Yes, we are going to talk about THAT ending to season 3 of Ozark. Just when we thought Navarro finally had enough of the Byrdes- bang, he kills Helen instead.
If you say you saw that coming, you’re either lying or you’re lying. That was most probably the least expected thing to happen in the whole series.
So why did Navarro kill Helen, his most trusted advisor, without even thinking twice? What could have been the motive? Did the Byrdes set her up for it? Let’s dive right into it!
Who are Navarro and Helen?
The Mexican Drug Lord, Omar Navarro, was kept as a mystery man till Seasons 1, and 2 and is the main antagonist for Seasons 3 and 4. The head of Navarro Drug Cartel, originally played by Felix Solis, was always shown as someone straightforward, merciless, and the one to value others’ honesty. He had all the qualities of a kingpin in the drug kingdom.
Despite his achievements in the cartel, he was looking forward to retirement and spending his remaining life with his family in peace. With his newborn baby, he had a cemented idea of removing all the FBI charges and desired to move to the USA with his family.
All in all, he was also the boss of Helen, played by Janet McTeer, who was a trustable attorney and representative for the Navarro cartel. She was introduced in Season 2 and can be considered the main antagonist of the Byrde couple. She was sent by Navarro to overview the laundering situation in the Ozark led by Marty and his wife Wendy Byrde.
How was the bonding between these characters?
Omar Navarro indeed had a positive sight of someone who could bring betterment to his cartel business. He is seen to appreciate the person who is faithful to him. On the other hand, Helen was shown to have a positive attitude toward her boss and her professional life. She was so sharp-witted with her work that even her own daughter was unaware of her involvement in the cartel and all those crimes.
Her primary focus was to please the drug lord and bring considerable success in the cartel business. Both of them did have a good relationship until we saw something unpredictable in the last episode of Season 3.
Considered the best season of this entire show, in Season 3 we witness the shocking and enervating murder of Helen and Byrdes getting damped over her blood. Eventually, Navarro hugs the Byrde couple, Marty Byrde and Wendy Byrde as if it was a regular day in his life. This proves how cold-blooded he was as a person and also warns the couple of the life that is waiting for them.
Despite the importance of Helen in his profession, he believed the Byrdes as more lucrative than her, all because Byrdes were clearly ahead when it came to management and lucks.
What happens to Helen in Ozark?
The scene of Helen’s death is truly an unforgettable moment in the series. Her death was so quick and shocking, that everyone might have gone back to rewatch the clip. In the scene, we witnessed Helen and Byrdes getting out of the car, all excited to meet the head of the cartel.
Little did she know, how ruthless a death she would have by the bullet of Navarro’s hitman. We witness the direct shot of a gun on the right side of her head, causing instant death. Let’s forget about us getting surprised, maybe Navarro himself was surprised when he saw Helen getting shot, later realizing it was him who ordered to kill his own man behind the scene.
Moreover, in the mind of Helen, maybe she was expecting the death of the Byrde couple, instead, things seem to have backfired her in the worst way possible. At the end of the episode, we see Navarro appreciating Byrdes by giving them a tight hug and worrying less about the death of Helen.
Why did Navarro order to kill Helen?
The root cause of Helen’s death is head-on linked with the Byrdes family. Chaos between Byrde and Helen started when Ben, the bipolar brother of Wendy, confronted Erin about her mother’s crime and connection with the drug cartel.
Unlike Byrde , Helen never wanted her kid to know about her professional life. As an act of retribution, Helen orders her hitman to kill Ben. Although there was a one-sided agreement between Helen and Wendy to kill Ben, who would let the killer of her own brother progress further. Both of them were fueled by hatred and seeking each other’s downfall.
At some point, Helen even tried to frame Marty with a fake confession, which didn’t work out. Just as smart as Byrde’s couple are, they didn’t let the false appeal of Helen work on them.
They really made a good impression on Navarro, while from Navarro’s side, he liked Wendy’s future plan for money laundering. The plan to remove Byrde couple from the business side was also a big mistake from Helen. For Navarro, turning the crime money into a clean one was everything and he could replace a lawyer like Helen in a second.
Judging by the situation, Byrdes were more of an asset to Navarro, and in order to remove the middleman from the communication between them, Helen had to die. With such, Byrdes would also have more freedom in the process of laundering.
Why did Navarro choose Byrdes over Helen?
At the very beginning of Season 3, we see Helen getting waterboarded, brutal torture by her own cartel. She seems to failing the task of a cartel and standing up to the expectation of the boss.
The audiences were already hinted about the faith of Helen in the very first episode of Season 3. Navarro is also someone who seems to want everything perfect in his drug cartel and like every drug lord, he is not worried to go wild sometimes.
Most importantly, he was amazed to hear Wendy’s plan on how he can win the drug war, which he was losing against the Lagunas Cartel.
Was Helen’s death necessary?
The show wouldn’t have been any different if Helen was alive. She indeed played a crucial part in Season 3 and developed the story further.
However, as she was opposing the Byrdes family, a protagonist from the series, she, either way, has to be concluded in a positive or negative way. Altogether, it was not that necessary for Navarro to kill someone who was faithful for over a year and open a partnership with someone, who has previously created notable issues in the cartel.
It wouldn’t have disappointed the audience if show writers planned other ways for Helen’s departure from the show. Perhaps, it would still be okay if she had the alternative ending, the one where she lives happily with her divorced husband and kid, or if not that one, then at least the one where her death gets mercy.
Navarro also had a promising vision of his cartel and personal life with the presence of Byrdes. As far as we know, Navaddo was not satisfied with his attorney lately and he was desperately hoping for sharp people to enter his cartel, who will be worth being his partners-a-like.
Did anything change after Helen’s death?
In part 1 of Season 4, we see Erin concerned about her mother’s whereabouts. She was staying in Chicago and was still disappointed with her mom’s involvement with a drug cartel. Byrde’s kid later revealed the death of her mother, which she doesn’t seem to care more about. On the other end, the series didn’t focus much on her divorced husband.
The private investigator, Mel, started investigating her sudden disappearance and he was having a clear sniff over the Byrde couple’s involvement in the case. Despite all those trespasses and investigations, Mel couldn’t find any solid evidence that could lead to the killer of Helen.
Although Mel got modest screen time in the series, he shall be remembered by the viewers. Firstly, it is because we get to the ending of Season finale with his death. Precisely, he is the one who was shot by our boy, Jonah Byrde. With this killing, it was pretty much clear that the Navarro family has sunk more into the game of cartel. Although there are some theories that claim Jonah didn’t kill Mel. However, let’s not forget that, if Jonah had let the detective go alive, his parents probably would be in Jail. Mel had an idea of conducting some kind of DNA test with Ben’s ashes, which would prove Byrdes’ involvement in Ben’s Murder.
Previously, Mel also collected the CCTV footage of Jonah threatening Helen, accusing her of killing uncle ben. That evidence would have been enough for Mel to accuse Jonah of killing Helen, but the situation was different in part 2 of Season 4, Byrdes children were devoted to their parents. Just like the parents, they were keen to eradicate any obstacles that come in their family or might come any time soon.
As for the situation of the cartel, Byrdes were doing their best in what they were good at. Although, the story takes a wild turn after Omar Navarro gets arrested by the FBI. We also witness the betrayal among the Navaddo members, which who knows might not have taken place if Helen was alive.