Thursday, June 20, 2024

“Ozark” Final Episodes Drop Tonight: Will the Byrdes Fly Away? And What About Ruth?


Sometime tonight after midnight, the last seven episodes of “Ozark” will drop on Netflix. Will Marty and Wendy Byrde fly away after four seasons of using people to get what they want? And what about Ruth, who was a happy hillbilly until the Byrdes up-ended her life?

I am prevented from saying too much. But you will binge watch this group of episodes. I just implore you not to jump ahead and ruin it. Fans will need all the information of the six shows before they reach the stunning conclusion.

What makes “Ozark” so watchable and addictive? We know the acting is superb. Laura Linney is searing as Wendy seems to unravel, but “seems to” is the operative idea. Wendy has so many layers you can never trust her for a minute. Julia Garner is bonkers-great as Ruth. Years from now people will see her in reruns and say, “Oh my god, what was going on here?” Jason Bateman’s easy going Marty is the calm one, but his passivity is surface only.

Chris Mundy’s characters are so sharply drawn they feel real. I loved Lisa Emery’s Darlene, determined to undermine Wendy. Their final scene together is a mind blower. Felix Solis’s Navarro, the Mexican drug kingpin, is a performance of beauty. (Navarro could have been such a cliche, and he’s not.)

And let’s not forget Tony winner and Oscar nominee Janet McTeer, whose Helen, the very criminal lawyer, raised hell in Season 3. Yes, it was Season 3 where “Ozark” came together and rose to new heights. After two very good chapters, Mundy hit perfection, especially with Tom Pelprey as Wendy’s mentally ill bitter and sweet brother, Ben.

What surprised me about these 14 episodes of Season 4 is that instead of moving into a new chapter, Mundy used all the loose ends and chaos of what the Byrdes wrought and turned it against them. At the start of Season 4 we see the family’s SUV hit by a big truck and flip over on the highway. They should be goners. But they walk away clean, which should be a sign that these people can stare death in the eye and keep going.

Kudos to the whole “Ozark” production. As “Mrs, Maisel” hit new highs for comedy this season, “Ozark” has done it for drama. Watching this show you actually think you might want to go to Lake of the Ozarks it’s so enticingly portrayed on screen. And then you remember, um, no, better just to watch it on TV.

Emmys for everyone.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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