Warning! Spoilers ahead for Ozark season 4, part 2.
The Ozark series finale saw many key series-long storylines find closure in one way or another (mostly through a lot of death), however Ozark season 4 part 2 completely failed Rachel Garrison. In a surprise early release, the final seven episodes of the series were released on April 29th, with Ozark season 4, part 2 seeing Rachel return to her hometown. After her long absence from the show, her return seemed poised to bring an unexpected and spectacular end to the beloved series, until Ozark sabotaged it all.
As the former owner of the Blue Cat Lodge, Rachel was one of the Byrde’s first victims in the Ozarks after Marty used her business to launder money for the cartel. Ozark season 2 saw Rachel’s life fall into further Bryde-induced chaos as Agent Petty drew her into a deal with the FBI. The deal sent her back to the Blue Cat Lodge as an undercover agent, while Petty simultaneously fed her Oxy addiction. At the end of Ozark season 2, Marty facilitated Rachel’s escape by sending cartel-tainted drugs to Agent Petty’s mother and sending Rachel to a Florida rehab.
Yet while Rachel in some ways owes her recovery to Marty, it is arguable whether she would have ever needed his intervention had she never met him. Her life, like nearly all the other Ozark characters, is made worse for knowing the Byrdes. That is why her return and revenge on the Byrdes tastes so sweet – however, the series lacks any follow through with her storyline, abandoning her character essentially right back where she started.
When Rachel returns with Ruth in Ozark season 4, part 2, she is healthier than ever, clean and capable, and ready to help Ruth wrest the majority share of the Missouri Belle from the Byrdes. Then, in a strange case of what seems like indecision, Ozark creates an avenue for Ruth to have her record expunged, eliminating the need for Rachel’s return within a single episode. After being downgraded from majority owner to manager, Rachel then enters into a new deal with the FBI — something that seems to betray her character on multiple levels, considering her history with Agent Petty. Adding to the confusion, she is then roped into murdering the Cartel’s hitman on behalf of Ruth.
The last act of betrayal by the Ozark series finale, however, comes by way of utter abandonment. After drawing Rachel back from a healthy life in Florida (albeit one with a strange collection of Python-loving men), the last scene of her is when she is managing the Byrde’s big event on the Belle. Seemingly forgotten about or, worse yet, relegated to inconsequential, Rachel’s story ends with her back in the Ozarks, working for the Byrdes, and a pawn for the FBI. Truly a disappointing end to a character, whose return served little purpose but to make Rachel a murderer too, and whose legacy would have undoubtedly been better served as the exception to the Byrdes’ pervasive destruction on Ozark.