When a woman kills a man on television these days it’s always a red flag for me; and when it happens multiple times in the same show I know that I’m watching a product of the dreaded Feminist Conspiracy to destroy maleness in Hollywood. That said, as a man I must report that I feel deeply disrespected by the second season of Netflix’s Ozark, having found season 2 to be overwhelmingly feminist in a male-negative way.
A little background: in Season 1 Jason Bateman plays Marty Byrde, a Chicago financial advisor who also serves as the top money launderer for the second largest drug cartel in Mexico(!) After a scheme goes wrong and he must pay off a debt to a Mexican drug lord, Marty takes his family and goes on the run to the Ozark Mountains to set up laundering businesses there. Simple, right?
But while Season 1 was an unbiased tale of one man’s struggle to keep his family alive and together in the face of overwhelming criminal circumstances that he himself created, Season 2 has become a female empowerment pageant wherein the male characters have been rendered superfluous to their female counterparts. The showrunner’s obvious goal of creating a crime world dominated by women has simultaneously created a ridiculous and implausible scenario where all men are weak, flawed, ineffective or effete.
When the Byrdes arrive, they become entangled with local criminals including the Langmores and Snells, both of which are patriarchal dynasties that somehow have “tough women” leading the men around by their noses.
The first of these is Ruth Langmore, a teenaged foul-mouthed dropout who is the daughter of the dreaded Cade Langmore. While each episode shows her to somehow be an equal-opportunity bullying threat, Ruth is suitably terrified of her incarcerated father who controls her from his tiny prison cell and who, ostensibly is the source of her bullying attitude. While Cade features only minimally in Season 1, his scenes are written to inspire dread in Ruth and show him to be bad enough to frighten one of the most “empowered” characters on the show? But what’s offensive here to me is not just how horrible a person Ruth is (she eventually adds “multiple murder” to her list of sins, as well as physically assaulting a man in a wheelchair(!)), but how her character could even begin to be tougher than the male relatives who shaped her (she is at this point the only female Langmore); that is, if Ruth’s toughness is a product of her environment, then she should only be at best 2nd-generation tough. But season 2 releases the menacing Cade from prison and, quicker than you can say “Feminist Conspiracy”, he’s following her lead and accepting her bullying commands as though they were manna from Heaven. Preposterous!
The second of these two feminist heroines is Darlene Snell, wife of the heroin kingpin of the Missouri Ozarks. We know Darlene is no pushover because, at the end of Season 1, she kills the big scary Cartel guy without even thinking about it!! Thus within 2 episodes, both of the series two “big bads” have been taken out by strong females.
But it doesn't end there: the feminist parade continues when the cartel sends a representative to find their missing leader and, instead of sending a scary male enforcer, they send their smart sassy female lawyer Helen Pierce!!! Right, because a female lawyer is always a more commanding presence than a male hitman!!! This is Feminist Writing 101: replace big scary guy with big scary woman — even if it isn’t really believable. The presence of an empowered female doesn’t mean that the men of the story become weakling beta males who can’t do anything for themselves, but that’s exactly what happens!
Before you know it Marty Byrde, who in season one was the central figure of the story, has been supplanted by his smart and cunning wife Wendy to the extent that his character is basically a shadow puppet whose actions are mostly determined by or predicated on the strong women surrounding him (his wife, his Cartel boss, his partner-in-crime Darlene Snell, and even a season one character who stole his money (and to whom he spends an annoying amount of time apologizing).
Of course, this only applies to the men who actually survive the March of the Females; in 10 episodes there are exactly 10 deaths, all of them male, and all of them caused directly or indirectly by a woman (!):
- The Cartel Guy is killed by Darlene Snell;
- Ash, the male accomplice to the Cartel Guy’s murder is killed by Jacob Snell so Darlene won’t have to pay for her crime (and feminist characters NEVER have to pay for their crimes!);
- The gas station guy who refuses to turn over tapes to the female Cartel Lawyer is ordered killed by her;
- Senator Blake commits suicide after being blackmailed about his clinical depression status on behalf of Wendy Byrde;
- Old man Buddy eventually dies of a heart attack after helping Mrs Byrde commit a crime;
- Pastor Mason Young is stabbed by Mrs Byrde and shot by her husband in her defense after he is written to suddenly lose his mind and kidnap Wendy;
- Amos (the only Black character) is a drug dealer who is killed on the orders of the Female Cartel Lawyer when his drug shipment is tainted by Darlene Snell;
- Jacob Snell is poisoned by the wife he so desperately fought to protect;
- FBI Agent Petty (the shows only gay character) is killed by Cade Langmore to protect his daughter from prosecution;
- And Cade is subsequently set up by Wendy Byrde to be assassinated by the cartel.
Thus in a landscape where (in a marked change from its season one ambience) the women are portrayed as more deadly and evil than the men, they are also given a constant pass in terms of paying for any of their crimes. The most ridiculous example of this occurs in episodes 8–9 wherein The Snells are ambushed in a hail of gunfire and (as i accurately predicted to myself when the scene started), only the male sustains any injuries!!!
Now i'm not saying that the show isn't a quick and worthwhile watch (it’s the TV version of a page-turner); it’s just that the writers, having eschewed any semblance of the reality we all know, have allowed their feminist politics to outweigh all logic to the detriment of any male viewers in their unfortunate audience. So any men planning to watch this season should be forewarned: this show doesn’t like you very much anymore!!!