Ozark creator reveals real reason for key Jonah scene in finale: ‘He had to shoot’

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Marty (played by Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) found themselves going to drastic lengths in season three of Ozark to ensure their money-laundering operation for the Navarro Cartel was successful. From scamming rival casinoes to sacrificing loved one, the third season on Netflix set the bar incredibly high for the extreme lengths the pair would go to in the name of their criminal operation. However, for son Jonah Byrde (played Skylar Gaertner), his parents went one step too far as the series drew to a close.

WARNING: This article contains major spoilers from Ozark season 3.

Following a dramatic outburst aimed at the cartel’s scheming lawyer Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer), Wendy’s brother Ben (Tom Pelphrey) was deemed as a problem that needed solving in the eyes of Navarro.

Wendy, Marty and Helen all recognised the threat Ben posed to the business due to his reckless nature and there seemed to be only one way to resolve the situation.

In heartbreaking scenes, Wendy sacrificed her own brother for the good of the operation with Helen’s trusty hitman Nelson (Nelson Bonilla) killing him before returning his body to Marty’s funeral home to be cremated.

Ben’s death his several characters, and viewers at home, hard but arguably none more so than his nephew Jonah.


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Following his introduction in season three, Ben and Jonah became close friends as the teen confided in his uncle.

Therefore, when he found his uncle’s ashes at his family home in the final moments of the season, he lashed out and began shooting aimlessly in the house, smashing windows along the way.

While theories among the Ozark fandom have been bandied about that he may have been shooting at someone in particular, writer Chris Mundy has shed new light on the pivotal scene.

Speaking on the podcast ‘Post Play: Ozark’, Chris told Marty star Jason Bateman: “I think in the last episode (how) we approached Jonah – Jonah has been the only person who never really questioned what they’re (Marty and Wendy) doing.

“He’s just kinda like ‘oh, we live in the Ozarks now? okay, great. I’ll get into animals. Oh, we’re laundering money now? Good, I’ll get into money-laundering. I’m smart, I can adapt.’

“And we’ve watched Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) push back on all of this stuff. But Jonah has observed a lot of loss.

“I mean obviously their move, then he lost Buddy (Harris Yulin) who was his closest friend, and now Ben. In our mind in the writers’ room it was intentional he [Ben] lived in Buddy’s room.

“In that first episode when he lives there, he skinny-dips like Buddy did and he gets Jonah to kind of accept him because it’s like he’s taking on a role in Jonah’s life.”

Chris continued and referenced pushing Jonah to breaking point: “We’ve never pushed Jonah past the brink and it was really important that like, we mess him up because none of this stuff is normal.

“The idea of him shooting the window was partly that he just had to shoot something,

“And partly that he wanted to destroy the facade of this being happy or normal.

“The second Helen starts telling him some of the truths, you don’t wanna believe but when you hear the truth, part of you, you just know it and you don’t accept it for a little while and he knew it.”

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The Ozark writer concluded: “So he needed to smash up what his parents had built in any way he could.

“He needed a physical act otherwise he would’ve torn himself up I think.”

So it looks like Jonah’s gunshot at the window was in order to destroy what his parents had built.

Fans will have to wait until season four to find out for sure if anyone was on the other side of the glass.

Ozark is available to stream on Netflix now.

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