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Ozark: Season 4 Part 1 Review - Ruth's Tragic Tale Reaches Tipping Point

Ozark has truly outdone itself with the webs spun in Season 4 Part 1, and Ruth Langmore is very much at the center of the conflict.
Ruth Langmore Ozark Season 4 Part 1

Photo: Netflix

Last Friday, the first part of Ozark's fourth and final season premiered on Netflix. Picking up in the aftermath of a Season 3 cliffhanger, the highly anticipated installment unsurprisingly ascended the charts to Netflix's top spot in the U.S. The established characters return while the intricate webs of drug trade and money laundering endeavors expand, and some new wrinkles enter the mix as well. While seemingly everyone on the show is going through some shit, for lack of a better term, perhaps no one is reeling as badly as Ruth Langmore by the end of Season 4 Part 1.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Ruth's development throughout the entirety of the show has been a bumpy ride, to say the least. Once a petty thief, Ruth is now fully immersed in all the complications that come with money laundering and heroin trafficking.

Betrayal and loss are seemingly the only constants in her life. In Ozark: Season 4 Part 1, the latter causes Ruth to reach her tipping point.

The Setup

With the Byrdes under the control of the Navarro cartel, dealings in the Ozarks have never been so muddy. At the beginning of Season 4, Marty and Wendy warn Darlene Snell, along with her "partners" Ruth and Wyatt Langmore, to cease producing heroin or the cartel will wipe them out.

Meanwhile, cartel boss Omar Navarro is thinking about his future and eventually wants to be free of all the burdens that come with the cutthroat industry. In order to do so, Omar needs the help of Marty Byrde and the FBI agent they're attempting to compromise, Maya Miller, to strike a deal that will allow him the freedom he desires. Cartels don't just close up shop and dissolve, however.

That's where Omar's nephew, Javi Elizondro, enters the picture. He begins Season 4 ranking under Omar but eventually takes the cartel's reins by the end.

Javi Omar Navarro Ozark Season 4

Photo: Netflix

Javi is much more impulsive and hands-on than his uncle. Throughout the power shift, Javi ventures up to the Ozarks on multiple occasions to check in on operations and his "employees".

Viewers know the inner workings of the Ozarks underworld are rather complex, but Javi is only concerned about the cartel moving product and making money with no regard for external obstacles. More on that later.

Ruth's Loneliness is Devastating

Ruth's family life has been fucked up, to put it mildly. Her cousins Wyatt and Three are the only Langmores still around, but Wyatt is now living with Darlene in one of the most ...interesting... arrangements of the show.

Entering Season 4, Ruth is also fresh off a devastating end to her most recent relationship. In case you forgot, she got close with Ben Davis, Wendy Byrde's brother, during Season 3. Being the sister of the year that she is, Wendy had Ben whacked to prevent him from spilling the beans on the Byrde family's sketchy dealings.

In Season 4, Ruth does get a small bit of revenge on Wendy when the Byrdes’ resentful son, Jonah, brings Ben's ashes to the Langmore trailer compound. Still, Ruth's loneliness is evident each time she has a quiet moment with the glass goat cookie jar that Ben's ashes now reside in.

Ruth Ozark Season 4 Ben's Ashes

Photo: Netflix

Still heartbroken, Ruth attempts to find some comfort by connecting with Wyatt. While working together in the Snell heroin operation, the Langmores share a few sister/brother-type moments. Ruth even convinces Wyatt to run away with her after Darlene kills Frank Cosgrove Sr., the head of the Kansas City mob, as her second impulsive shotgun blast of the season.

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But Wyatt's desire to escape wasn't genuine, as he informs Ruth he's going to marry Darlene instead to prevent Social Services from taking away the odd couple's "child", Zeke. This announcement comes as Ruth had her truck all packed up for the getaway.

To make the sequence even sadder, Wyatt informs Ruth she can't attend the wedding due to prior friction between her and Darlene. Needless to say, Ruth is crushed on multiple levels at this point.

How Ruth's Rage Becomes Ozark's New Cliffhanger

"Their response is gonna be quick and it's gonna be brutal," Marty Byrde told Darlene Snell regarding the Navarro cartel's warning about producing heroin at the beginning of Season 4.

It may not have been relatively quick, but the end of Ozark: Season 4 Part 1 delivers the "brutal" aspect of that message. Remember the aforementioned Javi Elizondro? Well, he's running the show for the Navarro cartel by the final episode of Part 1, and his cutthroat tendencies spell tragedy for the Snell operation.

When Darlene and Wyatt officially tied the knot, Javi was up in the Ozarks on business. Shortly after the ceremony, the hotheaded boss made good on the promise his uncle previously relayed through Marty. Javi made his way into the Snell house, lined the newlyweds up on the couch, and delivered two shots -- one through Darlene's heart and the other through Wyatt's head.

Who discovered the bodies? You guessed it, Ruth.

Of course, her quick-burning temper goes up in flames and she embarks on a revengeful warpath. Speeding away in her truck, Ruth first calls Frank Cosgrove Jr., suspecting him to be the culprit in an act of revenge for Darlene killing his father. Frank Jr. adamantly denies it and Ruth seems to believe him, so she turns the truck around and barrels toward her next destination.

The following scene features Ruth barging into the Byrdes' house with a shotgun in her hand. She believes they know who committed the murders and aims her firearm at Marty when he claims otherwise. Then Jonah enters the room and lets Ruth know it was Javi. Wendy and Marty advise Ruth not to take revenge, a request she obviously doesn't heed.

"If you want to stop me, you're gonna have to FUCKIN' KILL MEEEEEE!" Ruth intensely screams at Marty before exiting the house.

Ozark: Season 4 Part 1 ends with a shot of a teary-eyed Ruth back behind the wheel of her truck letting out an inaudible expletive as the credits roll.

At this point, Ruth has almost nobody left. Her tragic story has seemingly hit rock bottom, and avenging Wyatt's death -- or even attempting to -- could get her killed in addition to the entire Byrde family.

Ruth Ozark Season 4 Part 1 Last Scene

Photo: Netflix

Ozark has truly outdone itself with the webs spun in Season 4 Part 1, and Ruth Langmore is very much at the center of the conflict. Let the anticipation build for Part 2, which will release on April 29, 2022.