Season three of ‘Ozark’ cements itself as a must-watch

Photo+Courtesy+of+Netflix

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Michael Pearce, Sports Editor

The third season of Netflix’s “Ozark” is a crazy ride that leaves the viewer wanting more. Season three was released on Netflix on Friday, March 27.

The previous two seasons were gripping, but the third season takes all the momentum of the first two and runs with it. The best characters get more screentime and the show discovers the correct pacing and style to deliver their powerful messages.

“Ozark’s” season two ending is a bit anticlimactic, leaving the third to fill in a lot of blanks and “what ifs” from the ambiguous season two finale. Season three is a big step up.

What makes the biggest difference in “Ozark’s” best episodes is the director. The episodes that lead actor Jason Bateman directed along with the episodes that Alik Sakharov directed are some of the best in late season two, and the two combined for six of ten episodes in season three.

Season three divulged into many complex and difficult themes and navigated them extremely well. Main character Wendy Byrde’s bipolar brother, Ben Davis, came into the picture in season three and the show did a great job at providing a realistic picture of someone crippled by mental illness.

The portrayal of Davis was incredible, with an amazing acting performance from Tom Pelphrey, who from the moment he comes on screen captivates attention.

Another character who shined in season three is Helen Pierce, portrayed by Janet McTeer. McTeer took a character who was a supporting act and turned her into a main figure in a show already dominated by great acting performances.

Bateman and Laura Linney showed their skills throughout season two, but it’s McTeer that took center stage. McTeer provided a dynamic and terrifying character that was somehow also someone I found myself rooting for.

Pierce is a character who works with the Byrdes to launder money for a drug cartel, but somehow McTeer made her a sympathetic and endearing character. Perfect timing and delivery of dry humor made Pierce the star of season three when I watched it.

With numerous performances that were award-worthy, “Ozark” season three had a lot of story lines to flesh out in ten episodes. In the first two seasons, the writers of the show struggled with this. However, in season three they found their momentum and carried it emphatically through the finish line.

This is evident in critic scores from Rotten Tomatoes, which hover around 70% for seasons one and two, and are at around 96% consistently for season three.

The balance of storylines between numerous talented actors was something the show achieved, making season three fly by. With the nature of Netflix binge-watching, season three of Ozark is something that was incredibly easy to fly through, especially during quarantine.

While Bateman was the lead of all three seasons of “Ozark,” the actresses really took control this time around. McTeer, Linney and Julia Garner commanded the ten episodes of “Ozark” released in 2020, and never released control of their stranglehold. They deliver the most gripping and emotional performances this season, giving the show a much more dynamic and emotional feel that in seasons past.

“Ozark” is a show that struggled to figure out which direction to focus on, with so many characters and interesting storylines that needed to be woven together. In seasons one and two, they were explored, but not incredibly gripping.

Season three of the Netflix original is one of the most intense, emotional and captivating seasons of television that is available right now and is a must-watch for any quarantine binging session.