Major spoilers ahead for Ozark season 3.
Wendy is the captain now. The riverboat casino is officially open for business and she’s the one holding the whole operation together. Marty (Jason Bateman) hasn’t been the same since Mason’s murder last season, which made room for Wendy (Laura Linney) to assert her control. And she’s decided to go all in despite Marty’s reservations. He wanted to run away and start over in Australia, but she shot that idea down in Ozark season 2's shocking finale. She thinks they should capitalize off the goodwill they earned in helping the Navarro cartel open the casino. The power might be going to Wendy’s head — and her heart.
Wendy seems undeterred after ordering a hit on Ruth’s dad Cade. Ruth (Julia Garner) also handled it surprisingly well, but can she still trust the Byrdes knowing what they did? And let’s not even get into the whole debacle with baby Zeke who is now living with Darlene (Lisa Emery), who murdered her husband when it became clear he wasn’t putting her first. Wendy and Marty’s relationship is more fraught than ever, which concerns Navarro’s lawyer Helen, which means it should concern all of us.
Episode 1: “Wartime”
War, what is it good for? Well, on Ozark usually absolutely nothing for Marty Byrde. The episode begins in Coahuila State, Mexico where what appears to be a run-of-the-mill delivery turns into a bloody mess. The delivery man sets off two homemade bombs sending dirty money flying. This man is no Robin Hood stealing from drug dealers to give to the poor. As he flees the scene, he leaves another bomb to go off. The screen cuts to black, but the ticking continues until boom. Season 3 literally starts with a bang.
Also, a very cheesy ad for the Missouri Belle riverboat casino featuring Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy (Laura Linney). Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz), who seems to have willingly rejoined the family after threatening emancipation, sarcastically suggests “more star wipes” could improve it. However, Wendy is more interested in that bombing, which killed 37 in the Navarro cartel’s territory. They’ve got a cartel war on their hands and from the look of those gruesome images, there’s reason to be concerned.
Still, the Byrdes have a casino to run. Boss bitch Ruth (Julia Garner) is in charge and she’s not interested in dealing with Frank Cosgrove, Jr. (Joseph Sikora), who is the son of the Kansas City Mafia leader. Marty has made nice with the KC mob after he agreed to build the casino without union help by offering them more money for doing less. Ruth isn’t happy with how Frank Jr. is running things or the fact that he smells like booze at 10 in the morning.
Marty is convinced the FBI planted an agent in the casino so he won’t start laundering again until he “feels safe.” For now, he’s laying low and doing what he does best: finding the patterns. One pattern we see is Wyatt (Charlie Tahan) ignoring all of Ruth’s bank transfers after she told him she killed his dad.
The Langmores might not be cursed, but they are thinning out. It’s just Ruth and Wyatt’s brother Three (Carson Holmes) living in the trailer park now. But even Three is busy with his new girlfriend. To be fair, sloppy joes do sound pretty good. As does Jonah’s (Skylar Gaertner) video game scheme. What doesn’t sound good is the passive aggressive tone Wendy and Marty are taking with each other. Don’t worry, though, the two are going to therapy as part of their deal with Charlotte, who has agreed to stay only if they seek professional help.
While Marty is worried about their safety, Wendy thinks the cartel war could be good for business. She suggests pitching a hotel expansion to the Navarro cartel’s lawyer Helen (Janet McTeer) as a totally legal safety net for her boss. “I think that’s batshit crazy,” Marty says. But Wendy disagrees, “it’s a win-win” because there’s already a casino and a hotel nearby that needs an upgrade.
At this point, it’s unclear whether Marty really thinks it’s a crazy plan or if he just doesn’t want to give Wendy what she wants. He wanted to leave the business behind, now Wendy is talking about diving further in? To him the cartel’s gratitude is not worth risking their lives over. In fact, he’s hoping Navarro will end up dead, which will give them a way out. But, Wendy is interested in being the very public face of Missouri gaming and believes getting Helen on board will make that a reality.
Well, that might be a little harder now that Helen is being waterboarded by her boss. They want to kill her ex-husband, but she swears he knows nothing about her business. Let’s assume Helen isn’t telling the whole truth here. Also, she seems a little too nonchalant about being tortured, no?
Darlene (Lisa Emery) might be a mom now, but she’s still the same ol’ unhinged Darlene. Within seconds of her Mommy & Me meeting she shaded another mom for using formula and proceeded to slash her tires. Can’t say Wendy and Marty’s therapy session went much better. The two discussed Marty’s concern over Wendy’s risk-taking, but their therapist Sue wondered if Wendy’s need to make big moves is her way of getting back at Marty for having done the same. That seems pretty spot-on, which makes Wendy question why Sue always sides with him. Turns out, Marty is bribing her.
What Marty really needs to do is start money laundering again, but Agent Petty’s death has made it harder for him. While Cade (Trevor Long) was the one who did it — and his DNA is all over Petty’s car — Marty is afraid he’ll be accused of hiring him to do it. Still, Helen has one message for Marty: “Launder the fucking money. Starting tomorrow.” Today, though, seems like a good day for Wendy to pitch her expansion idea to Helen. Not entirely the point, but does anyone else wish they knew where to shop Wendy and Helen’s looks in this scene? Just me?
Ruth might have found her foul-mouthed adversary in Frank Jr., who wants in on the high stakes poker game they’re throwing. Marty let him in since he’s got other stuff to worry about. Like getting dirty money onto the casino floor. Wyatt problem? Well, he’s been tasered by the owner of the mansion he’s been squatting in. He won’t let Ruth bail him out of jail, which allows Darlene to become his “get out of jail free” card. To pay her back, she offers him a job at the farm.
