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S01.E10: The Toll

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 During his next sermon, Mason falters. Wendy and the kids are caught trying to flee their home. Marty brokers a deal between Jacob and Del.

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Well, I binge watched the whole show this weekend...it was HOT AF and i didn't leave the house, so this was a good diversion. It was very Breaking Bad meets Justified, tho not as good as either. I love Jason Bateman and his dry, dry humor, and it's a coup getting Laura Linney for a TV show, I think. I saw complaints here about the rednecks all being dumb as fence posts, but I didn't see it that way at all. Like the Justified hillbillies, most of them were pretty darned smart and layered and complex, with better vocabularies than some educated folks I know. I love that Wyatt and his penchant for Ray Bradbury. And Ruth, tho young and tiny, is a formidable matriarch who rivals Mags Bennett. There was no Boyd Crowder, for sure, but then again, there is only one Boyd Crowder.

I also love Micheal Mosley and that final scene as Preacher Mason, having lost his faith, religion and his Grace, took that baby beneath the lake water was BRUTAL, even if it wound up being a fake out/baptism. I was watching thru my fingers.

I was entertained. I hope it gets a second season.

 

I did the same thing. Watched all weekend, weather outside was crappy.   I also compared to BB & Justified, because of the tension and the locale, but otherwise it's a different tone. I was watching a little of Breaking Bad last night, season three.   Walt & Marty are different personalities, Marty internalizes everything where Walt really loses his temper and is really mean to Jesse, and then just turns into a complete idiot when Skyler kicks him out. Since the situation is different in that Marty's quest to stay alive is much more urgent than Walt's.  Cancer is bad but it's not a Mexican drug cartel murdering your associates in front of you and you begging for your life.  Walt's situation is of his own making.  Yes Marty agreed to launder money, but he isn't the one who robbed the cartel.  

Also when Del killed the previous money launderer in front of Bruce and Marty, wouldn't that give Bruce a really good reason not to fuck with Del, like ever?  

I didn't buy Marty figuring out how to launder money in the Ozarks as quickly, we hadn't seen his brilliance yet.  I think I would have believed it more if Del didn't plan on killing him.  Did Del have another money guy lined up?  The threat would have been just as serious if Del said Marty you are now going to make me whole and launder more money and you need to get out of Chicago. THEN Marty decides to head to the Ozarks. 

Either way I really enjoyed it. The last few episodes I lost count how many times I yelled OMG.  Esp. that last scene at the Snells.  Jeesus that woman needs to ctfd.  

The thing with the baby was awful.  There was no need to put the viewer thru that. A baby?! Seriously? 

I thought he was going to give the baby to the Byrnes and then kill himself. 

As far as innocent people dying they really ramped it up to eleven. Grace? The real estate mother?  And htf does one cut a baby out of a woman, clean it all up and leave it in a bassinet without any trace of a struggle? 

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1 hour ago, teddysmom said:

The thing with the baby was awful.  There was no need to put the viewer thru that. A baby?! Seriously? 

That was terrible...I could barely watch. I read some of the reviews and was surprised to find how negative they were. I thought the show was good, but then again after Gypsy, which I thought was dreadful, anything is an improvement.

Some of the reviewers mentioned what a big get it was to have Laura Linney and how under utilized she was and I agree, the whole time I was thinking she must be good friends with Jason Bateman or just always wanted to work with him. Same with Jordana Spiro as the owner of the Blue Cat. She's not a household name but certainly has the resume for a meatier role. Maybe it was a networking opportunity for both of them.

I really liked that the kids knew what was up through most of the series, it would've been too hard to keep it from them anyway, but shows do that to add "tension."

2 hours ago, luna1122 said:

I think. I saw complaints here about the rednecks all being dumb as fence posts, but I didn't see it that way at all. Like the Justified hillbillies, most of them were pretty darned smart and layered and complex, with better vocabularies than some educated folks I know.

I'm not from the Ozarks, but I did grow up with low income-working class folks of all races and...well, I'll just say they must be very hard to write for because it's rarely ever done well or with any authenticity.

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I saw a few things coming from a mile away. The preacher baptizing the baby was one of them. He did hold him under the water long enough to be suspenseful though. I'm just glad we didn't get a scene of someone coming towards the preacher's wife with a knife. I was also impressed on how well they cleaned the baby up. The other thing I saw coming was Jonah using the gun that was emptied of bullets and the old guy stepping in for him. 

I did not see Mrs. Snell shooting Del coming! That blown up head was pretty gross. I guess this means if there is a Season 2 we'll meet Del's boss. Another surprise for me was when Ruth's uncles died. I cannot believe the second one was dumb enough to grab the first one as he was frying.

When Wendy and the kids fled with new identities, I was thinking, yes! That is what you should have done in Episode 1! So I wasn't really heart warmed by the family reuniting. But the show is much more interesting with them than without them, so I get it. Okay, I could live without Charlotte but I like Wendy.

Overall, I enjoyed the show. It was way too similar to Breaking Bad and some of the characters were cliches but it had enough to keep me interested. The kids and Wendy being in on it definitely helped keep that part of the story different. 

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I DID see Mrs Snell shooting Del coming, at least right before it happened...as he was deliberately punching each word that was just gonna make the Snells more pissed than ever, I was like 'oh no, they're not gonna kill pretty baddie Esai, are they? Oh, yep, they are'. It seems like a waste. I hope, if there is a season 2, that whoever Del's boss is is some really interesting casting.

