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The Ozark Theory That Will Change Marty Forever

Contains major spoilers for Ozark

The third season of Netflix's dark crime drama Ozark concluded with the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers.

After wading into the turbulent waters of doing business with the Navarro cartel throughout the run of the series, the Byrdes (Jason Bateman and Laura Linney) are asked to fly down to Mexico to meet Omar Navarro (Felix Solis) himself. Although they'd been working overtime to keep themselves in the good graces of the cartel, things weren't exactly going smooth as silk. Furthermore, the ruthless attorney Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer) — Navarro's eyes and ears in the states — was angling to have the Byrdes cut out of their deal with the cartel.

However, when the Byrdes and Helen arrive in Mexico, all three get the surprise of their lives. For Helen, it was her final surprise, as Navarro had one of his henchmen put a bullet in her head. With Marty and Wendy flabbergasted and covered in gore, Navarro hugs the couple and announces his desire for the Byrdes to take on even more responsibility in the cartel.

This ending has everyone speculating wildly about what will happen to Marty and Wendy now that they've found themselves even deeper in the clutches of the Navarro cartel. But one theory suggests that perhaps the real question is what will happen to Navarro now that he's gotten himself wrapped up with the Byrdes.

Writing for The Daily Express, Alex Davies poses an intriguing theory for the show's upcoming fourth and final season that would see Marty Byrde making a big move to take back control of his destiny.

Is Marty going to kill Omar Navarro?

Davies believes it's unlikely that the Byrdes are going to simply fall into line and become loyal foot soldiers for Navarro, which is a reasonable assumption considering the show is known for its unpredictable plot and has 14 episodes of story left to tell.

By now, Marty and Wendy have learned to bob and weave in their lives as professional crooks. Both of them are clearly shocked when Navarro kills Helen, whom they believed to be one of his favorites. Davies points out that if the Byrdes found Navarro's decision to kill Helen unpredictable, they surely understand that he could very well decide to off them at any time. And the best way to avoid that fate is to kill Navarro first.

Of the two Byrdes, Marty is the most likely to make a preemptive strike, argues Davies. They write, "Considering Marty's emphasis has often been to keep his family safe — think back to the proposed trip to Australia in season two — he could take the almighty step to have Navarro killed off."

The folks at ScreenRant co-signed this theory. In a round-up of fan theories for the final season, the outlet includes Marty killing Navarro, writing, "Marty has been the man keeping everything together because his life and that of his family depend on it. [...] He hasn't killed anyone himself so far, but every fan hopes he will kill Navarro, which may be the best way out for everyone involved."

On paper, Marty or Wendy killing Navarro might seem like a fitting end for our protagonists. However, it could also mark the beginning of a transition that others have suggested we might see in season 4.

The Byrdes may end Ozark's final season as the villains of the series

Like other contemporary crime dramas such as Breaking Bad, Ozark's protagonists have always straddled the line between hero and villain. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that the Byrdes are our protagonists only because of the perspective of the show, or because they are usually working against people who are more evil than they are. But what if by the end of season 4, that had all changed?

In a round-up of the questions left unanswered at the end of Ozark season 3, Vulture's Brian Tallerico writes, "It's worth considering if the deaths of [Wendy's brother] Ben and Helen mark the moment when the Byrdes truly broke bad and became the bad guys of Ozark."

Tallerico further points out that the Byrdes have had ample opportunity to leave their life of crime. Yes, most of the cartels and other gangs they've worked against have been arguably worse people than they are, but at what point does their desire to stay in the game make them just as bad as any of their adversaries?

If that's the way the fourth season plays out, the question of whether Marty kills Navarro becomes even more complicated. Would he and Wendy take over their business, and if so, what does that mean for Darlene Snell's (Lisa Emery) operation with her new ally Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner)? If the Byrdes, in their new capacity as the acting head of a major cartel, go to war with Darlene's mom-and-pop heroin operation, it's hard to see how the Byrdes aren't the villains in that situation.

As Tallerico suggests, "Don't be surprised if you're rooting for Darlene Snell and Ruth Langmore to take [the Byrdes] down next season."