Marty is worried about Jonah and “drone porn,” which he swears is a thing. Instead, Jonah would like to use the drone Charlotte bought him for surveillance. He wants to keep a close eye on everyone who walks on their property. Watching this poor kid who is still grieving his best friend Buddy get shut down again and again by his family is rough to watch. Could he end up wanting to emancipate himself to?
Navarro is interested in her expansion plan and wants to meet Wendy. Her reaction to this is quite a mood. Coupled with the fact that she lets Marty know of her Mexico trip via voicemail, well, Wendy is truly sending me. Navarro isn’t sure he sees much in Wendy’s plan, but she is very good at influencing people. Her elevator pitch: this expansion would mean money for his kids should he die in this war or get arrested. And if he lives, well, more money for everyone.
Wendy is being tested by the cartel, while Marty is being hounded by Agent Trevor Evans (McKinley Belcher III). The agent’s timing really couldn’t be worse since Marty is working on moving the dirty money from Buddy’s mausoleum into the casino. Evans lets him know he’s watching him, waiting for someone to slip. That person might be Frank Jr. who is a loose cannon. But Wendy’s big swings might also be a liability, which explains why Marty is researching smartphone spyware. What he really should be doing though is keeping Ruth away from Frank Jr. Her throwing him overboard after he threatens to kill her is not going to endear her with his daddy.
Also, Wyatt isn’t the only one breaking and entering. Wendy is going full-on cat burglar, snatching the spare key to their old Chicago home and making a mess. She adds red food dye to their milk, turns their family portrait upside down, and leaves the door wide open when she finally leaves. Our girl has officially snapped.
Episode 2: “Civil Union”
“Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” As exciting as PEMDAS is, the photo being shared around math class is a lot more interesting. So interesting that the sub decides to take the phones of every student and put them in the wood chipper before tackling the landscaper. A rather extreme reaction to an upsetting photo, don’t you think?
After that intense cold open, we see the reality of Ruth sending Frank Jr. overboard.
Money talks, which is why Marty offers to raise the mob’s rate, but his dad Frank (John Bedford Lloyd) is not sure that will make things right. Firing Ruth is what he wants, until he learns that Frank Jr. threatened to rat them out. They end up with a deal: Marty will pay them more, but Ruth is untouchable. Hear that, Frank Jr.?
Helen is moving to the lake, which concerns Marty. Having her close by means she’ll be able to watch them even closer. Wendy swears they’re safe, this deal is the only way they can stop laundering money and actually go legit. Though, I have to agree with Marty here, Wendy does seem a little too buddy-buddy with Helen. She’s going as far to speak like her. Is it possible Wendy will be Navarro’s next Helen should his lawyer mess up? Is that Wendy’s endgame?
For right now, the Byrdes are back to angel investing, throwing their money at the failing Big Muddy casino, which ends up being a metaphor for their failing marriage. These two are not willing to communicate and it ends up sabotaging the deal.
Helen on the other hand is dealing with an ex-husband who is putting out Amber Alerts. Maybe the Navarro cartel is right, her ex might be a problem. But something way worse is happening in Mexico; five headless bodies are dropped off at Navarro’s home to send a message. Though, watching the teacher from the cold open pull up to the Missouri Belle is just as frightening.
Turns out, he’s Wendy’s brother Ben, who for now is playing nice. Marty, though, is not. His new low is spying on Wendy’s calls. Now she’s asking Helen to help her renegotiate the deal with Big Muddy. In retaliation, Marty asks Frank to take out that casino’s rival.
After persuading Big Muddy to take her deal, Wendy gets a “U up?” call from Navarro who is spiraling after his maid took a bad fall. He’s concerned her tooth-shattering accident was a bad omen and believes Wendy will tell him the truth. Apparently, Wendy is now the confidante of a drug lord. Seriously, what has she gotten herself into?
With Ben back in town, it’s also time to revisit those comments made way back in the first season about Jonah being a lot like Ben. The notion scared Wendy and seeing how Ben reacted in class, you understand why she might be worried. She reassures Jonah that he’s nothing like her brother. And oh, look here comes Darlene who is burning Zeke’s retinas by letting him stare into the sun. Darlene is cozying up with Wyatt over their shared affinity for talking to dead people. By the end of their conversation she offers him a room in her spare cabin.
Ben tries to befriend Jonah who doesn’t seem all that interested. Instead, he’s got a thing for Helen’s daughter Erin, who just doesn’t want to go back to Chicago a virgin. All Helen wants is for her to stay none the wiser of what she does for a living. And now it seems Wendy’s casino deal has fallen through, all because of Marty, who had the KC mob blow up Big Muddy’s rival. Except this time, Wendy knows that it’s Marty who put a stop to her deal. Next time Marty, don’t act like you care about other people’s lives, it’s a real tell.
When Marty asks Ben to leave the house, Wendy’s bro offers an interesting insight about his big sister: this is the first time she’s seemed like herself in years. It seems we might finally be seeing the real Wendy, who is a total badass yes, but also reckless. This ask might also be the beginning of the end for Ben.
