This article, “did Ruth actually kill Javi,” contains spoilers regarding Ozark season 4, part 2.
Ozark season 4, part 1, brought a sobering, chilling ending. Seeing Ruth Langmore have her life ripped apart was not a desirable watch, but we couldn’t keep our eyes off the screen as she exploded in anger as Marty and Wendy tried to calm her down after she learned that Cartel boss Javi killed her cousin Wyatt Langmore and his newlywed wife, Darlene Snell. Calming her down was useless. After many moments between Ruth and the Byrde family, the reality was not sustainable. Marty presenting as the father figure that Ruth so desperately needed was only a daring journey to form the ultimate and resentful monster.
The truth is, Wendy and Marty protect their interests first, but in such a deep and manipulative fashion. They’ve become so innately embedded into the criminal world that they do not see themselves as criminals. They justify their actions using empty words and promises. For Ruth, she believed Marty cared about her. And that’s what makes season 4 so painful. When that glass wall is shattered, what does Ruth have left? While the audience wants to give her a warm, embracing hug, the world in front of her is a cold, brutal reality of failure and tragedy. The need for role models extends to security and survival. However, when “needs” are reduced to nothing, and Ruth hits the lowest of rock bottoms, who does she become?
Ozark season 4, part 2 – did Ruth actually kill Javi?
Let’s break down that incredibly well-constructed episode 8 of season 4. The veil is off. Ruth is on a journey filled with anguish and disbelief but a willingness for revenge. While she hits the road to Chicago, blaring hip hop from the stereo, knowing that Javi will be meeting Clare from Shaw Medical with Marty and Wendy, she reminisces moments with Wyatt. Marty and Wendy do their best to calm her down. To give her perspective. Marty repeatedly tries to remind Ruth that she’s a “good person.” But what’s a “good person” in a world that keeps letting her down. We are used to Marty balancing Ruth’s mind in previous seasons, bringing her back to earth, and applying logic over emotions. But this time, Ruth holds a firm expression. She seems willing to agree with Marty and Wendy, but she has no intention to listen to them deep down.
However, there is a moment of hesitation for Ruth. On her first attempt to shoot and kill Javi, she freezes. This is a moment where we believe that maybe Marty’s influence over Ruth is still there. But this is where character development is so darn important. It’s no coincidence that the writers left viewers on episode 7 for a midseason break. They wanted the audience to honestly assess whether Ruth is capable of being a monster.
And that’s why when the moment arrives, it’s genuinely shocking. The death of Wyatt brought an inhale of breath, but Ruth’s zero hesitation on the second time asking is applaudable direction and writing. It’s impactful as a few bullets quickly hit Javi in front of Wendy, Marty, and Clare. Ruth shoots and kills Javi without a millisecond of thinking. Revenge is hardwired from her brain to her empty soul, once full of hope and misplaced wonder.
There’s a theory that you have to learn to be a monster to succeed in life, but once you become that ultimate form, you have to learn how to use it for good. For Ruth, she’s a product of a constant barrage of lies and manipulation. The lack of genuine care has led her to become the monster we all feared she’d become. If anything, Ozark proves that life is not easy, nor is it fair, and it can be a place of Hell. Welcome to Ruth’s Hell.
Yes, she killed a monster in the process, but as the viewer, we always wanted better for her.