Ozark fans think Ben's murder might not have happened at all

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Photo credit: Netflix

From Digital Spy

Ozark spoilers follow.

Ozark has never shied away from putting the Byrdes through their paces, but season three sunk to new depths when Wendy seemingly ordered a hit on her own brother.

Ben was a liability. His erratic behaviour escalated dramatically after he refused to take his bipolar medication and in the end, the picture we were painted was of an exhausted Wendy who felt that she had no other choice but to have him killed.

The Byrde matriarch and Marty had tried to keep him safe by having him committed, but that plan fell through. Ben had also told Helen's daughter Erin what her mum did for a living, something that she had striven to keep hidden.

As punishment, Navarro's lawyer wanted him dead.

Photo credit: Netflix

Related: Ozark boss opens up about that brutal finale and what to expect from season 4

Wendy, refusing to allow the unthinkable to happen, decided to drive Ben far away from the Ozarks and get him set up in a brand new life. But she quickly came to the realisation that was impossible because he wouldn't be able to stop himself from contacting Ruth and giving away his location.

She left Ben at a diner and as she drove away, Nelson pulled up – never a good sign.

Wendy was inconsolable as she rang Marty to tell him that she couldn't do it anymore. She began drinking heavily in her car for several days, only leaving the vehicle to buy alcohol.

It was a depiction of Wendy that we hadn't seen before.

Photo credit: Netflix

In the next episode, Marty, Nelson and Ruth disposed of a body at the crematorium.

But a number of Ozark fans have queried whether that body was Ben's.

We never see the murder take place, unlike countless others in Ozark, and we don't actually see his physical body because the person that is burnt to a crisp in the cremulator is wrapped up.

Redditor Codan04 points out that "the show thrives on showing us the demise of the characters we love", adding: "Interesting too was when Russ died and Ruth went to the morgue to ID him, she had them open the body bag and gave him a final kiss.

Photo credit: Netflix

"Kinda curious why she wouldn't have done the same here (or is she in on it here as well?) when "Ben's body was dropped off. She seemed very cold and removed."

Could it be another ploy from Marty and Wendy to prove to Navarro that they are loyal to him at all costs? Offering up a family member would be a solid way to do that.

Perhaps the couple made a separate arrangement with Nelson that neither the crime boss nor Helen were aware of, with the hitman taking Ben to another mental health facility where he wouldn't be able to escape.

Wendy would never be able to see her brother ever again, which would explain her emotional state.

It would also mean that Ben was condemned to a life of misery and sorrow, which is enough to turn anyone to drink.

Or maybe Marty orchestrated the entire operation and Wendy really does think that her brother is dead?

We know that he is an adept liar, so he could have made a deal with Navarro to keep Ben alive but locked up somewhere else, preventing him from getting in the way of their dealings.

Photo credit: Netflix

That would have allowed Helen to believe that she was still very much part of Navarro's plans when actually, her fate had long been sealed. For that to happen, Marty needed Ben to disappear and Wendy's grief to feel authentic.

The couple have almost become indisposable to Navarro, and he's a man who values the importance of family, so he may well have decided that they had earned something in return for their service.

As Ozark showrunner Chris Mundy discussed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: "Wendy and Marty have now pulled off two impossibilities" for Navarro, adding: "One is getting a casino to launder through in the first place, which is sort of the holy grail of money laundering.

"And the second is that, at least in Navarro's mind, their claim that they have the FBI on their side and can swing the power of the US government in the intervention in the drug war against their rivals, that's something virtually no one else can do, and that essentially tipped the scales for Marty and Wendy."

Like Marty had to undergo a big test from Navarro in season three, Redditor BrotherMan092 believes that Ben was Wendy's Test: "Family or business...time to see where her loyalty lies.

Photo credit: Netflix

"One, Marty is in on it, Wendy isn't, Ruth isn’t, just Marty. Nelson was ordered NOT to kill Ben just escort him to another country."

There's every chance that Tom Pelphrey will not return as Ben in season four, but we wouldn't put it past Ozark to bring him back from the dead.

The next instalment is currently unconfirmed, but if it is given the green light, here's hoping we get the answer to that very big question.

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