Ozark: Season 4/ Episodes 1 to 4 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

As Ozark begins to wrap up, it lacks a notable villain and keeps these on pace to the point of making it seem that only killing a member of the Byrde family could truly shake things up.


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)

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Ruth giving Marty the side eye

As Ozark begins to wrap up, it lacks a notable villain and keeps these on pace to the point of making it seem that only killing a member of the Byrde family could truly shake things up.


Aired 1/21/2022
Network Netflix
Introduced During This Recap
Mel Adam Rothenberg
Javier Alfonso Herrera
Clare Shaw Katrina Lenk
Sheriff Guerrero CC Castillo
Senator Schafer Bruce Davison
Kerry Eric Ladin
Nathan Richard Thomas

Recap (Episodes 1 to 4)

Episode 1: The Beginning Of The End

What happens in Mexico doesn’t stay in Mexico, as Helen’s death causes complications. For one, it means Javier, Omar’s nephew, lost who he thought should have lived, which raises red flags for Omar, who knows Javier is capable of killing him. So, he tasks Marty and Wendy with cleaning up his image, including allowing him to step away from his empire, clean. A task Wendy doesn’t think is possible, but with Marty a master at overselling, he says it can be done.

The problem is, back home, Jonah is cozying up more and more to Ruth, whose alliance with Darlene makes her a problem. Especially since Ruth is setting things up to no longer need Marty and his software to launder money. But it isn’t until Jonah decides to officially join Ruth that she really stood a chance at being independent.

 

Though, with working in the same vicinity, Marty has no choice but to try to work with Ruth, Darlene, and Wyatt. Omar wants Darlene to shut down her production of heroin, which is laughable, and to make matters worse, Maya has stopped answering Marty’s calls. Oh, and a private investigator named Mel comes about, and all he wants is Helen’s signature for the divorce. Which, when he can’t get Helen, means him sniffing around, and with him sniffing around comes the reveal Jonah threatened Helen and Sheriff Nix trying to do his job.

The combination of that leads to Wendy flipping out on her son, Sheriff Nix being killed by Javier, and Jonah, more and more, seeing Ruth as the lesser of two evils. Hence his decision to go all-in when it comes to using his edit of his father’s software to become part of Ruth’s burgeoning organization.

Episode 2: Let The Great World Spin

With Frank Sr. pulling out of working with Darlene, the fight is over before it begins, so Ruth tries to create a new connection. Unfortunately, Darlene, who is used to doing things her way and controlling things, blocks Ruth at every turn, and this includes her not being fond of Jonah working for them. But, with Ruth having a lot riding on this, she hopes Wyatt may finally do more than hunch his shoulders and walk away.

Oh, and speaking of Jonah, things continue to sour for his relationship with his family as he reveals he is working with Ruth, knows about Sheriff Nix, and even starts hinting to Mel and Maya about what he may or may not know. This infuriates Wendy since she is trying her best to set up a post-Omar world for the family. One which includes increasing their political capital through Jim and working with Clare Shaw, whose family owns a major pharmaceutical company. One Wendy secures $150 million from to build rehabs!

As for how Marty feels? Honestly, he is a little proud of his son, yet also mad at Ruth for letting him get involved. But with her more so worried about dealing with Darlene and crafting good deals, she has no time for Marty since she knows he isn’t going to do a damn thing besides flap his lips.

Which, in his defense, he is good at. He convinced Maya to meet with Omar, keeps Nix’s replacement, Sheriff Guererro, from making any sort of new problems for him, and while Marty never has a hold on anything, at the very least, he’s not freaking out yet. “Yet” being the keyword.

Episode 3: City On The Make

Maya’s meeting with Omar doesn’t go as he wanted. He seemingly wanted an easy deal, and she isn’t willing to cooperate without jail time. Of course, this is an issue that Marty is pushed to be in the middle of, but he’s used most of his currency with Maya, so Wendy has to step in. You know, talk mom to mom. Mind you, this is on top of her dealing with Jonah getting in deeper with Ruth and Darlene and working with Jim so that Senator Schafer, who she has beef with, may care about the money she brings to the table and less about their history.

