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Ozark is coming to a close. A final set of seven new episodes hit Netflix on April 29. As is seemingly in vogue now (see), Ozark’s final season was broken up into two parts. Season four part one was also seven episodes strong, and came to the streaming giant in January.
Ozark has packed many characters and a lot of drama into the 37 episodes that have thus far been released. Even if you’ve seen it all, there are likely details you’ve forgotten. Or maybe you’ve never seen any of the crime drama but want to catch the finale episodes on day one. Either way, here’s a quick recap of how seasn four’s first part ended, and what you’ll need to remember heading into part two.
Beware: spoilers aplenty are below.
Javi and Ruth
Ozark season four focused heavily on the wheeling and dealing of Marty and Wendy Byrde, trying as they always are to schmooze their way out of being brutally murdered by the cartel. You know how it goes. But the season’s final moments were all about Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), one of the show’s best characters.
The lead up to those moments are due to a new character introduced in season four’s first episode: Javier, or Javi, Omar Navarro’s nephew. Navarro in that opening episode explains to Marty and Wendy that Javi wants the top spot in the cartel and is willing to kill Navarro and his family to get it. As a result, Navarro wants out. To achieve that, Navarro wants the Byrdes to use their contact in the FBI, Maya Miller, to broker a deal that will see him come to the US as a free citizen.
Throughout season four part one, the Byrdes manage to figure out such a deal with the FBI’s brass. Unfortunately, agent Miller ruins that plan by going over her superiors’ heads and having Navarro arrested. By the season’s end, Navarro is in jail and Javi is the new cartel boss. (More on this in a minute.)
The first time Javi meets the Byrdes, he complains about Darlene Snell, a rival heroin producer who he feels is disrespecting the cartel by operating in the Ozarks. In the final episode of season four part one, Javi takes matters into his own hands. He barges into Darlene’s house and fatally shoots Darlene and her new husband, Wyatt Langmore.
Yes, her husband. Wyatt, who began dating the much older Darlene in season three, planned to leave Darlene in season four part one’s opening episodes. However, Darlene suffered a heart attack amid a confrontation with Wendy, and child services said she was unable to take care of her adopted son Zeke unless she found a partner. Instead of running away, Wyatt popped the question and the two wedded. But of course, their honeymoon was short lived thanks to Javi.
That’s what brings us to Ruth. Wyatt is Ruth’s closest relative and throughout the show she’s encouraged him to pursue a life outside of crime. Naturally she’s distraught that her young, full-of-potential cousin has been killed. As season four part one ends, Ruth is in her pickup truck, driving to get revenge on Javi.
There are two problems with this. First, Javi is an erratic head of a Mexican drug cartel, so Ruth is in grave danger. Second, the Byrde’s plan for freedom requires Javier to be alive.
Byrde’s need Javi
I mentioned above that Omar Navarro is in jail by season four part one’s conclusion. That was a Byrde plan gone wrong.
The story of Ozark has been Marty and Wendy trying to figure out a way to free themselves from the grip of the cartel. At first it was simply washing a certain amount of money, but by season four the goal has changed. To rid themselves of obligation to the cartel, Wendy and Marty have to turn Mexican drug boss Omar Navarro into a free US citizen.
Conveniently, the couple’s casino operations were under investigation of FBI agent Maya Miller, who Marty spent season three trying to flip. Recall that in season three Marty supplied Miller with evidence that led to the jailing of key Lagunas cartel personnel, which the Navarro cartel was at war with.
In season four, Navarro agrees to secretly give the FBI heads up about a series of gun and money drops from Mexico to the US. (Again, a major reason why Navarro wants to escape to the US is his fear that Javier will usurp him as cartel head. As such, his dealings with the FBI are kept to Navarro and the Byrdes.) Agent Miller is able to intercept these drops, and the FBI is sufficiently impressed to meet with Navarro.
Unfortunately, FBI bigwigs got a little too used to the steady stream of guns and cash. More successful interceptions mean more funding for the Bureau, so they offer Navarro a deal. Navarro is to remain drug boss for five years, during which time he’ll snitch on his own cartel from the inside. The FBI can use that intel to arrest some folks and, more importantly, keep getting more guns and money.
Navarro agrees to the deal, and the Byrdes are finally free to move back to Chicago. That is until agent Miller goes rogue. Miller had been working with Marty and Navarro in the hopes of bringing down a killer cartel, so she’s crestfallen that her bosses are instead using Navarro as a means to score more money. Since the FBI’s deal with Navarro was completely off the record, Miller is able to get local law enforcement to arrest Navarro, a wanted criminal, as he’s at the airport en route back to Mexico.
With Navarro jailed, Javier is cartel King. Javier is convinced that Marty is behind the arrest of his uncle — unaware that Navarro had been snitching on the cartel’s money movements — and threatens to shoot him. His life is saved by Wendy, who at that very moment convinces Navarro to call Javier and implore him to cut a deal with the FBI. Wendy promises that if Javi accepts the deal, Navarro will be a free man. This turns out to be a lie, as Javi does accept the deal but Navarro is left to rot in jail.
Javi’s deal is similar to his uncle’s. He’ll spend 10 years as an inside man for the FBI, after which time he’ll retire to the US with immunity. Feeling above the law, Javier waltzes into the Snell residence to do away with Darlene and Wyatt.
The Byrdes, meanwhile, are free of their obligations to the cartel — unless of course a fiery blonde manages to kill Javier and blow up the FBI’s deal.
Those are the stakes as season four part two begins.
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