I did see some other moments coming, but I totally bought that Mason was drowning that baby; he was just so dispirited and emptied out. I was genuinely shocked when the baby was perfectly fine.

I definitely saw the wimpy real estate guy's obnoxious, horrible mom being plowed down on the road a few miles away.

I thought the second season, if there is one, might involve seeing Wendy and the kids on the road, with new identities, tho of course, they've have to all reunite eventually. The ending of them coming back home was all heartwarming and shit (tho there is no one to root for in this show, no one actually likable, and no good end in sight for anyone) but I would have liked to have seen that.  I would have done that immediately, I think, or taken the FBI up on the whole witness protection thing. it's not infalliable, and you're still living under a veil of fear all the time, but they are anyway, so that would seem a better option. But Wendy scoffed at that, as though the idea was beneath her contempt. Honor among thieves, or something?

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I hope there is a season 2 also. All the characters were interesting barring the gratuitous sex scenes. But it looks like those are here to stay so...

And the baby scene was too much for me also. Briefly I rationalized maybe he was thinking of saving the child from a life of hardship and sin... Glad it turned out to be a Baptism.

I wanted to see the curly headed blond chick get more devious but they had to go and hit her with a daddy weakness.

I can rewatch season one and then go right into season two if there is one.

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I liked that Wendy showing Ruth some compassion helped turn her around.  Even tho they know she stole from them, they were still willing to help her.   She's just a kid who's been around a bunch of asshole men her whole life, of course she's tough as nails and a con artist.  

She realized that the Byrnes could actually help her and her cousins achieve a better life. I mean, Marty's paying her $1000 a week to run the strip club. That would def make me love my boss. 

I did know that the gun thing would happen, with the old guy taking care of whatever danger came.  I like him.

And I love that Marty now owns a funeral home.   Much easier than the barrels of acid. 

I figured the mom would get hit by a car right at the second before it happened. What a bitch. 

It's important that people from regions like this aren't all portrayed as criminals or rednecks. Like Russ as bad as he was, was smart enough to design a brochure for his tackle shop.  Ruth reminds me of that little girl on Justified, the one who ended up killing Mags Bennett. 

As far as Russ Langmore I figured there would be a big shoot out between them and the cartel guy. When they got electrocuted, I was surprised. (Almost wrote shocked hehe) 

 

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I DID see Mrs Snell shooting Del coming, at least right before it happened...as he was deliberately punching each word that was just gonna make the Snells more pissed than ever, I was like 'oh no, they're not gonna kill pretty baddie Esai, are they? Oh, yep, they are'. It seems like a waste. I hope, if there is a season 2, that whoever Del's boss is is some really interesting casting.

They did make a point of the Snells and Del being rude, but Darlene started it with the dog smelling different scents. Geesus.  Dogs just go up to strangers.  I almost hope if there's a season 2 she gets it. She is just awful.  

I just didn't see her coming out and blowing his head off with a shot gun.  

Edited by teddysmom
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3 hours ago, lonestar said:

Never confuse a hillbilly with a redneck!

That might be the moral of the story.   The negotiations seemed to be going so well too.    

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I also saw the show as a cross between Justified and Breaking Bad... except this show used its location much better than Justified and didn't feel as though you could've shot it just as easily on one of those old Gilligan's Island type sets.  Also Laura Linney played a much more likeable version of Skyler, where you could empathize with her feelings of isolation in the marriage and I was pleasantly surprised he ended up working on his marriage instead of hooking up with the restaurant owner or one of the girls at the strip club.  My main pet peeve was that there were too many plot holes and over the top incidents that forced you to almost constantly suspend disbelief.  The electrocution, the fake out baptism, the Carl Jr. vs. Mexican cartel standoff, plus the psycho FBI agent were some of the highlights of many unbelievable moments.  But still it had a lot of likeable, nuanced characters that elevated it beyond Sons of Anarchy territory.

I'll definitely watch it, if they make more seasons.

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On 7/28/2017 at 3:43 PM, lonestar said:

Never confuse a hillbilly with a redneck!

Check this:  

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When it ended, I just had this weird feeling that it rushed to tie up all the loose ends and give us rainbows and unicorns. What happened to Rachel and the drug money in a bag?  Did she just ride off into the sunset?  Even after the multiple times we had to listen to Marty tell us how to launder money and why you need to?  What about Ruth and her father and the boys?  What about Marty and Abigail Adams?  Are he and his wife just going to live happily ever after with their cabins, bar, titty club, funeral home, and house with a view?  What about Gay FBI agent?  What about his partner?  What about the money in the wall?  What about creepy son and his dead animal fetish?  (Jesus, stop watching those demented documentaries, kid.)

I felt like they just dropped these storylines and needed one more episode.  

 

Or or else I missed an episode.  I guess that's possible  

Loved it up until E10, though. 

 

ETA:  And I didn't like the facile characterizations, much.  The "hillbilly redneck" comment is a good way to sum that up.  The stereotypes were over the top. Mean drug cartel Mexican, brilliant middle-class suburban white guy (smarter than everyone else in the game), rednecks in the woods in trailer camps, hillbillies literally in the hills, and klutzy uptight FBI agents, semi-corrupt local sheriff.......yawn.

Edited by Captanne
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On 30/7/2017 at 1:34 PM, Captanne said:

When it ended, I just had this weird feeling that it rushed to tie up all the loose ends and give us rainbows and unicorns. 

