In Ozark, rural Missouri appears calm to an outsider but on the inside, there is plenty of chaos. The area is a playground for criminals, with each trying to get the better of the other. Since it's a survival-for-the-fittest game, characters are forced to make quick decisions on a regular basis and as a result, plenty of mistakes are made.
The reckless decisions made by the characters have had serious repercussions. In most cases, the mistakes have resulted in death. In other cases, someone has had to pay dearly. And in less tragic circumstances, the mistakes have triggered a chain of events that have inconvenienced many people.
Wendy and Marty began seeing the therapist Sue Shelby after their teenage daughter Charlotte demanded it. During a session, they accidentally revealed that they were working for the Navarro cartel. This resulted in Sue blackmailing them and buying a supercar with the money. Consequently, the cartel murdered her.
As a therapist and great judge of character, Sue ought to have known better than blackmail dirty clients. Drug cartels have a reputation for brutality and it's a shocker that Sue disregarded this. Most importantly, criminal organizations always prefer to not draw too much attention. Sue's decision to use the blackmail money to buy a bright yellow McLaren 570s in a rural area where there aren't many cars would have definitely caused the feds to show up and ask questions.
Among the things fans forgot from the first episode of Ozark is that Del murdered all of Marty's associates. And even though they had it coming after stealing $8 million belonging to the cartel, it is Marty who caused Del to start firing.
One of Marty's best traits has always been his honesty and this wrongfully made him believe that everyone else was stainless like him. His overly-trusting nature and absent-mindedness caused by domestic issues had made him unaware that money was actually being stolen. He thus called Del's bluff as Marty somehow felt Del was fishing for discrepancies that didn't exist. In shows like this, men like Del don't like to be challenged so the enforcer actually began shooting everyone to prove he wasn't bluffing.
Bothered by all the crime taking place, Ben decided to tell Erin that her mother Helen was dirty. An angry Helen quickly ordered a hit and despite trying to protect him at first, his sister Wendy was forced to leave him to the wolves.
Like Sue, Ben's naivety was his undoing. He ought to have known that Erin would confront her mother and this would create problems. He should have known the threat the cartel posed too. Ben was his sister's guest and if he was disgusted by what she, Marty, and everyone else was doing, the better decision would have been to leave the Ozarks.
The lazy Frank spent most of his days gambling at the casino. He somehow felt it was a good idea to assault Ruth for suggesting that he should make himself useful. This caused him to be shot in the testicles by Darlene.
Darlene's actions mostly trigger disgust rather than jubilation but this was one moment where fans appreciated what she did. Having lived in a bubble for most of his life, Frank figured he was untouchable since his dad was a mob boss. He never cared to think that Ruth had courageous friends who would retaliate on her behalf. He might be alive but Frank will always regret his decision.
Wendy began cheating with Gary Sugarwood when she got tired of her marriage. She made plans to run away with him but Del destroyed these dreams by sending Sugarwood flying out of the 80th-floor window.
Del's reason for the murder made sense. He wanted the Byrdes to stick together so that they could launder the cartel money properly. On the other hand, Wendy's reason for wanting to flee didn't make sense. Even more bizarre was that she was going to drain all the accounts, leaving Marty in economic disarray and kids to take care of by himself. It's undoubtedly one of the things that made fans hate Wendy in Ozark . If she hadn't considered fleeing, Sugarwood would be alive.
In order to make the money-laundering process easier, Marty suggested to Del that they should team up with local drug lords, Jacob and Darlene Snell to build a casino. During the meeting to discuss strategies, Del mocked the Snells, referring to them as "rednecks." Angry, Darlene shot him in the head.
It was evident that as an enforcer, Del was so used to intimidating people that he thought no one would ever harm him in return. Since there was a lot at stake, he ought to have been civil for the few minutes needed to discuss the deal, even if he didn't like the Snells. After all, no one has ever liked the Snells, not even Marty, but he always makes sure not to trigger their temper.
The Chicago-based attorney was sent to the Ozarks to make sure the Byrdes were doing right by the cartel but she got greedy and began scheming to take over the casino operations. She tried to frame Marty as an FBI informant but drug lord Omar Navarro saw through it and in one of the biggest twists in Ozark , he had her killed.
Helen had a good thing going as the cartel's lawyer and operations manager but she ruined it all just because she wanted a bigger piece of the pie. Having stayed with the Byrdes for a while, she definitely knew how intelligent they were aware. In her plan to kick out the Byrdes, she needed to factor in the possibility that they might outfox her. She also underestimated how wise her boss Omar was.
To prevent Ben from further angering the cartel, Wendy and Marty put him in a psychiatric facility. Ruth, who had fallen in love with Ben, couldn't let that happen so she made a deal with the Sheriff to have him freed. This exposed Ben to danger and as result, he was whacked.
Plenty of people have been guilty of making decisions with the heart rather than mind so Ruth was in no way unique here. However, the reason she's the show's most likable character is that she is tough and smart. In line with these two traits, she should have been tough enough to let Ben go for his own good and also smart enough to know that having him released would put him in danger.
Ruth's father Cade pressured her to rat on Marty but she refused so he approached FBI agent Roy Petty himself. Agent Petty rudely brushed him off and even insulted Ruth by referring to her as "trailer trash daughter." Angry, Cade bashed the agent's head.
To prevent tempers from rising, Agent Petty had the option of simply using the "I'll look into it" cliché line on Cade even if he didn't mean it. Instead, he became arrogant. He also had every reason to look into what Cade was telling him since his other investigations weren't bearing any fruit.
At some point, Charlotte and Jonah were tasked with looking after the $50 million that Marty was supposed to launder. Charlotte decided to keep $10,000 for herself and her brother but the FBI found Charlotte's half and used it against Marty.
Stealing the money was a bad idea and keeping it was even worse. By using the money, Charlotte couldn't have been able to deny that she ever had it. Jonah was smarter as he used his $5000 to open offshore bank accounts that helped his parents in the money laundering process. Charlotte, on the other hand, had a false belief that no one would ever know it happened.
NEXT: 15 Best Episodes Of Ozark (According To IMDb)
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Philip Etemesi (912 Articles Published)
Philip Etemesi is an author, journalist, screenwriter and film critic based in Nairobi. Kenya. As a child, he preferred watching movies like The Goodfellas instead of Home Alone. His girlfriend constantly has to pull him from the front of the TV but he just keeps returning. Stubborn dude! An animal lover, Philip also has a pet giraffe called Refu.
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