Ozark: Was Ben Davis’ fate foreshadowed in key scene? Tom Pelphrey opens up

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Netflix series Ozark saw a huge surge of popularity this year after season three dropped during the coronavirus lockdown. The show first debuted back in 2017 and had built up a cult following. However, the third series saw Ozark reaching new audiences, who were left shocked and distressed by the time the credits rolled on the finale.

Was Ben Davis’ fate foreshadowed in key scene?

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Ozark season 3

The third outing of Ozark saw the arrival of Ben Davis (played by Tom Pelphrey), the bipolar brother of Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney).

Sadly, Ben got caught up in the crosshairs of Wendy and Marty Byrde’s (Jason Bateman) duplicitous dealings with the Navarro Cartel.

In the end, Wendy had her own little brother killed off by Nelson (Nelson Bonilla) in an attempt at damage control with Ben becoming collateral.

His death also seemed to be Wendy’s attempt at proving herself to Omar Navarro (Felix Solis) and gain his trust.

Although viewers were shocked by Ben’s death, some believed he could still be alive because the moment of his murder wasn’t depicted onscreen.

For those looking for a glimmer of hope will be disappointed after Ozark showrunner Chris Mundy categorically stated Ben was dead and wouldn’t be coming back.

Season three featured a key scene in season nine in which Ben gave a lengthy monologue.

During this scene he mentioned how he would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and play out in his mind the worst possible scenario.

He said: “You’re driving your car and a kid comes out of nowhere on a bike, one of those scooters. You smack into that kid. The kid dies. The good part of your life is over. I’ll just wake up and I’ll flash to that.”

Ben’s words speak of a life-changing moment when any sense of normality is shattered – something which happens to him after he confronted Erin Pierce (Maddie Thompson) and warned her about her mother Helen (Janet McTeer) working for a drug cartel.

So even though viewers were deeply upset about Ben’s death, it didn’t come out of nowhere with the writers signposting his fate earlier.

Speaking at Paleyfest about the scene, actor Pelphrey said: “My reaction when I first read was, ‘This is incredible writing, I can’t wait to do it.’ Followed closely by, ‘I can’t believe this show is letting me do these things.’

“It’s so incredible to a be guest in someone’s home and be treated so well as an actor. What can be more exciting than getting tackle something like that with such incredible writing?”

Pelphrey went on to address the way in which the scene had been edited with Ben speaking in some moments while in others the monologue moved to a voiceover.

The actor explained: “The editing was incredible and I think that’s a large part due to Alik Sakharov, the director, on that day was just kind of letting me run and he set up the cameras in such a way and he set up certain cameras just on my hands.

“He realised I was just all over the place just depending on the take, it’s so different.”

The American actor continued: “So, because they shot it the way they did, they had an opportunity to edit it the way they did.

“That’s just something I’m grateful for but wasn’t really conscious of in the moment, to be honest.”

Mundy also opened up about the casting process, saying Pelphrey was “incredible”.

The casting directors saw about 25 people with some of them being well-known stars with a recognisable body of work.

Reflecting on Pelphrey’s casting, saying: “You just felt the little bit of danger underneath it but the likeability in the front.

“It was really important to us that we knew Ben was bipolar in the writing, we didn’t want to meet him as a person that he was particularly sick in any way because we didn’t want him to just be a disease.

“He read a couple of different scenes and he got that in each one of them.”

Ozark seasons 1 to 3 are streaming on Netflix now

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