Wendy Byrde was the real villain in Ozark, and here’s why

After four exciting seasons, Ozark, one of the best series on Netflix has finally come to an end. Each main character had a heart-wrenching, emotional arc that took fans on an intricate journey, forcing them to see the world through their own unique eyes. As in similar series, the Byrdes were an average, everyday family reluctantly caught up in a criminal underworld that they naively thought would be easy to get out of.

As they were forced to dive ever deeper into the illegal drug trade, they became ruthless, sometimes cruel, players in the game – if for no other reason than the need to spare their own lives. Financial wizard Marty, played by Jason Bateman, seems to be the only one desperate to get away. He retained his moral compass and sense of empathy to the end. However, Laura Linney’s Wendy was a different story.

Note: Spoilers ahead for the season finale.

Wendy and her inauspicious beginnings

Tina Rowden / Netflix

At first, Wendy was visibly unhappy with her life. She resented her husband, and to some extent her children, for preventing her from pursuing her career. That anger later intensified when she discovered the danger her husband had put them in with his illegal extracurricular activities.

Ozark at first it seemed like Breaking Bad is meeting narcotics, except that Marty, the supposed protagonist, became more like an educated and quick-witted Saul Goodman, called upon to pull evil criminals out of trouble, and Wendy was a female Walter White who saw opportunity beyond simply doing as they were told.

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Wendy talks to Omar in prison in a scene from Ozark.Image used with permission of the copyright holder

She quickly embraced her newfound role as leader, relishing the power she wielded, even if she had to look over her shoulder at every turn. She succeeded in making decisions in favor of her personal interests, regardless of whether they hurt someone else. She convinced herself, as well as others, that these are only win-win scenarios. If they have to do it, why not make the most of it, even if it means holding back a little longer?

The most disturbing thing is that Wendy did it with disturbing ease. Whether that decision directly put Marty in danger, endangered Ruth’s life, or stabbed her ex-partner in the back, she showed no fear with her smug, menacing smile.

Wendy and Jonah stand outside in a scene from Ozark.Tina Rowden / Netflix

Wendy’s reign of terror affected everyone around her, including her children, who grew to deeply hate their mother. It is easy to believe that her dramatic act of begging her father not to take them was simply to keep up appearances for the benefit of her foundation. How could the public trust her if she wasn’t a loving wife and mother? Her motives were partly selfish and partly fear of her father’s tyrannical influence turning her children against her.

A beautifully convincing performance

Wendy with a cut on her forehead stares blankly in a scene from The Ozarks.Image used with permission of the copyright holder

It’s a testament to Laura Linney’s performance that she was able to bring to life a character that fans so deeply despised with more and more intensity each season. Marty was no angel, but he seemed to end up just going along with her decisions out of fear. He didn’t dare challenge her, partly because of her unstable nature, but also because of his own guilt for getting them into this mess in the first place. That’s what Wendy always said back to him.

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Wendy was a breakthrough character Ozark, with a slow-burning arc that fans didn’t see coming, despite the subtle hint that something darker was brewing underneath. Wendy used her knowledge, influence and skills to manipulate situations, and the more recognition or suspicion she received, the more ruthless she became. She had something to prove and it was finally time to prove it.

Wendy and Marty are sitting in a meeting in Ozark.Tina Rowden / Netflix

One wonders: Was Wendy really upset about Marty’s illegal dealings in the first place, or was she jealous that he found the extra excitement in his life that she craved?

Perhaps it was foreshadowed when, earlier in the season, Jacob Snell said to Marty about his wife Darlene, “What are you going to do, Martin, when the bride who took your breath away becomes a woman who makes you gasp in horror?” Wendy may not have been as cruel and murderous as Darlene, but she was certainly just as cunning and ruthless.

Ozark he had his fair share of antagonists throughout his four seasons, but in retrospect, Wendy posed more of a threat to her family than anyone else. She just covered her meanness with a cold smile.

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Categories: GAMING
Source: newstars.edu.vn

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