I'm Starting To Think The Ozark Writers Hate Ruth Langmore

Okay, I'll bite: did Julia Garner run over an "Ozark" writer's dog, or what? There must be a reasonable explanation for this because Ruth Langmore (Garner) is one of this show's most tortured characters and it's starting to feel downright mean. Obviously, bad things are bound to happen on a show like "Ozark" — most of the characters are involved with mobs and violent drug cartels. The context clues speak for themselves — this is a sad show where sad things happen! You can tell because the lighting is dim and the series is tinted blue! But sometimes it feels like Ruth endures like 95% of this shows sadness and it really hurts.

Fans of the series know one thing for sure: "Ozark" is headed nowhere good. This show is destined for a tragic ending and Season 4 Part 1 goes out of its way to prove that. Half the characters spend the season fantasizing about what comes next and Part 2 being just around the corner means everything will probably go wrong. But deep down, I always believed that at the end of this exceptionally bleak tunnel of sadness, we could rely on one teeny tiny source of light: Ruth Langmore. Our favorite foul-mouthed criminal might be tied to the disastrous Byrdes but she's clever, crafty, and bound to succeed eventually ... right?!  

Spoilers for "Ozark" season 4 part 1.

Ruth's Final Chapter

For a quick glimpse at Ruth's uniquely devastating life, just take a look at her season 4 storyline. This is the first season where she's severed ties with the Byrdes and honestly gets her life back on track. She's still in the drug business of course, but on her own terms. There's no cartel lawyers torturing her via waterboarding, no mafia guys roughing her up, no family member emotionally berating her and no one around to constantly threaten her life ... mostly. She's mourning the death of her boyfriend, Ben Davis (Tom Pelphrey) which is pretty agonizing, but all things considered, Ruth has it pretty easy for most of the season. As in, easy by "Ozark" standards.

Like everyone else, Ruth spends the final season fantasizing about her future. At first, she aims for a fresh start by buying the "Lazy-O." Taking over the motel she was fired from back in season 1 is mostly a ruse to launder money through a legitimate, cash-friendly business, but she also gives an impassioned speech that might have some truth to it: "I want to own a piece of this town. When city people come on vacation, I want to be the face they see. My place representing." She's mostly trying to calm the nerves of the former owner, but her words have weight behind them — Ruth wants something of her very own.

But when going into the heroin business with Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) inevitably falls apart, plans change. Throughout the season, Ruth slowly comes to the realization that doubling down on her corner of "s***hole America" might not be best. So why not leave? At first, it's because she simply doesn't have the money. She used it up buying the "Lazy-O" and has little leftover. Sadly, it's not the first time she's been ready to leave but too broke to follow through. She tells Marty, "God's a motherf***er, isn't he? Built me smart enough to know how f***ed up my life is, but not quite smart enough to haul my ass out of it." As he so often does, Marty offers to help. The results are mixed: Marty only offered for his own benefit but ultimately things work out after Ruth puts herself in peril, gets slapped by a lunatic drug lord, and fights her way out of the bad situation.

But Wait — It Gets Worse

Even when Ruth has the money to leave, the obstacles are never-ending. She can't abandon what remains of her family: Wyatt (Charlie Tahan) and Three (Carson Holmes). Three would be easy enough to convince — the only thing tying her teenage cousin to the Ozarks is his family and a high school girlfriend. But Wyatt has settled down with Darlene and her foster child, Zeke. Lucky for her, this problem seems to solve itself when Darlene freaks Wyatt out by murdering the head of the KC Mob. Wyatt isn't emotionally built for burying this many bodies so he makes plans to run with Ruth and Three ... then he goes back on it.

Wyatt doubles so far back that he instead resolves to marry Darlene, so they can raise Zeke together. Tearfully, Ruth begs him to leave Darlene but when she sees she won't win, lets him decide for himself. Then things go from worse to absolutely unbearable. Wyatt, who Ruth has often lamented is the only person left that she loves, is murdered. He's collateral damage because Javi (Alfonso Herrera) wants Darlene dead and Wyatt happens to be present when he arrives. Ruth finds their bodies.

It's not often that you see a character's plight and think to yourself wow, this might be worse than the time she got waterboarded but here we are. This is the nail in the coffin of Ruth's happiness. She's officially lost the only thing she had left. (I mean ... there's still Three, but "Ozark" sometimes forgets he exists, and anyway, her relationship with Wyatt was her most important.) So now Ruth is out for revenge and hunting down Javi puts her on a collision course with death.

And listen up, "Ozark" writers, I think I get it! Julia Garner is a masterful performer! She earned two consecutive Emmys for this performance and it's probably because when she cries or delivers tragic monologues, our hearts shatter! But why can't she win an Emmy for being happy?! Maybe there's still a way for Part 2 to forget all this bad stuff and send Ruth on a five-star cruise far far away from the sadness. And just think — putting Ruth on another boat means ample opportunity to kick another grown man in the balls and haul him over the edge. This time without deadly consequences! Whatever it takes for Julia Garner to not sob her way through the final seven episodes, please.