Warning: Contains potential spoilers for the final episodes of Ozark.
Ozark, Netflix's adrenaline rush of a crime thriller, ended the only way it could; with a bang. Over four seasons we watched the entire Byrde family break bad in their eternally futile - and increasingly convoluted - attempt to go straight.
No one got out alive. Literally for some characters, figuratively for others. And while religion came into play in the final two seasons there were no angels anywhere to be found nor any salvation.
Instead, things only ever went from bad to worse to atrocious for the Byrdes. There was patriarch Marty, a talented accountant who made life incalculably harder in his initial pursuit of easy gangland money and later attempts to break free. His wife Wendy whose schmoozy charm disguised her ruthless ambition until it grew too big to convincingly hide any longer. Their kids were no better. Teen daughter Charlotte happily drifted into the family's illegal activities while their boy-genius son Jonah discovered a talent for laundering money that rivalled his father.
Right from the get-go, the series rushed at characters and viewers alike. It threw more obstacles at the Byrdes than an army training course and its story featured more twists and turns than a drive along the Coromandel coast. Especially in this last half of its final season, where things turned and spun so frequently it was likely to induce whiplash.
These sudden gearshifts, always down to a faster speed, are likely what Ozark will be most remembered for. It was never a show to relax into. It was more like riding a fairground rollercoaster that shot you around its rickety track at breakneck speed, dizzying you with momentum and not giving you time to think too closely about the creaky sounds it's making or the distressing wobble of the whole structure. Best just to hold on tight, enjoy the ride and not worry too much about how close the whole thing is to falling apart.
Its pace is what made it such a blast to watch. The downside being that the writers always had to keep pushing things further and further. In these last seven episodes, believability itself was often ungraciously pushed aside in order to keep events escalating or spiralling or to keep you guessing.
In the moment it's incredibly exciting. Later scrutiny is less favourable. That it never become farcical can be attributed to the superb performances of its stars.
Justin Bateman plays Marty with an increasingly weary and exasperated affability that makes you buy into the same lie he tells himself and everyone else that, really, he's just a good guy trying to do right by everyone. Laura Linney's powerful performance as the professional manipulator Wendy is simply brilliant.
And then there's the show's breakout star Julia Garner who plays the foul-mouthed, no-BS taking firebrand Ruth Langmore, a young woman from the wrong side of the tracks who gets pulled into the Byrdes' world before breaking free to become a somewhat unpredictable frenemy.
They were all so great, so convincing, even as they became increasingly immoral, murderous and unlikeable, that they lent this theme park of a show a premium sheen.
Which is, in hindsight, Ozark's biggest trick. Like the Byrdes themselves, the series cultivated a respectable facade, displaying all the trappings of a premium series. It had big stars, artful direction, clever writing, sharp dialogue and a dull colour palette to indicate this was a serious show. It just ultimately didn't have much to say.
And, that's alright. Ozark never claimed to be Breaking Bad, or The Sopranos, or The Wire although it often had comparison to those legends of the small screen thrust upon it. It certainly took great inspiration from each - for example, the arc of the antihero, the inner workings of ruthless mobs and the big money corruption that powers politics - but measured, purposeful storytelling was not one of those things.
Indeed, it stripped away nuance, depth and detail to instead focus on nothing less than providing a wild ride filled with enough rapid thrills to leave you white-knuckled and slack-jawed and rushing straight into the next episode to see how Marty and Wendy were going to get out of - or, more likely, deeper into - their newest potentially fatal predicament.
"You don't get it, do you?" Marty and Wendy are asked in the show's final confrontation. "You don't get to win. The world doesn't work like that."
As everything crashes down around them, their last shot at freedom and their dream of getting away with their ill-gotten riches, Wendy drops her pleading pretence and replies with calculating tenacity and spirited defiance.
"Since when?" she sneers back.
As the credits rolled for the final time the Byrdes were both irreparably changed and back at square one. So close to getting everything they wanted yet, as always, so far.