The Ozark Season 4 Finale Isn’t Satisfying, However It Is Sincere

Spoilers forward for Ozark season 4.

Who did you overestimate this season? I take advantage of the phrase “overestimate,” as a result of Ozark, the prestige-adjacent Netflix drama a few Chicago household lured into laundering cash for a drug cartel, has already performed with making the underneathestimated its heroes. Take Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), whose petite body, mop of white-blonde curls, and grating Southern Missouri accent stamped her as non-threatening till her brilliance may now not be ignored, and he or she ascended as Marty Byrde’s (Jason Bateman) right-hand girl and eventual rival.

However as a lot as Ozark has loved how simply we underestimate sure characters—ladies, specifically—the present is in the end about who we overestimate and why. Who’s it we anticipate may do the correct factor, solely to drag the set off on their worst inclinations many times? Can these folks be redeemed, if we proceed to consider in them? These are massive questions for a drama to grapple with, and I’m not satisfied Ozark, in its entirety, does an suave job of addressing them. However I do suppose the finale episode provides some solutions about who we overestimate, why, and the way that traps us. (For me, this season? I overestimated Clare Shaw. However we’ll get there.)

Let’s begin initially of the finale, aptly titled “A Onerous Method To Go.” A lot of season 4 has meandered because it makes an attempt to tie off a dozen unfastened ends, however “A Onerous Method To Go” opens with speedy depth: Ruth is burying Nelson (Nelson Bonilla), the Navarro cartel hitman despatched to spy on the Ozarks operation, on the backside of her unfinished swimming pool. After tapping her shovel to easy over any disturbed filth, she lifts her gaze to fulfill that of Wyatt’s (Charlie Tahan), her cousin who died by the hands of Javi Elizonndro (Alfonso Herrera). (You’ll recall that Ruth lately killed Javi, Omar Navarro’s (Felix Solis) nephew and the cartel inheritor, in retaliation.) This Wyatt is an apparition, after all, however that doesn’t make the unhappy smile he offers her any much less gut-wrenching. You may virtually hear him say, It by no means ends, does it?

And finish it doesn’t, as Marty pulls into the drive to interrupt her grave-digging with a plea of his personal. His spouse, Wendy (the beautiful Laura Linney), has checked herself right into a psychological hospital in an try to forestall her father, Nathan (Richard Thomas), from taking their children again with him to North Carolina. Wendy is perhaps a horrible mother or father, however she refuses to let her youngsters endure by the hands of Nathan, an alcoholic who beat and manipulated her as a child. Marty has lastly reached a breaking level as he makes an attempt to concurrently assuage the cartel, the FBI, and his household, so he performs his nastiest card: If Ruth doesn’t assist him win again his children, he’ll inform the cartel that she killed Javi. Backed right into a nook, Ruth agrees.

julia garner as ruth langmore in season 4 part 2 episode 1of ozark

TINA ROWDEN/NETFLIX

On the home, Marty meets with Camila, Omar’s sister and the Byrde household’s ally as they try to a) kill Omar and b) fulfill their take care of the FBI. They sketch out their plan, which entails a cell switch by which Omar will “escape” solely to get gunned down, and Camila will take over the cartel, as long as she continues making common funds to America’s best regulation enforcement company. However Camila desires to fulfill with the FBI first to appease any doubts, and Marty agrees. In the meantime, Ruth confronts Wendy on the psychological hospital, the place she tells her she’ll attempt to get the children again on her aspect. But when she fails, she will be able to’t be held accountable for it. (Shedding her youngsters’s allegiance is on Wendy, of us.) Wendy agrees, and Ruth lastly admits she’s sorry for letting Ben (Tom Pelphrey), Wendy’s brother, out of the identical precise psychological hospital final season. If she’d have left him alone, regardless of his struggling, he’d nonetheless be alive.

“Simply how dangerous is it in right here?” she asks Wendy.

“Unhealthy,” Wendy says.

“But it surely’s bearable, proper?”

Wendy shrugs. “All the things’s bearable.”

Extra on that later.

