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Netflix series Ozark will be concluding with a fourth and final season as the Byrdes find themselves with their backs against the wall and the Navarro Cartel holding all the cards. The show will see the story of the family playing out to its natural end. However, some viewers are still reeling from the loss of Ben Davis (played by Tom Pelphrey).
Why did writers scrap Ben Davis from season 2?
WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Ozark season 3
Ben was a tragic figure in Ozark. The unemployed substitute teacher and benevolent younger brother of Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) saw his fate sealed after turning up in town.
However, his arrival led Wendy down a very dark path as Ben’s bipolar disorder put the family’s secret illegal business at risk.
Wendy made the brutal decision to have her younger sibling executed to save them from further danger with the cartel.
To make matters worse, Wendy had dinner with Ben shortly before he was killed off and during this time they spoke about the future.
Ben was then murdered with Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) disposing of his remains which were then sent back to the family home.
Jonah Byrde (Skylar Gaertner) was left equally devastated when he learnt his mother had given the kill order on Ben.
Initially, the teenager had confronted cartel attorney Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer), believing she was behind it, only for her to confirm what he’d secretly suspected: his mother was behind it.
Another Ozarks resident bereft by the loss was Ben’s girlfriend Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), who had an argument with Wendy about the murder.
Although Ben only featured in one season, his character had a huge impact and perhaps more so than if he had been introduced earlier.
Speaking to Gold Derby recently, Ozark showrunner Chris Mundy confirmed Ben was in the pipeline for a while but didn’t make the cut for season two.
He told the publication: “We actually talked a lot about bringing him in in season two originally where he and Cade [Langmore] co-existed.
“Then we felt like we ultimately had so much story that it was just going to get clogged a little bit and so we waited to do him and introduce him in season three.
“For this with Ben, we wanted to touch on the heartbreak for Wendy of wishing reality could be different. She wanted him there, but she knows it’s unsafe.”
Mundy explained: “And the idea of being able to use him as a love interest with Ruth could speak to her evolution and made it about whether she feels worthy enough of being loved.
“I think Ruth has a hard time believing that about herself and trusting that.
“I think that the great thing about that character is that she’s so tough but especially the way Julia plays her, there’s a real vulnerability underneath it.
“She just kills it. The way Julia plays it. So, we wanted to be able to write directly to that.”
Ben’s purpose in Ozark appears to have been twofold both to shed more light on the danger of the situation the Byrdes were in but also a vulnerable side to Ruth, who has had to be so hardy in the face of so much tragedy.
His death also seemed to be a catalyst for Ruth going into the final season on the same side as Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) and really embracing her identity as a Langmore after trying to be a member of the Byrde family for so long.
Ruth could become a fierce opponent to the family and even try to oust the Byrdes from the Ozarks for good.
While Ben may be gone, his slaying is going to have huge repercussions in many ways with Wendy likely to be struggling with the decision going forward.
Ozark seasons 1 to 3 are streaming on Netflix now
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