‘Ozark’: Why the Finale Comes This Close to Ruining the Entire Show

For those of us keeping up with the Byrde family in Ozarkthe story came to a close with the season 4 finale. I’ve watched every minute of every episode holding my breath, but that last scene didn’t leave me with any sort of closure. While the Ozark finale wasn’t necessarily bad, it made me feel something else – underwhelmed.

[Spoilers: This article contains major spoilers from Netflix’s Ozark, including the series finale.]

'Ozark' finale production still featuring Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore wearing a white formal dress.
Julia Garner in ‘Ozark. | Cr. Tina Rowden/Netflix

Ruth’s death in the ‘Ozark’ finale was devastating but fitting

Before we get into anything else, I want to say that Ozark is an excellent example of fine-tuned storytelling. Chris Mundy knows how to tell a story, but I’m not sure he knows how to end one. Stephen King often gets a bad rap for his endings, and at the end of the day, writers, producers, and showrunners know there’s no way to make everyone happy. So, in no way am I telling you not to recommend the series to your friends and family, but I am telling you to prepare them for the finale.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about Ruth. As much as everyone loved her, she made the deathbed she eventually had to lie in. I don’t think anyone should be shocked at her death at the hands of Camila Elizonndro. She killed her son, after all. However, Ruth stayed true to her character up to her last words.

“I’m not sorry,” Ruth said to Camila. “Your son was a murdering b***h. And now I know where he got it from.” 

Ruth didn’t try to escape. She looked Camila in the eyes and asked her final question, “Well? Are you gonna f***ing do this s*** or what?” Camila pulled the trigger, and Ruth Langmore was gone.

But if you didn’t figure out Ruth would die in Ozark, I’m not sure we were watching the same show. Marty gave Ruth multiple chances to get out, but every time she stood her ground — and that’s what made Ruth, Ruth.

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The ‘Ozark’ final scene undid almost everything for me

Marty never wanted Charlotte or Jonah involved in this life of crime. He only reluctantly allowed them to do certain things when he knew the risks were too great to tell them no. Wendy, who might be television’s most hated woman of the hour, even tried to dissuade Jonah from working for Darlene Snell.

The Byrdes arrive home to a shattered glass door in the final episode. Mel Sattem waits outside with Ben’s ashes. He ultimately figured out that the Byrdes were responsible for Ben’s death. Mel couldn’t stand the idea of letting them get away with it, considering he put them a 9.5 out of 10 on the evil scale.

However, before Mel can do anything about his discovery, he hears a shotgun cock. We see Jonah holding a shotgun pointed at Mel. Charlotte stands beside him in solidarity. Before the screen goes black, both Wendy and Marty get the hint of a smile on their faces, seemingly reveling in their son’s acceptance into their life of crime. Their reaction seems to contradict all their efforts to keep Charlotte and Jonah away from danger.

The Byrdes acted entirely out of character in the ‘Ozark’ finale

I didn’t think there was any way all of the Byrdes would survive the Ozark finale. However, if they all acted how they did in their last scene, I might have thought differently. The story of Ozark was built on Marty Byrde constantly trying to sweet-talk his way out of the situations he and Wendy got themselves into. That all changed in the last 15 seconds of the show.

Suddenly Marty was proud of Jonah’s willingness to murder? Wendy, who did everything she could to keep her children in her custody, seemed almost excited at the revelation. This isn’t the Marty and Wendy we met in Ozark Season 1.

I’m not sure why I felt so underwhelmed with the ending. As I said, Mundy knows how to tell a story. However, part of what made this story so great centered on Marty’s reluctance to act if it endangered anyone he cared about. Now that part of his personality is gone, who else is there to root for?

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