Marty might not be long for this world if he keeps sabotaging his wife. Helen lets him know she’s on to him and that Wendy plans to bankrupt Big Muddy using Ruth’s slot scam. Marty should admit he’s been outplayed. Ruth’s right, he has to stop assuming he knows better than Wendy, who is out here strong-arming Big Muddy’s owners. But she’s got nothing on Helen, who has her ex husband beaten up just because she can. While the women are celebrating the new casino deal, it allows the FBI to obtain the Missouri Belle’s financial records. Apparently, Marty did have a good reason for pushing back on that expansion.
Episode 3: “Kevin Cronin Was Here”
How tongue in cheek is it to have this Byrde singing REO Speedwagon’s “Time To Fly” in a dream sequence in which she’s recreating Cade’s death. (The episode is named for that ‘80s band’s frontman, FYI.) Except in her dream, she’s the one shooting Marty to death. Don’t imagine she’ll be digging into this during therapy.
Instead, she’s talking to Helen, who is rather nonchalant about sending her ex to the hospital. Wendy also doesn’t bat an eye at Helen ordering the attack on Gene. She does sit up when Helen tells her that the disconnect she and Marty are feeling might be because she’s eclipsing him professionally. It has been a while since Marty’s had a real win at work, but Wendy’s more concerned about the attention she’s getting from Navarro. Leave it to Helen to soothe her mind with calming advice like, “Just don’t fuck it up.”
Their first day at the Big Muddy casino doesn’t go so well after the former owners barge in. But, Wendy sets them straight: “We are bigger than you and we are meaner. We do not lose.” Still she can’t get them to sell their hotel to her. Marty also has a visitor by the name of Agent Maya Miller (Jessica Francis Dukes), who is there to look over his books. She’s tough, but fair, which makes moving money through the Missouri Belle very hard. Almost as hard as it was for Marty to apologize to Ruth. Asking her to lie to Wendy seemed easy by comparison. He wants to start moving money through Big Muddy, despite Wendy’s preference that the new casino stay clean. Seriously, these two could not be worse at communicating right now.
Ben’s not so great at it either. Not sure I’d call what he’s doing with Ruth flirting. Though he’s right, she does look good in gray. We should all put our money on Ben and Ruth becoming a thing. Also, what is the over/under on Ruth quitting if Marty doesn’t get his act together? That is, if Wendy doesn’t kill him first after learning about the KC mob deal Marty set up. Seriously, these two better stop going behind each other’s backs or they’re going to get caught.
The real problem, according to their therapist, is that Marty is stifling Wendy’s power instead of supporting it. It’s not what Marty wanted to hear, but he needed to. What he’d like to hear is the phone call between Wendy and Navarro who is very interested to know why she closed down the new casino. Navarro’s threat of “sometimes when you can’t get what you want, you have to use force,” is a chilling end to their phone call.
Wendy continues to have dreams about Cade’s murder where Marty is the victim. In the latest, he asks her to go with him and all she says is, “I can’t.” What I can’t believe is Marty went to Helen to complain about Wendy, almost spilling the beans about her late night phone calls with Navarro. Wendy went to Big Muddy’s owner Carl to talk about their deal and encourage him to take back his life. She knew that she couldn’t contend with his wife Anita, but him, well, she could talk him into taking the deal if she massaged his ego a little.
Helen and Ruth are the twosome I’d like to see more of. Sure, they got off to a rough start with the whole waterboarding fiasco, but turns out they have a lot in common. Helen also understands Ruth’s importance to Marty and if she was going to mess with him, the best way is through her. Definitely appears as if she’s looking to poach Ruth and bring her over to Wendy’s side. Helen’s question of whether Ruth could run the day-to-day at the Missouri Belle “should Marty go away” is a frightening proposition. Especially since we already know that Marty is becoming more and more expendable every day. He knows it, too.
Apparently, Anita is also. After accidentally knocking her into the river, her husband Carl just walks away. I guess that’s one way for Wendy to get her hotel. Now she’s got her sights on getting Zeke back from Darlene, but hearing Ben say that Jonah is “the boy version” of her also warms her heart. It might be why Wendy decides to let down her guard and clue Ben into how they ended up in Missouri. It’s a sweet moment between the siblings and sets up a new fight between Darlene and Wendy. At this point, I’m not sure who’s scarier. But I have to say, I was surprised by how easy it was to get REO Speedwagon to launder money.
It won’t be so easy to convince Darlene to waive her parental rights, no matter how much age-shaming Wendy does or how often she evokes Jacob’s name. But, all of that does bait Darlene into punching Wendy and that right hook could lose her Zeke.
This episode is full of surprises, including Agent Miller offering Marty a job as a forensic accountant with the FBI. She knows Marty is dirty, but she also knows she can’t find a single thing wrong with his books. Her offer to have him plead guilty to a lesser charge, an 18-month sentence and a job with the bureau, only stands as long as Agent Evans doesn’t catch him first. He’s getting closer to nailing him thanks to the KC mob’s sloppiness.
Someone might want to save Wendy from herself. After her “hillbilly fist fight” with Darlene, Wendy is getting wine-drunk and calling up Navarro looking to make another score. But Marty’s spying causes Navarro to detect a compromised line so he hangs up. Ruth officially gets asked out by Ben, who is getting better at the whole flirting thing. And Marty agrees to Agent Miller’s deal without even discussing it with Wendy.
He might not get a chance to either after Navarro’s guys pick him up. Not killing Ruth and Ben, who follow the black SUV, could be a good sign right? Boy, are those two going to have a lot to discuss on their first date.