I don't think that's the case. They left plenty of dangling threads to pick up in season 2.

What happened to Rachel and the drug money in a bag?  Did she just ride off into the sunset?  

She did, but I have a feeling that she won't make it far. It depends on whether or not Marty rats her out. 

Then there's a very good chance Agent Petty might find her first.

Even after the multiple times we had to listen to Marty tell us how to launder money and why you need to?  

Conveniently enough, Rachel was about the only person involved in the whole affair who didn't get the benefit of hearing that lecture. 

What about Ruth and her father and the boys?

Ruth told Wyatt she was going to try to become their legal guardian.

What about Marty and Abigail Adams?  Are he and his wife just going to live happily ever after with their cabins, bar, titty club, funeral home, and house with a view?  

I guess we will find out in season 2.

What about Gay FBI agent?  What about his partner?  

His partner might try to throw Petty under the bus. After all, his carelessness apparently got an informant killed and they don't have anything to show for it.

What about the money in the wall?

That's going to be used to bankroll the construction of the damn and the floating casino. After Marty puts it all in the system through his new financial business.

What about creepy son and his dead animal fetish?  (Jesus, stop watching those demented documentaries, kid.)

Season 2, I guess.

I felt like they just dropped these storylines and needed one more episode.

 

Like I said, I think it's all setup in case they got a second season.

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Thanks for taking on my questions!  I know there were a lot of them.

But what if they don't get a second season?  For me, and I'm only stating my own opinion, these gaping plot openings are a problem.   Any one of them is good enough for a cliff hanger.  All of them make me think I missed an episode.

Edited by Captanne
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I initially got the Breaking Bad vibe, but as the season progressed, it started to feel more like American Horror Story (never watched Justified, probably a good thing).  A bit too much blood and guts for me, but I liked where they left us as the end.  I may have a taste of Season 2 but if the gore continues, I may back off.  That's why I stopped AHS - I never want to take death and violence so casually.

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I also had (and continue to have) a Breaking Bad vibe.  Especially in Abigail Adams' character.  

The dangling plotlines really bothered me, though.  I can tell they didn't bother others but for some reason I felt very confused at the end with a lot of "What about.....?"s and "Huh.....?"s in my mind.

My other reservation about the show was the prevalence of sweeping stereotypes.  (Instead of "hooker with a heart" we had "novice madam with daddy issues", but the rest were right out of the Trope Catalog.)

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On 7/24/2017 at 9:16 AM, teddysmom said:

Also when Del killed the previous money launderer in front of Bruce and Marty, wouldn't that give Bruce a really good reason not to fuck with Del, like ever?  
 

Totally this.  The previous guy was trying to be clever, was found out, and lost his life and eyes for his trouble.  What about that had Bruce thinking that HE could get over and outsmart the cartel?  The cartel puts on these demonstrations SO the replacements will know not to screw around.  "Wise learn from other's mistakes, smart learn from own mistakes, stupid never learn."  Bruce and co-conspirators were firmly in the stupid column.

Put Rachel in the stupid column too.  Running off with money that was stored in a cabin's walls, and knowing that it came from questionable people, puts a giant target on her back.  For the cartels, it's not even so much about the money, but the disrespect and maintaining appearances.  Her taking the money is contrived to me.  More than likely, she would have left with just her stuff, leaving the money, and not looked back.

Always, always, always there is a person in a criminal group that is quick tempered.  Figured the cartel LT was going to be killed, due to his temper.  Not usually a woman, but the rancher's wife acted without thinking.  Wanted to kill the pastor and shot Del over perceived slight, despite her disparaging him.  Won't be surprised when she comes to a terrible end.

I don't know the FBI agent's name, and I said it in previous post, just call him Capt. Ahab.  It seems that he is working off-book, with his former boyfriend covering for him.  How many times before the ex gets tired and hangs him out to dry.  The guy is making it personal, which is causing him to make horrible decisions.  Fully expect the ex to be hurt, or killed, due to Ahab's actions.

Overall, I liked the show and I will be back for season 2, if there is one.  Plenty of story lines to be dealt with in the next season.

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Hillbilly wife was clearly going to be a loose cannon -- that was established when she poisoned the Money Laundering Bald Big Strong Strip Club Owning Baddie Henchman.  (Both are tropes, honestly.)  By doing that, her behaviour became Chekov's gun -- once established, you knew she'd do it again at a critical moment.

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The comparisons with Justified and Breaking Bad are right on.  But of course no one can create characters like Elmore Leonard did!  Both Breaking Bad and this one tend to view evil from the wrong side out. I guess technically we are cheering for the marshall service in Justified...but the feds find their match in Harlan County.

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I think the comparisons to Breaking Bad and Justified are an insult to those shows. I mean, I guess I get people want to say that due to similar themes, but the writing and story-telling on this show was pretty pedestrian and not even close to the level of those two shows.

I'm indifferent on there being a second season to this one.

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On 7/24/2017 at 6:02 AM, luna1122 said:

Well, I binge watched the whole show this weekend...it was HOT AF and i didn't leave the house, so this was a good diversion. It was very Breaking Bad meets Justified, tho not as good as either. I love Jason Bateman and his dry, dry humor, and it's a coup getting Laura Linney for a TV show, I think. I saw complaints here about the rednecks all being dumb as fence posts, but I didn't see it that way at all. Like the Justified hillbillies, most of them were pretty darned smart and layered and complex, with better vocabularies than some educated folks I know. I love that Wyatt and his penchant for Ray Bradbury. And Ruth, tho young and tiny, is a formidable matriarch who rivals Mags Bennett. There was no Boyd Crowder, for sure, but then again, there is only one Boyd Crowder.

