The Byrdes are Back! If you thought season one of Ozark was intense, then season two is edge-of-your-seat, pass-the-Xanax drama.
You wouldn’t think the writers, cinematographers, and actors could maintain that level of intensity. They don’t. They elevate it! Episodes given to critics before the season’s release were intricately written and shot and amazingly acted. We can’t wait to see what they didn’t show us. Luckily it’s Labor Day weekend so we have extra binge time!
We talked with Laura Linney and Jason Bateman about how they did it and why.
An intense show like this can be tough for actors, but they told The Cocktail that the writers shoulder a lot of the burden for them. Jason told us “They are so intelligent and disciplined and so deliberate about the way they break each season and making sure these escalations in plot aren’t arbitrary moments of scare but they’re kind of reverse engineered and supported by stuff that was established in season one.”
He likened it to a cooking show, sort of. “It makes everything pretty easy when you’ve got people with taste like that saying ‘here’s what we went and bought at the store, now you guys go cook it.’ But these ingredients are incredibly high value. The meal’s gonna be great because of what we got.”
If other producers could figure out the recipe, television would be even better than it already is.
Quite A Character
The show takes a lot of twists and turns, and as a viewer coming along for the ride, you never know where you’re going next. Laura told us that’s by design. “We also have an ensemble of these really well-rounded characters that have the potential to grow in a lot of directions. So it gives us all a lot to play with. And so then it’s just a great combination of plot and character.”
“I guess that’s why I like being an actor,” she told us, “I recite other people’s words.” Ms. Linney’s being way too modest. Fifth graders in a school play recite other people’s words. These actors are bringing intense, complex characters to life in a way few do.
The Silent Co-Star
There is another character in Ozark. It never says a word yet is always on-screen making its presence felt. The lighting and cinematography set a tone of uneasiness and suspense. It envelopes the actors and lays the path for the characters to follow.
Laura even thinks The Lake is the hardest working ‘character’ in the show, telling us “It does a lot of the work for you. The thing that’s great is if you want a story that deals with mystery and suspense, you put it near a lake. And you let the lake do a lot of the work for you. You just stand in front of the lake and that lake will, and trees, darkness.. you get out of its way. It compliments what you do, hopefully, and you don’t, there’s a lot that you don’t have to do. Because it’s doing the work for you.”
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
In addition to angst and betrayal, season two of Ozark features an opium field on fire. We don’t want to stand downwind of that! (or maybe we do!!!)
So we suggest Liquid Heroin. Jager, Rumple Minze, Rum, and Goldschlager. The perfect combo to binge while simultaneously bingeing Ozark.
It may sound intense, but as Jason said: “It was intense this second season.”