In a world where high profile shows seem to be suspended left and right due to the pandemic, Netflix was lucky enough to have a major show on its schedule in late March. Ozark has won a solid amount of Emmys for the streamer, but did the series lose some of that award-winning shine in Season 3?
That's partly for critics to decide, and takes are spilling in across the internet with overwhelming support for the latest season of Jason Bateman's Netflix original. First up is THR's Daniel Fienberg who, by his own admission, has been pretty hard on Ozark in its first two seasons.
It's not a glowing statement as far as reviews go, although keep in mind that this is someone who wasn't a big fan of what Ozark had been doing, especially in Season 2. With that said, it's not really a new take, and the points Daniel Fienberg made of how the show has treated its secondary characters in the past has been echoed by others.
That's not to say Season 3 of Ozark is completely faultless. Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson enjoyed Season 3 overall, but had some grievances with how the story took shape as the episodes went on. For him, it seems the season pulled from the same thread too many times, and could've taken a little more risk in finding ways to keep the story moving.
Sounds like a fair criticism. After all, it's not like anyone ultimately expects this show to have an overtly optimistic and harmonious relationship between the Byrdes and the drug cartel. They are bad people, and as the series has shown several times in the past, they don't respond to problems with understanding and a tender hand. Remember when Ruth got waterboarded in Season 2? That's probably about one of the more mild punishments that have been doled out in Ozark, which is really saying something.
Which, as Screen Rant's Kevin Yeoman points out, is when Ozark is at its best. The constant tension and threats of the worst villains keeps the series' episodes engaging from start to finish, and Season 3 continues that trend. Even the Byrde family's allies are the worst type of people, so understandably, there's always that air over an episode that even those who can be trusted can only be taken so far.
Ozark seems to make enough changes in Season 3 that most critics, even those who weren't wholly on board from the start, are willing to admit the series has taken a step up. As someone who has screened the first half of the season and was a big fan of Seasons 1 and 2, I can say that those who liked those seasons will agree Season 3 is one of the best so far.
Which, as Richard Roeper pointed out in his review for the Chicago Sun Times, is thanks to the strength of a strong supporting cast. The Byrdes' partner lawyer Helen gets far more screen time in Season 3, and Tom Pelphrey as Wendy's brother Ben is a strong addition to an award-winning cast.
Season 3 of Ozark picks up 6 months after Wendy's decision to push ahead with the casino deal and calling off Marty's plan to flee with the family. Now, the family is running a massive operation in the Ozarks, and the FBI is hot on their trail every step of the way. With tension mounting from all sides, Marty and Wendy must be careful or risk this house of cards they've precariously built collapsing at the slightest misstep.
Ozark Season 3 premieres on Netflix Friday, March 27 at 12:01 a.m. PT. As always, CinemaBlend is the place to be for the latest news happening in television and movies, and for a list of the hottest Netflix originals to watch each month.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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