‘Ozark’ Finale: John Prine’s ‘Angel From Montgomery’ Speaks Volumes About Netflix Series’ Ending

In the final episode of Ozark, Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) envisions the family members she has lost throughout the show’s four seasons. Russ (Marc Menchaca) sings John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” while Boyd (Christopher James Baker), Cade (Trevor Long), and Wyatt (Charles Tahan) sit around the Langmore compound. Ruth’s heart is full as she looks out over the water in the final episode of the Netflix series. The song fits beautifully into the scene, but it speaks to the ending of Ozark, too. 

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for the Ozark Season 4 Part 2 episode “A Hard Way to Go.”]

Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) looks out over the lake in 'Ozark's final season
Julia Garner | Netflix

John Prine’s ‘Angel From Montgomery’ lyrics tell a story

Prine spoke about what inspired the old woman character mentioned in “Angel From Montgomery” in an interview with Blue Railroad. “I had this really vivid picture of this woman standing over the dishwater with soap in her hands and just walking away from it all,” said Prine. “So I just kept that whole idea image in mind when I was writing the song and I just let it pour out of that character’s heart.” 

In the song, the woman fantasizes about life outside of the boring one she feels she created. As the song says: 

“Just give me one thing
That I can hold on to
To believe in this livin’
Is just a hard way to go”

‘Angel From Montgomery’ alludes to how Ruth’s story ends in ‘Ozark’

Since Prine’s song lyric is the title of the final episode of Ozark Season 4, we have to believe there’s a lot of meaning behind those words. Ruth hearing Russ sing “Angel From Montgomery” could be her imagination’s way of celebrating what’s to come for her.

In the final episodes of Ozark, Ruth breaks ground on what will become her new home. The song plays as Ruth watches their old trailers get torn down, sitting next to Wyatt and regaling Three (Carson Holmes) in her plans for the property. 

Still, fans could take the lyrics in a more literal sense. “Just a hard way to go” could indicate the death that awaits Ruth. After enacting her revenge on Javi Elizonndro (Alfonso Herrera Rodríguez), Ruth is in more danger than she has ever been before. When Clare Shaw (Katrina Lenk) sells her out to Camila Elizonndro (Veronica Falcón) in “A Hard Way to Go,” not even the Byrdes can protect Ruth — something they have managed to do throughout four seasons despite the hurdles she has created.

‘Ozark’ ending captured by John Prine’s song 

In addition to alluding to Ruth’s ending, Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” is symbolic of the Netflix series ending altogether. As Laura Linney, Jason Bateman, and showrunner Chris Mundy discussed during Deadline’s Contenders 2022 event, there’s a lot they’ll miss about the show. 

“It’s starting to hurt more and more,” Linney said of the end. “I miss everyone.” From the work ethic of the Ozark cast to the friendships formed on set, Ozark ending is as a hard a way to go for the talent behind the series as the fans that consume it. 

Watch new episodes of Ozark on Netflix

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