Speaking of Jonah, at this point, he is done with Wendy and her symbols of good faith. He isn’t at the point of moving out like Charlotte tried to, but he does move all of his operations to the motel Ruth bought, which means Wendy can’t cut his power or keep him from laundering money. A task that Marty says he doesn’t want him involved in, but Wendy suspects Marty is proud that their 14-year-old is potentially at his level or damn near close.

 

But, what is a laundering agent without money to launder? That’s the problem as Darlene continues to push back on all that Ruth is trying to do, including making heroin fancy and focusing more on selling high than selling in quantity. However, seeing how much Ruth’s contact Kerry, a chef from Chicago, can get from other high profile people, it seems that whatever part of Darlene’s ego wanted to put up a fight melts away. Especially since this makes it so Frank Sr. she can give a proper finger to since history between them means nothing at this point.

Don’t think everything is sunshine and daisies, however. On a trip to Chicago, between Charlotte, Wendy, and Marty, Charlotte has to tap into her mom’s energy to get Erin to shut up about her mom and her whereabouts. Also, Javi decides to join the meeting with Clare Shaw, where she is to test the product and nearly kills the deal by reminding her who she is getting in bed with.

With seeing this, Marty pushes Omar to give Maya a reason to think he is serious by having Omar tank a gun shipment Javi is working on, and Omar does this. Which gives the barely off maternity leave Maya a win and Javi a reason to increasingly suspect the Byrde family and his uncle.

Episode 4: Ace Deuce

“Happiness makes up in height what it lacks in length” are the words often attributed to Robert Frost, and for Ruth, that sentence is the story of her life. Things were going well with Kerry, to the point she was able to coerce Marty to let her back in the casino. However, him nearly OD’ing blew up everything. Now Kerry wants out, Wendy is pointing the Sheriff in Ruth’s direction, and when you add in Darlene being mad, Ruth is back where she started.

At least, she is at first. Thankfully, with Javier getting paranoid about all the busts that Omar is giving Maya, he decides to shut down the trade of heroin to Clare’s company. With this, Marty finds himself willing to make a deal to circumvent how Javi is sabotaging the operation.

Though, in Javier’s defense, he isn’t the only one. With talking about her brother missing, Wendy is increasingly drawing attention to him, especially from Mel, who decides to look into Wendy’s brother by visiting her father. This leads to him calling Wendy, and that leading to quite a volatile conversation. But, overall, Wendy going rogue, increasingly, as she thinks long term, perplexes both her friends and foes to the point of Marty realizing he may need to operate without her awareness on some things.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Why is Three so rarely seen during all this?
  2. What happened to Trevor and his case?
  3. Is Mel really working for Helen’s ex or someone else? Shouldn’t he have checked in with his client by now?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Darlene being upset Ruth striked a deal with Marty, likely without talking to her
  2. Jonah being reminded how ruthless Darlene is
  3. Wyatt breaking up with Darlene
  4. The Sheriff discovers something which jeopardizes everyone’s business
  5. Javi coming onto Charlotte in a way that makes Marty draw a line

Collected Quote(s)

I’m trying to save them without becoming them.
— Clare (4.3)

God’s a mother******. Isn’t he? Built me smart enough to know how f***ed up my life is. But not quite smart enough to haul my ass out of it.
— Ruth (4.4)

Review


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)


Highlights

Ruth’s Business Dealings

What never stops impressing us is that Ruth is a character who never code switches, no matter who she is dealing with. Because she is cunning, a little intimidating, but knows what she is talking about, whether it is Marty or Darlene, she is respected while she isn’t always agreed with. Now, this isn’t to say she is always right, since it seemed not securing certain things with Darlene nearly blew up her operation multiple times, never mind her partnerships, in general, more so being good for the short term than the long term. However, luck combined with skill allows Ruth to always come out a bit worse for wear but able to fight another day.

Wendy’s Resourcefulness

In some ways, Charlotte’s annoyance has now become Wendy, yet it’s easy to understand why Wendy has become as we see her. At this point, Marty is so focused on keeping them alive, he has lost sight on what to do after they eventually get free of Omar and what to do in the long term. Hence her constant battles with trying to secure Jonah back into the fold, despite him rebelling due to Ben’s death. Also, when it comes to Clare, Maya, and even Omar, Wendy always pushes big picture ideas, the long-term threats or wins, because Marty may save the day, but Wendy is trying to save lives.

