Early Review of Ozark Season 4 Part 2: A satisfyingly dark ending anchored by superb performances

The last season raises the stakes for the Byrde family's survival. Read Pinkvilla's first-episode review here.

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Ozark is a Netflix original crime drama series written by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams and produced by MRC Television and Aggregate Films in the United States.  Marty and Wendy Byrde, a married couple who transfer their family to the Lake of the Ozarks for money laundering, are played by Jason Bateman and Laura Linney.

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Bateman also serves as the series director and executive producer. The first season premiered on July 21, 2017, the second on August 31, 2018,, and the third on March 27, 2020. Each of the first three seasons has ten episodes. The series was renewed for a fourth and final season in June 2020, consisting of fourteen episodes split into two parts, the first of which premiered on January 21, 2022, and the second on April 29, 2022.

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Throughout its run, Ozark got good reviews from critics, who praised the tone, directing, production values, and acting in particular (particularly those of Bateman, Linney, and Julia Garner).

The series has been nominated for 32 Primetime Emmy Awards, including two for Outstanding Drama Series, with Bateman winning Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series in 2019 and Garner receiving Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series twice in a row in 2019 and 2020. Bateman has been nominated for two more Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Television Series Drama.

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If you’ve been a fan of Ozark, I’m sure you’ll agree that the wait for the final season has been long. There has been a lot that has happened between the first time we met Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) and the point where we encounter this pair in the series’ final season, but they never fail to surprise us with their absolute depravity. Ozark’s entire attraction has been that it depicts the lowest, darkest levels at which humanity may function when necessary.

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Surprisingly, it’s a family drama about twisted parents who needed urgent intervention, rather than the other way around, as in a typical drama.

Perception is a tricky thing because it never allows you to recognize yourself for who you really are. When Ruth (Julia Garner) asks Marty and Wendy if they truly believe what they’re doing is to “protect their family,” you quickly realize how easily you can be blinded by the lies you tell yourself to satisfy your darkest desires, and that’s all you need to know about the Byrde family and their ways if you haven’t already figured them out. The final seven episodes of the series pick up where we left off in January.

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If you’ve been a fan of Ozark, I’m sure you’ll agree that the wait for the final season has been excruciating. There has been a lot that has happened between the first time we met Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) and the point when we see them in the series’ final season, but they never fail to amaze us with their absolute depravity.

Ozark’s entire appeal has been to depict the deepest, darkest levels at which humanity can function when necessary. Surprisingly, it’s a family drama about twisted parents who needed urgent intervention rather than the other way around, as in a typical drama.

Perception is a hard thing; it never allows you to recognize yourself for who you really are. When Ruth (Julia Garner) asks Marty and Wendy if they truly believe what they’re doing is to “protect their family,” you quickly realize how easily you can be blinded by the lies you tell yourself to satiate your darkest desires, and that’s all you need to know about the Byrde family and their ways if you haven’t already figured them out. The final seven episodes of the season pick up where we left off in January.

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Ozark never allows you to concentrate on the dead; instead, it focuses on the living and the price they pay to do so. I don’t recall hearing as much about character fatalities from the program as there has been about the brutal survival games that these folks play.

Other characters, in addition to Wyatt and Darlene, are murdered early in the final season. The violent images return, and I remember wondering to myself, “Is it truly an episode of Ozark if Marty and Wendy aren’t wiping blood from their hands?”

Despite all of the ugliness, one of the nicest parts of the last season is Ruth’s mental state of mind. It’s a horrible phase for her, driven by wrath and grief at the same time, with no one to completely trust, and Julia Garner expresses all of this and more with her striking portrayal.

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Garner’s talent is her ability to transform from a complete mess to a badass gun-toting, vengeful version of Ruth. You’re terrified for her as much as for yourself.

In the case of Byrdes, the gap between Marty and Wendy continues to widen, and Bateman and Linney make sure you’re aware of it. Laura Linney continues to give outstanding performances season after season, and her performance is arguably the most important aspect of Ozark that I will miss. When the screenplay let us down at times, it was a joy to witness her turn Wendy into such a multi-layered character.

Unfortunately for Bateman, there isn’t much more to discover, as Marty’s character development is probably the worst of the main characters. Marty’s lost accountant side appears to be a big disappointment after being the most impressive character in the first and probably also the third season. Regardless, Jason Bateman does the best he can with it.

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Ozark’s saving grace is that it has discovered the ideal time to end. For this plot, anything beyond the fourth season would have been a needless stretch. With the publication of the final seven episodes in the second half of the fourth season, I’ll be writing a complete review of the show soon, including a discussion of the show’s massive 72-minute finale.

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