In an attempt to complicate the plot of an already complicated money laundering family, Ozark season 3 decided to drop a bi-polar brother into this universe out of nowhere and the end result was painful to watch and tonally derailed the entire show.
Ozark season 3 starts in the right direction with Marty and Wendy Byrd battling for power and control of their operation. They both continually go behind each other’s back to sabotage the other’s plan.
Wendy wants to expand and Marty simply wants to maintain under the radar.
Marty is cucked from the moment he watches his wife get plowed on security cameras in season 1 and he continues to get cucked when season 3 begins while Wendy whips her massive dick around and attempts to buy another casino nearby to funnel even more money through but her ambition triggers an instant FBI investigation.
So with the FBI breathing down their necks and drug cartel kingpin, Omar Navarro losing his mind during a brutal war with a rival Mexican cartel, The Byrds bring in Wendy’s brother, Ben Davis, to absolutely blow all their shit up.
We just established that Wendy Byrd is ambitious and power-hungry but immediately throws that away as she embraces her bi-polar brother who she had committed ten years earlier and she knows is dangerous as hell.
His entire existence in this show is to disrupt the plot which is a pretty gross way to introduce mental illness as some annoyance that inconveniences a crime family.
I understand that most people love this show and perhaps this seems like nitpicking but I’ll try to explain why the ending for Ben Davis was fucking infuriating to watch.
In the last few episodes, Wendy’s brother attempts to get revenge on Frank Jr for beating the love of his life Ruth—whom he knew for like, three weeks—and instead beat up some random dude at a bar because he didn’t like his tie or whatever and on the ride home from the police precinct, Ruth mentions that his sister has done far worse crimes since moving to the Ozarks.
What follows is trash.
Ben goes OFF on this strange conquest to reveal the ‘truth’ and suddenly this Breaking Bad knock off turns into an episode of Jessica Jones with Patsy Walker high as hell screaming about right from wrong like a child.
Ben runs into what we are to believe was a very important fundraiser with major politicians and power players and starts shouting that everyone there is a liar because again, his mental illness is a plot device to make life hard for The Byrds.
But there are two massive problems with Ben’s random quest to reveal the truth.
First, humans live life with their blinders on. We all prefer to live in lies. This 2020 election is the perfect example of how little we truly care about our reality. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are two rapists with clearly decaying brains. Neither man should be in charge of shit yet these are the two candidates that we’ve decided will lead us because we’re too big of cowards to step outside our comfort zone and elect a revolutionary candidate that simply wants to give our dumb asses free health care.
Mad Men is a perfect show because it illustrates this point so vividly. Don Draper literally stole another man’s identity. Pete Campbell is a slimy loser that pretends like he’s suave and cool but in actuality, no one really likes him at all.
But not only do these characters lie to themselves, but all of the other characters know that they’re lying and they just play along with them.
By the end of the show, everyone knows that Don Draper is a war deserter named Dick Whitman and no one gives a shit. Everyone hates Pete Campbell but they still let him act like he’s the man. I mean, Betty Draper knows Don is cheating and they don’t divorce until season 3.
Because that’s how humans behave. We lie and accept lies.
Bad TV shows and bad writing use characters calling other characters out for their lies as key dialogue to move plot. Ben shouting that everyone at the fundraiser was a liar was so tonally jarring. I thought I accidentally sat on my remote and switched to the CW. Suddenly, I was watching Gossip Girl or Arrow or one of those faux-dramatic “I can’t believe you lied to me” shows.
The second part of this frustrating ending is that Wendy explains to Ruth what happens to her brother when he’s off his meds. He becomes violent and dangerous. He turns small problems into big ones.
Which is true. When we first meet him, he’s destroying students’ phones and fights a groundskeeper. Then he beats up a random twink at a bar. But after getting out of prison he immediately runs to Helen Pierce’s home because he just haaaaaas to tell her daughter that her mom is a lawyer for a Mexican cartel. Since when was that a side effect of his disorder? I thought he was violent not rigidly rooted in a juvenile idealization of right from wrong. That character trait came out of nowhere.
Again, the man exists to complicate the plot. Ozark season 3 started with such a strong premise of Marty vs. Wendy and totally throws that story away so we can get a weak Joker-esque monologue in the back of a taxi cab from a character that they just introduced seven episodes earlier that I had zero attachment or understanding of before he is murdered.
You people really liked this, huh?
Remember the dream sequence early in the season where Wendy kept saying “I can’t” in her sleep and then they show her dream of giving Marty money to just leave and let her run things in the Ozark alone?
Wellll, it didn’t matter. They threw that shit out.
Wendy has a fantasy of SHOOTING Marty. Nope. Didn’t matter.
This show drops the potentially interesting battle of the spouses to follow Wendy’s brother who would’ve been Uber’d the fuck out of the house after one night because they’re in the middle of an FBI investigation, a drug cartel war and attempting to maintain relationships with the KC Mob and Frank Jr’s weird CGI hair.
New rule: Don’t drop a bi-polar character in the middle of your show as a disrupter and a distraction for your bad writing.
Oh, also the villains of this show have very narrow unrealistic motivations. Ruth is an asshole to everyone all the time and is shocked when people retaliate against her when she is the aggressor and not the victim. Helen Pierce would’ve had The Byrds killed the second Ben ruined that fundraiser. That’s not the way the FBI works. Etc. Etc. Season 3 of Ozark was dumb and bad and dumb.