But, even outside of what Omar threatens, directly or not, there is also her work with Jim. Wendy’s plans to have all mid-west elections go through her and her family is notable. Mind you, it isn’t dug into that much in the first four episodes, just the foundation laid, but it nonetheless made it seem that Wendy has her whole complete story separate from her family, which might be necessary as her family is driving her mad.

Charlotte’s Evolution

For the most part, Charlotte is a supporting role. She tries to bridge the chasm between Jonah and their parents, hold things down at the casino, keep Erin from asking questions about her mom while being a teenager. It’s rather difficult, but there is no more whining, threats to run or reveal anything. She just does the work for the sake of the family.

Which does leave you to wonder, as Jonah does, what will she do for herself and her own personal progress, but we are only halfway through the season.

On The Fence

Can You Kill Off A Character At This Point, Who Isn’t A Byrde, And Make It Shocking?

At this point, characters getting murdered doesn’t mean much. Yes, Wyatt seeing Darlene kill someone left him shaken, but that’s because Wyatt has been relatively shielded from some of Darlene’s worst traits – if not has ignored them. However, that moment, and even Sheriff Nix’s murder, doesn’t really shock me.

As of now, the only shock would be a Byrde dying. Be it Charlotte, Jonah, Wendy, or even Marty. As for everyone else? They can tease Javi and Omar going to war, Wyatt being caught between Ruth and Darlene, and even the possibility of Maya being too close to Marty and Omar and that ending her life. However, no one but the death of a Byrde, which means Ben doesn’t count, will truly have a notable impact and be shocking.

Javier & Omar – The Lacking Of A Notable Threat

Is it just me, or are Omar and Javier not as notable as past villains? For example, Helen, while a very stern woman, she had charisma and presence, you paid attention when she spoke, and her threats seemed very life or death. Omar and Javier? They come off like generic gangsters, with Javier being the hot head and Omar being the one who has gotten too old for his lifestyle and now just wants to maintain long enough to get out.

Which makes watching them a tedious experience and, I would say, makes it so Marty doesn’t live up to the fixer persona that has often been the saving grace when watching him.

Maya

It has been a long time since season 3, so forgive me if Maya was never really someone we should have been worried about, but with there being a lack of a threat this season, her becoming the puppet Marty implies is just sad. Yes, she told to Trevor that she understands she is making moral compromises, but it doesn’t really feel like we’re getting the full weight of that.

I mean, what ruined it for me is her bringing her child, who is weeks old, to Marty’s house and staying with him like that doesn’t look suspicious and seems very weird and dangerous. With that, I stopped taking her high ground talk seriously since she has become too far gone with no real way to head back.

Darlene’s Struggle To Remain Relevant

While Darlene remains a notable badass, you can see, similar to Omar, she isn’t what she once was. There is a new generation coming up, and they are hungry and disrespectful, and there is a struggle to know what your place will be as it becomes clear they can’t be reined in.

With Ruth, you can see Darlene respects her, likes her even, and maybe sees herself in Ruth. However, let’s not pretend Darlene isn’t the type who could never work with someone just like her. Darlene likes being at the top of the pecking order, and she adheres to history. Hence her beef with Frank Sr., who drops her when things get bad and are no longer mutually beneficial or in his favor.

But, what hurts when it comes to Darlene is that with Ruth undermining her without consequences, repeatedly, it is like Ruth is beating her at her own game. She keeps calling Darlene’s bluff, and be it because of Wyatt, Zeke, or trying to have a legacy, Darlene backs down. Thus making her seem smaller and smaller as her influence wanes, and all she has is the land that, easily, could be taken from her.

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Ruth giving Marty the side eye
Ozark: Season 4/ Episodes 1 to 4 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
In the first four episodes, some characters present to you the idea we're getting more of the same, and there is nothing new to see here. For some, that is good, for it just means they are on the trajectory we've seen since season 1. However, for others, with you growing used to their antics or how they operate, it leaves you sometimes indifferent about their fate and their scenes. Which could easily creep onto the rest of the show in time.
Highlights
Charlotte's Evolution
Wendy's Resourcefulness
Ruth's Business Dealings
Disputable
Darlene's Struggle To Remain Relevant
Maya
Javier & Omar – The Lacking Of A Notable Threat
Can You Kill Off A Character At This Point, Who Isn't A Byrde, And Make It Shocking?
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