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Ozark - Book of Ruth - Review: "Family Matters"

"Book of Ruth" is an episode of Ozark that buries the Byrdes into deeper into trouble as their enemies appear to all be ready to take them down.

Following up on the events of "Ruling Days," this episode opens up with Marty being ambushed by the Snells, who give him a tour of their operation. As Marty finds out who he is up against, Jacob Snell tells him that he has to stop all construction on the church and that if he sees any work being done (such as a cross going up), there will be dire repercussions as he knows everything about Marty's family. Marty complies, even though he is worried that not making the church will prevent him from washing enough money for the cartel in time.

While Marty scrambles to make money for the cartel, Wendy works on getting money for the family and manages to get a raise from her realtor job. As it turns out, between making more renovations at the Blue Cat Lodge and the strip joint, Marty believes they will actually make it and provide enough washed money to the cartel. This brings him and Wendy closer as they are relieved to finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. The couple ends up having sex, and as they do so Marty is reminded of the video he watched of Wendy and her lover Gary. In a twisted scene, he proceeds to mimic the acts of the video, which makes Wendy realize something is going on. The following day, she confronts him about their unusual intercourse and he argues that he thought she would like it that way. Suspicious of his actions, Wendy searches Marty's laptop and finds the video, which indicates more conflict is in store for the couple in the coming episodes.

While their parents are busy making money, Charlotte and Jonah keep doing their own thing. Charlotte is invited to an anti-tourists party by Wyatt, but turns him down and goes to the party cove with several young tourists instead. There she loses her virginity to a college kid named Zach. It is obvious at this point that Charlotte is still rejecting her new life in the Ozarks and that she identifies more with the outsiders that with the people who leave there like Wyatt. But the end of the summer is near and Zach leaves town, leaving Charlotte alone with the fact that she has to get used to the fact that this is her life now.

The piece of resistance of "Book of Ruth" is in its title. In this episode, we get to finally meet Ruth's father, and he instructs her to get rid of Marty for good. If Ruth does not seem very thrilled with the idea at first, she sets into motion a plan to electrocute Marty. But what she does not know is what is happening between her uncle Russ and his secret boyfriend Petty. Petty suggests to Russ that they open a small business together and that they get Marty to invest. He asks Russ to get Ruth to introduce them to Marty, but she refuses, hinting at her uncle that Marty won't be around much longer anyway. Russ shares that information with Petty, who follows Ruth and sabotages her plan. At the end of the episode, Ruth confronts her uncle, who she thinks messed up her plan, and they have a very heated argument. He hits her and Ruth ends up the following day at the Byrdes' with Wendy taking care of the cut on her face.

"Book of Ruth" combines several interesting storylines. Ruth's conflicts with her family are getting more and more complicated as we realize she is not as powerful as she might seem. In fact she seems to simply be a young girl who wants to please her father while trying to be him when it comes to handling the rest of the Langmores. Meanwhile Marty may have avoided death in this episode, but troubles keep pilling up. By the end of the episode, he's received a pair of eyes from the cartel, Rachel finds out he is into some shady business and wants him to leave, and he finds out a cross has been put up on the church, which is not indicating anything good for his relationship with the Snells. At this point in the season, it is hard to see how Marty is going to make it out alive, so the next four episodes of Ozark should be packed with eventful storylines.

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