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The Real Reason Ozark's Byrdes Haven't Run Away

Contains spoilers for Ozark season 3

A good series grips the audience as the members become invested in the characters. One minute, an audience member is pushing play. The next, they're yelling at the screen and trying to give the character advice. Netflix's crime drama Ozark is, without a doubt, the kind of TV show that sparks that kind of reaction.

On Ozarkthe Byrde family, led by Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy (Laura Linney), move to Missouri from Chicago to launder money in a do-or-die situation. From there, they've been caught up with the Kansas City mob, fellow criminal families, the head of the Navarro Cartel, and the FBI, for good measure. The Byrdes are stuck in a never-ending cycle of criminal behavior, and just as it appears they have an escape route, the family goes in the opposite direction — no matter how convincing everyone's screaming-at-the-TV arguments might seem.

Though they've largely acted out of survival, it's arguable that the Byrdes crave the power that being rich criminals gifts them with, as they have had possible outs throughout the show's first three seasons. For better or worse, there's a reason Ozark's Byrdes haven't run away yet.

Why haven't the Byrdes fled Missouri?

In a Reddit thread entitled "[NO SPOILER] Is there a reason why the Byrd[e]s couldn't just move to a foreign country to escape Navarro?", fans dished out their best guesses as to why Marty, Wendy, Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz), and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) haven't left their lives in the Ozarks behind.

One user responded, "He stays Bc wendy didn't want to leave. He was ready to go after the casino was up and running. Wendy wanted to stay Bc she liked it." Although true, Wendy appears to be tired of following her husband's orders and also wants to make the best of her undesirable situation. Unfortunately, this leads the family down a path of more destruction, with the road ending at the death of her brother, Ben Davis (Tom Pelphrey).

Another user took a more real-world approach to this fictional situation. "One could argue that the US is typically seen as the more autonomous in relation to international criminal organizations than most other countries, especially if you limit the possible destinations to countries that are in the style of western democracies," they wrote. "For example, the offer was on the table that if they came clean to the FBI about the cartel attacking them on US soil that the military could wipe out the cartel's operations. I don't think other countries are likely to do something like that. The US has 'forward deployed' forces in ways that even make kidnapping US citizens a different situation than kidnapping citizens from wealthy European countries. And yet, organized crime does exist around the world..."

It's also mentioned that the Byrde family might dream of living in safety, but they're actually doing exactly what they want to do at the moment: they're criminals because they want to be criminals.

The Byrdes are running ... out of time

While it does seem like the Byrde family, especially Wendy for most of season 3, is doing precisely what they want to do with the cards that have been dealt, that sentiment doesn't appear to ring true after the cartel kills Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer) at the end of Ozark season 3.

If Marty and Wendy were to take their kids and leave their criminal lives behind, the show's name would lose meaning. The plot could arguably be just as exciting with the Byrde family on the run from (for starters) the cartel, the FBI, and the Kansas City mob. A "normal" life is no longer an option for this family, as every single member has lived through the kind of trauma that tends to change people forever. Not to mention, living on the run isn't the most ideal situation — although the Byrdes are already, in a way, doing just that.

Nevertheless, with season 4 set to be the last chapter of Ozark, the Byrdes don't have much time left, their options appear to be limited, and they have multiple targets on their backs.