“Ozark” season 3 came to an end with a bang and now the showrunner breaks down that shocking finale and what lies ahead for a possible season 4 storyline…
SPOILERS LIE AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED OZARK SEASON 3
It’s hard to imagine a more shocking ending that what happened at the end of “Ozark” season 3.
Following 10 episodes filled with twists, turns and plenty of backstabbing, Marty and Wendy Byrde traveled to Mexico along with Helen Pierce to meet with their boss, Omar Navarro. Marty was already apprehensive about the trip after learning that Helen had gone to the FBI on his behalf and asked for a deal to have him turn informant for the U.S. government.
Obviously, Helen was setting Marty up to be murdered in Mexico but almost immediately after stepping off the plane, that strategy backfired in a major way. Just as Navarro approached the group, Helen was shot in the head and the splatter from the gunshot landed all over Marty and Wendy.
Navarro then embraced Marty and Wendy as he celebrated a new beginning with his business partners. Now in the wake of that surprising season finale, “Ozark” showrunner Chris Mundy explains the decision to kill Helen and save Marty and Wendy just when it looked like the luck for the Byrde family had finally run out.
“We thought of the first third of the season as Marty vs. Wendy, and Wendy kind of wins that battle, and then it transitions to this tentative alliance between Wendy and Helen, and by extension Wendy and Marty vs. Helen,” Mundy explained when speaking to EW. “By the time it came to the end, we really wanted to hold that tension of these two things cannot cohabitate, somebody’s got to win this battle, because Navarro isn’t going to put up with anything unstable and he was going to have to pick a side.
“The whole last episode starts in a very tentative way because there’s fallout from things that happened in episode 9, and once it clicks into gear we didn’t want it to stop until the very last possible second.”
According to Mundy, the shift in his alliances really came down to what Marty and Wendy have done for him since getting into business together. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment was Marty convincing the FBI to go after Navarro’s rival cartel after the faction crossed over the border and killed several members of the Kansas City mob as payback in the ongoing war.
The U.S. government will use the full power of the military to go after a cartel if an American has been harmed on home soil, which was all Marty needed to know to send the FBI after Navarro’s enemies.
“As good as Helen is, there’s other lawyers in the world. But Wendy and Marty have now pulled off two impossibilities for him,” Mundy explained. “One is getting a casino to launder through in the first place, which is sort of the holy grail of money laundering.
“And the second is that, at least in Navarro’s mind, their claim that they have the FBI on their side and can swing the power of the U.S. government in the intervention in the drug war against their rivals, that’s something virtually no one else can do, and that essentially tipped the scales for Marty and Wendy.”
While Marty and Wendy survived a potential axe falling down on them from Navarro, the Byrde’s still have plenty of problems facing them back at home.
“Ozark” season 3 saw Marty cut ties with the Kansas City mafia after Frank Cosgrove Jr. assaulted Ruth Langmore. Marty refused to retaliate with force but he broke off his relationship with the mob in order to appease Ruth’s assault.
Unfortunately that never sat well with Ruth and after Darlene Snell took it upon herself to get revenge by taking a shotgun to Frank Jr.’s private parts, she began to realize there was somebody willing to fight for her and it wasn’t Marty Byrde.
“Ruth’s arc is that she thought she wanted to be Byrde and realized that not only is it okay to be a Langmore, she actually prefers to be a Langmore,” Mundy said. “We’ve always played with this idea of locals vs. outsiders, and now the Byrdes are kind of both, in a way. Since season 1 we’ve talked about them as a sort of invasive species on this region and all the things that would have been different if they had never landed there.
“But there’s a real allure there for Ruth and there’s a real emotion in the Marty relationship. He’s the first person who ever recognized how smart and competent she was, and he’s been like a surrogate father in a way, but at the same time sometimes you’ve got to grow past that, and that’s what she’s coming to realize.”
At the end of season 3, Ruth decide to team up with Darlene and her cousin Wyatt as the Snell family began producing heroin again for sale and distribution after previously brokering a deal with the cartel to stop making their own drugs. Mundy says this is an opportunity for Ruth to strike out on her own while Darlene begins building a real family with the Langmore’s as well as raising her adopted son in Zeke.
“Everything is about legacy with [Darlene],” Mundy said. “It’s why she wanted a son, it’s why she figured out how to get Zeke, and it’s what her fights with Jacob were about. Getting Ruth means it’s more likely she keeps Wyatt close, and the two of them can be together, and Darlene can glimpse her own future and then the future once she’s gone and Zeke is getting older. For the first time there’s something that is local-grown that she can see is going forward and will have power there. In that moment, it’s satisfaction that she was right all along.”
While “Ozark” hasn’t officially been renewed for season 4 on Netflix, there is plenty of expectation that the show will return, especially after the series won several Emmy awards this past year.
Mundy hasn’t really started work on season 4 just yet but he already has some ideas about where the story goes now that Marty and Wendy are all in with the Mexican cartel and they are once again at odds with a local family with a lot of power in town.
“Well, if we’re lucky enough to get a season 4, I think it will be about whether or not Ruth really can create something of her own that she wants and is sustainable, or if she wants something else,” Mundy said.
“And I think it will be about if the Byrdes can they turn the biggest mistake of their lives into this huge advantage, and how much will karma catch up with them if they do?”
“Ozark” season 3 is currently available on Netflix.