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

The Ben Detail That Ozark Fans Never Noticed Hinted At His Fate

Netflix's Ozark is a rich and complex TV series that rewards paying close attention to detail. It's no surprise, then, that it's become the subject of much discussion and speculation in online spaces. Reddit User IAmRube, for example, points out a small bit of foreshadowing in the third season. It's a detail that's almost imperceptible at first, but unmistakable once you've seen it. The moment happens in the episode "Fire Pink," the ninth and penultimate episode of season 3 — and the episode in which Ben Davis (Tom Pelphrey) is killed.

Ben seemed like a pretty doomed character from the moment he showed up at the beginning of the season. Whereas Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) are surprisingly comfortable living a life of organized crime, Ben just doesn't have that capability within him. The closer he gets to the truth of their business, the more danger he creates for himself and everyone around him. It doesn't help that he also becomes romantically involved with Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), Marty's right hand woman in their criminal enterprises.

As the proverbial noose tightens around him, there's a moment between Ben and Ruth in which a minor detail lets you know, if you're paying close enough attention, that Ben's time is up.

An inevitable end

The last time Ben and Ruth see each other is when Ben unexpectedly shows up at the riverboat casino, after Ruth had already taken him to the Snell farm to hide from the people who want him dead. In this scene, he's wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a bear and an environmentalist message: "Defend our parklands." He's also wearing an open long-sleeve shirt over it, so how much of the T-shirt is visible changes from moment to moment.

As he's about leave, and he and Ruth are saying goodbye, Ben's shirt is positioned in such a way that it simply appears to say, "END," ominously positioned just underneath his face. It's hard to know if that's on purpose, but Ozark is a show where such tiny hints matter, and this is hard to miss, once you've noticed it. So while he and Ruth are parting with the expectation that they will find a way to be together again, this "END" hint says otherwise. Shortly after, he leaves with Marty, who takes him to meet Wendy, and sure enough, that's the end of Ben. He never will see Ruth again, and he'll be dead within 48 hours. The end.

Some might say fans who point out little tidbits like this are reading the show a little too closely, but these are the small details that can make a complex show like Ozark seem even deeper and more multi-layered. For some, in fact, finding these little storytelling hints and portents is half the fun.