Ozark's flashback episode, "Kaleidoscope", the eighth episode of the series, feels totally out of place in this series.

It looks like the only thing the writers wanted was to explain that Wendy agreed with Marty laundering money for the cartel before he accepted to do so.

However, this is something we already knew!

Indeed, we know this because:

  1. She never, ever questions the fact that Marty was laundering money. I was even baffled by the first episode where they didn't show her raging about her husband laundering money on screen when it's kind of needed, and can make a good drama moment if properly handled.

  2. She never puts Marty in the "you're responsible for this" situation. That's a kind of a teller.

  3. Marty can't lie: when the FBI interrogates him, Wendy comes to the rescue because he just can't lie. More, he's driven to tell the truth, no matter the consequences. Not telling the truth to his wife would have been so out of character for him. The only secret he kept was that he had hired a PI and gotten a video, but that was because there was secrecy from Wendy in the first place, and when confronted, he immediately admitted.

So around the fourth or fifth episode, you naturally come to the conclusion that she's in from the start. Not that she learned it in-between, but that she was in from the start.

And that whole episode leads to the big reval: that both Wendy and Marty agree that Marty should work with the cartel. The rest feels accessory, but the "reveal" falls flat because it's known, acknowledged and processed for a long time already.

The only thing that isn't accessory in this episode is the relation Petty has to that cartel, or at least to drugs. But this could have been scenaristically handled in a total other way that wouldn't need to require such an out-of-place episode.

So, all in all, what was scenaristically the point of making that episode as a flashback episode, potentially skipping better drama or storytelling in the "present"?

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    Tag created; please consider submitting a tag wiki proposal if you're familiar enough with the show. Approved edits will net you a few rep points. (I'd recommend review some other show tags to see how they're done) – KutuluMike Jul 23 '17 at 23:18
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    Also, on this site, you don't need to go so heavy on the spoilers. We generally don't require you to mark up spoilers at all, unless it's a major spoiler for a brand new work. If someone is reading your question they're knowingly taking the risk of being spoiled The only thing we ask is you keep spoilers out of the titles. – KutuluMike Jul 23 '17 at 23:19
  • @KutuluMike Thanks! I've adapted the tag wiki. And someone else edited to remove the spoiler tags. So it seems all good now, I guess! :) – Olivier Grégoire Jul 23 '17 at 23:33
  • Funny, I was just about to ask the same question, hehe. – EluciusFTW Aug 15 '17 at 12:56
up vote 5 down vote accepted

As you mention, over the course of the season, you might infer from the way the characters interact that Wendy was involved from the very beginning, and it's explicitly revealed in the previous episode, "Nest Box", when she says during a fight with Marty, "You shut me out the minute we decided to launder the stupid fucking money."

Rather than reveal anything that significantly drives the plot of the series forward, "Kaleidoscope" primarily provides additional character depth, while also answering some questions that viewers might otherwise have had:

  • How did the seemingly boring, mild-mannered Marty ("Mr. Consumer Reports") start working for the cartel in the first place?
  • Why did Marty and Wendy decide that he should agree to launder money?
  • What's Petty's deal anyway?
  • What's up with the eyeballs in a jar?

It's certainly debatable how necessary the episode is, or whether it succeeds at making the lead characters more rounded, but that's my take on the intent of the episode.

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