Foremost, the bifurcated final season (seven episodes are premiering now, with more to come) centers on the Byrdes’ relationship with Omar Navarro (Felix Solis), the drug kingpin who speaks softly but has already exhibited his ruthlessness.
Still, even Navarro has to deal with internal politics and US drug-enforcement agencies, which further complicates Marty and Wendy’s lives and significantly adds to the perilousness of their high-wire act.
Nearer to home, the Byrdes still face issues involving the psychotic and mercurial Darlene (Lisa Emery), whose commitment to her home-grown drug operation risks raising the ire of Navarro and his people, and leaving Marty and Wendy caught in between.
Once again, the Byrdes continue to tap into reservoirs of grit that weren’t immediately evident, as they seek perhaps naively to find the means to return to Chicago, where it all started. That resilience is equally evident in Ruth (Julia Garner), whose alliance with the Byrdes has been strained by the events of the third season.
“Ozark” isn’t really a particularly novel concept, which makes its appeal a function of the qualities that generally define top shows: the right casting, terrific writing and enough unpredictability to keep the audience off balance, with each season deftly building upon the one before it.
The second half of season four will determine whether the series and the Byrdes can sustain that all the way through to the end and give the series a worthy sendoff. Time will tell, but in terms of a takeoff that sets up such a landing, so far, so good.
“Ozark” begins its fourth season on Netflix on Jan. 21.