Ozark‘s first Season 4 episode was Car Crash TV at its most literal.
Netflix on Friday dropped the first seven episodes of the rural crime thriller’s fourth and final season (the remaining seven episodes will debut later this year), and, as previously teed up in that bananas trailer, the premiere featured a horrific car accident involving the Byrde family.
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But in a twist, the calamity did not play out in real-time. Rather, it was a flash-forward — a quasi-prologue to the final season, if you will. The action then shifted to the present timeline, aka right where Season 3 left off, with Marty and Wendy reeling from the murder of Helen. In the absence of an onscreen chyron clarifying how much time separates the Byrdes’ current Mexican quagmire and the car crash to come, viewers were left to speculate how — and more importantly when — the possibly fatal wreck will occur.
According to Ozark showrunner Chris Mundy, the ambiguity was intentional. “There’s a feeling on our show all the time where anything can happen at anytime, and I like that unease,” he tells TVLine. “We felt like people might be confused for a split second, but then when the [action cuts immediately] to Mexico they’d realize [it was a flash-forward]. But we didn’t want to do any more of the math for them.”
What can be deduced from ominous sequence — given that the Byrdes are alive and, well, happy-ish, in the SUV prior to the crash — is that Marty and Wendy make it out of Mexico in one piece. And although the pre-accident dialogue is sparse, it’s meaty: We learn that the family is just one FBI meeting away from leaving the Ozarks for good.
“I’m calling the moving company this afternoon,” a cheery Wendy announces from the passenger seat, prompting an equally as sunny Charlotte to declare, “Whenever. Jonah and I are packed.”
While acknowledging that the prelude sorta spoils the fact that at some point later in Season 4 the family rallies together and comes within spitting distance of getting their old life back, Mundy hints that appearances can be deceiving. “It’s going to be a mess,” he reveals. “Things [seem] fine even though they’re really not fine.”
Elsewhere in Season 4, Episode 1:
* Drug kingpin Omar Navarro tells Marty and Wendy he is ready to cut a deal with the FBI, and he’s tasked them with brokering said treaty. “I’m sorry that’s impossible,” Wendy informs him, before backtracking when the Big Bad informs them that they either do it or die.
* Navarro’s nephew (played by new cast member Alfonso Herrera) succeeds Helen as Marty and Wendy’s on-site supervisor and immediately establishes himself as a chip off the old block by murdering Sheriff Nix.
* Ruth retains Marty and Wendy’s 14-year-old son Jonah to serve as the chief money launderer (via the Lazy-O Motel) for her and Darlene’s new joint enterprise.
* In the wake of putting a successful hit out on her brother, Wendy becomes even more delusional, self-righteous and insufferable. I didn’t think that was possible!
How many episodes of Ozark‘s new season have you binged thus far? And what are your initial thoughts? Hit the comments!
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