When we last left the mayhem that is Ozark, Ruth had discovered the bodies of Darlene and her cousin Wyatt. Not long after Javi (the new head of the Navarro drug cartel) had shot both of them. Darlene, for not heeding their warning about continuing to selling her drug crop, and poor Wyatt for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. That is what REALLY set Ruth off. She was determined to find the culprit and make them pay. Once she found out who it was.
She finds out once she questions the Byrde children. Charlotte tells her that Javi had pulled the trigger and goes on to tell her that her parents are scheduled to meet Javi in Chicago the following day. Its the old joke of the three fastest ways to spread information: Telephone, Telegraph, and apparently, tell Charlotte. So Ruth now knows where to find Javi.
Trying to head off Ruth
Knowing Ruth, Wendy is concerned that she WILL kill Javi, putting their plans in jeopardy. She goes to visit Ruth, trying to convince her NOT to kill him. Good luck with that. Wendy also tells Ruth that Javi had left for Mexico and would not be back for months. If she would just wait, she could kill him when he returns. Ruth knows this is a lie because of her conversation with Charlotte. But she plays along. Still planning to a trip to Chicago.
WWWD (What Would Wyatt Do?)
After borrowing a gun from Frank, Jr. who shed no tears for Darlene’s demise (since she had killed his father), Ruth jumps in her car for a trip to Chicago. As she waits, she has visions of just walking up to Javi and shooting him in front of God and everybody (as my mother used to say). But she is smarter than that. However, a phone call from her cousin Three (Wyatt’s younger brother) almost derails her plans. He tells her Wyatt would not approve.
However, seeing as how the Byrdes will seemingly walk away unscathed from this whole situation, Ruth decides to follow through. She had lost so much while Marty and Wendy continued to prosper. She needed to throw a monkey wrench in their plans. And if she could avenge Wyatt while she was at it, why not?
Javi, Meet Ruth
She walks into a meeting between the Byrdes and Clare Shaw (head of Shaw Medical) that has been getting drugs from the cartel. Ruth enters with her gun and tells Clare how terrible Marty and Wendy are. She also asks them to call Javi and request that he come to their meeting now. No sooner than he arrives Ruth shoots him multiple times, killing him.
Cleaning up the Mess
That leaves Wendy, Marty, Clare and especially Ruth with big problems. With Omar (the real head of the Navarro Cartel) still in prison, Javi’s death means that no one is there to keep the drugs and money flowing. So long to their deal with Shaw Medical, Wendy’s foundation and quite likely, Ruth’s life. They need to clean up the mess quickly. Unfortunately, that means going back to Omar with the news. Sort of…no mention is made of Ruth.
Running the Cartel
Omar tells Marty that he will need to go to Mexico and assume control of the Cartel until he is freed. He will make it known that Omar was responsible for Javi’s death. The assumption being that fear will keep his men in line. Of course, that also meant his sister and Javi’s mother Camila now thought that Omar had her son killed. Nothing good will come from that.
Auditing the Books
This comes to fruition pretty quickly as one of the inmates attacks Omar. He is able to survive the assault but ends up in a coma. At the time, no one knew who ordered the hit on Omar. It would be one of the things Marty would need to figure out. He was also told before Omar’s ‘incident” to go over the books and make sure all was on the up and up…as far as a drug cartel’s books could be. He found a discrepancie. Someone was skimming from the profits. Not a wise idea.
Marty finds the cuprit, Arturo Carbrera. He has him locked up and tortured until he admits to fudging the books. But that was not all Marty wanted him to confess to. He wanted Arturo to cop to ordering the hit on Omar. While he admitted to doctoring the books, he denied the latter. Regardless, Marty has him executed. It was only after returning home that Marty realized that it was Camila who ordered the hit on Omar seeking vengeance for Javi.
Flashback to Ben
Meanwhile, Wendy’s father Nathan had hired former police detective Mel to check into Ben’s disappearance. This allowed for a flashback to show what had happened to Ben once Wendy had left him at the restaurant. It revealed what we already knew. Navarro hit man Nelson picked him up, forced him at gunpoint into his car, drove him to an undisclosed location and shot him. Once again we are reminded how much of a crime it was for Tom Pelfrey not to have been nominated for an Emmy for his performance as Ben.
