. Ultimately I think this show has some heart and that's why I liked watching it.
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 5:01 AM on August 12, 2017

Superficially, it shares similarities to Breaking Bad but I feel that comparing Ozark to BB is a little unfair.

BB (SPOILERS) is about someone who's career arc derails due to a combination of ill luck and ill choices (with ambiguity as to which was more causative, and if one contributed to the other, plus enviousness) leading to bitterness and resentment - which fuels a narcissistic ego repairing imposition of will against the world. The conflict is "Fuck everything, I have worth, goddamnit" and we see an evolutionary devolution of ethics in the pursuit of that attempted healing, carried by actual competence.

Here, it's about someone (Marty) who's career arc derails because his narcissism fueled bad choices leading to a career derail into a shadow of a career - with narcissism/delusional-superiority intact. Ill choice only, by dealing with ill people.

Which (the narcissism), strangely, remains intact when confronted with reality, both the original situation and the new situations that he creates ... and it doesn't go so well, even when backed with a reasonable battery of competency.

Laura Linney/Wendy's character is interesting as she has her own flavour of narcissistic damage leads her to *actively* "break bad" much faster and with less compunction than Skylar of Breaking Bad, who was much more reluctant because she wasn't as damaged as Wendy, but the stress shockwaves from Walter White's activities battered her into action.

I suspect that Wendy developed the "shady skills" out of previous experiences of infidelity and other shenanigans and was never an innocent.
posted by porpoise at 1:17 AM on September 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I don't really see the narcissism with Marty or Wendy. Can you get into more detail on why you think that? You're saying Skylar White was battered by stress into supporting Walter White, but you're not mentioning Wendy Byrde's emotional state following the spoiler we learn about in episode 8 and the impact that it had on the family. I think that a narcissism reading of the Byrdes is not giving them enough credit. They're not impulsive, ego-driven people.
posted by aabbbiee at 10:50 AM on September 7, 2017

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