Ozark definitely had a darker appearance when it first kicked off in season 1 since everything appeared so dim and the situation usually appeared rather bleak. The reason that’s been given for this is that the cinematography was meant to show the situation and how it was playing out as the story went along, meaning that the shades of grey and blue of the Ozarks were meant to showcase what was happening to the Byrde family and how Marty was gradually sinking into the world of crime that he’d unwittingly entered in the first place in season one. The money laundering he ended up doing for the cartel took him down a dark road and the further he went, the more people he took with him until by season 2 it didn’t look as though there was any hope of getting out of it, at least not with everyone still intact. Season 3 kind of flipped that feeling on its ear though as it appeared much brighter thanks to the different use of color and the ability to show at least some warmth and some sense of hope, or at least resolution, on the horizon. The downside of this is that by season 4, which is meant to be the final season, it’s uncertain as to whether those brighter colors are going to shine equally for everyone or if the cartel will be the only ones standing by the end of it all.
Telling a story using color is something that a lot of people tend to notice but still don’t fully understand since it has to do with more than just the hue that’s shown throughout the story, but the manner in which it’s used. Ozark has been kind fo a dark and foreboding story and the coloring that’s been used has shown this in a big way since it’s been quite prominent throughout the first two seasons. In season 3 the landscape of the story changed and as a result, so did the coloring. It’s been a transition from one season to another and the pace and cinematography have shown as much, depicting the series in a manner that’s been conducive to the level of danger, hopelessness, and desperation that’s been ongoing since the show started, punctuated here and there by small pockets of what might have been hope that was usually dashed and scattered since the overall nature of the series can’t appear too positive or it wouldn’t horrifyingly real enough. This is one of those times when the stark reality and how bad things can really get becomes the driving force behind a story and pushes a narrative that as much as everyone wants things to turn out okay, they’re not bound to.
Watching this series from the start it’s been evident that the deeper Marty goes when it comes to his foray into the underworld, the more he’s binding himself to a very bad end at some point no matter how hard he tries to get away from it. The cartel is not something he can hide from and that’s become rather evident, but life in the Ozarks didn’t quite pan out the way that he was hoping since he can’t get his family to leave and as of the ending of the third season he and Wendy are now in an agreement with the Navarro cartel that isn’t about to be broken unless someone is killed or hauled off to prison. Seeing how things have been going throughout the past three seasons it’s likely that such a thing could happen to anyone at any given time, but as the story progresses everything is starting to come into focus a bit as the dead weight is cast off and the story continues to progress as those that are left behind are being made a little more aware of just how serious things are continuing to get. Back in seasons 1 and 2 it felt as though the story had hit a spot that it couldn’t possibly come back from, but obviously Jason Bateman and crew thought about it and wondered just what might happen if they tweaked things in the right way and made it possible for things to get even worse for the Byrdes. At this point season 4 is going to have to be a story for the ages to keep up with the first three seasons so that people aren’t left hanging and wishing that there was better closure for one character or another. But it kind of feels as though this might be what they’re headed for, doesn’t it?
So far Ozark has been a show that kind of came out of nowhere since it had the feel of something that might be kind of interesting, and then reached out and slapped the audience full-on and made it clear that it was time to pay attention. Those that have been watching for this long have certainly found a reason to keep coming back.
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