Episode 4: “Boss Fight”
Marty is in the back of a Navarro cartel black SUV with a blindfold and his hands bound. The bolero “Besame Mucho” — English translation: “Kiss Me Alot” — plays, it’s a rather soothing choice for such a tense moment. Ben wants to call the cops, but Ruth knows better. She knows that they’re lucky to still be alive. When Ben asks who those guys were, Ruth’s answer is simple: “Ask your fucking sister.”
Helen swears she had nothing to do with the kidnapping. She wouldn’t tell us if she did, but the fact that she tells Wendy she’s not surprised by it, makes it seem as if she is telling the truth. Ben got a good look at the guys, which helps Helen assess the severity of the situation. “Shit,” is all she says when she finds out the short mean bald guy is who picked Marty up at the Missouri Belle and flew him to Mexico.
Helen is looking for backup, calling someone over to Wendy’s house because it’s “getting complicated.” Wendy tells Ben she works for a Mexican drug cartel so um, welcome to the family business little bro? It’s Ruth who seems to be taking Marty’s kidnapping the hardest. It also seems that Helen and Wendy’s friendship might go downhill after the lawyer says she doesn’t advise calling Navarro for fear of how he’ll react. Wendy gives him a call herself. His number has been disconnected because someone was listening in. That someone was Marty. All they can do now is wait.
That’s what Marty’s doing too. It’s only when he’s taken to Navarro that the blindfold comes off. Marty calmly explains he’s following the plan and the laundering has been slow out of precaution. But Navarro wants to know what Marty wants. A question Marty’s non-answer lands him back in a cell.
Leave it to Ben to ease the tension with a little up close magic. The kids know Wendy’s lying, but she maintains that Marty is in Mexico meeting their boss and that was the plan. He’ll be home soon. She doesn’t believe this and Ben can’t believe how much Charlotte and Jonah know.
Helen just tells it like it is: No news by morning, is bad news. Also bad? Marty not showing up to work after making a deal with Agent Miller. We finally find out that the “little man with the mean eyes” is Jorge Mendoza. He let Helen know Marty is alive, but also that things are “business as usual.” It’s harder to launder money when the numbers guy is gone though, right? And that’s the point, this is a test.
Dungeon life is also testing Marty’s sanity. A rousing round of “99 Bottles Of Beer” has Marty flashing back to a hospital where he’s playing the arcade game Beast Slayer. But soon Navarro is back asking him questions about Wendy. Does he trust her? Who’s he protecting her from? Oh, he gets it, Marty fears Wendy. Honestly, Marty might want to pay him for relationship advice because he just read him for filth. His assessment is Wendy wants it all, but he wants to know what Marty wants. “I want to see her again,” but Navarro doesn’t believe him. So he asks him again, “What do you want?”
While Marty thinks that over, the ladies of Ozark are running the business. Ruth put together a team to bring dirty money into the casino by gambling most of it away. Wendy isn’t so sure about these guys or about involving Ben in the scheme. Not because she’s worried about him getting hurt, it’s a question of trust. Honestly, I don’t feel all that safe with him, but he’s better than Frank Jr. But having Wendy’s brother losing so much is definitely a red flag for Maya, who isn’t convinced Ben has $9,000 to lose on his substitute teacher salary.
Marty lost his damn mind. He straight-up told Navarro he hopes he dies in the cartel war. Plot twist: Navarro appreciates his honesty. Agent Miller knows Marty was abducted and hopes Wendy will help her get him back. She thinks this is a loyalty test and might mean the end for Marty, but Wendy won’t give the ok for the FBI to go get him. Wendy knows getting the FBI involved means certain death for her whole family.
Ruth is also losing it now that the Panama account has been frozen. A sign of how bad things are right now? Helen asks her body guy to warn her should the cartel choose to take her out. Ruth thinks Ben should get out of town, but I’m kind of into this coupling. Ben is the only one who seems to legitimately care about anyone around here, which probably means he’s isn’t long for this world.
Marty is at the “metal music playing very loud all day” portion of his capture, which has him flashing back to the final days of his dad. Navarro has gotten wind of the Panama account problem and Marty makes fixing it look easy. He may have shown his worth, but it seems Navarro would prefer to keep him close for the time being. Wendy is agonizing over whether she should take Agent Miller’s help. It’s the first time in a while that we see Wendy lose her cool. But Marty might not need Maya’s help after telling Navarro he thinks they can turn her. It sounds far-fetched, but she’s already let it slip that she’s looking to start a savings account for her soon-to-be-born child. Is it a clue that she would be willing to switch sides at the right price? Marty didn’t get that thank you he was looking for from Navarro, but his latest big idea bought him back his life. That should be enough for now.
Episode 5: “It Came From Michoacán”
Maya is looking to add Marty to her team, but Agent Evans isn’t so sure. He thinks Marty had an agent (and his ex boyfriend) killed. But Maya is adamant that Marty’s ability to hide his crimes is reason enough to hire him. Maya is counting on Marty being more willing to work with her after what happened to him, but she doesn’t know how creepily resilient he is. Heck, he’s listing off the details of his capture to his kids like it’s a grocery list. Maya also doesn’t know his latest plan is to turn her.
After their kiss, Ruth is trying to give Ben the kiss-off. She “thought she was going to fucking die,” which was all that kiss was, but he wants her to realize she deserves better. His gift is a burrito. “I prefer French toast sticks,” she says. I prefer Marty doesn’t ruin that sweet embrace with Ruth, who legitimately cares for her boss. All he cares about is making Ruth’s gambling plan look real. It’s not believable that her guys have nine grand to lose, but it is believable that baby-faced Sam (Kevin L. Johnson) does.
