All the 'Ozark' Twists to Remember Before Season 4, Part 1
The Netflix hit is back after a long time away. Here's what you need to know.
As a general rule, the characters on Netflix's money-laundering saga Ozark tend to pair their professional victories with great personal losses. Like in most crime dramas, wealth, power, and influence come at a great (and often bloody) price. For Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney), millions of dollars in cartel cash and a robust casino business in Missouri means being estranged from your children, ruining your already shaky marriage, and, in Wendy's case, having your brother killed. On Ozark, more money always means more problems.
But with the nearly two-year delay between Season 3's finale and the premiere of the first part of the final season this week, you might have forgotten the specifics of some of those problems. Is the Byrde family getting friendlier with the FBI? (Sure, probably.) Do they still own a local strip club? (Yes, I think so?) Is Darlene Snell still hooking up with Ruth's cousin Wyatt? (Of course.)
With Season 4 likely tightening its focus as it approaches an endgame, not all of these threads will not be as important as they might appear. To help you out, we've gone ahead and answered some of the big questions that will hopefully minimize your confusion when you sit down to rejoin the Byrdes in their dark, shadowy Midwestern paradise. Here's what you need to know.
How did Wendy's brother Ben die?
Poor Ben. When actor Tom Pelphrey showed up as Wendy's troubled brother Ben (in Season 3, it was reasonable to guess he was not going to make it through the season finale. His romance with Ruth (Julia Garner), his friendship with Jonah (Skylar Gaertner), and his rocky dynamic with Wendy, who has increasingly made drastic moves to secure her family's financial and political interests, made him a likely candidate to die.
After he revealed the true nature of drug attorney Helen Pierce's unethical work to her daughter Erin (Madison Thompson), compromising Marty and Wendy's delicate relationship with cartel boss Omar Navarro (Felix Solis), Ben wasn't long for this world. Following a tearful conversation at a diner, Wendy gave him up to Helen's enforcer, Nelson (Nelson Bonilla), a decision that will undoubtedly reverberate through the final season.
What happened to Helen Pierce?
Where Ben's death felt inevitable, Helen's untimely demise was more surprising. Played by Janet McTeer, Helen was one of the many thorns in Marty and Wendy's side throughout Season 2 and Season 3, though she also shared a personal connection with them. For a period, it seemed like they might be able to get rich together and stay on relatively good terms. After Ben blew up Helen's personal life, there was no way back and the Byrdes basically had to make themselves more essential to Navarro than Helen. They do this by helping to eliminate his competitors, which involved some tricky business with doctored drone footage. (Honestly, you don't really need to remember that part.)
Here's what's important: Navarro brought Marty, Wendy, and Helen down to Mexico for a baptism, where he had Helen executed right in front of Marty and Wendy. RIP Helen Pierce.
Where did Marty leave things with Ruth?
Not good! Ruth is obviously mad at Marty and Wendy for having Ben killed, and more generally for being repeatedly lied to at many points throughout her time with the family. So, looking to make some moves, she joined up with Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) and her cousin Wyatt (Charlie Tahan). Expect her to launch her own money-laundering schemes to clean up the money from Darlene's heroin business. At the same time, the show's creators won't be able to resist pairing her up with Marty and Wendy for some scenes where they all yell and throw mean looks at one another.
What's going on with Jonah and Charlotte?
Those crazy kids. From the beginning, Jonah and Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) have been more involved in their parents' criminal activities than most TV crime-show kids. But last season, which ended with teenage Jonah waving a shotgun in Helen Pierce's face before deciding ultimately not to execute her, really pushed that element of the series to the limit. While Charlotte has become more curious about her folks' business, Jonah has grown increasingly alienated from his parents, who did have his favorite uncle killed. So expect the two of them to be as functionally dysfunctional as ever—after all, that's the Ozark way.