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Wendy's Darkest Moment In Ozark Season 4, Part 1

Spoilers ahead for "Ozark" Season 4, Part 1

January 21 marks our return back in the weeds of Netflix's chilling family crime drama "Ozark" as it lurches towards its series finale. As despicable deals are made and betrayals befall key parties with drastic ramifications, some characters are left to wander down paths so dark they'd need more than a flashlight to bring them back. Since the beginning, Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) has done everything he can to get himself out of tough scrapes, only to find himself in bigger ones as his time under the Navarro cartel continued. However, one person who's seemingly taken to it like a duck to warm Florida water is his wife and business partner, Wendy (Laura Linney).

In Season 3, Wendy pays the ultimate price that leads her to going truly off the rails: She hands over her brother, Ben (Tom Pelphrey), to the cartel. The topic of Ben's fate is the elephant of whatever room Wendy walks into after this happens. She avoids all discussions about it by offering up only lies and, even worse, a flat-out denial of what happened to her brother. Instead, she uses Ben's disappearance as a push for her own personal campaign, amplifying his drug problem as a talking point for business deals, all the while knowing his ashes are in Ruth's (Julia Garner) trailer. It's an unprecedented low for the woman that was initially reluctant to go into the Byrde family business Marty began. Incredibly though, it is a showdown with familiar foe of Wendy's in Season 4, Part 1 that confirms her total detachment from real life and foreshadows what lies ahead for her character.

Wendy's power over Darlene shows her at her most terrifying

You can't be working in the drug business without making a few enemies, and they don't come tougher than Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) — or so we thought. Butting heads from the off in Season 4, Part 1 results in Darlene taking the fight to the Byrde's, with Wendy laying in wait, in Episode 5. Reaching her last nerve and calling Darlene out on her threats, she squares up to her opponent without hesitation. Wendy then cuts Darlene off mid-sentence with "Or you'll do what?!" and catches the longtime local off-guard. Darlene is startled and falls back, and then seemingly begins to have a heart attack right in front of her competition. All the while, Wendy just sits there and watches.

There are a number of deaths throughout "Ozark" where the killers have seen the light go out from their victims eyes. Had Wendy not decided to call an ambulance, she would've had a front row seat as the same thing happened to Darlene. It's clear that, for a brief moment, the thought crosses her mind to let one less problem disappear rather than do the right thing. It is an excellent performance from Linney, who shows us that something has truly changed in the character; she can not only make the tough decisions but be happy to be there for the fallout. With that in mind, it begs the question of just how far Wendy is willing to go, and more importantly, if she'll be able to come back from it.

Could Wendy be the next Darlene?

While Mrs. Byrde doesn't let Darlene slip away during that heated meeting (as we see at the start of Episode 6), it may have been a more respectful exit than the one she gets this season. Much as she pleads in the brief time she has, Javi (Alfonso Herrera) instead takes out Darlene and her newlywed (ugh) husband, Wyatt (Charlie Tahan), in the closing episode of Part 1's final season. The death of Darlene leaves a huge gap where a once stone-faced, no-nonsense tyrant once sat — a gap that Wendy has every opportunity to fill.

Could this vacuum push Marty's dearly beloved to become even more of a heartless cohort in the Navarro cartel? All the signs are suggesting it could very well be the case, and Wendy may quickly become the sort of person she has loathed since the beginning. With a now abandoned drug plantation free for the taking, she has every opportunity to run the town she's fought against in various forms. The only question is if Marty and the kids will be around to see her do it? We'll have to wait and see when the closing part of the final season of "Ozark" returns later in the year.