The first half of the fourth and final season of Netflix’s Ozark premiered Friday, and many fans have already binged all seven episodes and moved on to considering all the ramifications of what they’ve seen. Netflix hasn’t announced a date for the conclusion of the saga of Marty and Wendy Byrde, but it’s unlikely we’ll see how things wrap up before summer. That leaves plenty of time to stew over some of the questions lingering after the midseason finale. Here are 11 of the biggest ones.
Major spoilers to follow for Ozark season four, part one.
Will Ruth kill Javi?
When Omar Navarro handed power over to his nephew, Javi Elizonndro, and the FBI basically freed him from potential prosecution, the tempestuous drug lord was unleashed to clean up the mess in the Ozarks. Since the beginning, he told Marty to take care of the competition and get Darlene Snell out of the drug trade, but Marty was never quite able to do that, and so the half-season ended with Javi shooting Darlene in the chest and introducing himself to Wyatt Langmore with a bullet in the head. Ruth Langmore found the bodies and turned into a furious force of nature; she was last seen screaming and driving after Jonah Byrde told her who was behind the murders. She’s going to get her vengeance. She’s going to try to kill Javi. Will she succeed? Will someone beat her to it? Or might she face a bigger problem …
Will the FBI protect Javi, and vice versa?
When the FBI put Javi in a protected position of power for a decade, they might have created a true monster. The finale makes clear how much the FBI values profit — they tried to keep Omar in power so the money seizures would keep flowing — and there’s every reason to believe they see dollar signs when they look at Javi, too, so they will protect him to keep that relationship intact. It’s like giving a sociopath a license to kill. (When Whitey Bulger had a similar deal going on, he became even more vicious.) Javi was dangerous enough when he was a rogue agent in his uncle’s regime. Now that he’s an empowered king? Look out.
Will the Byrdes make it back to Chicago?
The final episodes of the season center on the Byrdes’ desire to move back to the Windy City, giving them trips to Chicago to tease a potential future where it all began. Will they ever actually escape the quicksand of the Ozarks? And should they? Something to watch will be the implication that not all members of the Byrde family feel as strongly about the move. Sure, Marty gets excited — well, as excited as Marty can get — when the subject comes up, but Wendy often appears more reticent to give up the power she’s attained in the heart of the country. Is Jonah going to leave Ruth and her empire behind that easily? And what of Charlotte talking about the Pacific Northwest? Is it possible that the show ends with only Marty back in Chicago? It could wind up being a show about a man who took his family to the Ozarks to save them and came back alone.
Will Jonah side with Ruth or Wendy?
When Jonah discovered that his mother killed his uncle, Ben, it shattered the mother-son relationship in a way Wendy seems incapable of repairing. Much of this season was about Wendy’s failure to bridge the widening gap with hollow gestures like backyard shrines that only remind Jonah of what his mother did every time he looks outside. At the same time, Jonah grew closer to Ruth as he worked for her growing empire. Keep in mind that Ruth has no one left, so Jonah may end up her only ally in the end — two people forever traumatized by what Wendy did to Ben.
Have we seen the last of Omar?
Felix Solis nailed Omar’s arc this season as a powerful figure who knows his days are numbered, trying to find his way out by having the Byrdes launder him. However, has his narrative really run its course? He’s stuck behind bars after Maya Miller’s power play to arrest him instead of keeping him as an inside man, and Javi has the new deal with the Feds. The arc of his dynamic with Wendy is especially interesting to consider here: At the end of the first meeting with the FBI, there seemed to be mutual respect between the two, as if Omar saw something of himself in Wendy, but when it came down to it, Wendy threatened Omar’s children, something Omar notes he would never do. The implication is Wendy Byrde is even more ruthless than an international drug lord, and so his role may have essentially been supplanted in the show.
Will Charlotte stay by her mother’s side?
The dynamic between Jonah and Wendy was a major plotline of season four’s first half, but there was some interesting material between Mrs. Byrde and her other child this season too. It almost feels as if Wendy, always a political creature, has pulled Charlotte closer as Jonah’s gone in the other direction. She probably knew Marty would take Jonah’s side and needed another ally around the dinner table. Whether it’s allowing Charlotte to handle the Erin Pierce situation or drinking with her after betraying her son, Wendy is grooming Charlotte. Will it work, or will Charlotte see through this behavior?
What kind of trouble will Mel cause with Maya?
Private investigator Mel Sattem was one of the more interesting flies in the ointment this season, causing some trouble around the periphery but not drastically altering the plot other than to raise tension in the Byrde household. It felt more like setup for an arc in the back half of the season, and that arc may have begun when he contacted Maya. Consider what this pair could learn from each other: Maya has some information about Helen Pierce, and Mel knows a few things about the lies Wendy has been telling about Ben. They were problematic for the main characters on Ozark as solo acts, but they could really cause trouble as a duo.
Is Clare Shaw indebted to the cartel forever?
Poor Clare Shaw. She trusted the successful businesswoman with a sob story about her missing brother’s mental illness and drug addiction only to realize exactly what she was getting into when Marty dropped the hammer on her financial situation. She almost agreed to work with the Byrdes to illegally obtain product for her opioid business before she really had time to consider all of the ramifications. She knows now. With each episode, Clare seems more defeated, understanding that she’s too deep into a highly criminal underworld to ever find her way out. What role will Clare play in the endgame? She’s clearly scared of Javi, as she should be, but will she push back in a way that gets her into more trouble or just play along?
Will the truth come out about Ben? Or new lies?
Ben was nearly as much of a presence in this half-season as when he was alive. His death forever changed the dynamics between Ruth and the Byrdes and between Jonah and Wendy. And like a true sociopath, Wendy leaned into his disappearance, using it as capital for the deal with Clare and sympathy in the community. When Darlene tried to turn up the heat with the “Missing” posters, Wendy jumped into the fire, filing a missing-persons report. An accessory to murder doesn’t often try to further the investigation into that murder. How badly will all of this backfire on Wendy? Will the truth come out? Or will Mel’s theory about Ben killing Helen gain steam?
Will the Emmys finally recognize Ozark (beyond Julia Garner)?
The Television Academy has a habit of awarding final seasons because they know it’s their last chance to do so. They’ve been pretty nice to Ozark so far, awarding Jason Bateman once for directing and Julia Garner twice for acting. Garner is almost certainly coming for that third Emmy for this half-season and maybe even a fourth for the next half-season, but will the Emmys spread the wealth? Knowing that this is the final chance to give people like Bateman and Laura Linney awards for acting could finally make those deserving wins happen. Bateman has been nominated for every season (Linney missed the first), and that seems certain to continue two more times. Jon Hamm didn’t win his acting Emmy until the final season of Mad Men. It feels very possible the same thing happens to Bateman here.
Who’s going to make it out alive?
This is the big one. Ozark has never shied away from killing major characters. Lisa Emery and Charlie Tahan learned that the hard way in this final season, and there’s simply no way the body count ends there. But who survives? It feels like the only person who’s 100 percent safe is Ruth — the writers have put her through such hell that it feels like the show needs to end with a victory for Ms. Langmore. Everyone else is on watch. Could one of the Byrdes end up never making it out of the Ozarks? Absolutely. Marty is the kind of character who seems more likely to have to carry the guilt of his decisions for the rest of his life than lose it, but nothing else would be truly surprising. And who do we want to see make it out? Has Wendy earned a happy ending after all the death she’s caused? It’s open for debate. We’ll know after one more half-season. And we’re all counting the days.