I also love Micheal Mosley and that final scene as Preacher Mason, having lost his faith, religion and his Grace, took that baby beneath the lake water was BRUTAL, even if it wound up being a fake out/baptism. I was watching thru my fingers.

I was entertained. I hope it gets a second season. A shame about Esai Morales, tho. That man is fine.

I completely agree about the rednecks/hillbillies. Just because they talk slow doesn't mean they are slow. The only one 'lacking' was Ruth's uncle (or brother, the younger one with the bobcats). And I like the comparison to the characters in Justified. (God I miss that series!) I would have loved to see Ruth spar with Mags Bennett and Boyd Crowder with Jacob Snell. 

 

Next season I expect to see Cade Langford probably out of prison and trying to exert more pressure on Ruth to do things out of family loyalty. Even though she wants the money, she clearly doesn't want to hurt the Byrdes anymore. She knows she's smart but having someone outside her family recognize it has given her a self esteem boost. And she also seems to appreciate Wendy's kindness towards her. I felt really bad for Ruth when she got back in the car with Wendy & Charlotte after visiting her father. She sees the difference in how the Byrdes love their kids compared to how her father manipulates her for his own gain. I'm sorry that Russ was killed off. He was a good character. And did I miss the explanation about why the Langford boys are called Two & Three? And who is One.

 

I'm really sorry to see Esai Morales leave the show. I've always really liked his work and he played a very menacing villain. And poor FBI agent Roy Petty seems to have lost his mind. What became of his mom? The time jumps confused me and I couldn't tell if she is still around or gone/dead. I am happy with Buddy's interactions with the family and hope she doesn't die soon. I'd like to see him stick around for however long this series lasts. I wan't to know more about his background. Could he really have killed Jimmy Hoffa? 

 

And the Mason and the baby scene was just awful. I was holding my breath. I get that he lost his faith, but that went a bit too far. Even though it turned into a baptism (my ass), that was a WTF moment. What were the writers thinking?

Edited by HollyG
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On the whole, I'd give the series a "C." It was interesting enough to keep me watching, and I think there was an interesting idea at the basis of it. I just don't think it was executed particularly well. It will probably get a second season just based on the strength of the cast but I'm not sure it merits one. 

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I think the comparisons to Breaking Bad and Justified are an insult to those shows. I mean, I guess I get people want to say that due to similar themes, but the writing and story-telling on this show was pretty pedestrian and not even close to the level of those two shows.

I think Breaking Bad is an obvious comparison because both shows are about suburban dads who turn out to be criminals. (Never saw Justified). But that's really all the two shows have in common. Ozark utterly lacked the charm and dark humor of Breaking Bad. The problem with Ozark is that it was just so relentlessly dreary and a downer. I'm not saying it should have been funnier, but I was never given a reason to root for anyone. It just wasn't as compelling as it should have been. I don't really care whether or not it comes back for a second season - I'm not really on the edge of my seat needing more at this point.

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 That's why I stopped AHS - I never want to take death and violence so casually.

I take it you don't watch The Walking Dead. :-)

And that's the thing - Walking Dead is another show that is a relentless downer where nobody ever gets a break and there's never anything uplifting, yet I'm addicted to that show. I think the difference is that TWD gave me characters I was immediately invested in and Ozark did not. I was either neutral towards most of them or actively hated them. Probably Ruth and the old man with the oxygen tank were the only two characters I gave a shit about one way or another.

There's no way that baby could have survived being under the water that long. A baby doesn't know how to hold its breath.

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Upon reflection, given the unremitting stereotypes and the dangling plot lines at the end*, I actively didn't like this show.  I don't know if I'd bother with a second season.  

*I've posted my opinions both here and in the Episode 9 thread so I won't bore anyone with repetition.

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A show full of tired, awful tropes which somehow managed to hold the attention. Worth watching, but barely. I usually detest Bateman but he was one of the better things about the show, his performance was solid. I kept wondering why Marty wouldn't leverage the Mexicans against the Snells. The Snells were the worst part of the show by far.. an old redneck, his shitty wife, and what, one henchman. I get that they were supposed to be scary and threatening, but the show never established that. They came off as ridiculous.

Oh and I don't think when you baptize a baby you're supposed to hold them under water for 30+ seconds. Just sayin'.

I'm gonna go watch Harris Yulin in "Duet" for a palate cleanser.

Edited by pfk505
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I liked it.  I know this is the land of hate watching, though.  So I'll throw in some criticism-- Agent Petty trashing the hotel room.  That's all I got.  

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I was intrigued by the first few episodes, but by the end it got a bit draggy for me.

I might give a second season a look, but I won't be heartbroken if it isn't renewed. I thought the cast acquitted themselves well. Jason Bateman is usually stuck in straight-man, dry humour mode, but I actually thought his performance  in the final episode when he was apologizing on the phone & thought he might be saying goodbye to Wendy forever quite affecting.

Overall, though, things seemed to get very repetitive as the series went on: crisis arises, Marty temporarily fast-talks his way out of it, things seem like they might look up, new crisis, rinse, repeat. On Breaking Bad, this sort of thing was elevated to a non-stop thrill-ride (and had some humour to leaven the dark violence), but on this show it started to feel like a chore. I probably shouldn't compare the two shows, but anything that mines the same territory as Breaking Bad is bound to suffer by comparison.

