Ozark was the type of show that came along once in decades. It was our generation’s Sopranos. The show may have had crazy plot twists or over the top narrative. But one thing that the show definitely got right was the themes of Modern America. The recurring themes of imposing corruption, rampant violence, and selfish gains are all things American society has seen for years. And characters beautifully portray the themes. But the character that was the quintessential American dream was Ruth Langmore, played by the immensely talented Julia Garner.
Ruth Langmore by Julia Garner is the American dream
Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore, the local girl who becomes Marty’s right hand and the de facto heroine of a show, is unquestionably Ozark’s breakout star. With Ruth, we didn’t get the conclusion that nearly everyone expected. But it’s one that’s painfully true to the reality of current America.
Ruth endured terrible agony as the Langmores were drawn into the Byrdes’ circle throughout the seasons. Over the span of four seasons, Ruth lost five of her closest people.
But Ruth remained unflustered, looking to triumph as the show’s last season came to a close. She bought the riverboat casino from Marty, operated her own successful money-laundering enterprise, and had her criminal record wiped. She even began construction on a luxurious villa on the site of her family’s trailers.
Ruth looked to have achieved the so-called American dream—pulling oneself up by the bootstraps of dogged creativity, being drenched in riches, and settling down in a huge mansion to enjoy it—for a brief period.
But Ruth’s death was necessary
However, Ruth was not forgotten by Ozark, which is known for its grim tone. She was murdered by new cartel boss Camila in retaliation for murdering of her son Javi whom Ruth killed to avenge Wyatt’s death in the series finale.
It seemed incredible that Ozark would end with the death of its most beloved and iconic character, who, after so many tortuous seasons of anguish, was finally receiving her due. But, when you think about it, her death makes sense.
The upward progress that Ruth sought is just not available to the vast majority of Americans.
The American dream is primarily a fantasy to keep people in their place, working too hard and daydreaming of a day when everything would suddenly change. The Martys and Wendys, or, to quote Mel Sattem, the Kochs and Kennedys, will always come out on top.
It was certainly heartbreaking to see Ruth not get her escape. But in the real world, who does?
Did you guys agree with Ruth dying in Ozark’s finale? Let us know what you think in the comments.