Ozark’s Ending, Explained: Exclusive Finale Conversation With the Cast and Showrunner

Both events culminate with Wendy checking herself into a mental hospital.

“It makes Marty really look at who Wendy is and where she came from,” says Mundy. “Potentially in one way, it might have been healthier to lose the kids. But at the same time, it makes you decide what you want. Do you want to be a family unit? Do you not want to be a family unit? Are you doing it just because that’s what you’re supposed to do? What do you want or not want?”

Linney says that she very much enjoyed playing the character—as she threatened enemies, told off family members, and manipulated a cartel boss.

“It’s just fun to have material that supports big, huge choices, and wild behavior,” says Linney, noting how much she enjoyed playing an “emotionally immature” character like Wendy. “There’s an impulsive quality to her—an unedited version of her—which is really fun to play. And that it was all really rooted in the script.”

Linney says examining the family unit’s ever-shifting dynamics as they’re pushed and pulled in opposite directions across four seasons gave her a particularly tantalizing opportunity.

“There was this family, these four people who functioned well together, but who really didn’t really know each other or themselves,” says the actor. “Over the course of the series, they get to know not only who they are individually, but who they are as a family. I was like, Oh, that’s something that could sustain a multiyear story. If it’s about us getting to know who we all really are, that could be interesting.”

The Byrdes’ Final Showdown With Mel

The show winds down after Ruth’s death with a coda scene in which the Byrde family returns home to find Mel (Adam Rothenberg), the private investigator who had been looking into Ben’s death. Mel’s holding the cookie jar containing Ben’s ashes, and reveals that he has discovered what the world does not yet know—that Wendy offered up her brother like the ultimate sacrificial lamb in her quest for power.

“You don’t get it, do you?” Mel tells Wendy and Marty, in their backyard. “You don’t get to win. You don’t get to be the Kochs or the Kennedys or whatever fucking royalty you people think you are. The world doesn’t work like that.”

At that moment, Jonah appears with a shotgun—a callback to the season-one finale, in which Jonah pulls a gun on Garcia (Joseph Melendez) only to find out it is unloaded. (Buddy, played by Harris Yulin, saved the day.) This time, though, the gun is loaded. Jonah pulls the trigger, the screen cuts to black, and a gunshot is heard—meaning that the Byrdes have miraculously survived Ozark‘s deadly obstacle path.

Mundy chose Jonah to get that final shot because he was the last Byrde to come around to the family’s criminality, after an estrangement spurred by Ben’s death. In a way, Mundy says, Jonah killing Mel signifies “the family being brought back together through this act of violence.”

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