Ozark Season 1 Was Complicated — Here's What You Need to Remember for Season 2
A slow-burning crime drama set in the folksy American Midwest location of The Ozarks in Missouri, Netflix's Ozark burst onto the scene in 2017 bearing nothing but grim tidings. Boasting a top-notch cast with Jason Bateman and Laura Linney at the helm, Ozark is a show meant for fans of dark, crime-ridden dramas like Breaking Bad, The Killing and True Detective.
With season two on the horizon (it premieres on Aug. 31 to be exact), it would behoove us all to maybe take a trip down memory lane back to season one and refresh our memories on the events of the season. Sure, you can try and re-binge the first 10 episodes, which all premiered over a year ago on July 31, 2017, but why do that when you can get all caught up here?
So, let's recap Ozark, season one.
Meet the Byrdes
The Byrdes are a fractured family when we first meet them in season one. Patriarch Marty Byrde (Bateman) only appears like a clean-cut, put-together working father to kids Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) and husband to Wendy (Linney). Wendy only appears to be a sweet, gentle wife and mother. But the season one premiere quickly establishes both Marty and Wendy as complicated (and eventual) partners in crime. We learn that Marty is working for a Mexican cartel as a money launderer and accountant of sorts for the outfit, while Wendy is having an affair behind Marty's back. Not so squeaky-clean after all...
Why did Marty move his family to the Ozarks?
Well, that's a bit tricky. See, Marty and a colleague got accused of stealing money from the cartel. After watching his colleague get murdered, Marty steals a very important suitcase full of money from his former employers. In an attempt to completely disappear off the cartel's radar, Marty and Wendy (who Marty clues in on his criminal activity and Wendy later informs their children about) hoof it with Charlotte and Jonah to the Ozarks.
There, crime is attracted to Marty; they're made for each other, really. Marty uses some of the stolen money to buy a ramshackle local bar, the Blue Cat Lodge, and invests money in the local strip club. Both become a front for Marty to do what he does best (and which he does only to keep his family afloat): launder money.
As Marty resumes his criminal activity, he begins to attract the attention of other questionable characters, including Jacob and Darlene Snell (Peter Mullan and Lisa Emery, respectively) as well as Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) and her family of roughneck ne'er-do-wells.
So, wait: Who are the real bad guys in Ozark?
Technically, it's all a matter of perspective. Bad guys get ranked depending on how you view what's going down.
The Byrdes don’t exactly have clean noses, especially with their resumed criminal activities. Laundering money is a crime, so it’s only a matter of time before this doesn’t end well for at least Marty and Wendy. Then again, the Langmores — and especially Ruth, who gets a taste for real criminal activity — are truly thorny friends to have as far as the Byrdes are concerned. Ruth has killed to protect her criminal relationship with Marty, making her an already formidable foe even though she’s young.
What are some of the most important aspects of season one?
For one thing, the FBI is hot on the Byrde family's tail. They initially interview the Byrdes as the family is settling into the Ozarks because the feds deduce quite quickly that Marty's got a shady past. Soon, the Byrdes get themselves a permanent spot of the FBI's radar as they try to link Marty to the cartel in an attempt to bring the cartel down.
Speaking of the cartel, boss man Del (Esai Morales) tracks down Marty in an attempt to regain the stolen money. Things don't end so well for Del and his men; more on that in a sec.
Additionally, Blue Cat Lodge owner Rachel Garrison (Jordana Spiro) gets her hands on some of Marty's laundered money and gets out of Dodge — for now. While it's implied that she's truly screwed Marty over after he hurt her and her business with his dealings, we may not have seen the last of her, and she could very well return in season two to extract even more from Marty.
Marty begins working closely with the Snells, who are tied up in bringing drugs into their small town. Ruth's father is a dyed-in-the-wool criminal, and luckily, he's incarcerated in season one. That may change in season two (see the video below), and if he ends up getting released, we'll need to be worried for Marty's well-being.
And, if you want to get some visual flair with your recap or you want to get back into the Ozark vibe, check out Netflix's own, equally tidy refresher below.
Remember to make room in your Netflix queue for Ozark by Aug. 31.