Ozark season 4 part 1 doesn't pull its punches. The new season of the Netflix show brings in a dangerous new player, Javier Elizonndro (Alfonso Herrera), the nephew of cartel boss Omar Navarro (Felix Solis), and he makes life even harder for the Byrdes.
Navarro also has his own scheme, aiming to wrangle a deal with the FBI in exchange for freedom. While the Byrdes raced to make it happen, they have the furious Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) to deal with, along with Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) restarting her heroin business. As usual, things are not smooth sailing.
We've broken down the Ozark season 4 part 1 ending, answering all your burning questions on just what went down. Here's where the latest seven episodes left the Byrdes and their allies – and enemies. Warning: major spoilers ahead!
Ozark season 4 part 1 ending explained *spoilers*
The Ozark season 4 part 1 ending is a huge cliffhanger. Ruth's about to go up against the cartel and former boss Navarro is behind bars. But how did we get there?
Throughout the season, Omar Navarro (Felix Solis) aims to strike a deal with the FBI, with the knowledge that his nephew Javi Elizonndro (Alfonso Herrera) is looking for a weakness so he can attempt an assassination and seize power. Navarro also wants free travel between the US and Mexico as a condition of the arrangement. Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy (Laura Linney) pull off the impossible and get the two parties together for a meeting, with help from Agent Maya Miller (Jessica Frances Dukes), but the FBI isn't satisfied by the proposal.
Instead, the Bureau wants Navarro to remain in charge of the cartel for the next five years, reporting back to the organization all the while and coordinating on money seizures. Navarro is furious at the change of terms, but, recognizing he doesn't have a choice, agrees. This leaves Marty and Wendy free from the cartel, to their immense relief. They'd been planning on relocating the family back to Chicago once their work was done.
But, just as Navarro is about to board his private plane and go back to Mexico, sirens blare and the authorities descend. Agent Miller arrests him, and he goes to jail. She was unhappy with the deal and believes that it's her job to apprehend criminals like Navarro. The FBI's hands are effectively tied by the turn of events because the arrest is splashed all over the news. So, Navarro goes to jail.
Wendy pulls some strings to get a meeting with Navarro, and asks him to ensure Javi meets the FBI. She tells him Javi will be arrested, and Navarro can be extradited back to Mexico and freed. He agrees.
Javi, meanwhile, wants the Byrdes dead. In fact, he's wanted that since the beginning, and believes Navarro made the wrong choice killing Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer) at the end of season 3 – instead, it should've been Marty and Wendy gunned down. Navarro's arrest by the FBI agent Marty was working with is the excuse Javi needs to go after him. Before he can kill Marty, though, Navarro's call comes through.
But the Bureau doesn't arrest Javi, and instead strikes a deal with him, after Wendy promises more cash if they work with Javi, and later blackmails those in charge of the deals by threatening to make their recent behavior public. The Byrdes can once again exhale – or so they think. They tell Navarro that they kept his betrayal of the cartel secret to protect him from Javi, and remind him his nephew is unstable, and may attack his children. Essentially, they're blackmailing him, since they didn't make good on their side of the bargain and have Javi arrested.
Meanwhile, Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) has been working with Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) and her cousin Wyatt (Charlie Tahan) after Wendy gave the go ahead for her own brother Ben's (Tom Pelphrey) death. The cartel, particularly Javi, were not happy about Darlene's decision to press ahead with restarting her heroin business, but Marty and Wendy try to deal with the situation themselves. Jonah, shaken by Wendy allowing his Uncle Ben to die, has turned against the family, and is laundering money for Ruth.
Darlene and Ruth have a strained relationship all season, but things come to a head when Ruth agrees to supply heroin to Marty so they can make a drop with pharmaceutical boss Clare Shaw (Katrina Lenk) on time. Unfortunately, Darlene has already sold the drugs through Frank Cosgrove Jr., who sells everything on again. Ruth manages to wrangle the drugs back, though, and the deal goes ahead as planned.
After suffering a heart attack outside the Byrde home, Darlene is hospitalized. When she's released, she orders Ruth to leave her home. Ruth seems to convince Wyatt to run away with her after he discovers the body of Frank Cosgrove Sr., who Darlene shot dead after he arrived furious about her dealings with his son. But when Wyatt learns Darlene is at risk of losing her foster son Zeke (thanks to Wendy's efforts to remove the baby from Darlene's custody), he decides to stay – and marry Darlene. Ruth is devastated.
She heads up to Darlene's house after the wedding to give the happy couple their gift, but before she arrives, Javi surprises the newlyweds.
He informs Darlene she should have stopped her heroin business, and kills her with a gunshot. Before Wyatt has a chance to do anything, Javi kills him, too. Ruth arrives and finds their bodies, and immediately blames Frank Cosgrove Jr. (Joseph Sikora) – she'd already told him Darlene killed his father, but managed to convince him not to retaliate after learning Wyatt planned to marry her.
Frank convinces Ruth of his innocence, so she races to the Byrde house, furiously grieving all the while. She storms in with a shotgun and demands to know who killed her cousin. Jonah tells her Javi's name, and when Marty tries to warn her off, Ruth screams that he'll have to kill her to stop her.
Why is Navarro arrested by Maya?
After Navarro strikes a deal with the FBI, it seems the Byrdes are home free. One major development complicates their plans, though: Agent Maya Miller arrests Navarro before he can depart for Mexico.
At the earlier meeting with the cartel leader, Maya challenged her boss, questioning why they would strike a deal with someone they should be arresting. She's told that, if the Navarro cartel goes down, another will just take its place – the War on Drugs won't end with his arrest, but working with him could lead to overall progress. Maya isn't satisfied with this, so arrests Navarro at the airstrip.
Who is Javi and what does he want?
