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Family On The Brink Of Collapse – ‘Ozark’ Season 4 Part 1 Recap

4 min read
Marty and Wendy


Netflix's popular series Ozark is back on April 29th. The second half of season 4 is highly anticipated by fans of the show, particularly considering its first half delivered on both fulfilling character arcs and suspense. Part 1 aired on January 6th, and revisited the Byrde family on the brink of collapse. As audiences approach the second half of the series' final season, we recap what has happened so far by the lakes of .

After high ratings throughout season 3, season 4 started out with a need to impress. A shocking cliffhanger came in the form of the death of cartel lawyer Helen Pierce, at the hands of the cartel themselves. Ozark‘s earlier fourth leg opened with the Byrde family driving along the highway—Marty (Jason Bateman) mentions that they're “all set for the FBI tomorrow,” and Wendy (Laura Linney) talks of something happening in 48 hours. As this season is the show's last, the family's positive attitude hints at the possibility of the Byrde family getting out from under the cartel's control. However, the scene takes a sharp turn as a semi-truck car hauler heads straight for them, forcing Marty to steer off the road. The car flips and lands upside down, and the episode cuts to its title card, with its usual four symbols.

With such a shocking opening (which later becomes obvious as a flash-forward) any viewer is likely to watch the rest of the episodes in suspense. The ‘How?' and ‘Who?' questions behind the family ending up in the car crash linger, while the season quickly throws audiences back into the action.

Part 1 (post-title card), picks up from where season 3 left us. Marty and Wendy are at cartel leader Omar Navarro's (Felix Solis) estate with Navarro fearing a power move by his nephew Javi. Wanting Marty and Wendy to arrange his free movement back and forth to the United States, Navarro encourages them to use their political and social influence so he can walk free of the cartel and the drug business without fearing arrest or assassination.

Javi and Omar

Simultaneously in the Ozarks, Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) has fallen out with the Byrdes after Wendy had her own brother—and Ruth's boyfriend—Ben, killed. She's now working with Wyatt and Darlene to launder money for their own drug business through the Lazy-O Motel. Ben's murder is also what causes cracks in the Byrde family to show throughout the season. Jonah is angry at his mom, and part of his increasing rebellion consists of giving Ben's ashes away to Ruth. Eventually he starts working for Ruth, which causes the distance between him and Wendy to grow. Wendy tries to fix the relationship by building a shrine for Ben in the garden. However, with Wendy's lack of acknowledgement of what happened to Ben, Jonah rejects the gesture, causing Wendy to turn off the basement electricity in a fit of rage.

Ruth and Jonah

The conflict fully erupts when Javi wants Darlene, Ruth and Wyatt's business out of the way of his plans. Wendy and Marty meet with the trio to warn them, but they refuse to listen. Part one's ending highlights the warning Wyatt and Darlene should have listened to. Wyatt, who almost ran away with Ruth, changes his mind and marries Darlene instead. In the aftermath of their wedding, they're both shot and killed in their home by Javi. Season 4 has already claimed two other lives before this; Sheriff John Nix (Robert C. Treveiler) also at the hands of Javi, and Kansas City mob chief Frank Cosgrove (John Bedford Lloyd) at the hands of Darlene. With so many lives already taken, the suspense is high for the season finale. Will Marty ultimately get away? Or will he and his family suffer the consequences of their actions?

Part 1 ends with Marty and the Byrdes handing Navarro over to the FBI, who heads to federal prison. Although seemingly free of Navarro, the Byrdes still have problems to solve before they're completely free. The central thorns in their side, which we might expect to see at the forefront of part 2, are Ruth and Javi. The part 2 trailer sees Ruth on a path of anger and revenge after the death of her brother Wyatt. There is also the clear complication, as pointed out by Navarro, of Wendy's fear of going back to her normal life. Throughout part 1, she has seemed to enjoy her political power and was content to commit the family's long list of crimes and immoralities. As Marty asks Wendy in the part 2 trailer, “It doesn't bother you?” (referring to the blood on their hands), she appears unphased. The cracks in the family are clearly present and could grow even greater with Wendy's ambitions—potentially leading to a full collapse. As we approach part 2 and the season finale, the fate of the Byrdes remains unclear. Many loose strings still need tying up, but that's what makes Ozark such a thrilling series.

The final seven episodes of Ozark Season 4 will be available to stream on Netflix on April 29th.

Watch the part 2 trailer here: