The second season of a show is typically a chance to expand the world. This past season of Ozark did that in certain ways -- the writers dipped their toes into local politics, gave us a bit about unions and "right to work" legislation, and introduced some new cartel associates from Chicago -- but the finale felt like an attempt to shrink the playing field down. Sure, the mob tough guys, led by the bulky Frank Cosgrove (John Bedford Lloyd), blew up Marty's spiffy new office, and, yes, Wendy made a deal with the cartel's hyper-competent attorney Helen Pearce (Janet McTeer). It's likely those two will emerge as more significant plot-driving forces in Season 3. Like on Breaking Bad, the show Ozark is most often compared to, there's always a bigger Big Bad around the corner.
In fact, Ozark suggests that its two protagonists, Marty and Wendy, might be the biggest, baddest characters in the whole series. Increasingly, the pair (and their children) are becoming self-aware about that truth. Amidst all the dialogue about "choice" and "fate," the show has shown through its storytelling that there are limits to the self-deception one can engage in to justify evil acts in the name of survival. Marty killed a man this season; Wendy ordered the execution of another. Can they learn to accept each other? These moral transgressions will reverberate through the rest of the series in the same way Ruth's killing of her uncles has lingered.
If pressed, both Marty and Wendy would claim they were only protecting their family and loved ones. They acted out of a sense of righteousness. They had no choice. Those are the lies and excuses on the surface, the chipper self-deprecating speech you make before a ribbon-cutting or the smiling face you present to the photographer who wants to put your picture in the paper. In the seasons ahead, those facades will likely crumble. For now, let's see where the riverboat takes us.