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Why Some Ozark Fans Just Can't Root For The Byrdes

Over the last two decades, audiences have been overjoyed at seeing some of television's most iconic antiheroes live to see another episode. Tony Soprano, Walter White, and a handful of bad apples from "American Horror Story" have done heinous things and managed to go unpunished regardless throughout their time in the small screen spotlight. For a while, at least.

One recent repeatedly offending pair was Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) from "Ozark." After four tense seasons, the hit series ended with an ambiguous gunshot, putting one last problem to bed. For them, it was nothing new. The corrupt couple had seen plenty of bodies drop during their time in the titular spot they'd slowly taken over. It had become part and parcel of their line of work as money launderers and another narrow escape for the entire family. But even while some audiences were hooked on their level of cunning, manipulation, and dodging danger by the skin of their teeth, it was that very reason that other viewers struggled to connect with them. No matter how good they were at the business they were in, some couldn't ignore the bad borne from their actions.

It's hard to get behind those morally bankrupt Byrdes

Back in April 2022, before the series finale of "Ozark" came out, fans reflected on a series that sometimes felt like a straight-up horror story, only with shadily handled casinos instead of serial killers. As much of a nightmare as the Byrdes were living, many agreed it was nobody's fault but their own, which is why they couldn't connect. 

One Reddit user, u/TantalizeMe3x, spoke about Marty and Wendy saying that, in their words, "Both characters are just such morally bankrupt, BS artists (talented ones, I will say) who ruin pretty much every life they come across." As a result, one person they had no issue in backing was Ruth (Julia Garner) who was 100% real until the tragic end of her character arc.

That fan was not the only one to think this, with u/Monolith0428 adding, "Ruth is definitely the easiest character to sympathize and identify with. Everyone else in the show is an amoral monster, with the exception of Charlotte and Jonah, and, in my opinion, Marty. I still think he has his humanity despite his mistakes." This checks out. It was clear until the very end of the series that — however skewed his moral compass may have been — Marty is operating from the hope that he can put all this horrific business behind him ... eventually. Unfortunately for him, we never get to see that happen.

Nevertheless, the actor behind the money laundering did have some ideas as to what fate awaits the Byrde family, and it might have come with justice being served.

Jason Bateman had ideas for the Byrdes' flight plan that some might not like

Whether you disagreed with how things played out in the end, one of the show's stars and occasional directors, Jason Bateman, had a solid guess as to where the Byrdes would end up after their affairs with the Navarros was over. Speaking to ExtraTV (via YouTube), he said, "They're going to get going back up to Chicago to continue the plan, of hopefully the ends justifying their means."

Of course, even if they managed to get back home, trouble tends to follow this family of fraudsters, leaving even Bateman unsure about what would happen. "I don't know if they get successful with that up in Chicago or not," he said. "My sense is that they'd probably continue to stumble because they think they're a little bit smarter than they are and those people don't fare too well."

While that's a chapter to a story some fans would perhaps love to see, the dark note that "Ozark" ended on was good enough. Some may have struggled to back the Byrdes as they progressed deeper into the criminal underworld, but it was all strictly business in the end. One could argue that it wasn't their fault they just happened to be so good at it.