What did surprise me is that I wound up feeling much more invested in the Langmore kids than in the main characters.  I felt both sympathy and worry for them in a way I didn't for the Byrde kids. The actress playing Ruth did an excellent job - I assumed she would be a manipulative conniver from start to finish, but her softening once people started showing her a bit of decency seemed authentic to me.

Didn't care about the crazy Fed, or his ex, or his backstory at all. He absolutely made my skin crawl - something about his appearance reminded me of a blob-fish.

Was sorry to see Esai Morales killed off - he had a scary charisma that was entertaining.

Things that might be interesting or fun if it comes back for a 2nd season:

  • The now deceased kingpin boss's undoubtably much bigger scarier boss
  • Ruth having to face her scary Dad 
  • The funeral home has comedic potential

And, related to nothing in this thread,  but damn that house the Byrdes settled in is super ugly! The bottom part isn't bad - looks sort of mid-century-ish, but that crazy  asymmetrical angled part on top is just hideous. It drove me nuts for the entire run of the series! Man, the decade of the 70's was a dark time in architecture (not to mention fashion & decor).

Edited by Cheezwiz
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I have absolutely no idea how building a dam and casino is supposed to be the solution for anything. Each would be a multi-year project on its own, and none of these people could so much as get a liquor license much less approval for a casino. 

On 8/12/2017 at 0:32 AM, Cheezwiz said:

What did surprise me is that I wound up feeling much more invested in the Langmore kids than in the main characters.  I felt both sympathy and worry for them in a way I didn't for the Byrde kids. The actress playing Ruth did an excellent job - I assumed she would be a manipulative conniver from start to finish, but her softening once people started showing her a bit of decency seemed authentic to me.

I completely agree. I think the actors do a much better job than the Bryde kids overall.

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Slow-binge-watched it and enjoyed the show very much. As some posters have said upthread, the show definitely reminds me of Breaking Bad and Justified, both of which I LOVED. 

Ozark, IMO, had the potential to be just as good as those shows, what with the great cast and all, but never seemed to quite get there. And to me, the most frustrating thing about the show was the villains. The Snells were neither charming nor interesting. They were definitely no Boyd Crowder, nor were they anything like Gus Fring or even Tio Salamanca. I liked Peter Mullan in Top of the Lake, and Lisa Emery is supposed to be a great theater actress. But neither seemed to have gotten past a stereotype (hillbillies that are smarter than one gives them credit for) on this show, and I blame that on writing. So once the Snells started to come more and more to the forefront, the show seemed to lose steam.

I enjoyed the fact that the plot was quite unpredictable, actually loved the Langmores, their redneck-ness, daddy issues, and stupidity included, and felt that it was a great vehicle for Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, even if the latter did seem a tad underutilized and the former seems to keep playing a slightly different version of the same character in every role he plays. And I adore Harris Yulin (yes, I'm weird), so it's nice to see him in anything.

I think I'll be okay if the show does not come back, but if it does, I hope TPTB will make the Snells more three-dimensional and at least somewhat interesting. So Marty Byrde is smart. But that will keep the viewers' interest up only if he is given a worthy foe. 

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I enjoyed the season mostly but didn't really like this episode. Holding a baby underwater for that long would kill the baby. He looked like a psycho. It was the preacher's own actions that got his wife killed, so he can shut up with calling Marty the devil. 

I don't like that wife and kids came back. It was a stupid decision. Didn't Wendy see the eyeballs in the jar and hear about what happened to the preacher's wife? These bad guys don't fuck around. But she is still OK with putting her kids in that kind of danger? Also the kids were being so annoying and whiny at the end I just wanted them off my screen.

So Blue Cat lady just took off with un-laundered money? Which apparently you can't use or put in a bank because the IRS will smell a rat? 

I was disappointed that the Snells are still OK. I so much wanted them killed off, especially Darlene that psycho.

I guess there's a lot for Season 2 -- Ruth's dad, the casino, the Snells, FBI, etc. I'd still watch I guess, it's a good show for a binge-watch and I love Jason Bateman.

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I found it crazy that the Byrd parents willingly joined a drug cartel, with two kids.  I mean, if it's only your lives you're endangering, sure.  And in that moment I had trouble finding them likable and realistic.  So Wendy coming back I found really stupid, too, though kind of sweet.  But the fear of watching your own kids be tortured and killed is no joke and would overcome an already shaky love, I think.

Maybe Blue Cat lady's booty was small enough to not raise any red flags?  I mean, if a person didn't go on a spending spree or deposit it, would the govt. have any clue?  

My chin hit the floor when he shoved the baby under and  it didn't go up until the baby was shown alive.  The whole time I was thinking, "I can't believe they're showing a newborn being drowned!  This is the most HORRIFIC thing I've seen on tv ever!"  So I guess we're supposed to believe the preacher and now his son really do have a deity in their corner?  I'll pass on the supernatural suggestions.  I agree with his wife... the shot missing his heart didn't have any profound meaning.

Good point about the Snells above.  I didn't find them as intimidating as they were supposed to be, either.  

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As soon as he took the baby to the water I was thinking "oh this is clearly a baptism scene" but he kept holding the baby underwater and I was like "god they can't really be doing this can they?? Showing this?" Way too long for a baby to survive, just for suspense. A little silly. 

