“Ozark” thoughts, Season One, Episode Eight: “Kaleidoscope”

Ozark depends on momentum. Not as much as our old breakneck-speed friend Breaking Bad did, of course. Nor even as much as the show it reminds me of the most, Mad Dogs — Shawn Ryan and Amazon’s one-season wonder about middle-aged city slickers who get hopelessly in over their heads with a Latin American drug cartel in a verdant coastal environment where none of them belong. But Ozark did establish its métier as early as the pilot: Marty’s going to keep escalating things, or other people will keep escalating things for him, to the point where the series will burn through more major antihero-drama plot points in an episode than other shows do all season.

So it’s a curious choice, after the emotional explosiveness of the previous episode, to do what Ozark does in its eighth installment, “Kaleidoscope.” Rather than continue the escalation in the present, the show flashes back ten years, revealing what happened to set Marty, Wendy, and (surprisingly) Agent Petty on their respective roads to psychological ruin.

I reviewed episode eight of Ozark for Decider. It’s a flashback episode that has its moments, but also enough missteps to make it a wash.

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