Navarro has a new plan: he wants to own a horse farm. He already has one picked out in Kentucky and he needs Wendy to go there. He also wants her to know that Marty is just like him. What a lucky lady! As is Sue, who is making bank off the couple's therapy. Anyone else tickled by Sue’s explanation for taking Marty’s bribe: “I want to see how your story ends.” Same, girl, same.
Ruth really gets off on ruining Frank Jr.’s fun. This time she revels in letting him know his loan sharking days are over. I hate to admit it, but doesn’t it feel like Ruth might end up making a bad decision with Frank Jr. at some point this season? I hope I’m wrong, but their fighting feels too much like foreplay. Though, it might just be blind rage, which could be way worse.
The Byrdes are working on getting Navarro his little horsies. It seems the owner Oly Brennan has some ideas of her own, ideas that might offer another way to launder money and who knows, get their name on a prize-winning horse. Marty is in immediately, which throws Wendy off.
Charlotte is not interested in Erin’s choice of fuck buddy since it gives her flashbacks of her own summer heartbreak. The real reason she should be concerned is Tommy, her crush, is the KC mob informant and he’s using Erin for intel. Marty’s using his recent kidnapping to get a little wild and crazy. The usually risk-averse Marty is breaking into stables because he’s no longer afraid. Is that a good thing, though? A healthy dose of fear could be helpful in this situation. But Marty believes the key to their safety is turning Maya. Wendy’s not so sure.
Wyatt testifies on Darlene’s behalf at her custody hearing. Throwing that dead possum on his roof has come back to haunt Wendy in a big way. Ruth is really testing her luck with the KC mob. Anyone else wish Ruth would just ride off into the Missouri sunset with Ben? Or just steal his van and go it alone?
When Darlene took Wyatt to bed I almost lost my damn mind. Darlene’s got her groove back; she’s looking to replant her poppy fields with Wyatt’s help. Ruth didn’t want him in the drug game and now here he is.
Wendy found out via Jim (Damian Young), Wilkes’ right-hand man, that Special Agent Miller is the daughter of a scammer. She’s made it her life’s work to take down guys like Marty, but Marty thinks her crusader complex could work in their favor. My how the tables have turned; Marty is making risky moves and Wendy is bribing Sue.
Ben is being all extra with his French toast sticks, but he did manage to get Frank Jr. back with bird seed. I have to be honest, the minute Maya showed up pregnant I was nervous for her so when she got a knock at her door I held my breath. While we thought the FBI hold on the Panama account was a bad thing, Marty Maya saved him by doing it, which is why he comes clean to her. Is Marty two-timing his wife or is this part of his plan to turn Maya?
In reality, I should have been nervous for those horses. Turns out, that now ball-less stud was owned by Navarro’s cartel rival and he only wanted the farm to get back at him. With her latest phone call, Wendy overstepped her bounds and was put in her place. She is not Navarro’s partner, he owns her. It’s best she never forgets that.
Episode 6: “Su Casa Es Mi Casa”
Wendy and Marty are back on the therapy couch talking about risks. Wendy’s throwing out feeling words like “scared” and “terrified” when discussing the idea of adding Maya into the mix while Marty thinks that Wendy just doesn’t believe in him. Despite the fact that he’s kept them safe. Gotta admit, I also scoffed at the idea that either of them has done a great job of keeping their family safe. I do love that Sue finally broke and let them both know they’re paying her off. Seriously, what does it say about this marriage?
Finally, the two are talking. Well, yelling. Marty is concerned by how willing Wendy is to join Navarro’s world and nervous about their late night phone calls. That confirms he was listening in on her calls and she thinks it’s because he’s jealous. Both are certifiable at this point: Wendy’s getting cozy with a drug lord and Marty’s trying to flip a federal agent. Marty knows Wendy ordered the hit on Cade and goes as far to call her a murderer. The session ends with Wendy walking out after Marty calls her a “fucking scary-selfish-power-hungry fucking bitch.” Oops, they forgot to use code words so now Sue knows their secrets. How much do you think they should pay her for this session?
Frank Jr. got the bill for his Trans Am and wants Ruth to pay up. She might be untouchable, but I don’t think that will stop that hot head from doing something terrible. I also don’t have faith in Sam not to mess things up with his Richie Cunningham aura. He’s just not the criminal-type.
You know who is? Darlene, who let Helen know she’s getting back in the drug game and wants to renew their deal. Helen isn’t interested. “Broken promises have consequences” are some pretty ominous parting words, don’t you think? Darlene re-planting her crops is not what Wendy wants to hear as she and Marty take a sabbatical from their marriage. Him moving out is something that worries Helen, which means it should worry all of us.
Let’s also start worrying about Marty, the savior. He’s convinced he’s the white knight of this whole situation, which is a mindset that might get them killed since a black SUV is on his tail. He does seem to be working Maya pretty good, telling her he needs to trust her before he agrees to any deal. Darlene is also making a deal of her own, getting the local cops to help her sling her dope since the Navarro cartel won’t. Once again, Darlene guilts Sheriff Nix (Robert Treveiler) with her “all we did for you” line. Seriously, what did the Snells do for this guy? I’m dying to know already!
Jonah being a good shot led Tommy to threaten to pull a William Tell is too much for my blood pressure. As is Helen telling Wendy they can’t be friends after her kids put Erin in danger. Though, let’s be honest, that girl could do bad all by herself.
