The plot thickens as season three of Ozark finally hits Netflix, and we’re here to rank the show’s 10 best episodes according to IMDb.
On season three of Netflix’s Ozark, the Byrdes settle into a new normal that includes Wendy becoming a power player in her own right as an employee of the Navarro cartel. The series deals with some familiar drama, but the more visible the Byrds and their gambling operation becomes, the more threats to their family emerge. The series continues to be a compelling crime drama with characters who may do bad things but try to convince themselves they have good reasons for doing them.
After three seasons, the only thing we know for sure is there’s no such thing as a happy ending for Wendy, Marty, Jonah, and Charlotte. Here are the 10 best episodes of Ozark, according to IMDb.
All In: Season 3, Episode 10 (9.6)
There isn’t much time for grief or remorse for Marty and Wendy Byrde. Wendy’s grand plans to become an upstanding citizen are a pipe dream, and Marty’s fears that she’d drag them in too deep to ever get out are realized. Their focus again becomes myopic: they have to keep their family together and alive. Anyone and anything that gets in the way of that just doesn’t matter. This is a heartbreaking revelation for Ruth who once again is left on the outside looking in. As the Byrdes go deeper down the rabbit hole, the less they seem to understand that surviving isn’t living.
Fire Pink: Season 3, Episode 9 (9.3)
There’s a lot of scrambling to try and keep Ben from becoming collateral damage, but, at the core of “Fire Pink” are the tough choices women must make as wives, mothers, sisters, and lovers. There’s an innate urge for Wendy, Helen, and Ruth to protect who and what is most important to them, and the tragedy is when they ultimately fail.
Wendy vacillates between frantic and frustrated until she finally realizes her options are limited to the unthinkable. It’s a testament to Laura Linney’s talent that viewers will have sympathy for Wendy, grieving alongside her instead of seeing her as a modern-day Lady Macbeth. But Tom Pelphrey’s (Ben) agony regarding his actions and his inability to comprehend how to make things right is the most genuine performance of the season.
The Toll: Season 1, Episode 10 (9.2)
Marty’s season-long struggle to stay one step ahead of not just of the cartel but of the Snells, the Langmores, and the Feds continues. He stops the bleeding in one part of his tenuously held together operation only to have someone inflict a new wound somewhere else.
It’s exhausting to watch as Marty deals with the harsh reality that his situation continues to go from bad to worse. It’s also almost incomprehensible to figure out that a couple of business-savvy racist hillbillies from a sleepy lakeside town prove themselves to be as or more dangerous than a Mexican drug cartel.
The Gold Coast: Season 2, Episode 10 (9)
As Marty becomes less sedate, even vulnerable, Wendy grows harder. Darlene, Ruth, and Wendy are willing to make concessions for their families, even if it creates distance in the short term. The entire episode delves into familial ties: what binds people together and what pulls them apart.
Wendy tries to compartmentalize the part of herself capable of destroying the lives of those who would oppose her and a loving mom and upstanding citizen. When dealing with the Snells, drug cartels, crooked politicians, sociopathic FBI agents, the mob, and small-time criminals, the Byrds can almost justify their roles in this dark, twisted food chain. But Marty doesn’t want to do it anymore which poses a problem when the person closest to him suddenly becomes a powerful adversary.
BFF: Season 3, Episode 8 (8.9)
“BFF” shows the downfall of two genuinely “good” characters. Special Agent Maya Miller is an anomaly. Unlike her counterparts Petty and Evans, she wants to do the right thing for the right reasons, and she’s determined not to compromise. Sadly, it doesn’t work out for her. One of Marty’s most loathsome acts during season three is his attempt to get Miller to abandon her principles.
Ben may be bipolar, but he does recognize the irony that he’s locked up and punished for recognizing everything that is not okay going on around him. Ben’s mental illness affects how he handles and reacts to these harsh truths, but being bipolar isn’t synonymous with moral relativism. It’s foreshadowed early that things will not end well for Ben, and, the more everyone tries to do right by him, the more the situation spins out of control.
Su Casa Es Mi Casa: Season 3, Episode 6 (8.9)
Wendy and Marty’s marriage is built on a foundation of survival. Their chances are better together than apart. When they speak of marital discord being a matter of life and death, it isn’t hyperbole. Their therapy meltdown is raw, real, and darkly funny. They are so disconnected that the only thing they have in common is anger and resentment.
As complicated as Wendy’s relationship is with her husband, the history between herself and Ben is more riveting and relatable. The revelation that Ben is bipolar points to disaster, especially regarding his romance with Ruth. Wendy’s love for her brother is wrapped up with heartbreak and of dealing with his issues, and one can’t be extricated from the other. Ruth and Ben falling for each other is a given, but so is their shared delusion they can overcome the insurmountable.
Game Day: Season 2, Episode 5 (8.9)
As Special Agent Petty becomes more desperate to take down the cartel, his behavior becomes more provocative and antagonistic. His downward spiral is a cautionary tale that those who let the monsters consume them from the inside out are doomed to become monsters themselves. He is adept at exploiting weakness, and he burrows into Marty’s head enough for Marty to begin to doubt those he supposedly trusts more. More accurately, there isn’t anyone Marty fully trusts.
While everyone else’s actions are driven by survival instinct, Buddy doesn’t function under the same constraints. He has nothing to lose which makes him invaluable to the Byrdes.
Coffee, Black: Season 1, Episode 9 (8.9)
Wendy poses the question that has been looming over the entire season. “If we weren’t stuck would we still be together?” It’s a loaded question to ask, and Marty is as succinct as he is with people like Rachel, Mason, and Sam. He gives very little away. He traffics in numbers not emotions.
Ruth continues to prove she’s more than a petty criminal who comes from a family of poor white trash. The kinship between her and Marty arises from their shared determination to do what it takes to protect the ones they love, and her ability to see he provides an outlet for her singular talents. There’s also a burgeoning affection between them as she begins to view him as a surrogate father, and Marty is willing to fill that role.
Boss Fight: Season 3, Episode 4 (8.8)
In “Boss Fight,” flashbacks to Marty’s past reveal the origin of is his ability to play the odds. As Navarro conducts some kind of test to determine who might be dispensable and who’s not, the only voice of reason is Wendy’s brother. Finally, someone arrives and witnesses this craziness from the outside.
With so many players on the board, and Marty, often so unflappable, everyone around him is reminded of his worth. Not just as the numbers guy but as a partner, father and husband. Until now, he’s been pushed aside and dismissed since Wendy’s unilateral decision that they stay put, but there’s so much more going on in Marty’s head than he reveals.
Kevin Cronin Was Here: Season 3, Episode 3 (8.8)
It’s not a good sign that Wendy dreams of taking Marty out of the equation the same way she does Cade. Only, this time, she pulls the trigger. The issues that exist in any marriage are amplified to the point of absurdity during this episode. Marty’s and Wendy’s attempts to sabotage the other is at times deceitful and sneaky, and others painstakingly passive-aggressive.
Is Marty simply threatened by Wendy’s relationship with Navarro or genuinely concerned for her safety? Helen is a catalyst for dissension as she stokes Wendy’s ambitions, making Marty appear a liability. Not content to watch her marriage implode, Wendy pushes casino owner Carl completely over the edge.