Netflix struck gold when it released Ozark. The first season premiered in 2017 with the second go-around debuting the following year. A longer gap followed as the third season dropped on March 27, giving viewers who are stuck at home amid the coronavirus pandemic a new show to binge watch instead of the hit documentary, Tiger King.
The series returns the likes of Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as the main stars, Marty and Wendy Byrd. Julia Garner, Janet McTeer, Tom Pelphrey and Sofia Hublitz also make their return. When Season 2 left, the Byrde's were in front of their new casino with Marty planning on getting out of town.
As the series is well known for, there were a lot of lives in the second chapter. The Byrdes' neighbor, Buddy, passed away; Preacher Michael Young was shot in the neck; FBI Agent Roy Petty was hit over the head with a brick and tossed in a river and Cade found himself meeting his fate, as well.
With the longest break in between seasons, fans were very eager to catch up on the Byrde family and see what trials and tribulations lie ahead for them. Netflix provides an overview of what viewers at home can expect from the third season.
"It's six months later, the casino is up and running, but Marty and Wendy are fighting for control of the family's destiny," the overview begins. "Marty preaches keeping the status quo. Aided by an alliance with Helen and drug cartel leader Omar Navarro, Wendy plots for expansion. But when Wendy's brother Ben comes into town, everyone's lives are thrown into chaos."
With the newest season now out for three weeks, plenty of reviews have begun to pour in. Below is a look at some of what the critics are saying about the latest chapter in one of Netflix's biggest original series.
Amanda Bell with TV Guide referred to the third season as "watching a tightrope walker in a windstorm." In short, the latest iteration has a lot of tense moments that will surely keep viewers engaged.
"Ozark Season 3 is still the show you know... but it's still by far the most stressful and emotionally ravaging stretch of the show yet thanks to its new characters," Bell wrote.
Paul Tassi with Forbes delivered some serious high praise, suggesting Ozark is heading in a direction of one the streaming services' biggest series: Breaking Bad. "The show seems to have finally found its footing, and the Breaking Bad comparisons don’t seem quite so ludicrous now," Tassi wrote.
He went on to use adjectives like "gripping" to describe the pace while also pointing out a better usage of incorporating the bad guys into the third season.
Calling it a "gripping show," Richard Lawson with Vanity Fair does feel there are some "dumb" moments as he feels that that takes a little bit away from the show.
"Ozark remains a sturdy and gripping series," he wrote. "I just wish it found more organic ways to keep the twists coming, that it had faith in the strength of its central thread instead of taking a detour like this one, which was always going to end in witless ruin."
The Hollywood Reporter
Feeling as though the first two seasons left a little more to be desired, Daniel Fienburg is pleased to share in his Hollywood Reporter review that he felt a major turnaround in the third installment of the Netflix series.
"The 10-episode third season of Ozark is a substantial improvement over the lugubrious second season, and although it still suffers from many of the show's trademark inconsistencies, this is probably the best Ozark has ever been," Fienburg explained.
New heights were reached in Ozark's third chapter according to Brian Lowry's review for CNN. Explaining that the first two seasons were a "solid addition" to Netflix, but has since taken the next step in becoming potentially one of the best shows in the streaming platform's history.
"Three seasons in, the show has morphed into something richer than that, mixing criminal ruthlessness with a family dynamic built on manipulation," Lowry wrote.
Ben Travers with Indie Wire felt the newest season of Ozark struck a chord with the current state of the world. As Americans attempt to do whatever to get through another day amid the coronavirus pandemic, Travers explains it's very similar to the obstacles facing the Byrd family. "We’re just trying to get through it, fiscally, emotionally, and for some, physically," he writes.
Travers adds that unlike our ability to get through this threat, the Byrds won't have the same outcome due to all they've gotten themselves into. "So seeing them scramble to stave off the inevitable is a twisted kind of entertainment in general, but one that can be oddly cathartic for our current state," Travers explains.
In his review for Collider, Adam Chitwood can't help but complement the cast of characters as the strongest part of not just this season, but the entire series. Chitwood says the storyline isn't anything special but the characters elevate that.
"The story isn’t all that unique, but the core cast of characters is a fascinating bunch, and the intensified focus on the marital strain between Marty and Wendy provides a new layer of stakes," the review reads.