The FBI agents on this case are really 0 for 3. Why would Evans trust Tommy who is bragging about possibly bedding a teenage girl? Also, why does Ruth think that Frank Jr. will play by the rules? Let’s also keep a close eye on Ben. He may be more gregarious than Frank Jr., but he’s just as volatile and he’s making Ruth his reason to lash out.
Maya is due in six weeks and just wants to know Marty is safe but I’m concerned for her safety knowing someone (the Navarro cartel? The mob?) is watching him. If he can’t get this deal done what happens to her? Amazing how Helen can reason with the head of one of the most dangerous cartels, but no luck with her horny teenage daughter.
Wendy is looking to start a foundation, but is it really as above board as she makes it sound? Does she really just want to do some good or is this another laundering ploy? Ben flushed his meds after sexy time with Ruth didn’t go well, but Wendy’s worry seems all about the business and not his health. She warns Ruth that Ben is bipolar and is dangerous when he’s not on his meds. Wendy’s plea to her does seem more heartfelt, as if she is really looking out for him and Ruth.
Ruth is trying to reason with Wyatt after he asks Three to move up to Darlene’s farm. Can Ruth really bad mouth Darlene’s actions when she has also committed two murders, though? Wyatt doesn’t think so and neither does Ruth who is afraid she ruined his life. Ben is the first person outside her family we see her let her guard down with. It’s sweet, but it feels too good to last.
Helen also shuts down the notion that the SUV is from Navarro. Someone else is following Marty this time or is this just Helen’s way of forcing him to make nice with Wendy? The answer to that question comes in the final moments of the episode when those same SUVs show up at Ruth’s drop-off point to blow things up. It seems the Mexican cartel war has crossed the border.
Episode 7: “In Case Of Emergency”
The FBI is questioning Ruth about what went down at the drop-off point where three members of the KC mob were killed. It seems that the ambush helped the FBI uncover more information in six hours than they had in six months. It was payback from the Lagunas drug cartel and it cost Marty $20 million and Frank Cosgrove his men, all of whom were friends of Frank Jr.’s. The fact that Ruth survived is a sticking point for him so let’s assume it’s also one for his son.
The FBI also knows that Ruth was there and wants her to rat Marty out. Cade’s death is also a sticking point for the FBI. The fact she didn’t want to know who murdered her dad is suspicious in their opinion. Ben wants to run away with her, but he’s in no state to make such big decisions. We also get a sense of the disdain he has for his sister, who left home and him when she was 18.
Wendy’s getting calls from Navarro on not only her phone, but Helen’s. She gets really real with Navarro telling him that she and Marty are his brand, his protection, he can’t mess that up. Thanks to that new McLaren Sue bought, her brand is excess. Ben’s brand? Chaos. He’s talking about going off the grid and being executed by the Mexican cartel. He thinks Wendy is a liar who is out to get him. To be fair, she kind of is. And honestly, Ben’s reaction feels appropriate after witnessing a massacre.
Marty has now been accused of killing Tommy, the FBI informant. He didn’t, but that won’t stop Frank Jr. from thinking it’s true. Frank Jr. was always the weak link and he just got weaker. When Ruth walked out of the casino alone I closed my eyes knowing that Frank Jr. would be waiting. So did the FBI who basically fed Frank Jr. red meat with that Marty story. Anyone else disappointed by Marty’s lack of response to the KC mob breaking their previous agreed upon terms? Ruth was untouchable, now she’s in the hospital with internal bleeding and broken ribs. I get it, Marty doesn’t need to take on the mob right now? Not in this economy, but can he really afford to just let them get away with a slap on the wrist for what Frank Jr. did to Ruth?
Wendy is doing her best to get the foundation up and running, making nice with liberals who want to take down evil pay loan lenders like Blink Check. That’s the same company Marty fed Maya. (She turned it down.) Now Maya’s showing up at the hospital to let Marty know she’s going to keep coming after him until he takes her deal. She knows he’s using all these people for his own gain so if he wants to spin Ruth’s attack as her fault, he has to take a lot of the blame, too.
Darlene also thinks Wyatt should blame Marty for all his problems just like she does. Her slipping cherry pits into her husband’s coffee? Marty’s fault. That Wyatt sticks around after his girlfriend admits to murder is really something. I do love that this reveal was part of Darlene’s plan to get Wyatt and Ruth to reconcile. Her mind. Also WTF is Sue thinking right now? Helen is definitely not here for her demands.
Wendy is also not here for learning about Marty’s FBI deal from Maya so she lets Maya know real quick that Marty becoming a registered felon does not work for her. Why? Well, he wouldn’t be able to hold a gambling license in Missouri that’s why. Wendy is a savage. As is Helen, who took care of Sue, who flew too close to the sun.
Ruth is hurt by Marty’s decision to let Frank Jr. get away with hurting her. She realizes that despite what the couple tells her, she is not their family because if she was, they would have killed Frank Jr. They killed her dad for way less. Cade’s threats against Charlotte were enough to persuade Wendy to take him out. Helen also has some people she’d like to see dead, letting her hit man know he should keep his schedule open.
Ben’s calendar might also fill up real soon since it’s hard to believe he won’t try to kill Frank Jr. Or is Wyatt the one who will kill the mob son to help his cousin? Wyatt might be too focused on taking out the Byrdes right now for such a big job. But let’s guess Darlene has some extra cherry pits lying around, should he need them.
