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Ozark Season 3 Ending Explained: What Happens With Ruth At The End Of Season 3?

“Well, that got out of hand pretty quickly,” says Ron Burgundy.

Since Ozark premiered on Netflix in 2017, it has drawn comparisons to another crime drama about a family man who is on the verge of becoming a nefarious figure. In the beginning, those comparisons seemed to be fairly accurate. Both Breaking Bad and Ozark revolved around white-collar men who ventured into the drug trade in order to make a little extra money. However, as they became more and more entangled in a seedy criminal underworld of mobsters, cartels, and money laundering, they discovered that they were beginning to appreciate the power and respect that the lifestyle afforded them and began to enjoy it themselves.

For a while, it appeared as though both male protagonists were following similar arcs, but that all changed at the end of season 3. Consequently, season 3 will likely be remembered as the point at which Ozark emerged from under the shadow of Breaking Bad and established itself as a stand-alone show. Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) was always a little bit of a rip-off of Bryan Cranston’s Walter White, who played him on the show. Unlike Cranston’s Walt, who was transformed into a compelling anti-hero whom the audience couldn’t help but root for, Bateman’s Byrde has always come across as a slimeball narcissist performing his best Icarus routine in the middle of nowhere. We’re all just waiting for Byrde’s wings to begin to melt before we can move on.

Fortunately, there appears to be a compelling reason for the Byrde family’s difficult transition from likeable to unlikable. What the season 3 finale revealed is that, unlike Walter White, Marty Byrde is actually willing to bring his entire family into the drug business in order to maintain his position at the top of the food chain. After years of trying, he’s finally broken bad in a way that Walt never could, and it’s put him on a collision course with the series’ true hero: Ruth Langmore (the Emmy-winning Julia Garner).

So, what exactly happened in the final minutes of the season, and what does it mean for Ozark’s future in future?

Ozark’s season three finale drew the entire Byrde family into the Navarro Cartel

Season 3 provided the most up-close and personal look yet at Omar Navarro (Felix Solis), the cartel’s supreme leader, and boy, was it worth the wait. He spent most of the season courting Marty’s estranged wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and attempting to drag her even further into his criminal organization, but she refused to cooperate. To safeguard Navarro’s commercial interests, Wendy used the opportunity to fully embrace the outlaw lifestyle. She ultimately demonstrated her allegiance by ordering the assassination of her brother, Ben (Tom Pelphrey), in order to secure the cartel’s financial interests. Wendy receives a reciprocal gesture from Navarro as a result of her demonstration of dedication. By joining the Byrde family, the drug kingpin has severed all links with Helen Pierce, who had been his long-time legal representative (Janet McTeer).

What is the point of killing Pierce and doubling down on the treacherous Byrdes? Pierce’s season-long effort to thwart the Byrdes was likely too much hassle for Navarro to bear. Pierce and his new proteges have developed an intense dislike for one another, and Navarro has chosen a side rather than attempting to disentangle the situation. The fact that Wendy had already demonstrated her allegiance in a quite dramatic manner was most likely the final nail in the coffin.

After all, Wendy’s gone rogue, and Marty’s obviously a hopeless case, but what about the children? They both look to be following in their parents’ footsteps, at least on the surface. Jonah Byrde (Skylar Gaertner) threatened Helen Pierce with a loaded shotgun, while Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) demonstrated that she is every bit as cunning as her mother when it comes to conniving people out of their money. It appears that the entire Byrde family will be involved in the illegal enterprise by the end of the fourth season.

Ozark’s season three finale drew the entire Byrde family into the Navarro Cartel

Helen Pierce made the decision to eliminate the Byrdes once and for all in the season’s last episode, “All In,” after spending the entire season attempting to battle them with non-lethal tactics. Her plan did not go off without a hitch, to put it mildly.

Marty, Helen, and Wendy were invited to board Navarro’s private plane so that they could attend his son’s second baptism. Because the original baptism ended in mass murder, this wasn’t some hidden religious procedure — it was just a re-baptism to make up for lost time. Helen has now positioned herself in a position to take over the Byrdes’ riverboat casino when they are no longer a factor in the situation. She changed the name on the gaming licence to her own and informed Navarro that everything was in place for her to take over as operator. Navarro, on the other hand, managed to turn the tables on his longtime consigliere. Marty and Wendy gained Navarro’s trust by sending the FBI after his rival cartel and by arresting Ben (who was threatening to expose the entire Missouri organisation). In the season’s closing scene, one of Navarro’s goons shoots Pierce, and Navarro embraces the newly-anointed Byrdes, a type of bloody baptism for the young woman. “This is just the beginning,” he said to them.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Chris Mundy addressed the significance of the episode’s conclusion, stating, “This is a significant episode for a number of reasons.” “Helen is an excellent lawyer, but there are many other lawyers in the world. Wendy and Marty, on the other hand, have now accomplished two seemingly impossible feats for him. One is obtaining a casino in which to launder money in the first place, which is considered to be the “holy grail” of money laundering operations. Secondly, in Navarro’s opinion, their claim that they have the FBI on their side and can use the power of the United States government to intervene in the drug war against their competitors is something that virtually no one else can do, and this effectively tipped the scales in favour of Marty and Wendy’s cause.”

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In the Ozark season 3 finale, what happened to Ruth Langmore?

If you’ve been paying attention, you’re probably already aware that Ruth Langmore has been the beating heart of Ozark from the beginning. Being able to watch her break free from her violent family and find refuge under the black wings of Marty Byrde has been both interesting and tragic at the same time. It wasn’t just Season 3 that marked a watershed moment in the Byrdes’ connection with the Navarro Cartel; it was also a watershed moment in Ruth’s connection with the Byrdes, and that shift may end out to be even more significant in the future.

Ruth had been beginning to have doubts about her commitment to the Byrdes for all of season 3, but it is Ben’s death that finally pushes her over the brink. For Ruth, the fact that Wendy was willing to use mental illness to protect her criminal operation showed the actual brutality of the Byrde family, and she was unable to cope with the revelation. Who would have guessed that Ruth Langmore would turn out to be the only character on Ozark who possessed a functioning moral compass in the end?

In the meantime, while Netflix has not yet confirmed that Ozark season 4 will be ordered, Mundy and his creative team have set the stage for an epic grudge battle between the carpetbagging Byrdes and the local criminal resistance led by Ruth. That’ll be something to look forward to.

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