Ruth looks up

Entering the fourth and final season of "Ozark," cartel lawyer Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer) was no more, having been killed by cartel leader Omar Navarro (Felix Solis). Navarro chose Marty and Wendy Byrde (Jason Bateman and Laura Linney) over his once-trusted ally to help do his dirty work in the States. Season 4 was the Byrde family’s last chance to break free from the criminal organization they launder money for by setting up a deal with the FBI. They want to move back to Chicago and earn an honest living, but getting out is easier said than done.

At this point, Marty, Wendy, and their children, Charlotte and Jonah (Sofia Hublitz and Skylar Gaertner), want nothing more than to leave their lives as unlikely cartel money launderers behind. Will they make it out alive? The final lap of "Ozark" finally answers that question. There are many good things about the fourth season of the Netflix show, though there are also plenty of moments that probably won’t sit well with fans. Here are some of the best and worst things that happened in "Ozark" Season 4.

Best: Two minor characters get their moments

Sam looks shocked

One thing "Ozark" has never been afraid to do is kill off characters. Virtually all of the Langmores get wiped out. Wendy’s brother, Ben Davis (Tom Pelphrey), gets murdered by his own blood. Though her life was spared, FBI agent Maya Miller’s (Jessica Frances Dukes) role in the main storyline came to a screeching halt after she arrested Omar. That’s why it was nice to see two minor characters getting their moments in Season 4. Sam Dermody (Kevin L. Johnson) had found his purpose by the end of the series, and Rachel Garrison (Jordana Spiro) made a triumphant return, briefly working alongside Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) at the casino.

The gullible Sam was routinely used as a pawn by Marty, Wendy, Ruth, and others. He takes control of his future when he decides to get baptized and join the congregation. It can be argued that he was yet again persuaded to do something he didn’t entirely want to do, but he does seem truly happy in his decision, and that was a nice bonus for viewers. In Rachel’s case, she finally managed to get one over on Marty and Wendy, who, one way or another, ruined her life by getting her involved in crime. Ruth took over the majority of the casino and gave Rachel a prominent role in the business.

Worst: Wendy’s obsession with the Byrde Foundation

Wendy sitting

Laura Linney’s performance as Wendy Byrde is sensational and well worthy of the Emmy nominations. Wendy was terrifying in the final season of "Ozark." She drove her son away by having her own brother killed. She also, against Marty’s wishes, continued pushing to get the Byrde Foundation off the ground. She succeeded in doing so, but she used sketchy methods to make the foundation a success, such as getting Clare Shaw (Katrina Lenk) to unknowingly (at least at first) work with the cartel. She and her family also worked with other criminal organizations, such as the Snells and the Kansas City Mob.

It’s not easy being a parent, let alone a mother whose son wants to launder money like his father. But Wendy is condescending and manipulating in Season 4, adopting a criminal mindset as she doggedly pursues her goals. She even calls the authorities on her own son to teach him a lesson. Jonah only wants the truth, which isn’t really that much to ask. Wendy redeems herself in the end, but her eye-on-the-prize mentality is horrific to behold at times.

Best: Marty breaks bad

Marty and Wendy standing

Marty has been like a ticking time bomb since "Ozark" premiered back in 2017. Considering what he’s been through since then, it’s a miracle he didn’t explode sooner. He was kidnapped and tortured by the cartel, and then spent most of his time trying to put out metaphorical forest fires. Despite his life getting turned upside down, Marty somehow always managed to keep his cool. His brand of ultra calmness sometimes came off as manipulating, especially when he told loved ones that everything was just fine. In Season 4, Marty finally snapped.

In the end, it’s a moment of road rage that sets Marty off like a rocket. During a tense scene, Marty gets out of his car, challenges a man to a fight, tells him he can have him killed with one phone call, and then proceeds to beat him up. Of course, we don’t condone this kind of behavior, but seeing Marty finally get angry after everything he’s managed to brush off was a delightful gift from the creators. Every character has their breaking point, and getting stuck in a traffic jam was the final straw for Marty.

Worst: Wyatt was in the wrong place at the wrong time

Darlene and Wyatt standing

Wyatt Langmore (Charlie Tahan) is one of the most frustrating "Ozark" characters, someone who makes way too many bad decisions. He and Charlotte became close after the latter found out that her parents had turned to crime, spending time on the road together. They didn’t last, however, and Wyatt ended up marrying the much older Darlene so that she could keep custody of her son. This would prove to be an unwise move, one that ultimately cost him his life.