 

I like the unpredictability of the show, many things were unclear and I felt few things were telegraphed, unlike many other shows.

Most of the characters are good. I see that Charlotte is getting some negative reviews but I think the character was fine. She was headstrong and not scared to challenge her parents about the dying they were doing but at the same time could see they were doing all they could to protect her and her brother so she never rebelled to a breaking point. 

 

I loved Julia Garner as Ruth. I've been a fan of hers since "Electrick Children" when she played a fundamentalist Mormon girl in Utah, who was impregnated by music. Her advertisement on Instagram for the show actually brought me to watch it. 

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On 8/5/2017 at 10:32 AM, CatfishMan said:

I think the comparisons to Breaking Bad and Justified are an insult to those shows. I mean, I guess I get people want to say that due to similar themes, but the writing and story-telling on this show was pretty pedestrian and not even close to the level of those two shows.

I think most people making the comparison mean it to be an insult to THIS show.

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I enjoyed the show, and I do believe it got a second season. 

One thing I really liked was the "you made us adults when you told us" line. 

I like the casino plan but I really wish we got more into Marty being so smart much more than we did. I mean, he cleaned 8 million and I don't really know how. I would have liked to see more creativity. Instead of a church, build up more like a clinic or a library. 

I'm unimpressed with the Snells and I hope they get muscled out. The wife is a hothead  and that has to come back on them at some point. 

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I hope we get to see the Church idea revisited. The IRS-free implications of it fascinates me like in Big Love and that HBO Scientology documentary from a couple years ago.

This show can reach Breaking Bad, but it hasn't this season. BB had overarching themes and character studies that this show doesn't exactly have yet, but I see hints of it. BB also had far superior directors and storytellers.

Even if it doesn't achieve those things, I think I'm still going to enjoy this show.

P.S. I still can't tell the difference between a hillbilly and a redneck nor why they hate each other. YouTube hasn't been very helpful here and has totally screwed up my recommended videos. I mean, the best I could find differences in are old-timey days differences, but in the present-day I just don't get it.

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Petty destroying the hotel room in silence was a great scene, I thought.  But why did the other FBI agent not tell the sheriff that he could produce the witness who could link Del to that Suburban, which was Petty?  

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I think that may have opened up a can of worms. The agent still liked Petty imo and didn't want to put him in that position. 

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On 7/28/2017 at 6:43 PM, lonestar said:

Never confuse a hillbilly with a redneck!

What's the difference ? I am from Boston and don't have a clue. Is it a nuance thing like county music vs Western?

 

I was very disappointed in the finale. Because it wasn't a finale. It was a tune in next season folks! Lame. Great acting throughout and interesting characters. Not quite sure about the significance of the crowning scenes with the baby and daughter. 

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It's kind of a semantics issue. To be fair, I am neither redneck nor hillbilly.

Hillbillies are country people who live pretty strictly in the Appalachian mountain chain. Now that's actually a pretty big area. They tend to be religious, and old fashioned, and keep to themselves. It would be adorably quaint if they weren't also somewhat antigovernment and prone to illegal things like making ones own alcohol and pharmaceuticals. They can be racist but that's often due to straight up ignorance. They sometimes have surprising amounts of wealth, typically tied up in land. They tend to distrust outsiders so you see more interfamily marriage.

Rednecks in contrast live everywhere except maybe the inner city. They tend to have more school- because they live in more populated areas and can't avoid it. They know enough religion to use it as a bitch point in a racist argument but they tend to not be church goers. Their "country" accomplishments are mostly hunting and fishing and riding atvs. While they tend to be more criminally inclined, and more openly racist, you also see a lot of people who are white who like NASCAR, hunting and fishing, who call themselves rednecks. 

I would define the Snells as hillbillies, albeit affluent and somewhat educated. Ruth and Wyatt etc are rednecks.

Hillbillies, because they tend to have religion and family, look down on rednecks as interlopers who came after their families. Hillbilly families have history and legacy, while rednecks are just poor white trash who plop their trailers wherever. Rednecks look down on Hillbillies because Hillbillies are quaint ignorant mountain folk who theoretically don't understand the modern world  and handle snakes for Jesus, and marry their sisters. 

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Doesn't look like I have a ton of company on this but that's okay.  I really enjoyed this for a variety of reasons, even though there were echoes of Breaking Bad and Justified.  Here's why it worked for me: Whereas the writing can't hold up to Breaking Bad standards, that's okay as far as I'm concerned because it gave me something more valuable:  main characters I actually cared about.  

Marty and Wendy are both flawed and greedy but in a way that doesn't entirely eclipse their humanity.  That's important to me. I'm heartily sick of the standard, dark, anti-hero.  Also, I think it fits better with how people are in real life, people who understand they are monsters are rare. 

For personal gain Marty and Wendy, both intelligent people managed to turn a blind eye to  what cartels do beyond drugs.  Drugs are bad enough, they cause so much suffering, death and horror, but the cartel engages in selling human beings.  You don't get more evil than that.    Yet, two people who have decency within them still were attracted by the concept of all that money.  I like how the series handled that.  From the moment Marty agrees and watches his predecessor get killed, it's clear that he's made the world's worst bed and now must sleep in it.  

