Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Ozark Fans Think Darlene Is Still Alive

For those streaming fans who've been poring over the perilous world of Netflix's bracing crime drama Ozark, trying to figure out which characters to root for amid the series' the pitch-black, panic-inducing narrative has become a veritable war of attrition — because there really aren't any "good guys" to pull for. The way things are shaping up for season 4 of Ozark, it seems more and more likely there will simply be no winners when this tale is over.

Logic suggests that we should root for Marty and Wendy Byrde (Jason Bateman and Laura Linney) as they're our window into Ozark's twisted world of high-stakes money-laundering, backwoods drug rings, and cartel killings. As far as motivations go, trying to keep their family safe is undoubtedly the series' most noble, but it becomes more and more difficult to root for The Byrdes with every despicable decision they make.

Likewise, as entertaining as the fiery, foul-mouthed antics of Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) can be, she was hardly the picture of virtue before hooking up with the Byrdes, and has only gotten her hands dirtier since. Now that she's thrown her lot in with the Lake of the Ozarks' legacy heroin kingpin Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery), it'll be a lot harder to root for Team Langmore in season 4 of Ozark.

That's largely because, of all the characters in Ozark's crime-ridden landscape, Darlene Snell is the one fans are almost universally united against. She's earned that hate from Ozark fandom after three full seasons of crazed, murderous antics that've put her at odds with some very deadly people, a fact act has Ozark fans wondering just how she's still among the living.

Some Ozark fans think Darlene is too uniquely powerful to have met her end yet

Darlene Snell's sins are legion. She's killed a Navarro Cartel Chief in a psychotic rage, tried to do everything in her power to keep the Byrdes from seizing control of the region, and actually taken a shotgun to the crotch of Kansas City crime boss Frank Cosgrove's (John Bedford Lloyd) own son. So yeah, fans are right to wonder why those heavies haven't simply removed her from Ozark's increasingly crowded chess board — and they've taken to Reddit to ponder aloud.

While Redditor u/SatisfactoryToe believes Darlene exists "almost exclusively to throw a wrench in the plot," there are some far more intriguing theories about her survival on Ozark.

Reddit user u/OperationMobocracy thinks Darlene's backwoods army of allies is the reason nobody has made a move on her yet, claiming her "reach and influence wouldn't be far, but within 100 miles they would be extremely dangerous, and within 20 miles basically untouchable." They go on to posit Darlene is also still around as she remains a perfect counterpart for Wendy Byrde, writing, "Darlene is kind of a weird artifact, a beneficiary of this kind of influence and protection that didn't pan out in the show. I think she's been kept around as a foil for Wendy, almost an alter-ego for her, plus in re-planting and going back into the heroin business she will provide another round of competition, probably also with the KC Mob."

Others think Darlene might become a major Ozark villain

Meanwhile, a Reddit user with the handle u/Balance_Medium insists Lady Snell has survived merely as "someone for you to hate" more than the Byrdes. But for u/Jeshendr3, the reason Darlene hasn't bit the bullet yet might be because she's destined for something much bigger than just being a plot device, a dangerous character, or a foil for one of the series' protagonists. They argue that Darlene is about to become Ozark's primary villain. 

"I feel like once the story is completed next season, we will realize that Darlene is the true antagonist of the show. We went in thinking it would be the cartel or even Marty VS Wendy, but Marty and Wendy ARE the cartel now and they're working together. It's Darlene," the Redditor writes. 

Even as fans question Darlene Snell's survival, most are certain her demise is imminent, with u/Jeshendr3 eagerly adding that said demise is more a matter of when than if: "I think Darlene will get hers before the series is over. I just wonder how and who and when? What would be most satisfying to the audience? I can't wait to see!"

The whole of Ozark fandom likely can't wait to see Darlene fall, either. And yes, the how, who, and when of that fall should make for marvelous television.