After two years, Netflix in January, answered some questions but raised many more.. Season three was filled with drama and tension, culminating with Wendy Byrde regretfully ordering a hit on her own brother and cartel head Omar Navarro unexpectedly killing Helen Pierce. Season four, which hit
As is seemingly the style with Jason Bateman-led projects, Ozark’s final season is split into two parts. The first, consisting of seven episodes, is what we’re discussing here. The second part of Ozark’s finale will come later this year at a time yet to be announced.
Below is a recap and explanation of season four part one’s ending. Beware: spoilers aplenty are below.
Ruth’s big moment
Ozark season four focused heavily on the wheeling and dealing of Marty and Wendy Byrde, trying as they always are to schmooze their way out of being brutally murdered by the cartel. But the season’s final moments were all about Ruth Langmore, one of the show’s best characters.
To recap, season four begins with the introduction of a new character: Javier, or Javi, Omar Navarro’s nephew. Navarro explains to Marty and Wendy that Javi wants the top spot in the cartel and is willing to kill Navarro and his family to get it. As a result, Navarro wants out. To achieve that, Navarro wants the Byrdes to use their contact in the FBI, Maya Miller, to broker a deal that will see him come to the US as a free citizen.
Throughout the season, the Byrdes manage to figure out such a deal with the FBI’s brass. Unfortunately, agent Miller ruins that plan by going over her superiors’ heads and having Navarro arrested. By the season’s end, Navarro is in jail and Javi is the new cartel boss.
The first time Javi meets the Byrdes, he complains about Darlene Snell, a rival heroin producer who he feels is disrespecting the cartel by operating in the Ozarks. In the final episode of season four, Javi takes matters into his own hands. He barges into Darlene’s house and fatally shoots Darlene and her new husband Wyatt Langmore.
Yes, her husband. Wyatt, who began dating the much older Darlene in season three, planned to leave Darlene earlier in the season. However, Darlene suffered a heart attack amid a confrontation with Wendy, and child services said she was unable to take care of her adopted son Zeke unless she found a partner. Instead of running away, Wyatt popped the question and the two wedded. But of course, their honeymoon was short lived thanks to Javi.
That’s what brings us to Ruth. Wyatt is Ruth’s closest relative and throughout the show she’s encouraged him to pursue a life outside of crime. Naturally she’s distraught that her young, full-of-potential cousin has been killed. As season four part one ends, Ruth is in her pick up truck, driving to get revenge on Javi.
There are two problems with this. First, Javi is an erratic head of a Mexican drug cartel, so Ruth is in grave danger. Second, the Byrde’s plan for freedom requires Javier to be alive.
A Byrde in the hand
I mentioned above that Omar Navarro is in jail by season four part one’s conclusion. That was a Byrde plan gone wrong.
The story of Ozark has been Marty and Wendy trying to figure out a way to free themselves from the grip of the cartel. At first it was simply washing a certain amount of money, but by season four the goal has changed. To rid themselves of obligation to the cartel, Wendy and Marty have to turn Mexican drug boss Omar Navarro into a free US citizen.
Conveniently, the couple’s casino operations were under investigation of FBI agent Maya Miller, who Marty spent season three trying to flip. Recall that in season three Marty supplied Miller with evidence that led to the jailing of key Lagunas cartel personell, which the Navarro cartel was at war with.
In season four, Navarro agrees to secretly give the FBI heads up about a series of guns and money drops from Mexico to the US. (Again, a major reason why Navarro wants to escape to the US is his fear that Javier will usurp him as cartel head. As such, his dealings with the FBI are kept to Navarro and the Byrdes.) Agent Miller is able to intercept these drops, and the FBI is sufficiently impressed to meet with Navarro.
Unfortunately, FBI bigwigs got a little too used to the steady stream of guns and cash. More successful interceptions mean more funding for the Bureau, so they offer Navarro a deal. Navarro is to remain drug boss for five years, during which time he’ll snitch on his own cartel from the inside. The FBI can use that intel to arrest some folks and, more importantly, keep getting more guns and money.
Navarro agrees to the deal, and the Byrde’s are finally free to move back to Chicago. That is until agent Miller goes rogue. Miller had been working with Marty and Navarro in the hopes of bringing down a killer cartel, so she’s crestfallen that her bosses are instead using Navarro as a means to score more money. Since the FBI’s deal with Navarro was completely off the record, Miller is able to get local law enforcement to arrest Navarro, a wanted criminal, as he’s at the airport en route back to Mexico.
With Navarro jailed, Javier is cartel King. Javier is convinced that Marty is behind the arrest of his uncle — unaware that Navarro had been snitching on the cartel’s money movements — and threatens to shoot him. His life is saved by Wendy, who convinces Navarro to call Javier and implore him to cut a deal with the FBI. Wendy promises that if Javi accepts the deal, Navarro will be a free man. This turns out to be a lie, as Javi does accept the deal but Navarro is left to rot in jail.
Javi’s deal is similar to his uncles. He’ll spend 10 years as an inside man for the FBI, after which time he’ll retire to the US with immunity. Feeling above the law, Javier waltzes into the Snell residence to do away with Darlene and Wyatt.
The Byrde’s, meanwhile, are free of their obligations to the cartel — unless of course a fiery blonde manages to kill Javier and blow the FBI’s deal up.