Sofia Hublitz (from left), Laura Linney, Jason Bateman and Skyler Gaertner return as the Byrde family in Season 4 of “Ozark,” now showing on Netflix.

For fans of the Netflix series “Ozark,” the nearly two-year wait between seasons 3 and 4 was excruciating. 

Season 3 ended with cartel attorney and antagonist Helen Pierce, played by Janet Peerce, surprisingly shot in the head and killed by Navarro Cartel boss Omar Navarro, splattering blood and brain matter on the faces of the Byrdes. 

The ending left fans foaming at the mouths as we waited for a Season 4 that seemed to never come. Like many other productions, “Ozark” fell victim to delays due to the pandemic.  

The much-anticipated Season 4 has finally arrived, well at least Part 1 of 2, and it doesn’t disappoint.  

Episode 1 starts off with something I will not mention in this review because, honestly, I feel it will have something to do with the series finale. The very next scene picks up where Season 3 ended, with Marty and Wendy Byrde, played by Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, cleaning off the remnants of Helen’s brain from their faces before joining Omar (Felix Solis) at a party on his compound in Mexico.

A new character is introduced at this party by the name of Javier “Javi” Elizondro, Omar’s nephew. 

Javi is Ozark’s newest and most ruthless antagonist and definitely makes his presence known. Alfonso Herrera’s portrayal of Javi is amazing and definitely complements an already amazing cast. 

Meanwhile, back at the lake, Ruth Langmore, played by Julie Garner, has decided to go out on her own and no longer works for Marty. The jaded Ruth becomes partners in the heroin trade with an almost unwilling Darlene Snell, the much older girlfriend of Ruth’s younger cousin Wyatt. 

Sidenote: Darlene (Lisa Emery) and Wyatt (Charlie Tahan) prove that age is nothing but a number when it comes to true love, even if that relationship is straight of the pages of “The Jerry Springer Show.”

Ruth also tries her hand at money laundering and recruits the help of Jonah, Marty and Wendy’s 14-year-old entrepreneurial son who has his own bone to pick with his parents. 

Is your head spinning yet? Well, there’s more. Omar Navarro enlists the Byrdes to help negotiate a deal with the FBI to help him go legit. The FBI convinces them that a deal can be made if certain conditions are met. In the meantime, Javi appears to micro-manage everything the Byrdes are involved in and makes his presence known in more ways than one. 

This show in its entirety has more twists and turns than the Euthanasia Coaster, a hypothetical rollercoaster designed in 2010 to kill its passengers. Season 4, Part 1 continues that tradition and in true “Ozark” form, will leave you wanting more.

Bateman as Marty continues to impress. Linney as Wendy does a good job of causing the audience to turn against her. Solis as Omar Navarro is great but the breakout stars of Season 4 are definitely Skylar Gaertner as Jonah, Herrera as Javi and Garner as Ruth. In fact, Ruth’s volatility will leave audience’s mouths agape when it’s all said and done.

Other notable performances are Jessica Frances Dukes as FBI agent Maya Miller and Sofia Hubitz as daughter Charlotte Byrde.

Rotten Tomatoes gives “Ozark” Season 4, Part 1 a 98% on the tomatometer. Reports vary concerning the release date for Part 2 but the safe bet is by the end of 2022. 

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