‘Ozark’ Season 4 Episode 10 Recap: “You’re The Boss”

Two momentous developments bookend Ozark Season 4 Episode 10. Both feature members of Wendy Byrde’s family. Both involve executions. But beyond that, they couldn’t be more different. It’s a hell of a parallel that writer John Shiban and director Melissa Hickey construct here, first showing us how a decent person dies, then how a deeply compromised person kills.

We’ll start the way the episode does, with the return of Tom Pelphrey as Wendy’s ill-fated, manic brother Ben. In a flashback, we see how his final hours unfolded: how he realized he’d been ditched by his sister, how he was intercepted by Navarro Cartel hitman Nelson, how he made peace with his death and dutifully marched toward it, how in his final moments he was telling himself it was all a dream. Along the way, he apologizes to Nelson for putting him in a position where he had to be a killer. He asks Nelson to pass along his apologies to his sister, too, and to tell her he forgives her. He wonders if she’d be proud of him for the way he’s handling the end of his life, and it seems to rest assured that she would be.

Then he’s ordered to kneel on a tarp in the middle of an empty building, and gets shot to death.

OZARK S4 E10 “THIS IS A DREAM”

Feel free to compare and contrast Ben’s demise with Marty Byrde’s ascent to power within the Navarro cartel. At first it’s just kind of funny to see him port over his mild-mannered demeanor to the realm of lethal cartel lieutenants, carping at discrepancies in their financial reports like the managerial type he really is.

OZARK S4 E10 MARTY IN SILHOUETTE, CUTTING TO OMAR IN SILHOUETTE

But then Omar Navarro is nearly stabbed to death in prison, forcing Marty to take action. After first spreading the story that Omar killed his would-be assassin (true) and is alive and well (half-true: he’s in a coma), Marty settles on a particular lieutenant named Cabrera (Reinaldo Faberlle), who’d been cooking his books. Marty orders him to be imprisoned in the Navarro palace’s dungeon, and eventually waterboards a confession out of him, but you get the sense that even Marty knows it’s bullshit, that he’s sentencing an innocent man (innocent of this crime, anyway) to death just to look tough and preserve his precarious power base.

There’s virtually no chance that Cabrera ordered the hit—my money’s on Camila (Veronica Falcón), Omar’s sister and the mother of the late Javi Elizondro, whom she believes, thanks to Marty’s lies, was killed on Omar’s orders—but he has to die so that Marty might live. It’s an ugly bit of business, and it sits poorly with Marty’s business-casual dress code and demeanor. He’s simply not cut out for this, but it’s too late for him to stop.

OZARK S4 E10 MARTY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SPIRAL

The rest of the episode concerns itself with Wendy’s continuing machinations. She sics the new acting sheriff, Deputy Wycoff (Brad Carter), on Ruth Langmore in an attempt to stop her from supplying Shaw Pharmaceuticals with Darlene Snell’s heroin; with the help of Kansas City mob boss Frank Cosgrove Jr., Ruth manages to work around this roadblock.

Wendy also attempts to make good with Jim Rattlesdorf, her political fixer, still shaken by his own violent encounter with Javi. While she talks him back to her side, the point is largely moot: Since Shaw has pulled out of his planned donation centers to the Byrde Family Foundation’s rehab, no big donors will go anywhere near her. Then there’s the matter of her father, Nathan, who’s still searching for Ben, and who’s starting to nose around the status of his grandson Jonah, too, after he sees Wycoff interrogating him.

OZARK S4 E10 PRIEST SMOKING

One thing I can’t quite wrap my head around is the presence of Omar Navarro’s pet priest, Father Benitez. He seems privy to important cartel business, up to and including being clued in when Cabrera’s execution takes place. But he insists he’s only there because it’s where God is most needed, and he tries to talk Marty out of his view of love as essentially transactional rather than unconditional. You get the sense that Benitez would have gotten along swimmingly with Ben, who in his final minutes on earth forgave his killers, even though one of them was his own sister. That’s unconditional love. And around here, it’s in short supply.

Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) writes about TV for Rolling Stone, Vulture, The New York Timesand anyplace that will have him, really. He and his family live on Long Island.

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