Whenever a character dies off-screen in a TV show, you do have to wonder: are they actually dead, or are they being teed up to make a dramatic future return?
And that’s exactly what fans of the Netflix drama Ozark have been speculating about since the show killed off Wendy’s brother Ben (Tom Pelphrey) in season three. A fan theory has been making the rounds online, suggesting that – because we never actually got to see Ben being killed – he could still somehow be alive, and ready to make a surprise comeback in Ozark season four.
After all, even though his body appeared to be cremated in the series finale, the corpse was covered – and we never got a glimpse of the face.
However, Ozark showrunner Chris Mundy says there’s no truth to the theory (even though he appreciates the thought).
“I love the fact that people love [Ben] enough to come up with that theory,” he said during the Netflix drama’s Virtual PaleyFest panel. “I wish it were true. But it ain’t true.”
(Although if he was planning a big season four twist, he would say that, wouldn’t he?)
Ben’s death occurred off-screen after Wendy (Laura Linney) sacrificed her own brother and gave up his location to Helen (Janet McTeer); he was then murdered by a cartel hitman, who took his body to Marty’s funeral home for cremation.
Wendy’s decision had huge ramifications for the other characters and their loyalties.
And according to Mundy, the complicity of Marty and Wendy Byrde in Ben’s execution will heighten the stakes for Ozark’s fourth and final season.
“I think you’re gonna learn what they want their endgame to be,” he said, according to TVLine. “And they’re going to have to reckon with it a little bit… If they’re trying to [find] an out, they’ve got to figure out if that’s what they want. And, if so, what’s the version of it that they want?”
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Ozark’s third season is in the running for a whole load of Emmy Awards, including Lead Actor (for Jason Bateman), Lead Actress (Laura Linney), Supporting Actress (Julia Garner, who plays Ruth Langmore), Directing, Writing, Music Composition, Casting, Editing, and Sound Mixing.
We’ll find out how many gongs they win in September 2020.
Ozark is available on Netflix now. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide.