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OZARK (2022)

Series Review

Season 4 - Part 2 

Aired On: Netflix
Release Date: 04/29/22
Crime. Drama. Thriller.


"A financial advisor drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder money to appease a drug boss."


The end is nigh for the Netflix crime family favorite Ozark, and the Byrdes, as Season 4 Part 2 arrives with its final seven episodes making for a seven-hour binge into your weekend plans. Unsurprisingly Season 4 Part 2 picks up right where episode 7 of Part 1 ends. Ruth, driving away, distraught, upon discovering her cousin Wyatt and Darlene Snell dead in the home of the infamous Snell heroin mega ranch. The newly married couple has been shot dead and naturally, Ruth wants answers as to who did it.


The first of these last septuplet of episodes aptly titled "The Cousin of Death" focuses on Ruth and her processing of the loss of Wyatt, although her cousin was more akin to being her brother and best friend, it's a monumental loss to her, and thus for the series. It's a fantastic episode that puts Ruth and her emotional state in the driver's seat and keeps you on edge, unsure of what she's capable of in the mindset that she's experiencing. The intentional decision for this episode to revolve almost solely around Ruth is effective as it allows the audience to grieve with one of the show's main characters and understand her actions that set forth a domino effect of ramifications paramount to the series finale. 


The remaining episodes tilt the focus back on The Byrdes, as they attempt to twist and turn their way around every roadblock. Attempting to spin all the unforeseen, abrupt problems that continuously pop up, to their favor, customary for Ozark so far. Not only are new roadblocks emerging in every direction, but just as Marty and Wendy think they see a clear path forward out from under the thumb of the Cartel, the actions and bodies of previous seasons come to haunt them. The recent deaths of Wyatt, Ben, and Helen all come forth for Marty and Wendy to reckon with. Mel Sattem, the private investigator from Part 1 of Season 4, is not an annoyance that's in the Byrdes' rearview yet. Nathan (Wendy's father) has hired Mel to look into the disappearance of his son Ben, after all, giving him a reason to keep poking around in the Ozarks, and giving Nathan an excuse for an impromptu visit to his family whilst the investigation proceeds, adding another obstacle the Byrdes will have to carefully maneuver. This visit by Nathan proves to be quite the difficult obstacle indeed as he fairly quickly latches onto Jonah and Charlotte, using their already torn relationship with their parents to make Wendy's life difficult. 


As that situation simmers Marty and Wendy are presented with many more complications that have been added to their pot that is already boiling over. It's mainly the relationships they are having to mend and cater to being that they are necessary and contingent for their grand endgame plan to succeed. Such as with the FBI, due to a circumstance that has muddled the deal, the Byrdes had in place they are now having to prove they can still make work, Clare Shaw of Shaw Medical needs to put back in their pocket and on board with the established deal the Byrdes and Javi worked out with the Navarro Cartel, and of course, Marty and Wendy also have to get back in the good graces of Omar Navarro of the Navarro Cartel who is now in US prison. That's a lot of challenges and issues for The Byrde family to sort out in a limited time frame that's left in this series and yet it manages to, even if some of them get tied up easier and quicker for timing and convenience's sake.


Ozark in its last hours manages to wrap up some older storylines and revisit characters from past seasons. Speaking to the respect and loyalty this show has to its characters even in death the characters are not easily forgotten. Whereas some shows tend to move on without much further mention. In its last seven episodes, Ozark proves that it's not lost focus of the story it set out to tell no matter how dark and tragic. The Byrdes have come so far and had to make hard choices and terrible ones that would rot a typical person's core. These actions and decisions they've made throughout the series are figuratively hung in front of them. Similar to the proverbial scales of life, balancing out humanity on one scale and greed on the other. Which asks the critical question: How much humanity do they even have left? Their goal has always been to do whatever it takes to get out alive and well as a family, but with one's humanity as the cost, what will be left of who they are as a family? This is an element present in one way or another through the season and important to its ending. 


It's been a fantastic, riveting, and nerve-racking ride, but one I'm thrilled to have experienced. Season 4 genuinely plays to its strengths, keeping the focus on Ruth's journey, The Byrde family, and how they are going to get out of the dangerous position they put themselves in. Never fearful of a challenge, as the series has consistently shown, especially as it heads toward its end, Marty and Wendy are always up to the task of taking on these monumental issues that arise. It's been a long, nail-biting journey for the characters throughout Ozark and that aspect continues until the very end, and what an ending it is!

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