Episode 8: “BFF”
Marty showed up to Sue’s house to find her and her yellow McLaren gone, as well as he and Wendy’s file. Marty may not have planned this, but he had to know this would happen, right? That signing the contract on her expensive ride was Sue signing her own death warrant.
Party pooper Helen is sick of cleaning up Marty and Wendy’s mistakes, but Wendy just wants a partner, forever and always. Ben seems to have found one in Ruth. These two, a.k.a the only good couple on the show, are doing well, but honestly, how long can this last? Also, how long can Marty keep Maya waiting? He’s doing forensic accounting work pro bono, but that’s not winning her over. “You can’t have your cake and avoid prison, too,” Maya says. Netflix should sell merch with that gem.
I don’t believe Ruth’s “I’m fine” act or that she should be working with Marty anymore. I’m also not surprised that the minute Ben drops Ruth off at work he heads to see Frank Jr. in Kansas City. It’s not his first time there either and it likely won’t be his last even if they keep running him off the lot. Frank Jr. might really be untouchable, which is why Ben is going after fancy tie-wearing whiskey drinkers in the casino instead.
Wendy uses the Blink Check tip to get Maya in trouble. She’s. That. Good. Her marriage? Not so good. And neither is her brother calling Helen the “family lawyer” for an assault charge in Kansas City. What Ben can’t figure out when Wendy got so soft, which leads Ruth to let him know his sister has done some things. She doesn’t offer details, but Ben can read between the lines.
What Wendy wants to do now is get Ben back on his meds, but Marty wants to commit Ben to a facility. They did that a decade ago and “he hasn’t been the same since,” Wendy says, assuring him she’s got things handled. (Narrator: she does not.) Her solution is to just pay him off, but Ben isn’t interested in money. Another sign that Ben really isn’t like everyone else around here.
Neither is Darlene. She is heading to the Byrde foundation gala just to get under Marty’s skin. She’ll also be able to mess with Ruth too, since she’s bringing her boy toy Wyatt with her. It’s Ben who ends up causing a scene when he starts shouting about Cade and Marty’s dead partner. The look on Helen’s face makes it clear Ben is in trouble. She does not suffer fools, even if this one is Wendy’s brother. And Wendy knows it, which is why she agrees to have him sent to a state facility. His wails will break your heart, even if this might be the only way to keep him safe.
Leave it to Darlene to swoop in and help get Ben out of there. Sure, maybe it’s out of the goodness of her heart that she’s doing this, but this also helps her. Ruth has turned against Wendy, who does seem genuinely remorseful for agreeing to have Ben committed. But with Helen ready to take her and Marty out, she doesn’t need to lose another ally. Maybe this is what Wendy meant when she said we need to “make the world a better place”? Ben telling Erin what her mom really does is so not.
Episode 9: “Fire Pink”
Ben is talking nonstop to his cab driver about worst case scenarios. We might currently be witnessing one as Ben repeats phrases in mania about homeless marines and his late dad. When he finally finishes up his 4-minute monologue, we realize it was all in response to his cabbie asking him how his day’s been.
How about Marty’s day? Well, he believes committing Ben was their way of saving him, Ruth thinks it was so they could protect the business, but both of them know that Ben telling Erin everything was disastrous. Helen is now acting all calm, cool, and collected around Wendy, pretending she knows nothing. A phone call from Marty clues Wendy into the truth and lets her know they don’t have much time to save Ben.
Charlotte and Jonah are trying to save Erin from herself. But Navarro’s guy is already at Ruth’s looking for Ben, who’s hiding at Darlene’s. Honestly, Darlene might be the person you want to be with right now. That woman DGAF. Neither does Helen who is uninterested in Wendy’s sob stories about her brother. Now Helen is talking about “vulnerabilities” she has to fix that seem to include Ben, Charlotte, and Jonah, who is the latest Byrde to suggest they just run away. He doesn’t get any takers. It’s not feasible now, Wendy argues, they need to prove to Navarro that they are more important than Helen. And they’ve got to do it fast.
Ben and Wyatt’s breakfast table love talk is rather endearing and also rare on Ozark. Wyatt keeps Ben balanced for the length of time it takes to finish their toast. But no one can keep Ben from hurting himself. Leaving the safety of Darlene’s to see Ruth at the casino is one way to die. Now Wendy is in charge of taking him to Kansas City. She wants to take him somewhere to get better, but is there really anywhere at this point where he’d be safe?
We already know Ben is a runner and it does that as Wendy naps. It seems he went into the superstore and started telling people the famous drug lord Omar Navarro was after him. Luckily, Wendy is a smooth talker and they were able to get away this time, but Ben really can’t get out of his own way right now.
Helen really doesn’t have any sympathy for him either telling Marty that there is no room for mental illness in their profession. She explains that she doesn’t think the reason Ben should die is because he told Erin, but because Erin’s not the last person he’ll tell. Marty gets to play the Wendy role here, trying to soothe Helen’s fears, but she adds to his by telling him either Ben dies or they all die. Them's the breaks.
It would help if Ben stopped doing everything he shouldn’t. His inability to comprehend the danger he’s in leaves Wendy helpless and hopeless, which is not a good sign. But somehow this is the moment that brings Wendy and Marty together. She decides to bring Ben to Knoxville, a place he knows and can lay low. But after Ben buys a burner phone behind Wendy’s back, she realizes he is not in a place to do that.
