Ozark season 4, episode 8 recap – “The Cousin of Death”

By Daniel Hart
Published: April 29, 2022 (Last updated: April 30, 2022)
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Netflix Ozark season 4, episode 8 - The Cousin of Death


Episode 8 of season 4 is a memorable entry for Ozark. It’s unforgiving and truthful to its characterful development.

This recap of Netflix’s Ozark season 4, episode 8, “The Cousin of Death,” contains spoilers.

Read the recap of the previous episode.

Forget how this series will end. We all had one question when Netflix tortured the audience with the midseason finale. Will Ruth kill Javi? It was such a painful cliffhanger, ending with a formidable performance by Julia Garner, who has provided many award-winning scenes in this series alone. Watching Ruth’s world collapse before her has been a heartbreaking ordeal. We reach the beginning of Ozark season 4, part 2, and this episode is another formidable entry in the series.

Ozark season 4, episode 8 recap

Episode 8 begins with Ruth driving, tears flowing down her cheeks as she remembers a moment she had with Wyatt, who is now dead due to the brutal violence of Javi. She’s enraged and in a state where she feels stuck with her emotions, not knowing what to do.

While Ruth gathers herself, Javi rings Marty and tells him to “clean-up,” i.e., get rid of the bodies of Wyatt and Darlene. Wendy is confused about why Marty did not tell Javi that Ruth wants to kill him. She’s worried about family safety, their leverage with the FBI, and the foundation. Marty feels Wendy is being emotional and does not feel Javi will die. Wendy raises a vital point — Marty does not understand “people’s will.” Wendy’s point is at a significant narrative juncture; it feels like she’s outgrown her husband in many ways — morally corrupt, but understanding how feelings will not help their predicaments.

Ruth asks Charlotte and Jonah where Javi is. Jonah and Charlotte are unsure what to do, knowing there’s a lot at stake for the family, but Charlotte reveals that Javi is meeting Clare at Shaw Medical in Chicago the next day. Afterward, Wendy tells Ruth that they will not stand in her way because “they owe her” — she lies to Ruth, claiming that Javi is in Mexico, but he is all hers once he returns. Ruth asks Wendy to promise her that she has a clear route to Javi, but she doesn’t buy the premise. Ruth is playing with Wendy and Marty — in the past, she would have fallen for their words, and she’s still acting like her naive former self. Meanwhile, Marty tells Javi that the Snell farm is crawling with cops. Javi tells Marty to get to Chicago and bring his uncle’s children’s financials.

Ruth is not playing in episode 8. She heads to Chicago and nestles herself outside the Shaw Medical office building. Three Langmore rings Ruth, attempting to bring her home, but it appears her mind is already set. She rings Clare Shaw’s office pretending to be Charlotte so she can get the time of the meeting.

And the meeting between Clare, Marty, Wendy, and Javi is held in episode 8. Javi wants stock options under his mother’s name in Shaw Medical as part of the negotiation. Clare rejects that idea, feeling stock options would make it evident they are dealing with the cartel. Javi then puts his uncle’s children’s financials under his mother’s name, which surprises Marty.

Javi leaves the office building, and a hooded Ruth follows him. She ends up freezing and meets eyes with Marty across the street. Ruth is angry at herself, but Marty rings Ruth and tells her she’s a good person who doesn’t want to die. He tells her to go home. Ruth ends up in a daze and watches Marty and Wendy across the road. She rings up Wyatt’s voicemail inbox and vents that the Byrde family are building a new life with businesses and meeting important business people. She imagines herself killing Marty and Wendy, which feels like a foreshadowing.

Ruth decides to surprise her acquaintances by sitting at the table with Clare Shaw, Marty and Wendy. She demands that they go to Clare’s office. She’s angry that Wendy lied about Javi’s whereabouts. She threatens to shoot Clare in the head if they do not go to her office. When they get to the office, Ruth tells them to call Javi. Marty tells Ruth that they are putting all their lives in danger, but Wendy raises how Ruth does not care. But Marty pleads with her again, claiming he knows her, but his words do not have the same effect on her anymore. Her world has collapsed. This is a new Ruth created by a series of events that became fully formed when Wyatt was killed. Ruth tells Clare that business with Marty and Wendy means her world will crumble as they will make you feel like they care. She calls Wendy “soulless” and that Marty pretends to care. She lists the pain they have caused in a brilliant monologue—another applause for Julia Garner.

The ending

The ending of episode 8 is chilling. We recognized early on in this series the transformation of Marty and then the leveling up of Wendy in the later seasons. Ruth has reached a specific point in her character development. A monster made by the people who have always claimed to care about her. This is why character development in TV is essential. When it pays off, you get episodes like this.

As the episode moves closer to the end, Wendy is tired of the back and forth with Ruth, so she rings Javi, claiming that Clare has agreed to give the stock options to him.

Javi arrives at Clare’s office, and as he introduces himself, Ruth doesn’t hesitate. She pulls the trigger a few times to kill Javi. And then, Ruth looks coldly at Marty and Wendy before walking away. The camera follows her out of the building, entering the car park. Her world holds no light. Only darkness. A young woman once filled with hope. As she enters her car, she sobs. Killing Javi doesn’t take the pain away. It doesn’t stop the need to grieve. She briefly remembers the peaceful silence of the Ozarks before driving away, vibing to hip hop, holding firm her tear-soaked face.

Episode 8 of season 4 is a memorable entry for Ozark. It’s unforgiving and truthful to its characterful development.

What did you think of Netflix’s Ozark season 4, episode 8? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

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3 thoughts on “Ozark season 4, episode 8 recap – “The Cousin of Death”

  • April 29, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    Ruth impersonated CHARLOTTE on the phone, not Wendy.

  • May 1, 2022 at 4:07 pm

    A bit boring

  • May 6, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    Okay, I am going to try to shorten this question I’m leading to considerably from how it originally was in the process of me writing it here before all my writing freaking disappeared thanks to…eh, not even worth going into details about it other than to say I’m fuming about it at the moment.

    So let me attempt to just try to get to the point(never an easy thing with me. See, I’m doing it right now!): Ruth and even Wyatt before his unfortunate demise, have constantly througout the duration of the show blamed everything that’s gone wrong in their lives on Marty & Wendy. Marty & Wendy–well Marty especially–have in turn never denied they’re responsible for everything that’s gone wrong in Ruth, ,Wyatt’s, and their now-deceased fathers/uncles’, lives ever since the Byrdes’ move to The Ozarks. Now let me just make clear I love the character of Ruth; she is easily my favorite on the show pretty much as she is just about everyone else’s. But what I just mentioned is something that I have to say I have come to find annoying about her, and likewise annoyed by Marty and Wendy’s response(or lack thereof) every time she blames them for being the ones to ruin her life. What I find infuriating and puzzling is why haven’t Wendy and Marty even once said to her “Hey, none of this s**t would’ve ever happened if YOU and your family hadn’t f**ked with US first!”??? I refer of course to Season 1, Episode 2 when Ruth stole the money from the Byrds’ motel room while working as the maid there, and when Wyatt helped orchestrate the theft by drawing their daughter away from the scene. And furthermore, the Langmores were ready to off Marty when he tracked them down to get back what was rightfully his! And furthermore, Ruth was all set to have Marty killed in a later episode that season in order to steal his money! So I’m wondering and asking anyone out there to lend their input: Was all of this an example of a “plot hole” and/or “lazy writing”, or am I just doing a typical thing that I do which is thinking too much about something all other fans of the show haven’t thought about nor would they give a damn about if they did?
    Todd H

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