In a gut-wrenching scene, Javier "Javi" Elizonndro (Alfonso Herrera) kills Darlene for continuing to run her drug ring, and then he also murders Wyatt for simply being there. Right before he pulls the trigger on Wyatt, he wickedly says, "Sorry, whoever you are." Fueled by grief and anger, Ruth goes on a rampage, threatening the Byrdes in their own home and eventually avenging her cousin’s death. Some would argue that Wyatt wasn’t really worth avenging, but he proved himself to be a good person by the end. He married Darlene so she could keep Baby Zeke and offered to help raise him. Sadly, kindness and selflessness don’t get you far in the world of "Ozark."

Best: Ruth takes out Javi

Ruth standing

With every new season of "Ozark," the antagonists seem to get worse and worse. In Season 4, Omar’s nephew Javi takes over daily operations for the cartel. He uses his powers to do pretty much whatever he wants, including killing a sheriff, as well as Darlene and Wyatt. He made a mistake when he murdered the latter, however. Javi didn’t count on Wyatt having a cousin hellbent on revenge.

In one of the show’s best scenes ever, Ruth has Clare call Javi into her office for a meeting and then shoots him dead before he has the chance to speak. Javi was arguably the most ruthless killer on "Ozark," and witnessing Ruth take him down was a great moment for viewers. Javi was no more, but what about Omar?

Omar got released from prison — only to be taken to the middle of nowhere and killed by the authorities. He might have grown on some viewers over the course of four seasons, but he’s yet another crime boss who would have anyone killed for any given reason. "Ozark" might be an enthralling series, but there aren’t many victorious moments for fan-favorite characters. Ruth killing Javi is definitely one of them.

Worst: Marty runs the cartel in Mexico

Marty in Mexico

The Byrde family’s rollercoaster ride reaches new heights when, with Omar behind bars, Marty becomes the temporary boss of the cartel. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, Marty soon becomes convinced that a cartel member has betrayed Omar and he is forced to take action. Omar told him to make decisions based on what he thinks Omar would do. This leads to Marty ordering a kill, a dramatic and traumatic turn of events for someone who used to work in finance. The plot thickens when Marty starts thinking he’s killed the wrong person.

Marty comes to believe that Omar’s own sister, Camila Elizonndro (Veronica Falcón), ordered his death. Camila is under the impression that Omar had Javi killed and she wants to get revenge for her son — and perhaps take the throne as well. Marty went to some dark places during his time in the Missouri Ozarks, but killing the wrong person while running the cartel for Omar has to be his lowest moment. Luckily, when he returns home, his duties as the head of the cartel are over.

Best: Ruth bests the Byrdes

Wendy and Marty sitting

She went through the pain of losing her cousin Wyatt, but Ruth had a crowd-pleasing final season. From her hilarious impression of Charlotte Byrde (which Julia Garner warned co-star Sofia Hublitz about in a hilarious phone call, via Forbes) to her satisfying revenge arc, Ruth was a definite highlight of Season 4, particularly because she got some form of closure.

Ruth wasn’t necessarily the best person before meeting the Byrdes, but her life was still turned upside down while working for them. Marty often gave her more attention than his own daughter, but he and his family still used her. They used virtually everyone they came across, which isn’t unreasonable from their perspective, as they were trying to not get killed by the cartel.

On top of taking out a cartel boss, Ruth also got the best of the Byrdes by outsmarting them at their own game. She met with a contact that helped the Byrdes get the casino off the ground and quickly realized that she owned the majority share, with Darlene and Wyatt both out of the picture. Ruth took over the casino alongside Rachel and there wasn’t a single thing the Byrdes could do about it.

Worst: Mel is seemingly killed for discovering the truth

Mel exits his car

Cop-turned-private investigator Mel Sattem (Adam Rothenberg) proves he’s an adequate detective over time. He redeems himself by looking into Helen’s disappearance and investigating Ben’s whereabouts for Nathan Davis (Richard Thomas), Ben and Wendy’s father. Mel puts the pieces together and has enough information to link the Byrdes to Ben’s death. Unfortunately, he figures this out in the final hour — after the Byrdes are free from the cartel and FBI — and Jonah pulls a shotgun on him. In the style of "The Sopranos," the scene cuts to black, but a gun blast goes off, indicating Jonah likely shot Mel.

