Ozark Season 4 Fixes The Show's Byrde Children Mistake

Warning: SPOILERS for Ozark season 4.

Ozark season 4 fixed the Byrde children problem, giving them complex roles with great development throughout the season's first part. The fourth season of the Netflix original crime saga set in Osage Beach, Missouri sees a big rift form between Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) and Wendy (Laura Linney), while Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) becomes increasingly supportive of her parents in their criminal endeavors. Both Jonah and Charlotte have complex character arcs in the last season - especially in comparison to season 3.

Ozark season 3 failed Jonah and Charlotte, pushing the children in the background while Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy deal with controlling cartel lawyer Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer) and with Wendy's troublesome brother Ben (Tom Pelphrey). The Byrde children got drawn into the subplot of babysitting Erin (Madison Thompson), Helen's misbehaving daughter. While Charlotte seemed completely forgotten in season 3, Jonah was offered more screentime through his developing relationship with Ben. Unfortunately, the latter proved a big liability to the Byrdes when he outed Helen's job in front of her daughter. Wendy made the difficult decision to have Ben killed in order to save her whole family from being murdered instead. Jonah was deeply distraught, holding Helen at gunpoint in a chilling scene where she enlightened Jonah as to Wendy's complicity.

Related: Ozark Season 4 Theory: One Key Navarro Line Predicts 3 Major Storylines

While Ozark season 3's epic finale laid the grounds for Jonah's character development, it's season 4 that truly celebrates Jonah rebelling against his family - especially Wendy, as he holds her responsible for killing her brother. And if he had a moment of hesitation, it was cut short when he saw his parents dispose of Sheriff Nix's (Robert C. Treveiler) body. Jonah is appalled by his parents' criminal lives, much like Charlotte was in the first two seasons. However, Jonah's revenge is laundering money for the enemy - Darlene (Lisa Emery), by proxy of Ruth (Julia Garner), who is just as upset at Wendy over Ben's death. Perhaps unconsciously, Jonah is becoming a criminal mastermind just like Marty, all the while swearing he is not like his parents. Meanwhile, Charlotte has fully embraced the Byrde family business and supports Wendy in her conflict with Jonah. Furthermore, Charlotte gains autonomy, dealing with Erin and even joining her parents for an awkward dinner with Javi Elizonndro (Alfonso Herrera).

The tables have turned for the Byrde children as Ozark season 4 draws strong parallels to seasons 1 and 2, when Charlotte was disgusted by her parents' criminal activities and attempted to have herself emancipated, while Jonah was fascinated by Marty's intelligence and the process of money laundering. By the season 2 finale, both Jonah and Charlotte had no choice but to be all in with the Byrdes' schemes (Marty and Wendy often shocking their business partners with their kids' knowledgeability). Ben's death in Ozark season 3 was the last straw for Jonah, who is now set on renouncing the ways of his family (bar the money laundering, which has become his passion). While Jonah keeps a line of communication open with his sister, he still berates her for becoming her mother. Indeed, in season 4, Charlotte shows exactly the calm and composed smile that Wendy shows when she means business. Charlotte has become a trusted ally of her parents, demonstrating a complete character arc for the once-revolted teenage daughter. It remains to be seen how season 4 part 2 will develop Jonah's relationship with his family.

Ozark continues to be a great show, especially because the whole Byrde family is involved in the impossible circumstances that threaten both their safety and their relationships. While in many films and series, the criminal's family is represented as a victim or an innocent bystander, Ozark sees all the Byrdes partake in the increasingly dangerous criminal schemes. Season 4 did justice to Jonah and Charlotte's stories, bringing them back to the front in the first part of the Netflix series' epic finale.

Next: Ozark Season 4 Cast & Character Guide

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