Ruth withdraws a gun from her protected and visits Nathan in his motel room on the Lazy O, with the premise of toasting Ben’s life and demise. For the primary jiffy of their dialog, Ruth performs into Nathan’s misogyny: They talk about Wendy’s “status” for promiscuity as a toddler, a trait Nathan clearly resented whereas ignoring Ben’s personal oat-sowing and penchant for “unfastened ladies.” “Effectively, you beat her,” Ruth says, smiling

sweetly. After Nathan’s face falls—“How’s that?”—her eyelashes flutter. “You received! You bought Jonah and Charlotte! And for what it’s value, each beating that I ever bought from my daddy, I knew it was my fault.”

However we all know the act received’t final lengthy, and inside minutes, Ruth’s switched off the doe-eyes. “You do not even fucking need them, do you?” she asks. More and more agitated because the dialog grows frosty, Nathan admits his actual intentions: He solely desires custody over Charlotte and Jonah to punish his daughter. “She was a slut and a humiliation,” he says. As he turns to put the whiskey bottle on ice, Ruth pulls out her gun and shoots a glass on the counter, exploding it into items. Charlotte (Sofia Hubliz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) come operating, and Ruth calls for Nathan inform them the reality behind his custody battle—or she’ll shoot him within the dick. (This present has a factor for dick-shooting.)

Chastened by this revelation, the children go to go to their mom on the psychological facility. They share a touching change, by which Wendy admits it’s her fault, not Ruth’s, that Ben is lifeless. “He would have gotten us all killed. However we should always by no means have been there,” she says, as Jonah—the kid most damaged up by Ben’s loss and Wendy’s betrayal—stares on the ground. “However the fact is Ben is lifeless as a result of I’m egocentric, and I trapped him.” Lastly, Jonah meets his mom’s eyes.

skylar gaertner as jonah byrde, sofia hublitz as charlotte byrde in season 4 part 2 episode 2 of ozark

COURTESY OF NETFLIX

She continues: “Your dad and I had been making an attempt to construct one thing for all of us, and I promise I can’t entice you inside it.” I discover this line notably fascinating, given how this episode ends. However I promise—we’ll get there.

All of them depart the psychological hospital as a household, Wendy having achieved her job of getting the gang again collectively. As she climbs into the passenger seat, she shoots Marty a candy, nearly bashful smile. “You actually did not must threaten Ruth,” she says, as if it’s essentially the most romantic gesture her husband has ever tried. Within the Byrdes’s love language, it most likely is.

Lastly, we attain the second first foreshadowed initially of season 4, when the Byrdes are cruising house to the tune of Sam Cooke, just for a semi-truck to float into oncoming visitors. Marty swerves to keep away from the collision, and their automotive goes hovering, flipping a number of occasions till it involves a smoldering, lethal nonetheless. Marty climbs out first, together with Jonah after which Charlotte, however Wendy is unresponsive.

I’ll be sincere. There was a second the place I assumed this is perhaps how the story ended. It will be becoming, in a twisted, ugly means. Season 4 has spent lots of its greatest Marty-Wendy scenes emphasizing the dynamics of their marriage: Wendy pushes for management, and Marty acquiesces, partly as a result of she’s erratic, but in addition as a result of he loves her. (Needless to say, in Ozark’s pilot episode, Marty spent the primary half obsessive about the truth that his spouse was dishonest on him, and the second half desperately making an attempt to guard her.) Whether or not or not it’s true, he feels, by now, that every thing he’s accomplished this season—going to Mexico, cooperating with the FBI, threatening Ruth—is for his spouse. And every thing she’s accomplished is in a deranged try to purchase the household its freedom, as an alternative digging deeper and deeper right into a gap from which they’ll by no means climb out. It will be sick, although acceptable, for her efforts to finish so anti-climatically, so tragically, and for Marty and the kids to be left alone to face the implications. However I ought to have identified that, irrespective of how unrealistic it is perhaps, the Byrdes would escape the automotive crash unscathed. If we as an viewers have not been satisfied by now that they’re untouchable, watching them flee their mangled minivan with out a lot as a scratch will do the trick.