But it still hurts him when the preacher points out he's the devil.  Like most people, he wants to believe he's a good man on all the levels that count and here's why the series worked for me:  he's not entirely wrong.   That was refreshing.  He wasn't just in denial about how far he'd fallen, a lot of his impulses are those of an actually good person.  He's lost his soul by degrees and is still clinging to parts of it. 

That alone created an atmosphere that I enjoyed.  Unlike Walter White reveling in his own badassery, Marty just really wants a damned time machine to take him back to the moments before he made this fool's bargain and ultimately tries to save Wendy and his children in a way that felt earned.  That he stayed to face the Cartel made me like him.  

Plus, I love understated performances and both Bateman and Linney turned them in.   

Unfortunately, I personally found the Snells to be pretty paint-by-the-numbers and since there was essentially zero character development for any of them, they were pretty cardboard cutout evil particularly the wife, who was so unimpressive as a character and frankly, not exactly handing in a master class in acting on top of that, that I mostly hoped Ruth was going to kill her. 

I'm glad there will be a second season but could do with less Snell Snoredom and I'm not heartened by the promise of overly evil Cade either.  

There were areas that really needed improvement, I thought. The teenage daughter's story was just not compelling although the actor gave it some good work.  The Snells were tedious because they were boring as hell and poorly cast.  Some of the writing choices were stronger than others but overall it was worth watching just for the Bateman, Linney and the young woman who plays Ruth.  

Agent Psycho was also a weak spot.   

Edited by stillshimpy
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I agree about the characters/actors.  I think the actor playing Petty is really watchable but the writing for him was pretty odd at times.  And the 'cop obsessed with bringing X to justice' is pretty tired.  Making him gay doesn't freshen it much.  

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That dummy baby the preacher was carrying to the water was so unconvincing I focused on that to take away from the horror of him "drowning" his son.

I enjoyed this too; I'm glad I didn't let a couple of poor reviews turn me off. Jason Bateman's standard dry delivery was perfect here. I also liked that there was a certain 'realness' with some of the casting - Ruth and her cousins look like age appropriate and a special shout out to Laura Linney's ugly wardrobe - a couple of those shirt dresses and the jacket in the last episode were criminally awful.

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THe fake baby was off putting and the scene where he was baptizing/fauxdrowning went on way too long, past the comfortable level. Put another way, if he legitametely held a real baby that long under water, I'd expect the baby to be dead or AT LEAST CRYING.

The difference between this show and Breaking Bad is that so far, Marty is maintaining some core decency. He doesn't want to degrade the strippers with having to do blow jobs, he isn't trying to run the lodge into the ground.... and yet he's also explaining to his son how to launder money.

I like Ruth's family in that I like how she's somewhat amoral but also wanting something better for herself and Wyatt and Third Kid. There's some nuance there, they aren't just stereotypes.

The Snells... irritate me. For starters, ad maybe I am just clueless, do people really mass grow opium poppies in the US? I mean, meth just seems like the obvious for the area. And I wasn't buying the casual blowing away of the cartel guys - that will need to have major consequences for the Snells and I worry it wont.

Some things were too cutesy - the real estate agent's mom  having terrible taste, and pretty much everything surrounding her death.

But... I really liked the relationship between Marty and his wife and how they seemed to be... not in love but actually healing their relationship a bit. I also liked seeing Ruth realize how other people live and how she might actually want that.

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15 hours ago, ZoloftBlob said:

The Snells... irritate me. For starters, ad maybe I am just clueless, do people really mass grow opium poppies in the US? I mean, meth just seems like the obvious for the area. And I wasn't buying the casual blowing away of the cartel guys - that will need to have major consequences for the Snells and I worry it wont.

 

Yeah, that is an eye roll and a half.  People can grow poppies almost anywhere but Missouri's climate is far from ideal for it.  Also, I'm pretty sure that the poppies that are grown as "Oh pretty!" type of poppies don't yield what is used to make heroin.  Like anything else, there are different types of poppies.  

So, that I filed under semi-willing disbelief and it would have been more willing if the characters had been anything other than hillbilly racist stereotypes.  

I don't really care that they got most of the entire Lake of the Ozarks deal only semi-right.  Bizarrely, MO was one of the most class conscious areas and Missourians LOVE their police presences.  It's tacky as can be, but there's also a ton of money at the Lake of the Ozarks and the turn-a-blind-eye law enforcement was the most eye roll worthy of them all.  

I think the only reason they didn't use Meth as the thing they were manufacturing is that Breaking Bad was about that but yeah, it's sort of absurd that they are pretending MO has the right conditions to grow poppies.  They grew like the weeds they sort of are in Colorado because the ground is fairly sandy and drains well, it's part of the reason they grow well in Afghanistan.  

On top of everything else, the climate is wrong in MO.  But that's okay, it's not a documentary, it just kind of makes it a bad call to have it be such a focus of the story.   

I think the Snells are just a mistake as a plot device.  The killer wife I think is meant to be menacing and instead just comes across as satire.  Sure, the woman with the overly intense stare, who isn't actually any good at even faking being nice, would continue to move about freely. They wanted to pretend that the area was a backwoods as parts of Appalachia and it just isn't. 

For one thing, there's no way on this green and verdant Earth that a stray cartel member, sitting outside a house at a lakefront property, glowering all day wouldn't have drawn the notice of every.single.person who lives there outside of Marty and Wendy.   So that would have gone on for like, a minute before most of the other neighbors would have been on the phone to the police, the state police right after them and nothing short of ICE and the DEA after that.  

