What You Need to Remember About 'Ozark' Before Starting Season 3

It's been a year and a half since the last season -- give yourself a refresher before diving in.


Netflix's Ozark, a bleak series about one man's money-laundering business and the damage it inflicts on everyone he comes in contact with, has finally returned for its third season after a nearly two-year wait. The man-in-question is Chicago accountant Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), who, in Season 1, suddenly relocated his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and their kids Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) from their comfortable city life to the middle of Missouri. 

Of course, the Byrdes can run but they can't hide. Soon, Marty's misdeeds brought trouble to his doorstep -- whether it was the Kansas City mafia, the FBI, or the Navarro Cartel, the outfit he made a deal with that led him down this whole road to begin with. It wasn't long before Marty brought his family in on his criminal business. None of these have been smart decisions -- but that's what makes for good television, we suppose!

A lot has transpired since the series first premiered (murder, infidelity, shootouts, family drama) and since it's been a while since last season ended, it's the perfect time to revisit the most important moments from Season 2 before you jump into the new episodes.

The Byrde's riverboat casino came through, but not without a fight

If you were to take the final moment in Season 2 as an indicator, the Byrde family had achieved ultimate happiness. After all, they made that seemingly impossible riverboat casino happen. But while a picture may be worth a thousand words, this visual was one big lie. 

Let's remember here: Marty's goal with this casino was to get the heck out of dodge once it was a viable business entity. Yes, the goal of this place was to continue his money-laundering services for the cartel -- casinos continually generate wealth, whether the owner is there or not --  but as we've learned with Ozark, nothing ever goes Marty's way.

What stopped them from skipping town? Wendy. If his relationship with his wife wasn't already strained -- Season 1 started off with Marty's discovery that she was cheating -- bringing his wife and kids into things created more conflict than he anticipated. Not only was she fully aware that running from the cartel was an impossible feat, she was beginning to get a taste for the criminal life herself.

Wendy proved her worth to the Navarro Cartel as the episodes progressed, using her lawyer knowledge and manipulative menace to gain a sense of power she had been missing in her odd Missouri life. While Wendy was making friends with the Mexican cartel, Marty was burning bridges with the Kansas City mafia. He never followed through on his promise to unionize the casino, leading the outfit's leader, Frank Cosgrove (John Bedford Lloyd), to send a bomb to Mr. Byrde's office. 

Between the growing conflict between each criminal outfit, the complex issues between Marty and his wife, and the lack of a positive parenting presence in their kids' lives (Charlotte tried to emancipate herself from her family while Jonah started his own little money laundering project behind their backs), Season 3 is going to have a lot of ground to cover -- and that casino will surely be at the center of things.


Who's still alive in Ozark Season 3?

The Byrde family is still in-tact, somehow. Let's be real here: This is one bloody show and the fact that the Byrdes have come out, so far, completely unscathed, is pretty baffling. 

Ruth Langmore is still thankfully with us -- Emmy-winner Julia Garner has proven herself to be a standout in the series and an Ozark without her is not a show we're vey interested in watching. Wyatt (Charlie Tahan), Ruth's cousin, is still alive, as is Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer), the cold-blooded attorney/right-hand-woman to the Navarro Cartel. 

We may see more of Rachel Garrison (Jordana Spiro), Marty's potential love interest and owner of the Blue Cat Lodge. After she had worked with the FBI in Season 2 to get dirt on the Byrdes, they sorta made up -- then she overdosed on heroin, and survived. That relationship feels like it may resurface, but who's to say? 

Let's not forget Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery), the matriarch of the Snell crime family (they're some heavy-hitters in the heroine business with connections to the Kansas City mafia). 


Who died in Ozark Season 2?

The Byrdes' perpetually naked neighbor Buddy (Harris Yulin) passed away due to heart failure after helping Wendy set fire to the Snell's opium field. We mention this death first, because, honestly, it's the one that's the least messed up. Now that that's out of the way, let's get into the bleak violence, shall we?

Preacher Mason Young (Michael Mosely): After learning that the Snells were using his river hymnals to smuggle heroin, he stood up against the crime family. While his act of bravery should be commended, this revolt led to the death of his wife Grace (Bethany Anne Lind), though we never saw her end on-screen. Their infant son Zeke became a ward of the state. This led Mason to kidnap Wendy in a rage in order to get his boy back. Things get complicated and, through the scuffle, Marty accidentally shoots him right in the neck. It's an unfortunate death that still plagues Mr. Byrde -- but it didn't stop the Byrdes from taking the baby under their care.

FBI Agent Roy Petty (Jason Butler Harner) was not a good person. But this is Ozark, a show that drastically lacks good people. The law enforcement officer was being blackmailed by the cartel, leading him to dig up any sort of dirt on the Byrdes, legally and illegally. He's the one that got Rachel to wear that wire when she was around Marty. Petty met his end at the hands of Ruth's father, Cade Langmore (Trevor Long). Bad person, meet worse person. Roy just wanted to fish in peace but after they got into an argument, Cade took a brick to the FBI agent's head and then dumped his body into the river. 

Cade's death was a high-point in the season. He was one of the more annoying characters -- an abusive father, scenery-chewing redneck stereotype. This whole time, he worked at getting his daughter to betray the Byrde family. Things came to a head when he assaulted Wendy and Charlotte while attempting to steal Marty's money.

Wendy offered him a deal Cade couldn't refuse: $500,000 to leave town. He took the money and bailed. Surprisingly, this deal was a trap. Tapping her cartel connection, one of Navarro's soldiers ended up killing Langmore. Basically, don't mess with Wendy.

We kept Jacob Snell's (Peter Mullan) death for last, because it was the biggest jaw dropper of the season. Of everyone to take him out, nobody expected Darlene to be the one to kill her husband. Mrs. Snell had already shown herself to be unpredictable and dangerous, supporting her husband in his criminal endeavors. Jacob had been warned multiple times about his wife's behavior. Instead of dealing with the problem once and for all, Darlene got to the finish line first. She poisoned her husband's coffee with cyanide and shared an oddly touching moment with him as he died in the forest. Adding fuel to the insane fire, there was a storyline following Darlene's desire to have a baby. Guess who got baby boy Zeke when the season came to an end? Tragic.


What's going to happen in Season 3?

Marty and Wendy's relationship is strained. Wendy is on the fast-track to becoming a crime boss. The FBI pretty much knows everything about the Byrdes' money-laundering business and connection to the cartel. Basically, Marty has a huge uphill battle ahead of him if he's going to get his plan of escape back on track. 

In the meantime, it looks like his relationship with Ruth -- yes, the same Ruth who tried to kill him in Season 1 -- is the strongest bond he has. Their dynamic has given Marty the closest thing to a father-daughter relationship in the show (unfortunate given the fact that... he already has a daughter). In the end, Ruth chose Marty over her father. We don't trust her farther than we can throw her, but finding true loyalty in Ozark has proven to be a difficult feat. Will his connection to Ruth end up biting him in the end? Based on Ozark's penchant for betrayal, you can probably count on it.

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Aaron Pruner is a contributor to Thrillist.