Ruth Comes into Some Money
With Darlene out of the way, Ruth sells the rest of Darlene’s heroine and has some money to invest. She flies up to Florida to visit Rachel Garrison who we’ve not seen since Season One. She wants for Rachel to partner with her for a business, buying the Missouri Belle. She needs Rachel since Ruth has a criminal record and cannot have her name on the business license.
Rachel agrees to return to the Ozarks to assist Ruth. When they make the Byrdes an offer to buy the Belle, Wendy tells Rachel that Ruth killed Javi. That is kind of a deal breaker for Rachel. But Marty tells Wendy he is considering Ruth’s offer.
Later, Marty returns home and finds Camilla talking to Wendy. It seems that Wendy had invited Camilla to talk to Clare about their original deal which Javi had negotiated that included stock options for Camilla. Marty had no idea that Wendy had set this in motion. At their meeting, Camilla intimidates Clare into agreeing to resume their deal for 5 years and donating $150 million to the Byrde Foundation. You KNEW there had to be something in it for Wendy.
Rachel and Ruth
While Rachel was reluctant to work with Ruth, a visit to see Tuck, who used to work with her at the Blue Cat changes her mind. Marty was supposed to keep Tuck and his job. But after finding out that Tuck no longer worked for the the Blue Cat, she called Marty, told him off and decided to work with Ruth. As long as she told her the truth about things from now on.
Acquiring the Missour Belle
The first thing they do is to see a lawyer. Ruth was Wyatt’s legal guardian after his father passed. Because of this and Wyatt’s marriage to Darlene, Ruth had acquired Darlene’s shares of the Belle. However, there was still the problem of Ruth’s criminal record. If she could somehow get a judge to expunge her record, which were mainly juvenile offenses, she could get the business license under HER name.
Clearing Ruth’s Record
In addition, a visit with Charles Wilkes allows Ruth to purchase his shares of the Belle (which he sold just to spite the Byrdes). This gave Ruth controlling interest in the Casino. Provided she could get the judge to agree to clear her record. Which after a research into Ruth’s record and a visit to her home…as it was, she agreed to do. Now Ruth had controlling interest in the Belle under HER name.
Finding a New Laundering Service
Which also meant Marty would need to find another place to launder the Navarro drug money. Not what he needed right now, especially with now having both Omar AND Camilla breathing down his neck. However, Ruth would still host his and Wendy’s foundation party on the Belle. He just wouldn’t be able to do his money laundering business as usual there.
No Changing Her Mind
As much as Marty tries to pursuade Ruth to change her mind and allow him one more influx of cartel money, she refuses. Even though he explains that the cartel would come for her due to her blocking their transactions. Ruth believes that is Marty’s problem. Find some other way of laundering the funds. She is trying to run a legitmate business now that her slate is clean…other than the small matter of killing Javi. Wendy has other ideas, deciding to sick the Navarro hitman on Rachel to scare her into getting Ruth to comply.
In the meantime, Omar has recovered from his coma and demands to see Marty and Wendy. Camilla is there so Wendy tells Omar that until they can arrange for his release, he should turn the cartel over to Camilla instead of Marty. He agrees to this, seeing how Camilla is family. But he still wants Marty and Wendy to expedite his removal from the SDN (Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list.) As long as Omar is on it, he cannot be extradited back to Mexico. He is tired of waiting. Now giving them days instead of weeks to accomplish it.
Ben’s Fate Comes to Light
But that’s not all of their problems. Mel, in his work for Nathan has discovered photos of Ben and Wendy and most importantly, pictures of Nelson with Ben at the restaurant. Mel has also discovered Wendy and Marty’s work with the cartel. With this information in hand, Nathan has stopped searching for Ben. Now he wants custody of Charlotte and Jonah since he believes them to be in danger due to Wendy and Marty’s drug relationships.
Dealing with Mel
Wendy has not intention of letting her father take her children. But Nathan had filed legal papers and there is a court date pending. Mel will testify on Nathan’s behalf. This put’s Wendy into panic mode. They need to find a way to keep Mel from testifying. Short of the preferred method these days in the Ozarks. They will need to get Mel back on the Chicago police force. Something that he really desired. The hope is that he will jump at that chance and not testify.
Camilla vs. Omar
Wendy and Marty pull some strings to get Mel re-instated but it delays Omar’s SDN issues…again. Wendy decides that they would not NEED to deal with Omar if he is dead. She hopes to talk Camilla to arrange it so she can take permanent control of the Cartel. Especially since she believes that Omar had her son killed. Surprisingly…or NOT surprisingly, she appears to agree. But she wants to talk to Omar one more time.
