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The Ozark Sex Scene The Director Feared Would Be ‘A Joke,’ And How She Made It ‘Beautiful’

Ozark
(Image credit: Netflix)

The following contains major spoilers for the Netflix series Ozark, so do not read if you haven’t watched the show, and still plan to. 

Stepping back and looking at the totality of Ozark, one of the best Netflix shows the streaming service has offered, it’s easy to focus on the murder and betrayal that swam in the wake of the Byrde family as they fought to attain their goals. Because yes, a lot of people lost their lives over the course of the program’s four seasons, and the way the show ended promised more loss (though, for who was up to your interpretation).Yet there were moments of beauty and longing, of love and passion on Ozark that can go overlooked… even when they are between two “odd ducks” like the twenty-something Wyatt Langmore (Charlie Tahan) and his senior citizen wife, Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery).

Ozark director Amanda Marsalis labeled Wyatt and Darlene “odd ducks” during a recent conversation with CinemaBlend following the show’s finale, which she claims is the definitive end and is not meant to leave the door open for more Ozark. Thanks to the episodes that Marsalis directed in Season 2, 3 and 4, she got to film a number of memorable and tragic death scenes...and also that memorable sex scene.  

Marsalis opened up to us about how her approach to the scene helped turn what could have been a spoof into something she found to be emotional. She told CinemaBlend:

I took it seriously. I was like, these two people… we are going to treat this with respect. Because you read it on the page, and everyone wanted to be like, ‘This is a joke.’ And I had to be like, ‘This isn't a joke. These two odd ducks are going find whatever (works), and there you go. And it was good. I mean, it was beautiful. If you look at it, it was fun. They were great. They were really great.

I’m not sure I ever fully understood the romance between Wyatt and Darlene that began in Season 3. Sure, you can argue that Ruth (Julia Garner) pushed Wyatt away from the Langmores and into the arms of Darlene when she confessed to murdering Wyatt’s father and uncle. Also, Darlene had experienced tremendous loss once she’d murdered her own husband, Jacob (Peter Mullen). As these two wounded souls sought solace, they found it in each other. Stranger things have happened, I suppose… even on Ozark. So ultimately, I’m glad that Amanda Marsalis recognized enough humanity in Darlene and Wyatt’s relationship to treat their sex scene seriously, and produce what we saw. 

There has been some controversy over how Ozark ended, with leading man Jason Bateman warning fans that the resolution for the Byrde family wasn’t going to please everyone. There are some lingering Ozark questions that we wish Season 4 had addressed, and the executives at Netflix as well as series showrunner Chris Mundy have teased the possibility of an Ozark spinoff that could bring us back to Missouri for more criminal behavior. I want to see Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) in Washington D.C., holding a Senate seat for Missouri and making life living hell for the Beltway crowd. 

Bummed that Ozark is done? Have no fear. Your next binge-able Netflix show can be found on our 2022 Netflix TV schedule, so scan it now and start watching.  

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.