It quickly became one of the most talked-about moments of the series finale, and will likely spawn a plethora of fan theories on what actually happened. Assuming Jonah did indeed shoot Mel as was heavily implied, he now has innocent blood on his hands. Given Marty is no stranger to hiding bodies, they probably didn’t have any trouble disposing of Mel’s corpse, but Jonah will still have to live with what he did for the rest of his life. And, of course, the family would have more than likely covered up the murder, making them all criminals yet again. The Byrdes were so close to making it out alive and clean, but it apparently wasn’t to be.

Best: The Byrdes make it out alive

The Byrde family at the table

Entering the final season of "Ozark," Marty and Wendy appeared to be in grave danger. Yet, against all odds, their entire family survived the events of Season 4. And not only did they all live, but Charlotte and Jonah decided to stay with their parents. That seemed like a long shot considering the siblings were on the verge of living with Nathan, Wendy’s father. All it took to convince them to stay was Wendy committing herself to a mental health facility (though Ruth threatening Nathan at gunpoint also played a part).

The Byrdes managed to survive the cartel, the Kansas City Mob, the Snells, countless other enemies, and a car accident that appeared to be lethal (yet actually didn’t cause any harm outside of a totaled vehicle). That said, many people — good and bad — perished while Marty, Wendy, Charlotte, and Jonah called the Ozarks their home, including Wendy’s brother. But, hey, at least everyone’s favorite criminal family survived!

Worst: Ben’s death is all but confirmed

Ben smiling

Season 3 of "Ozark" ended dramatically, with Helen being killed in front of Marty and Wendy. In another crazy turn of events, Wendy had her brother killed, cremating his body at the Byrdes’ very own funeral home. When the season ended, fans reasonably wondered if Ben was actually dead, since his death didn’t take place on screen. Unfortunately, Season 4 shows us cartel bodyguard/hitman Nelson (Nelson Bonilla) pointing a gun at Ben and seemingly pulling the trigger.

Again, Ben’s death wasn’t actually shown here, but the audience can conclude that Nelson shot and killed him. Viewers finally got some closure on the character, but it was still pretty disheartening to see the fan favorite begging for his life and then getting murdered, especially because the order came from Wendy. The poor guy was killed just because he knew how tainted the waters in the Missouri Ozarks really were.

Best: Marty and Wendy make amends with their children

Charlotte and Marty hugging

Though everyone was clearly not fine, Marty continued to repeat these words to his family throughout "Ozark." In Season 4, Marty eventually comes clean with his daughter about his decisions and how he actually feels about the family’s circumstances. In another parent-child bonding moment, Jonah and Charlotte visit Wendy in the mental health facility and she, at long last, takes blame for Ben’s death while explaining her reasoning behind it. This event could have gone either way, but the Byrde family ends up leaving the facility together — Jonah decides to forgive his mother for Ben’s death, or at least comes to terms with it.

When the Byrdes are then involved in a bad car accident, we assume their time is up, but the family somehow walks away from the wreckage totally unscathed. Cats might have nine lives, but the Byrdes evidently have unlimited rounds. We’re just glad they survived long enough to finally be open with each other. It was rewarding to witness Marty and Wendy have real talks with their children as opposed to leaving them in the dark and lying to their faces.

Worst: Camila kills Ruth

Camila standing stained glass

In the absolute worst moment of "Ozark" Season 4, Ruth’s happy ending was snatched away from her when Camila came to avenge the murder of her son, stand-in mob boss Javi. At the Byrde Foundation gala, the Byrdes were able to sit back and sort of relax — they were finally free to go back to Chicago if they desired, no longer shackled to the Ozarks because they had to launder money for the cartel. But then Camila decided to bully Clare into telling her who actually killed her son. Clare outed Ruth and then Camila ambushed her at her home. In typical Ruth fashion, she told Camila she killed her piece-of-work son and to just get the killing over with already. Camila obliged.

Ultimately, "Ozark" Season 4 had a myriad of good and bad moments, yet they were all essential to the story. These up and down elements helped to make the final season engrossing, as audiences didn’t know who would live or die and anyone could be a casualty in this war at any given moment. So many good shows go out on disappointing notes, but the creators of "Ozark" managed to stick the landing.