Charlotte and Jonah
The day of the custody battle for Charlotte and Jonah comes and just as Wendy had hoped, Mel doesn’t show once he is told he has been re-instated. However, the judge decides since Charlotte was 18, and Jonah had been living in a Hotel for the past few months, they were old enough to decide for themselves where they stayed. Unfortunately for Wendy, they chose to go with Nathan. But Wendy would not let that go without a fight. More due to appearances than anything else.
Wendy goes to her father and offers him 2 million dollars if he would just take off and leave her children with her. He considers it. 2 million would certainly make it possible for a new start. But he tells her he would just as soon keep the kids. He then tells her to leave before he calls the police and she can explain why she is carrying a bag with millions of dollars in it. Round 1 goes to Nathan.
Brother and Sister Reminisce
Back in prison, Camilla visits Omar and talks to him about the past. This prompts Omar to admit to Camilla that he was NOT responsible for Javi’s death. He had just made it appear like he was. However, he could not tell her who HAD pulled the trigger. Regardless, the conversation made Omar realize two things. Camilla had been the one who tried to have him killed. And she could be getting ready to try it again as she appeared to be saying goodbye.
Committed to Her Children
Wendy’s next step to thwart Nathan is to try to commit herself to the same psychiatric hospital that she had put her brother Ben in. They had refused in her previous attempt but took her in when she exclaimed that they would either admit her, or she was going to kill her father. Surely her children wouldn’t leave their mother when she was ill? That was the hope anyway.
A New Life
Ruth meanwhile was enjoying some of the perks of her newfound wealth. She had some of the old trailers torn down and would be building a fancy new house there, complete with pool. Starting a whole new life. Seeing as she was starting over and Jonah was going away, she brought him Ben’s ashes which were kept in a goat cookie jar. Ben had always told Ruth he would one day raise goats. Pretty fitting. In the meantime, she would spend her free time watching her pool being built.
An Unwanted Vistor
Of course, Ozark being Ozark, things are never quite so simple. Just as Marty warned, the Navarro cartel sent their hitman Nelson to visit Ruth. The problem was that Ruth was not there. Rachel was and Ruth, once she found out, called Rachel to warn her. She told her to grab her rifle and go to the roof of her trailer. Once Nelson had pulled up and gotten out of his SUV, Rachel shot him.
First Person in the Pool
Ruth arrived not long after and told Rachel she should not feel guilty. It would have been him or her. But they still had the body to deal with. As luck would have it, Ruth’s new pool was scheduled to have the cement spread in the next morning. So she dug a hole in the middle of the pool, put Nelson in it and filled it back in nice and level. The next morning the crew was there to set the pool. No more Mr. Bad Guy.
An Offer She Couldn’t Refuse
Needless to say, it didn’t take long for the Cartel to miss their wayward cleaner. Nor did it take long for Marty to know who to ask about what became of him. How he knew that Nelson was at the bottom of her pool, I’m not sure but it was just one more thing to add on to the list. Regardless, Marty had another job for Ruth. He told her he wanted her to force Nathan to leave their children alone. If she didn’t, he would tell Camilla who shot Javi. Wendy is rubbing off on him. Not given much of a choice, she went to see Nathan.
Bringing out the Real Nathan
In previous conversations with Nathan, Ruth knew he was an alchoholic and pretty much a huge jerk. So she figured she could get him to spill his guts about what he REALLY wants with the kids by plying him with licquor. It works pretty well. The only reason he wants Charlotte and Noah is to hurt Wendy. She had been an embarrassment to him from when she was young. Even though he had tried to beat the disrespect out of her back then. (No wonder she left him). He told Ruth he would do the same to Charlotte and Noah to keep them in line.
A Shot of Truth
Ruth then pulled a gun on Nathan and told him that he would tell Charlotte and Noah everything he had just told her. He resisted at first, until she placed a shot next to him. Both Noah and Charlotte, who were close by, came running in to see what had happened. Apparently, Nathan spilled the beans about what this custody battle was all about. Because the next time you see the kids, they are visiting Wendy at the Psychiatric Ward.
