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

The Ending Of Ozark Season 4 Part 1 Explained

Contains spoilers for "Ozark" Season 4, Part 1

Ever since it first premiered on Netflix in 2017, "Ozark" has captivated audiences with the wild stories of Marty and Wendy Byrde, played respectively by Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. In the pilot episode of the series, a drug cartel forces Marty to move his family from Chicago to the Ozarks in order to launder vast amounts of dirty drug money. In the years after the money laundering scheme first commences, Marty and Wendy add a plethora of businesses and employees to their operation, including a troubled young woman named Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) and their own children, Charlotte Byrde (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah Byrde (Skylar Gaertner). 

Throughout the course of the series, Marty and Wendy have been forced to make a number of tough "business" decisions, including one which results in the death of Wendy's mentally ill brother, Ben (Tom Pelphrey). As the show comes to a close, these "business" decisions grow in number (as does the associated body count) and few in the Ozarks are left spared by the Byrde family. Here's where we wind up at the end of the first part of "Ozark" Season 4 and what it could all mean for the end of the series.

Javi is protected by the FBI while his uncle sits in prison

A big part of the first half of Season 4 focuses on the new goal of Marty's boss, Navarro (Felix Solis). Shortly after murdering Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer) in the final moments of Season 3, Navarro announces that he is planning to retire from the drug cartel. More importantly, he wants Marty and Wendy to secure him an immunity deal with the United States government that will allow him the freedom to move in and out of the United States as he wishes during retirement. After much work, Marty and Wendy come very close to accomplishing this task (something they initially labeled "impossible"), with the only substantive difference being that Navarro will lead the cartel as an FBI informant for an additional five years. However, just when the deal looks to be complete, FBI Agent Maya Miller (Jessica Frances Dukes) double-crosses them all by arresting Navarro.

Always seemingly able to pull a miracle out of nowhere, the Byrdes manage to negotiate an equivalent FBI deal for Navarro's successor, Javi Elizonndro (Alfonso Herrera). In exchange for sizable sums of money from the cartel over the course of a whole decade, the FBI agrees to allow Javi to operate the cartel freely. Despite Marty and Wendy's obvious distaste for Javi, the success of the mission ultimately primes the unhappy family for what could eventually be a bright future outside of the Ozarks. Unfortunately, Javi's instability seems sure to spell additional, unexpected problems for the family.  

Ruth has never been more alone

Of course the biggest development of the season so far is the sudden execution of Wyatt Langmore (Charlie Tahan) and Darlene Snell-Langmore (Lisa Emery) in Season 4, Episode 7 ("Sanctified"). After Darlene repeatedly refuses to cease her sale of heroin, Javi discovers that Darlene's operation has allowed the Byrdes to undermine him. In retaliation, Javi kills Darlene and Wyatt in their home and leaves their bodies for Ruth to find. While Ruth is initially convinced that Frank Cosgrove Jr. (Joseph Sikora) is the man responsible for their deaths, she quickly comes to the conclusion that everything bad leads back to the Byrde family.

Wielding a rifle and a heavy set of tears, Ruth insists that Marty tell her who killed her cousin. She calls him a liar and says she is going to shoot him if he doesn't give her a name. While Marty and Wendy know full well who is responsible, they refuse to give up Javi. Despite his mother and father's protests, Jonah quickly names Javi as Wyatt's killer. Because the lives of everyone in the family now rely on Javi's immunity deal with the FBI, Marty pleads with Ruth not to hurt Javi. However, Ruth quickly decides she is finished listening to Marty. Determined to avenge her cousin, Ruth screams in Marty's face, "If you want to stop me, you're gonna have to f***ing kill me!" 

Ruth's turn against Marty represents a major shift in allegiances. In Season 1, Ruth comes to view Marty as a father figure, even choosing to kill her uncles in order to save him. In more recent seasons, circumstances have caused the two to become more distant, but Marty has always maintained a soft spot for her. However, Ruth's latest decision would seem to indicate an even more definitive break in their relationship. Marty is surely unwilling to allow Ruth to kill Javi, but Ruth is equally unwilling to allow Wyatt's death to go unanswered.

Jonah is turning against his parents

A recurring theme on "Ozark" is the family's tendency to use and abuse people they call their friends and family. While they put on a happy smile for the cameras, the Byrdes also seem to rain down death and destruction wherever they go. This theme becomes especially potent in Season 3 when Wendy hands over her mentally ill brother to the cartel. Despite his death at the end of the third season, Ben casts a long shadow over much of Season 4, largely because of the people who genuinely loved him.

After Jonah discovers his mother's role in Ben's death, he begins to turn against the rest of his family. At the start of the season, Jonah delivers Ben's ashes to Ruth, deciding that Ruth's love for Ben was more legitimate than his mother's. This exchange eventually leads to Jonah laundering money for the Snell/Langmore operation, a move which greatly disturbs both of his parents. Wendy becomes so enraged at Jonah's rebellion that she even sabotages his money laundering operation, rationalizing her actions by emphasizing that Jonah would likely never actually spend any substantial time in prison. 

In the aftermath of Wendy's betrayal, Jonah announces that he is leaving the family, but rejoins them when the cartel threat against their lives seems at its highest. Jonah later solidifies his newfound distance with the rest of his family by revealing Javi's name to Ruth, against the expressed wishes of his parents. Despite clearly drawing a line in the sand, a flash-forward at the beginning of the season would seem to indicate that Jonah will begrudgingly rejoin his parents and sister at some point.

The Byrde family's future is uncertain

Paradoxically, the most revealing scene about the ending of "Ozark" comes at the very beginning of Season 4. As all four members of the Byrde family travel down the road in a Honda minivan, the four listen to the sounds of "Bring It On Home To Me" by Sam Cooke. As Wendy notes how much she loves Cooke's voice, Marty tells her that they are all set for a "chilly" meeting with the FBI tomorrow. 

Wendy longingly says "48 more hours" and then turns to face her children, remarking, "I'm calling the moving company this afternoon." Charlotte replies, "Whenever. Jonah and I are packed," triggering groans from the other three members of the her family. Charlotte sarcastically asks, "Too soon?" Her father responds, "Yeah. Much." After a bit more discussion, Charlotte suddenly realizes that a massive semi-trailer truck has veered into their lane and screams just before Marty swerves to miss it. Unfortunately, the resulting overcorrection sends their vehicle spinning out of control. The vehicle violently crashes just outside a nearby woods off the road.

Of course, this scene is shown entirely free of context, but the parameters of the scene introduce a plethora of questions that go unanswered by the end of the first part of Season 4. Why are the Byrdes meeting with the FBI now? Why is a semi truck driving on the wrong side of the road? Why is Jonah back with his family? Where are the Byrdes going? What happens to Charlotte and Jonah's belongings? 

We certainly hope most of these questions are answered when Netflix releases the second half of the final season at some point later this year.