What to know: NPR

Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde and Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore in Season 4 Episode 7, where we last left them.

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Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde and Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore in Season 4 Episode 7, where we last left them.

Steve Dietl/Netflix

Ozark has made a number of implicit commitments.

Because it has told the story of the increasingly powerful, increasingly angry power couple Marty and Wendy Byrde (Jason Bateman and Laura Linney), it has built tension over exactly where their loyalties lie and how far they will go. Will one turn against the other? Will one or both turn against Ruth (Julia Garner), the abused and largely abandoned teenager who led Marty into a life of crime far more dangerous than the one she would have ended up in on her own – just like Breaking BadWhat Walter White once did with young Jesse Pinkman? What will become of the Byrdes’ children, Charlotte and Jonah? The show has promised viewers that the tension over these questions will pile up into something, probably something really big.

But on a more basic level Ozarka show of extraordinary violence and brutality, is unashamedly inclined to a single question: who is going to survive all this?

Netflix gave critics only one rule not to spoil the finale, one thing that couldn’t be given away: “All character deaths.” They know what you’re here for, see. They don’t want me to ruin it for you. I wouldn’t do it anyway, of course, because it would be rude and awful, but that’s all they want to do. secure you discover for yourself: the final body count, and which corpses are counted. Don’t let anyone tell you that this show isn’t largely about people waiting for thrills to see who lives and who dies, because that’s exactly what it’s about.

On April 29, the end of the story – or the end of the story as far as we know – will be told. And you’ll soon know what the ending has to say all character deaths.

The last seven episodes of Ozark drops on Netflix on Friday, April 29.

What still needs to be solved?

As we were leaving, Ruth had just found out that her beloved cousin Wyatt and his wife Darlene had been murdered, and Jonah had revealed to her — over the vehement objections of his parents — that the culprit was Javi Elizonndro, the cousin of drug lord Omar Navarro. Ruth drove off in her truck and vowed revenge, while the Byrdes panicked. This explosive development could change Marty and Wendy’s existing plan to get out of the cartel and move to Chicago to start over as a politically connected bunch of wealthy philanthropists.

But this is not the only thing that remains to be solved. The show also opened its fourth season in January with an isolated car accident that appeared to be a flash-forward. In the scene, the Byrdes are all driving together in seemingly pleasant company, unlike their current intra-family warfare, when Marty is suddenly forced to swerve and the car overturns, which is left upside down with wheels spinning and looking badly wrecked. Not only do we have to figure out what happens in that accident and if everyone survives, but we also need to figure out how on earth the Byrdes got to that state of contentment, as it seems unlikely that Jonah will ever forgive. his mother because he had his uncle – her own brother – killed by the cartel. (Can you blame him?) Where do the Byrdes all go together that makes everyone look so… chill? How does the family get to that point, since they started in a place where Jonah is willing to face Marty and Wendy and hand over Javi to Ruth?

Ozark has always been a derivative: it sometimes seems as if a smoothie is buzzed together from portions Breaking Badthe second season of fargojustifiedand a bit of The Americans† It’s almost become funny watching the show tick the boxes when emulating Breaking Bad in particular: the split last set of episodes. The flash-forward that introduces the final season. The youngster who never had a chance once they came into contact with a much worse, much more immoral – but much more superficial “respectable” – adult. The all-seeing, all-knowing, hyper-ruthless “cartel” that borders on caricature. The people who are decent and doomed. The marriage where the clients more or less hate each other.

If you haven’t seen the end of Breaking Bad, for God’s sake, go watch that show (it’s better than this one) and don’t read this spoilery paragraph. But if you have that, you know that Breaking Bad faced many similar choices in the final season, and it made them all: Walt died, Jesse was saved, Skyler got rid of her terrible husband, Walt had to go out in a triumphant (and, frankly, absurd) burst of glory that his mowed down enemies, and Jesse had to kill the worst of the worst bad guys in a very close-up and creepy way. They certainly haven’t held back when it comes to all character deaths† Maybe you liked the way it ended; maybe not. But the show’s team has made its choices, and Ozark promised to make them too.

Alfonso Herrera as Javi Elizonndro and Felix Solis as Omar Navarro in part one of the fourth season.

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Alfonso Herrera as Javi Elizonndro and Felix Solis as Omar Navarro in part one of the fourth season.

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Of course there is always the example of the sopranos, which ended with a carefully calibrated tone of ambiguity, almost rebelling against the idea that who lives and who dies was once the point of the show. The show’s creator, David Chase, became famous for being black in a moment that didn’t feel like an ending; that it turned out to be to be an end made it important. What was it about that dinner that ended the story? Not much seemed to be happening; was that the point, that Tony Soprano’s life eventually went on as usual, much less dramatic than the “it’s about getting people beaten” crowd perhaps wanted? Or was that the end for some other reason? Can you distract that the only reason the story suddenly ends is that it’s the end of Tony’s life? They are interesting questions.

That worked for the sopranos, because the show lived up to its specific promises, which would never give you a definitive body count. It’s fine to use ambiguity in your ending, of course. It’s okay as long as it doesn’t feel like a trick. Ozark is, to say the least, not the sopranos† It has always implicitly relied on a definitive accounting of deaths – and if you ask fans what they wanted from the finale, what I did, many of them will describe their desired outcome in terms of who should live and who should die. .

What to expect from the end of the series

So let’s talk about what to expect from these latest episodes. In addition to all character deathsNetflix has specifically asked critics not to say anything about the very last episode, including whether it is good or not, until Monday, several days after the final episodes went live. So what can I tell you about what to expect from the ending without saying anything about the ending?

You would expect the immediate aftermath of Ruth’s anger to dominate the beginning of this series of episodes. The immediate emergency in the world of the Byrdes is the clash of Ruth, and Javi, and the big gun of Ruth, and the deep loss of Ruth (lose, really). Wyatt’s death seems to have made Ruth a bit of a nihilist, understandably enough; Sure, she still worries about Wyatt’s brother Three, but Wyatt was Ruth’s soul mate, her confidante, her best friend, her only decent and supportive family. And she saw him get swept up in the drug trade, which begs the question: What has she got to lose?

But Marty and Wendy’s quieter emergency is their kids slipping away. Jonah, in particular, seems to hate and love his parents in a way that makes him a potentially powerful player in the power struggle between them, even though he’s young and in terms of crime, he mostly does math. (He’s been known to pick up a gun, of course.) These episodes explore just how deep that rift between Jonah and his parents has grown, how much Charlotte belongs in it, and what Marty and especially Wendy might do if the family broke even more. .

You will eventually find out about that car accident. You learn what happens next and what role it plays in the bigger story. The writers put the Byrde kids in that car with their parents, and it’s up to you to decide whether it seems plausible that everyone looks so happy, or whether that moment seems deserved.

Characters you’ve seen before appear at unexpected moments. Some plot threads will be tied; others will be abandoned.

And you’ll eventually see the credits roll for the last time as Netflix tries, in the way its signature, to immediately shake you from the end of this four-season epic to what else they have to offer. And it’s up to you to decide at that point whether you think the show has kept its promises.

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