Revisiting the Opening Scene
If you remember, the very start of Season 4 showed an automobile accident involving the Byrdes. The results of which was not revealed…until now. The accident was just that, an accident. After they left the psychiatric hospital, a tractor trailer veered into their lane. Their van flipped as Marty tried to avoid a head on collision. Fortunately for the family, they all survived the wreck with minor scrapes and bruises. The Byrdes are made of teflon it appears.
The FBI Recruits Ruth
Meanwhile, things are coming to a head. The FBI wants to meet with Marty, Wendy, Camilla and if at all possible, Ruth. They want to see if Ruth would agree to continue to launder the cartel’s money, with their backing. While she is willing to listen, she first wants an apology from the FBI for allowing Rachel to be threatened. They concede.
Things are Changing
By the time the meeting is over, Ruth has agreed and Wendy’s foundation party is on schedule. The good news is that her money man Jim has gotten an influx of new money into her foundation. With the new source of income, Wendy doesn’t need to beg, borrow or steal anymore. Plus, good to her word, Camilla arranges for Omar to be transferred from his prison and he is killed in a staged escape attempt. Camilla is now the true head of the Navarro cartel.
At the Gala, things are looking up for Marty and Wendy. They no longer need to worry about Omar and their foundation is on solid financial ground. It appears like they may be able to pull this all off. Except, for Camilla. She approaches Marty, Wendy and Clare and intimidates Clare into admitting that Ruth had killed Javi. Camilla now knows that Marty and Wendy had not been honest with her. Regardless, she warns them that if they attempt in any way to warn Ruth she is on to her, she will have Charlotte and Noah killed.
Ruth Knows Too
Ruth doesn’t realize the danger she is in and leaves the party early. She arrives at home to see a car already there. Fearlessly, she steps out of her car and see’s Camilla, knowing what is going to happen. They stare at each other momentarily and Ruth asks her how she knew and tells her she doesn’t regret killing Javi. She then asks if Camilla is going to kill her or not. The firing of her gun answers that question with finality.
One Last Bit of Drama
After the party, the Byrdes arrive home only to realize their house has been broken into. Out in the back, Mel has returned and he is holding the Goat Cookie Jar with Ben’s ashes. Mel tells them that the more he thought about it, the more he just couldn’t let the Byrdes win. They had skirted trouble and the consequences for them all along the way. But now they would be held responsible. The DNA in the jar would tell the story.
Fade to Black
The sound of a rifle being bolted is heard and Jonah is shown pointing the gun at Mel. The screen goes to black and a shot is heard. Very Sopranoish. Is that a word? It is now.
With so much going on, this was classic Ozark. The ending was left vague enough to warrant a thousand questions. Was it Mel who was shot? Did Jonah pull a switcheroo and kill someone else? Perhaps Wendy? What would become of the the Byrdes now? Especially since Ruth is no longer there to funnel the Cartel’s funds. Will Camilla let them get away when they obviously lied to her? Speaking of Ruth, is she truly dead? So many questions… and no more Ozark to answer them. Just like the writers and creators wanted it. All and all a Soprano style ending to 4 seasons of addictive and enjoyable Ozark Chaos.
One thing is for sure, since the beginning, Ozark has been replete with OUTSTANDING performances. None more so that Julia Garner as Ruth. She has dominated the screen since season one and left nothing in reserve for this last season. Putting every bit of herself out there. Once again, like Tom Pelphrey last season, it would be a crime if she isn’t given her acting due.
Jason Bateman and Laura Linney
Same can be said for Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. Although, that is hardly a new story for those acting veterans. It was kind of nice to see Jason be able to let out the pent up frustrations his character has been holding in since Season 1. Perhaps, Marty’s trip to jail for his road rage was worth it for the therapeutic release of losing it… just once. Considering all the machinations in play, surprising it didn’t happen sooner.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Richard Thomas as Nathan. I grew up watching The Walton’s with Thomas as the quintessential scholar and blossoming writer as John-Boy Walton. I had to stare at him a good bit before I realized who he was. It’s nice to see him still plying his craft and doing it with style. Nathan was a far sight different than John Boy. But then again, Hank Williams, Jr. questioned whether Thomas could play him in his autobigraphical film: Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr. Story. Nice to see Thomas still got it.
For those of you who missed the Ozark series, it is available in it’s entirety on Netflix. Be prepared for plenty of jaw dropping, holy s**t moments. Just the kind of thing to remind you that, in comparison, your life isn’t too bad.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 18 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.