Let's Unpack The Saddest Ozark Death Yet

Over the years, "Ozark" has put us through a metric ton of grief. The Netflix crime drama has no reservations about putting its many characters in peril and upping the body count season by season. After all, violence is abundant when your lead characters are wrapped up with a ruthless drug cartel — especially when they have a talent for getting strangers entangled in their life-threatening schemes. The Byrdes are like the black hole of the Ozarks, sucking everyone into their chaos and sending them on a spiral towards death. More often than not, their last-ditch efforts to survive come at the expense of someone else's life. So yeah, when the beginning of the end began and Season 4 Part 1 kicked into high gear, fans knew there would be lots of bodies to bury by the end. But if I'm being honest, I didn't expect the gut-punch death that "Ozark" delivered in the final episode of the season.

Spoilers for episode 7 of "Ozark" Season 4 Part 1.

The Tragedy of Wyatt Langmore

F*** the Byrdes, the Langmores are the true tragedy of "Ozark." Don't get me wrong, it's rough that Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) are wrapped up in dangerous cartel dealings thanks to their reckless parents. And yes, occasionally I still feel for Marty and Wendy — but they've ruined so many lives that my empathy reserves are running low. Overall, everyone who steps foot in this saga is destined for an awful situation or two, but things don't get much bleaker than Wyatt Langmore (Charlie Tahan), who has no control over his lifelong tragedies.

When the Byrdes first arrived, Wyatt already had plenty to work through. His mother was out of the picture and his family had a long history of crime. But he was still young and dreaming of a brighter future — a version of his life where he could leave the Ozarks behind for college. With his beloved cousin Ruth (Julia Garner) keeping him in check, Wyatt's dreams were achievable. They didn't quite have the means for it, but once she got involved with Marty, Ruth planned to set money aside for Wyatt's tuition. So he got to work, applying to the University of Missouri — and then his father died.

Killing her uncles to save Marty Byrde is the decision that would alter Ruth's life forever, but it also knocked Wyatt off his path out of the Ozarks. And unlike her, he had no say in the matter. The grief overwhelmed him, to a point where he could neither imagine a way out nor actively pursue it. And with nowhere left to turn, he ended up catching the attention of Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery).

The Sins of Darlene Snell

Wyatt Langmore is the latest in a long line of collateral damage caused by the Byrdes' arrival — though they certainly aren't the only ones to blame. Darlene was Wyatt's undoing, as many fans suspected she would be. The longtime antagonist and matriarchal heroin farmer is responsible for a big chunk of "Ozark" tragedies: this is the woman who once cut a baby from its mother's womb and, after murdering her own husband, adopted said orphan to fill the void. When she took a shine to Wyatt, there were oh so many reasons to be concerned. The monumental age gap between the pair was a pretty hefty start, sure, but then there's the matter of her being utterly unhinged. If Jacob Snell didn't stand a chance against his wife of many years, how would young and naive Wyatt fair any better? But against all odds, Wyatt managed. Their mutual interest in one another became romantic and Wyatt actually loved Darlene. She became a welcome source of joy for him, as did her foster baby, Zeke (ya know, the one she carved out of a woman).

Much of Season 4 Part 1 saw Wyatt beginning to fear Darlene, as he witnessed how her vicious attitude could be channeled into murder. But in the end, he chose to stay by her side rather than escape with his family. He even chose to marry her. He told Ruth it was for the good of Zeke, the orphaned baby who would otherwise be sent to foster care, but Darlene was part of the equation too. And that's the problem.

Here's one of MANY elements that make the death of Wyatt Langmore so tragic — you know it's coming before Javi (Alfonso Herrera) pulls the trigger. The second that Darlene and Wyatt come walking through the door, their ending is written in stone. Javi has finally arrived to exact his revenge: it's no coincidence that he spent half the season ranting and raving about the "redneck" poppy farmer who killed Del. His very first conversation with the Byrdes is about Darlene! Javi's visit to the Snell farm was inevitable — he isn't one for patience and often acts on impulse. So when the newlyweds walk through the door, they're already marked for death. The only surprise is that Javi waited this long to find them: after all, he shot the sheriff on a whim. With no access to her trusty shotgun and no one there to protect her, Darlene never stood a chance. And unfortunately, her doom is also Wyatt's doom.

The Langmore Curse Strikes Again

Javi has come for Darlene, so after delivering a final vicious speech, he shoots her dead. There's a pause as Wyatt reacts but if for one shining moment, you think Javi will leave it there, you're wrong. He offers a flippant apology — "Sorry... Whoever you are" — then he shoots Wyatt Langmore in the head. And so ends his tragic tale.

Remember the college essay that got Wyatt into Mizzou? Those words brightened his future but also cast an ominous shadow over the Langmores: in his brutally honest essay, he dubbed the family "cursed." Considering there are only two Langmores remaining, he might have a point. Wyatt wrote:

"You asked why I belong at Mizzou? The simple answer is, I don't. An undercurrent of savagery pervaded my life long before the violence truly began. My dad made grand theft auto seem like a good career path like we were entrepreneurs in a start-up. Only our start-up was the motor of one else's car. Or truck. Or boat.

My childhood traumas are not like yours. My mother's leaving is not like your mother's leaving. You see, I'm a cursed Langmore, long inured to violence and death. 'Taken too soon?' people ask me of an untimely death. And in the case of a Langmore, perhaps not soon enough."

Wyatt's particular curse was having no control over the direction of his life. The Byrdes are tragic too, but Marty and Wendy made their own beds — of course they must lie in it. Wyatt has simply tagged along for various rides: he was born into a family of criminals then lost his father because of Ruth's difficult decision. In the end, he died because of Darlene's penchant for pissing people off. Wyatt made his choices too — sticking with Darlene rather than leaving the Ozarks with Three and Ruth was his biggest mistake. But it was one of the heart. He was trying to do good for Zeke, and find happiness for himself. But wanting to be happy wasn't enough to save Wyatt Langmore.