The Grand Rapids Connection To Ozark’s Dramatic Final Scene
Last Friday, Netflix released the final seven episodes of the drama 'Ozark', and the fade to black on the award winning series featured someone with Grand Rapids roots.
SPOILER ALERT: I'm Going To Bring Up The Final Scene Of The Series
The series, which starred Jason Bateman and Laura Linney (as Marty and Wendy Byrde, parents of two teenagers, that got themselves involved too deep into drug trafficking) concluded with the release of the final episodes last Friday, which featured a whirlwind of moving parts that came together with an ending that left many surprised, and/or disappointed or both.
A quick note from me: I thought the series lost its way during its final episodes, introducing too many unrelated or new characters that played WAY too big of a role in the conclusion.
That being said, the show was gripping and could actually cause me anxiety with its constant tension.
FROM THIS POINT FORWARD I WILL BE DISCUSSING THE FINAL SCENE.
The End Didn't Justify The Means, And I Guess That Was The Point
It's become a new trend in crime dramas to come to a conclusion that is left in the mind of the viewer rather than literally spelled out for you. Much like the controversial end of the famed HBO series 'The Sopranos', 'Ozark' ended with a fade to black and then a gun shot, leaving the viewer wondering who was shot.
In the Ozark finale, the youngest member of the miserable Byrde family, Jonah, had his rifle trained on Chicago policeman Mel Sattem, who had come to inform the family that he had evidence that connected them to the execution of Wendy's brother and Jonah's uncle, Ben. But Jonah could've very easily taken out his mom or dad as the relationship with both was contentious.
Enter Grand Rapids Soul Legend Al Green
In 'The Sopranos', a similar scene played out as Journey's 'Don't Stop Believing' played on the jukebox. In the 'Ozark' ending, the music that popped up was 'Love and Happiness' a song by Al Green, whose sultry, sexy voice helped define 1970s soul music.
Green lived in Grand Rapids during his teen years, and attended the old South High School on Hall Street in the '60s
The Lyrics Kind Of Allude To The Life The Byrdes Lived In The Series
As the credits rolled, the opening line to 'Love and Happiness' (cued up beyond Green's spoken opening interlude) talked of phone calls and problems, which was the epitome of the Byrdes' life in the series. Every time they seemed to have pulled off one of their high wire escapes from the drug cartel and corrupt politicians, the phone would ring with another problem.
Love and happiness
Wait a minute,
Something's going wrong
Someone's on the phone
Three o'clock in the morning
The use of the song led me to believe that Jonah shot Mel, which would set into motion yet another string of problems for the Byrdes, demonstrating that they will never escape their chosen lifestyle.
Green's Life In Grand Rapids Started Him On His Way To Soul Stardom
Strangely, it was Green's disagreements with his dad that set him on the path to being a singer. Green was booted out of the house as a teenager in Grand Rapids, after his dad caught him listening to Jackie Wilson records. That move gravitated Green to start singing with local bands to make some money, which led him to HI Records in Memphis, which would propel him to national stardom.
Green is still alive, and I'm wondering what he thinks of the use of his song in the dramatic final scene.