Warning: Spoilers ahead for Ozark season 2 finale.
Marty’s impromptu move to the Ozarks has brought a heap of destruction to the region. The money laundering patriarch, played by Jason Bateman, hoped leaving Chicago would help save him and his family from the Navarro cartel. For now, that seems to have worked, but at the expense of many others including Pastor Mason Young’s baby boy. What happened to baby Zeke on Ozark season 2 is one of the more depressing predicaments of the Netflix series, returning March 27. And let’s be honest, that’s really saying something.
In the first season, Darlene (Lisa Emery) and Jacob Snell (Peter Mullan) kill Mason’s pregnant wife Grace (Bethany Anne Lind), delivering the baby first. (Apparently, the Snells are evil, but not so evil that they’ll kill a newborn. Turns out, even murderers have a code.) The killing was meant to send a message to Mason, who chose to stop preaching out on the water where the Snells had been selling their heroin in hollowed-out hymnals. Pushing their product via the water meant local police couldn’t touch them.
Mason only found out about the Snells’ operation after Marty and Wendy (Laura Linney) agreed to build him a church that was really meant to be another haven for their money laundering. After Grace’s disappearance, Mason turned against the Byrdes, going as far to call Marty the devil.
The loss of his wife sent Mason spiraling. He ended up preaching on the street, which resulted in the state taking his son away, accusing Mason of reckless endangerment. Wendy, who started a fund for Zeke, which Mason refused to take, had warned Mason this could happen. It’s why Mason assumed she was the one who told the authorities to take his son and kidnapped her. His terms: Zeke for Wendy and Marty only had 24 hours to make it happen.
Somehow Marty, with help from politician Charlie Wilkes (Darren Goldstein), was able to talk the state into letting him foster Zeke until Mason was back on his feet. But when Marty went to Mason’s house the preacher had a change of heart. He decided that he couldn’t let Marty take Wendy back because he would only corrupt her more. The altercation ended with Marty shooting Mason to save Wendy. The moment changed Marty, who so rarely shows his emotions. Since then, he can’t seem to get out of his feelings, which might end up being his downfall.
The Byrdes took Zeke in under the guise that they were helping Mason, who seemingly disappeared without a trace. But, Zeke ended up being a key bargaining tool in their quest to open a casino. After Darlene threatened to stop the project, giving Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) a terrible haircut to make her point, she made it clear that getting custody of Mason’s son would keep her quiet.
Wendy wasn’t interested in giving Zeke to Darlene, a woman whose stubbornness has led her to murder those who get in her way including her own husband. But Marty saw no other choice and helped Darlene get custody of Zeke. Everything here is above board — surprising, right? — but that doesn’t mean Marty feels good about the role he played in helping Darlene get foster custody of Zeke.
As Marty hands Zeke to Darlene he apologizes to the child, but Darlene lets Marty know she’s going to love that baby more than the Byrdes ever could. Maybe she’s right, the Byrdes haven’t shown the best parenting instincts with either of their biological children, one of which is fighting for emancipation. But that doesn’t mean the deranged Darlene should be the guardian of any children, now does it?
Fans can hope that baby Zeke will have better luck in season 3. Perhaps, he’ll get placed in a loving home that isn’t led by a murderer. Though, that might be asking a lot from Ozark.