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Ozark - Nest Box - Review: "This Place is Death"

Each time the Byrdes seem to find a solution to one of their problems, something jeopardizes their plan and brings them back to square one. That's is what happened once again in "Next Box."

Following up the church cross complication of the previous episode, Ozark started its seventh chapter with a panicking Marty who has to give all his money to the Snells if he wants to get to live another day. So, his pockets are empty again and he has to find another way to make/wash money. He starts an obscure fund and, thanks to Wendy, gets Eugenia Dermody (Sharon Blackwood) to invest in it. It's all going well until Eugenia and her son have a fight and she gets hit by a truck. I know, it's all very thick storytelling techniques you can see coming a mile away. There is a recurring pattern in the last few episodes of Ozark that is starting to getting a bit old: Marty is in big trouble, Marty finds a solution, something happens that messes up with his plan and he is back in trouble again. At this point, it almost seems like the only people who do not wish him dead are his family and Roy Petty. Those are not great odds for Marty's future.

On top of everything else, a man from the cartel visits Wendy at work and makes more threats, while Jonah and Charlotte start going to their new school. Jonah is still being weird, now being obsessed with starlings and wanting a hunting license to kill those birds. On her end, Charlotte is not thrilled about going to this new school and actually bails on it. As Marty and Wendy are called to the principal's office because Jonah refused to sign a pledge not to do drugs and alcohol (instead he makes a strong argument on the benefits of drugs for the American economy), they also find out Charlotte did not come to school. Wyatt tells them she decided to go back to Chicago and Ruth takes Wendy to the bus station in St. Louis to try to catch her there. When they do, a desperate Charlotte tells Wendy she wants her old life back, but it "doesn't exist anymore," says her mother. At the end of the episode, a strange scene shows Charlotte back at the lake, going for a swim at night and almost drowning. It's unclear where her character is heading in the show, but it seems obvious that she is depressed and lost at the moment.

Meanwhile, Marty told Mason Young that the Snells are drug dealers and that he needs to keep preaching on the water if he wants to stay alive as well. That does not sit well with Mason, who goes to the Snells and confronts them about it. In a frankly boring scene, Jacob makes a whole speech about how whatever Mason wants is not going to happen and it all ends with Mason burning the church construction site in a "fine, you won" manner. On the Langmore side of things, Petty and Russ launch their business and Petty makes his secret boyfriend swear he will not try to kill Marty Byrde again. A fishing scene shows us Russ and his brother Boyd have a chat about how Russ would like a change and do something different, to which Boyd says he will support him no matter what in a way that might be hinting that he knows his brother is gay. Ruth visits her father in prison again and he is mad at her for failing to kill Marty. He calls her stupid and tells her she "looks like a whore" before adding he does not want to see her again until she gets rid of Marty. Of course, her interaction with her father do not leave Ruth feeling great and it is actually nice to see more and more of the vulnerable girl beneath the hardcore face she presents to everyone.

Once again, the most captivating part of this episode gravitates around Marty and Wendy's mariage. After the whole Charlotte debacle, Wendy tells Marty she wants to send the kids back to Chicago because this new life in the Ozark is ruining them. The conversation turns into a heated argument where everything comes up: the money laundry secret, the cheating, the video on Marty's computer, the whole "why did you do this or that" feelings that they repressed so far and finally say out loud. In this scene, we get a glimpse of the heartbroken Marty and of the hurt Wendy, and for once those characters do not appear stoic in the face of everything that is happening to them. Jason Bateman and Laura Linney's chemistry in this scene is quite convincing and it highlights the fragility of their character's relationship. Their storyline is definitely one of the most interesting thing in Ozark so far, because it actually shows us the character's hidden feelings.

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