Nowhere to hide

Sea­son one of Ozark saw Ja­son Bate­man’s Marty Byrde pushed to the limit to keep his fam­ily safe. Sea­son two prom­ises to make his life ev­ery bit as dif­fi­cult, writes Adrian Polykan­drites.

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Ja­son Bate­man and Laura Lin­ney are back for a sec­ond sea­son of Netlix’s gritty and oc­ca­sion­ally ugly drama se­ries Ozark.

Sea­son one saw fi­nan­cial ad­viser Marty Byrde ( Bate­man) up­root his fam­ily from their life in Chicago after his busi­ness part­ner was caught steal­ing from a Mex­i­can car­tel and wound up in a bar­rel of acid.

Marty was all set to fin­ish up in a bar­rel of his own un­til some fast- talk­ing con­vinced his car­tel con­nec­tion that he could laun­der truck­loads of dirty money from a re­sort town on a lake in the Ozarks.

Noth­ing went to plan, of course, with a steady stream of un­savoury types com­bin­ing with other ob­sta­cles to keep Marty from meet­ing his promised tar­gets by dead­line, which would of course re­sult in his un­timely death and that of his loved ones.

Just when he thought he’d dug his way out of a gi­ant hole and solved all of his prob­lems with an eleventh- hour idea that would set­tle his debts with and unite the sea­son’s two big­gest bad­dies, one of the vil­lains quite lit­er­ally blew an­other’s brains out.

After a brief sep­a­ra­tion, Marty is back with his wife Wendy ( Lin­ney) and kids Char­lotte ( Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah ( Sky­lar Gaert­ner), who by now all have a pretty good idea of what they’re up against.

“Marty and his fam­ily have had to read­just what their opin­ion of ‘ nor­mal’ is,” says Bate­man, who also serves as an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and di­rects sev­eral episodes.

“They’ve gone through a pretty in­ter­est­ing year.”

In­ter­est­ing is quite an un­der­state­ment.

Lin­ney adds: “The thing that hap­pens that’s so in­ter­est­ing about all four mem­bers of the Byrde fam­ily is what they’ll learn about each other in cri­sis.

“There’s the shock, and then they have to sort of get to know each other again with this added in­for­ma­tion.

“They’re be­com­ing crim­i­nals. They did not have a strong crim­i­nal in­cli­na­tion in the fore­front, al­though it was prob­a­bly lurk­ing be­hind their de­sires for a long time. It just has emerged now.”

The in­tense sea­son fi­nale – which con­tained one of the most hor­ri­fy­ing scenes in re­cent TV his­tory – saw short­tem­pered heroin farmer Dar­lene Snell ( Lisa Emery) kill Marty’s car­tel boss Camino Del Rio ( Esai Mo­rales).

Del Rio’s death didn’t come un­til after a deal had been agreed upon, how­ever, so there’s still busi­ness to be done.

Re­plac­ing Del Rio as the car­tel’s con­duit is ruth­less at­tor­ney He­len Pierce ( played by two- time Os­car nom­i­nee Janet McTeer).

Mean­while, Marty’s right­hand wo­man Ruth Lang­more ( Ju­lia Garner) is strug­gling to come to grips with whack­ing her un­cles to save Marty. And just in case things weren’t messy and com­pli­cated enough, Ruth’s cold- blooded dad ( Trevor Long) has been re­leased from prison and they might not see eye to eye.

“Ev­ery­one ex­pects that Ruth is gonna be in a life of crime be­cause of the fam­ily, but she re­ally wants some­thing big­ger and bet­ter,” Garner says.

“That’s why she works all the time … be­cause she’s al­ways hop­ing for a bet­ter life.”

Ruth also needs to keep the truth from her cousins.

“The guilt is just killing her. She feels like she’s crack­ing, and she doesn’t have con­fi­dence,” Garner says. “In the end, I think sea­son two is about Ruth try­ing to get her in­de­pen­dence and not rely on other peo­ple.”

The mess sur­round­ing the char­ac­ters of Ozark shows no signs of be­ing cleaned up – did I men­tion that Marty’s teenage son has an in­fat­u­a­tion with guns? – which might be bad news for the Byrde fam­ily, but it’s good news for those of us watch­ing.

Ozark, Stream­ing on Net­flix from Fri­day, Au­gust 31. Visit net­flix. com. au

All in the fam­ily: Ja­son Bate­man and Laura Lin­ney in the Net­flix drama Ozark.

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