So I had to suspend a lot of disbelief there.   Luckily, I did find it worth it for Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, again, as well as the woman who plays Ruth.   Bad casting can doom a project but good casting can help elevate the material.   The actual writing on this is about a B- but the cast was all in and it worked.   

If they're smart next season they will dispatch with the tedious Snells by having the cartel kill every living cell they possess and they can move on to something that isn't quite so much about the constant peril of the overly obvious hillbillies.  

Also, swap out overly aggressive FBI agent for some DEA agents because that made ...not much sense.  

Seriously, they are lucky they had such a good cast in so many areas but they seriously need to quit pretending that the cartel can move around in Missouri that easily.   

The actor playing Marty's son is also a really gifted actor but no parent in their right mind would be all "Oh sure, study carion eaters and by all means, gut some dead animals because there's no way for that to make you as sick as any human being has ever been." 

Hopefully next season the writing will be a little tighter, a little less "Um...okay, I guess, but not really because even if I hadn't lived in MO at one point, I'd know this was stretching credulity."  

There were things I really appreciated: I was just dreading the moment Marty had a revenge affair with Rachel/Blue Cat Owner and was glad that didn't happen.  I also hope she's just kind of gone now but almost any grownup knows that cash is sourced.  Hell, they'll ask you where funds came from when you're opening a bank account over a certain amount that involves simply the transfer of funds.   Again, good actor there but if they bring her back, she needs to be involved vs. a pure victim of the scheme.   

There's a lot of room for improvement here but I found that the things that work act as true saving graces.  

Edited by stillshimpy
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Yeah, I didn't grow up in MO but I did grow up in a small country town that depended on a tourist element and yes, not only would Marty, and his throwing money at businesses, been the talk of much speculation, but the cartel members and the gay and black FBI agents would have stood out like sore thumbs.

Ignoring the animal cutting because he had a good if implausible excuse was something I'd buy in that Marty and Wendy are pretty easily distracted. That he somehow brought a firearm into the house with nary a word from anyone was where I was eye rolling.

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I'm suspending disbelief on most due to liking the cast and premise and not knowing anything about MO.  But one thing I did raise an eyebrow at was the poppies.  Even I see acres of poppies and think "opium".  I don't think anyone in law enforcement would believe these people are living off bouquet sales.   Or was it the premise that law enforcement had been bought off?  I was ok with the Bates Motel setting being a town openly based on illicit pot farming with the law in on it but that's a different genre and things can get a little more fantastical there, I think.  

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2 hours ago, Winston9-DT3 said:

Or was it the premise that law enforcement had been bought off?

Yes. I forget the specifics but there was a remark at one point at which my son and I were like " so THAT'S why the sheriff is turning the other way."

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It's part of the premise that the law enforcement in the area has a debt to the Snells.  It was referenced in this episode.  "How much is his debt?"  "Smaller than yours" the sheriff was asking and the Snells were answering about Marty.  

So they have actually structured in a reason that the local law dog won't come barking after them. 

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But even then, it seems like a huge poppy farm would be hard to hide from the un-bought-off authorities.  Wouldn't state authorities have reason to fly over the lake area now and then?   It seemed like they were trying to pass off like people really can have a legit business in that area from growing hundreds of acres of poppies.  Or maybe they grow wild out there so it wouldn't even look like a farm?

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17 hours ago, Winston9-DT3 said:

But even then, it seems like a huge poppy farm would be hard to hide from the un-bought-off authorities.  Wouldn't state authorities have reason to fly over the lake area now and then?   It seemed like they were trying to pass off like people really can have a legit business in that area from growing hundreds of acres of poppies.  Or maybe they grow wild out there so it wouldn't even look like a farm?

Exactly.  That's why it was one of those moments where I had to actively choose to just go with it.  Pretending that the Snells just grow a crop of poppies to sell at the farmers market was pretty daft stuff too.   They just aren't that popular for decoration, Missouri has kind of brutal winters and a lot of insects, that's going to be true anywhere.  I also understand that the cop didn't actually buy the poppy cover story, but the DEA does flyovers in rural areas looking for pot.  They'd notice giant fields of poppies and wouldn't buy that story.  So it really was a moment, for me, of registering that it made no sense whatsoever and then just waiting to see what they would do with it, knowing it was nonsensical.  

I think they need a much better technical/practical advisor for next season because there was a lot of rather fast-and-loose plotting.  Most of the acting and casting was really spot on, the Snells just weren't really part of that equation for me.   

One thing that I really loved is that when Ruth killed her uncles, there was a lot at play that made it believable that she would make that choice.  There were some very well developed stories in the series, at least from my perspective.  It wasn't a choice based on one thing.  Ruth was actively choosing something that made sense for the character.  Marty had introduced the concept of a hopeful future -- at least comparatively -- for her.  He'd treated her decently and actually recognized when she was doing a good job and told her so without any coded put downs.   It just wasn't the only thing going on and I found that to be pretty deft writing.  They'd developed her relationship with her cousins to the point that it also made sense that she would choose to kill her uncles to keep them close by and not just for herself, but for their sakes. 

So there was some pretty layered writing with emotional complexity in parts of the story.  It wasn't wall-to-wall WTF?   I also loved the moment with Ruth's uncles, where one brother tried to encourage his brother to come out and let him know that a) he knew and had known b) that was okay he still loved him. 

Everything they got wrong with the Snells, cardboard sinsister that they were, they got right with the Langmores.  

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