After three unpredictable seasons, Ozark’s final season is just around the corner. The Netflix crime drama’s fourth season will be released in two separate parts, as if viewers weren’t already at the edge of their seats following that jaw-dropping moment in season three (Wendy Byrde, I’m looking at you). Fans of the show have already formed their theories on what will happen to the Byrde family and who will prevail in the bizarre world of drug trafficking and money laundering.
It is bittersweet to realize that the fates of the Byrde family who are ruthless and yet, endearing, will finally be revealed. It’s been a long and stressful journey of murder, deceit, and betrayal and viewers loved every minute of it. Now, with the final season fast approaching, here’s what to expect and a recap of the past three seasons to get you ready for what’s coming.
Yes, the fictional family is terrifying, the matriarch, Wendy Byrde, alone sends chills down my spine. Especially after the third season when we witnessed the lengths she will go to protect her husband and her children. Without sprinkling in any spoilers, I’ll just say I’m going to keep a very close eye on Wendy Byrde and am quietly rooting for Ruth to prevail above all others. She’s long overdue justice despite her violent past. Ruth has been groomed and chipped away by an unforgiving world where a family of convicts and bad eggs taints her image before she has the opportunity to become an adult. She’s learning to thrive among criminals and seemingly enjoys hatching schemes to get her way.
The show does an authentically beautiful job of encapsulating the class divide in America and how desperation leads many down a dark path that is both traumatizing and seemingly impossible to recover from. You become consumed by the shadows cast by poverty and isolation. The eerie tones of the show complement the twist turns of each season.
‘Ozark’ Season 1 and All its Glory
Season one was an immediate success. The season rarely carried a dull moment and ever so kindly offered episodes with excruciating cliffhangers that left viewers needing to find out what could possibly happen next. Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, and Julia Garner give stellar performances that make these toxic characters feel a little too authentic, like terrifyingly tangible. The opening of season one introduces Bateman as a typical and generic husband who’s slowly unraveling as his side business of money laundering for the Mexican cartel leaves his business partner with a bullet to the head.
With one of the few normal reactions exhibited by the Byrde family, they flee their upper-class bubble and head toward the obscure landscape of the Ozarks. Thankfully for viewers, their insanely dramatic past catches up with them and they become absorbed by a world riddled with crime and violent interactions. Marty Byrde meets Ruth, a young woman filled with tenacity and serious business potential. She’s an entrepreneur restrained by her family history. So, she has to fight to show what she is capable of and from there, she proves herself to be ruthless and smart enough to become a worthy ally of Marty. By the end of season one, viewers realize that Ruth’s ambition is boundless and will grasp at any opportunity for a chance to make it in a world that hasn’t offered her any favors.
Season 2 Was Everything We Wanted
In season two, we learn of Marty’s plan to invest in a boat casino that will offer enough profits for his family to flee yet again. Have we learned nothing from season one Marty? In true Byrde fashion, Marty is faced with extreme roadblocks that derails said plan. He devises a scheme to use the Navarro cartel’s money to create a profit-producing casino. Wendy, on the other hand, intends to stay in the Ozark and thrive by joining the political ranks to gain power and influence. To Wendy’s defense, it seems very difficult to sustainably hide from the cartel. Somehow, it seems reasonable to make yourself visible and your political prowess. By now, viewers are perfectly aware of Wendy’s thirst for societal power.
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As if the Mexican cartel wasn’t enough for the Byrde family adventures, Marty somehow finds himself working alongside the Kansas City Mafia. The final episodes of season two feature Marty juggling his successful casino boat incepted by cartel money, navigating the complicated web of the cartel, and now in cahoots with the Kansas City Mafia who aren’t shy of violence. Now, we have Wendy impressing the cartel with her political ambitions and their daughter who’s exhausted by all the dangers and is ready to become emancipated from her family. I mean, can we blame her?
Season 3 and Wendy Byrde
This was Wendy’s season. If we learned anything following season three, do not cross anyone remotely similar to Wendy Byrde. She might be more terrifying than the Mexican cartel and the Kansas City Mafia combined. Her insatiable craving for political power and her loyalties to her family are far too extreme to be considered admirable. Audiences are introduced to Wendy’s troubled brother, Ben Davis, who overtly shares Wendy’s anger issues. Again, without spoiling the show’s most intense season yet, Wendy’s merciless nature becomes heartbreakingly exposed.
We suspect Marty is sleeping with one eye open from now on. Ruth is left questioning her loyalties to the Byrde family and joins the oddly paired team of her cousin and the psychopathic Darlene Snell.
Preparing for Season 4
Will the Byrde ever settle into a life without federal crime and actual murder? If the pattern continues, realistically not. Peace is hard to envision for the Byrde family but never say never. It’s time to brace ourselves for an emotional season that will close the chapter on years of drama, episode-induced anxiety and an unsettling family business that just crawled beneath our skin and terrified us, more than anything but I feel confident enough to speak for many viewers.
Cast: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, Sofia Hublitz, Skylar Gaertner, Lisa Emery
Writers: Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams, Chris Mundy, Ning Zhou, and more
By Gina Michele Yaniz
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Gina Michele Yaniz is a writer and digital media content creator with a deep love for storytelling. Charmed by the notable influence of the entertainment industry, Gina is passionate about uplifting the voices of artists and celebrating powerful material. She likes to embody the philosophy of writing through a non-judgmental and a genuine perspective while expanding the perception of film industry. Along with Hollywood Insider, Gina values the responsibility the media holds and wishes to use her writing to provide meaningful content. During her free time, Gina loves to watch period pieces, stand-up comedy, and indulges on her avid interest for reading articles on self-care.