It's been four years since Breaking Bad ended and fans still miss Walter White's ego-driven shenanigans. Most of us have already re-watched the show on Netflix and, despite coming to a definite end, still hope the show will return. While fans have been keeping up to date with Better Call Saul, there's now another way to get your televisual serving of characters trying to 'break bad'. If you loved watching Walter's transformation into a powerful drug-lord, Netflix's Ozark has the cure for all you Breaking Bad needs.
Forbes recently wrote that Ozark "chases Breaking Bad, but doesn't quite catch it", and while Ozark isn't Breaking Bad, it still has so much to offer the show's fandom. With that in mind, here's why you'll love Ozark if you're a Breaking Bad fanatic.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Breaking Bad
Marty Byrd: Walter White's Successor
One of the things that made Walter White such a great character was his ability to get out of tough situations using his intelligence. If not for Walter's arrogance, he probably would have survived. Similarly in Ozark, the one thing that Marty Byrd (Jason Bateman) undoubtedly has is an overabundance of intelligence.
One of the great things about both #BreakingBad and Ozark are the ways their protagonists get out of trouble. While Walter uses a lot of sneaky and sometimes excessive means to get things done, Marty goes in a slightly different direction. Marty is all about doing whatever he can to ensure that he doesn't hurt anyone. Watching him work his magic is amazing, especially when you realize just how brilliant his plan is.
At the beginning of Breaking Bad, Walter was a good person. He was just a teacher who discovers he has cancer. He may have sold drugs, but it's important to remember that he was originally doing it for his family's future. However, due to years of being treated like dirt by everyone from his brother-in-law to his boss at the car wash, Walter eventually found himself motivated by power. He felt what it was like to be the one in charge and he loved it. Unlike Walter, Marty knew exactly who he was getting into from the beginning. He didn't hesitate because they were bad people. He was just worried about the safety of his family. This is an admirable quality, but Marty inevitably gets worse as the show progresses. You start to see the path he's going down, and it's a familiar road for Breaking Bad fans.
Ruth Langmore: A Smarter Jesse Pinkman
Just like Walter White in Breaking Bad, Marty has a young protégé of his own, Ruth Langmore.
Jesse was like a son to Walter White. It didn't matter that Jesse wasn't nearly as smart as Walt, or that Jesse often screwed up. The fact is, Walt loved Jesse and was always there to bail him out (eventually).
Unlike Jesse, Ruth is smart, capable, and more than prepared to go the extra mile to get things done from the very beginning. Her relationship with Marty goes from wanting to kill him to treating him like a mentor. I loved watching Ruth go to work. When she's given an order by Marty, it's usually to get the job done by any means necessary - and when she did, it was both smart and hilarious.
Jesse and Ruth have different personalities, but the bond they share with their mentors is something that is undeniably similar. I fully expect the Ruth and Marty relationship to have the same twists and turns Walt had with Jesse.
Jacob and Darlene Snell: The TV Villains We've Been Waiting For
Finally, we get to the most important part of any show; the antagonists. Gustavo Fring was one of the best characters we'd ever seen, and he has been sorely missed since his demise. He was calm, smart, smooth, unassuming and ruthless. Smooth and unassuming isn't something you'll get from Ozark's Darlene and Jacob Snell, but they are most definitely ruthless.
The Snells found a way to do their dirty deeds and maintain plausible deniability from people outside of their community. Jacob is calm and level-headed, foreseeing what can make or break a business. His wife Darlene, on the other hand, is anything but calm. She'll shoot first and apologize later, making them a terrifying pair that are incredibly satisfying to watch. The Snells rival Gustavo when it comes to controlling an empire. Everyone who's ever met them knows that to cross them means that you most certainly die in a horrific way.
Ozark is still in it's infancy, having only completed one season, but the show has the potential to become a #TV classic. Only time will tell whether or not Ozark will be remembered as fondly as Breaking Bad, but one thing's for sure: #Netflix's Ozark is something special. If the show continues with its current recipe of intellectual maneuvers and cold-hearted killers, we may look at Marty Byrd as one of the great characters on television.
What do you think of Ozark? Let me know in the comments below.