After Father Benitez (Bruno Bichir) warns Marty and Wendy that Nelson is lacking and Omar desires to see them, Marty visits Ruth to verify Nelson’s on the backside of her pool. He provides her to offer her a brand new identification after Omar’s assassination, however she refuses: “I like my title.” So he invitations her, because the on line casino’s new possession, to fulfill with the cartel and FBI, the place they’ll hammer down the small print of their laundering association.

Shortly after, Omar tells Marty and Wendy that he is aware of his sister, Camila, was behind the try on his life, and he’s ready to order a success on her in retaliation. The Byrdes agree to assist, with a purpose to keep the ruse. Again alongside the lake, Ruth shares a candy scene together with her members of the family, all however certainly one of them—her cousin Three (Carson Holmes)—imagined. (The others have fallen, one after the other, to the Byrdes’s machinations over the seasons.) In hindsight, I ought to have identified this second would function our emotional farewell to one of many present’s greatest characters. Ruth is able to transfer on. However the Byrdes won’t ever let her.

jason bateman as marty byrde, laura linney as wendy byrde in season 4 part 2 episode 5 of ozark

TINA ROWDEN/NETFLIX

Subsequent, the FBI-Belle-Navarro-Byrde assembly commences on the Byrdes’s funeral parlor. They agree on the plan: Omar shall be transferred and killed. Camila will take over for the Navarro cartel however keep funds to the FBI. Ruth and Rachel (Jordana Spiro) will launder the cartel’s cash by way of the Belle, with the assist and clearance of the FBI. Everybody agrees, and it looks as if—possibly, lastly—the Byrdes are within the clear. Wendy says too-da-loo to her abusive father, shopping for his silence with a donation to Ben’s missing-person fund. When she returns house, her household is already dressed for the night time’s gala, and it serves as a symbolic gesture: Wendy has her husband and her children again, they usually’re all on her aspect, irrespective of the horrors she’s accomplished.

The night is a flurry of champagne and robes because the Byrdes dance underneath the donations flooding into their basis. “So we’re bulletproof,” Wendy says, slightly dose of on-the-nose dialogue in case the automotive crash wasn’t a powerful sufficient indicator of their invulnerability. Feeling haughty, Wendy cuts ties with Senator Schaefer (Bruce Davison); she now not wants to assist him in election fraud so he’ll get Omar off the SDN record. However Ozark will not let Wendy fly excessive for too lengthy. As Omar is transferred and shot within the chest, Camila materializes on the gala, interrupting a dialog between Marty, Wendy and Shaw Medical CEO Clare Shaw (Katrina Lenk).

And right here is the place my very own instincts failed me. Marty and Wendy might need underestimated Clare’s ingenuity, however I overestimated her humanity. Certain, she agreed to fund her Purdue-adjacent pharmaceutical firm with drug cash, however that I learn as a transfer of desperation somewhat than corruption. But it surely’s as if Ozark is cackling within the face of such naive assumptions: Of course she’s simply as corrupted as the remaining. When Camila begins digging deeper into the night time Javi died, threatening a ugly demise for anybody she discovers is mendacity to her, Clare crumples like a greenback invoice. She’s afraid, sure, however she’s additionally calculating. Her eyes shift and her lips twist as she steels herself to confess the reality: “It was Ruth Langmore.” She’s not so terrified that she will be able to’t lie on behalf of the Byrdes—keep in mind, she’s bought a contract set with them—however Ruth? Ruth’s demise she will be able to stay with.

The Byrdes panic, however Camila warns that in the event that they do something to warn their pal, she’ll kill them and their children. Marty and Wendy attempt to organize a plan, however there’s nothing, completely nothing, they’ll do, they usually comprehend it. “I’m scared I’ll lose you,” Wendy tells her husband, as if this may lastly be the factor they’ll’t survive, the factor that may tear them aside. However as she herself informed Ruth earlier this episode, “All the things’s bearable,” and Marty’s identified it for some time now. “You received’t,” he tells Wendy, embracing her. “You received’t.”