Javi is the very ambitious nephew of Navarro, who the cartel boss believes is testing him for weakness so he can launch an attempt to take over. Navarro heads any rebellion off at the pass by handing the reigns over to Javi ahead of the planned FBI deal, though, but Maya throws everything into disarray with the arrest.
He's also deeply distrustful of the Byrdes, and would have preferred them dead over Helen Pierce. With Javi now in control of the cartel, although also in cahoots with the FBI, it remains to be seen if Marty and Wendy can escape a grisly fate at his hands.
What is Javi's deal with the FBI?
Javi, like Navarro, strikes a deal with the FBI that would leave him in charge of the cartel, but co-operating with the Bureau, in exchange for eventual freedom from prosecution. Unlike Navarro, though, Javi will remain as head for 10 years. "Fiscal stipulations" are also in place, and nobody can ever learn of the deal.
Before the deal, Wendy tells Navarro that Javi will be arrested, and then Navarro will be extradited back to Mexico. Of course, that's not what happens, and Wendy and Marty subtly blackmail Navarro by telling him they didn't reveal his betrayal of the cartel to Javi – but if they ever did, Navarro's children could be in danger, considering Javi's temperament. Despite everything, Navarro takes the moral high ground by telling them they needn't have hid their own children, because he doesn't kill, or threaten to kill, kids.
Why does Javi kill Darlene and Wyatt?
The new cartel boss makes it clear throughout season 4 that action needs to be taken against Darlene. The restarted heroin business doesn't exactly get off to a flying start, with suppliers hard to come by, but Javi clearly still feels strongly enough about the move to personally put an end to the whole thing.
After making his deal with the FBI, Javi goes straight to the Snell house to confront Darlene and Wyatt. The duo are at this point newlyweds, but the marital bliss doesn't last for very long – Javi shoots them both dead.
What happens to Ruth?
Luckily, Ruth was not present at the wedding or its aftermath, so didn't meet the wrong end of Javi's gun. That doesn't mean she's out of danger, though. Throughout the entirety of Ozark, Ruth has looked out for her cousin Wyatt and wanted the best for him. The shock of finding him dead, after failing to talk him into running away, obviously cuts Ruth deep.
After Jonah gave her Javi's name, the set-up for Ozark season 4 part 2 becomes clear: Ruth has the new cartel boss in her sights, and whether she can survive the showdown or not remains to be seen.
Why does Wendy want Jonah arrested and will he go to jail?
Jonah, furious after Ben's death, turns against the Byrdes in season 4 part 1, and starts laundering money for Ruth, Darlene, and Wyatt. Wendy tries to put an end to the whole operation by cutting the power to the basement and padlocking the fuse box, but Jonah simply moves out to Ruth's motel.
Wendy, not one to be outdone, attempts to deliberately get Jonah caught. Her reasoning is that, with her connections, he won't serve time in jail – and, as a minor, it shouldn't hold him back too much in later life. Naturally, Jonah doesn't see it that way when he discovers his mother's actions, and Marty isn't happy, either.
For her scheme, Wendy flags one of Jonah's accounts as suspicious. Jonah, in a panic, calls his father for help, and Marty resolves the situation in just a few clicks. It's looking like the youngest Byrde will avoid prison, then.
Jonah discovers what happened when Sam Dermody (Kevin L. Johnson) slips up and reveals Wendy came by Jonah's room earlier that day, apparently to collect some homework he'd forgotten. Instead, she found the information she needed to report Jonah.
What happens to the Byrdes and are they going to Chicago?
The Byrdes make it through the season unscathed, despite Marty's close call with a gun-wielding Javi after Navarro's arrest.
Their plan still appears to be returning to Chicago now they're free of the cartel, but Jonah still has no intention of accompanying the rest of the family. It also seems that they're bound for a disastrous-looking car crash before they can make it to the city, too.
What happens in the car crash?
Ozark season 4 part 1 begins with a catastrophic-looking car crash involving the entire Byrde family. They're nearly struck head on by a giant truck on the wrong side of the road, but swerve out the way. This flips their car, though, and they roll a fair few times before eventually coming to a stop.
Does the crash have any fatalities – or survivors? That remains to be seen, because none of the seven episodes released so far included the crash in real time. The opening scene is a flash forward, with Marty and Wendy discussing a meeting with the FBI that's set for the next day, as well as their casino. It seems the family hasn't yet made the move for Chicago, then, but Wendy seems to be open to letting Jonah stay behind.
When is season 4 part 2 coming and what will happen?
There's no ETA for part 2 just yet and it could be a while yet till the next seven episodes arrive. It's hard to predict if there'll be a longer or shorter wait, considering it's not a brand new season but instead the second half of season 4, but previous seasons of Ozark have all been spaced about a year apart, give or take. According to THR (opens in new tab), though, part 2 is expected this year.
As for what might happen next, that's also hard to guess. It's clear that Ruth is on a collision course with the cartel, but how that might shape the next episodes remains to be seen, and if Frank Cosgrove Jr. will be willing to come to her aid or not is another question. Then there's the issue of the Byrdes' car crash, which is a total mystery for now.
Navarro looks likely to remain in prison for the time being, though, and with Javi such a loose cannon, things could get chaotic in the former boss' absence.
Plus, private investigator Mel Sattem (Adam Rothenberg) called Maya in the final episode. While he's investigating Helen's death, it's possible he'll stumble across the bigger picture.
Then there's the matter of Wendy's political ambitions. While the foundation appears to be in a strong position, the grandson of a former politician she's relying on has developed technology that can suppress votes, and her lawyer Jim Rattelsdorf (Damian Young) doesn't seem to be keen on dealing with the cartel.
Ozark season 4 part 1 is streaming on Netflix now. If you're all caught up, check out our roundup of the best Netflix shows to fill out your watchlist.