The two share a dinner and talk about their house on Fire Pink Road and what they want for the future. In five years, Ben wants Ruth, dogs, a house, a garden, and a job. His 10-year plan is goats. A teary Wendy seconds those things, but Ben thinks she wants clearance codes and yachts. It sounds boring to Wendy, but he meant it as a compliment. “Somebody has to do it.” Right now, what Wendy has to do is leave Ben behind, a decision that might finally break her.
Episode 10: “All In”
Wendy hasn’t come home since letting the cartel kill Ben. While we don’t know how this decision came to be, it’s clear a deal was made since they delivered the body back to the Byrdes. Ruth is confused as to how Ben died. “He called Helen,” Marty tells Ruth. “He must have slipped up.” More lies since we know he was using a burner that couldn’t be traced and didn’t share his location.
Wendy is drinking handles of vodka in the Warner Lot parking lot, unable to come home after what’s happened. Everything with Ben leaves her and Marty vulnerable and Helen is ready to seize the opportunity. She’s bad mouthing them to Navarro and trying to take over their holdings. She’s even buddying up with Charles Wilkes (Darren Goldstein) to get her name added to the casino license ASAP.
A tired Ruth is still questioning what happened with Ben. Wyatt pushes her to keep asking. “When something feels off, it’s probably off.” Another off moment? Sam proposes with a ring that is made from his dead mom. “Try her on” is not the most romantic line, but before we can even dig into that, he’s arrested for being an accessory to money laundering, which he very much is. Still Marty chastises Maya for being no better than Petty, hurting whoever she can to get ahead. It’s a real pot calling the kettle black moment if there ever was one.
“We have no choice” is becoming too common a phrase from Wendy and Marty. In some respects they don’t. Helen is their partner because Navarro has chosen her and they work for him. But, it’s also absurd that there is no recourse for any of their partners’ bad actions. How can anyone have a good partnership with someone they can’t trust? In their meeting with Helen, Marty lets her know he just wants peace. She lets them know she needs to be a signatory in Byrde Enterprises, which triggers Wendy’s Spidey sense: Helen is trying to kill them off. “She’s making moves,” Wendy says and she knows that means they have to start making some of their own.
Their plan is to let Navarro know the sacrifices they’ve made in having Ben killed, but when they get him on the phone he’s less than impressed. So now they have to come up with a Plan B, but first they need to deal with Ruth, who is done with all of this. Ruth quits, but she doesn’t go quietly; she accuses Wendy of killing Ben just like she killed her dad. The exchange only gets more heated from there with Wendy telling Ruth her breaking Ben out of the facility is really why he dies. “This is yours,” she says. “This is on you.” She then reminds Ruth that she’s also got her uncles’ blood on her hands.
But Wendy knows she is the real reason Ben is dead. She admits that she called Helen to have her guy meet him in Knoxville. When Marty tells her she only did it to save him and the kids, she isn’t as convinced. “Those are just things we tell ourselves,” Wendy says. The things that make them feel less bad about all the terrible things they’ve done. If they convince themselves it is for a greater good then they can convince themselves they are also just the victims of the situation. They forget they agreed to all of this.
They know they need to make a move, but Marty doesn’t have one beyond “keep money laundering.” This might be why not only Helen, but Darlene is making moves on them. Ruth is the hottest commodity with Helen trying to talk her into joining her team. Darlene goes as far to show her allegiance to Ruth by literally shooting Frank Jr. in the balls. Seriously, Darlene might be Ozark’s greatest creation.
It’s Wilkes’ lawyer Jim who confirms Wendy’s suspicions of a hostile takeover by Helen.
Their new plan is they will stop the war for Navarro. It sounds crazy until you remember what Maya told Marty a few episodes back: if a Mexican cartel killed Americans on U.S. soil, the U.S. can take action. The rival Lagunas cartel did just that and they have proof thanks to Jonah’s drone.
It’s an idea Navarro can get behind, but he’s not as quick to agree to getting rid of Helen, who has gone from zero to 100 real quick. She’s not just looking to take over their business, she’s taking over their lives. Helen goes to the FBI and tells them Marty and his family want to take the deal. They want to testify against Navarro and enter into the Witness Protection Program. Wow, that is quite a plan Helen’s got herself.
Darlene also has a big idea. She wants Ruth to help her get her heroin producing business back off the ground. She also goes to Frank Cosgrove to say sorry not sorry about Frank Jr.’s blown off penis and that she wants the KC mob to distribute her product. By the end of the episode, Darlene has the family she’s been dreaming of since we met her. There is something kind of sweet in that, no?
Navarro wants Marty and Wendy to attend his son’s second christening. Jonah wants Helen to pay for killing Ben so he shows up to her house, gun in hand, looking to punish her. This tense moment ends with Jonah finding out that his mom is the one who okayed the hit on Ben. Jonah has been able to brush off a lot of things, but this one hits him hard. So hard that he ends up shooting out the front window of the Byrde family home. An unhinged Jonah is something to worry about if there’s a season 4.
As the Byrdes board the plane to Mexico, Marty gets a call from Maya, who is angry and confused as to why he’d take Evans’ deal. Of course, Marty is not interested in entering Witness Protection, but that doesn’t matter, there’s a typed up letter that says he is. Maya warns him not to go to Mexico for fear this letter will get leaked. If it is, he could be a dead man.
Marty gets on the flight anyway knowing the risk. When they finally land, Marty, Wendy, and Helen go to greet Navarro who seems in good spirits. It’s why it’s so shocking when Navarro’s guy shoots Helen in the head. What might be most shocking is Navarro bringing in Wendy and Marty for a big hug. A sign that they are now officially members of the Navarro family.