And so Ruth’s destiny is ready. She drives house to find Camila ready for her, and the brand new cartel matriarch—dressed all in black—shoots the redneck wildcard, clad in white. She bleeds out, alone on the filth highway.

skylar gaertner as jonah byrde, sofia hublitz as charlotte byrde, laura linney as wendy byrde, jason bateman as marty byrde in season 4 part 2 episode 7 of ozark

COURTESY OF NETFLIX

After the gala wraps, the Byrde household returns house, and Marty and Wendy change “I really like you”s earlier than ambling into the home to mourn. However, after all, there’s damaged glass on the ground, and ready exterior for them is Mel Sattem (Adam Rothenberg), the detective they lately had reinstated to the Chicago police drive. Regardless of how badly Mel desires his job again, his conscience received’t let him ignore the Byrdes, and he lastly has proof of their wrongdoing: He’s clutching the goat-shaped cookie jar that holds Ben’s ashes, and subsequently his DNA. With such a trump card, he can derail all of their makes an attempt at freedom. The Byrdes supply to pay him any quantity his coronary heart wishes, however he’s sickened by their excuses. “You don’t get it, do you?” he says. “You don’t get to win. World doesn’t work like that.”

It is proper that Wendy needs to be the one to close him down, with Linney’s signature prim supply. “Since when?” she asks. And so the digicam pans to Jonah, standing close to the home and aiming a shotgun at their house invader. (Followers will acknowledge this as a callback to prior seasons, by which Jonah demonstrates his unnerving talent as a sharp-shooter.) In a very chilling directorial alternative, each Marty and Wendy smile with delight. The final shot of the sequence is of their faces, watching Mel as if daring him to run. The display goes black, and we hear a single shotgun blast. The credit roll. Ozark is lastly over.

“Cash is, at its essence, that measure of a person’s selections,” Marty Byrde informed us within the first episode of Ozark season 1, although, actually, he was speaking to a pair of potential shoppers at his monetary agency. With this argument, Marty laid out the present’s central thesis: These corrupted sufficient to make the grotesque selections, these most prepared to warp their humanity to play within the mud, will reap the rewards of a twisted system. However each alternative comes with a consequence, and with its ultimate seconds, Ozark re-establishes that the Byrdes won’t ever be freed from theirs. Ruth is lifeless, however each Rachel and Three will wish to know what occurred to her. Mel is lifeless, however the Chicago PD will examine his disappearance. Camila is in cost, however she’s no much less ruthless than her brother, and ultimately she’ll name upon the Byrdes for greater than a on line casino. And what in regards to the FBI? What occurs once they tire of their deal?

Past all these plot factors that make sure the Byrdes will stay within the crime cycle, the finale reminds us that such destruction is a household affair. Over the course of the present, each Jonah and Charlotte sought an escape from their mother and father, the previous by way of Ben and later Ruth, the latter by way of emancipation again in season 2. Within the finale, Wendy guarantees she received’t “entice” her youngsters contained in the beast she and Marty have constructed. However after all she is going to; she already has. She trapped them the second the household moved to the Ozarks, arguably lengthy earlier than that, when Marty first started his work for the cartel.

I’m not satisfied Jonah was the correct individual to drag the set off on this ultimate episode; he’d spent the vast majority of season 4 livid along with his mother and father, and I’m unsure he’d be sucked again in shortly sufficient to homicide an harmless man. However Ozark clearly disagrees: That is the bond of blood, and extra importantly, the bond of cash. Jonah’s had a style along with his laundering work for Ruth and the Snells. That habit sucks everybody in and destroys all in its path. From the start, Marty and Wendy by no means had an actual escape route, however essentially the most heartbreaking revelation is that this: Neither did their youngsters. Ozark’s finale may not be the satisfying finish we needed, but it surely does capitalize on a core fact.

I overestimated Ozark’s characters, simply as I overestimated the present’s arc towards decision. However actually, isn’t that the purpose? Regardless of how a lot we yearn for freedom, nobody escapes unscathed—in the event that they handle to flee in any respect.

Lauren Puckett-Pope
Affiliate Editor Lauren Puckett-Pope is an affiliate editor at ELLE, the place she covers information and tradition.

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