Content Warning: The following article contains spoilers for the Netflix series Ozark and discussions of suicide and gun violence.
Charlotte Byrde, portrayed by Sofia Hublitz, has evolved from the angry teen of the first season to one of Ozark’s most reasonable characters. While she doesn’t approve of her family’s money laundering business like her brother Jonah, she still finds a way to accommodate them.
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She always finds herself in the middle of trouble, whether caused by herself or her endless teen adventures. Transitioning from the proud city girl into a natural Ozark has seen Charlotte make lots of mistakes as well as some hard decisions along the way. Throughout her transformation, fans couldn’t help but hate her sometimes.
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Updated on April 28th, 2022, by Hannah Saab: Charlotte Byrde continues to be one of the most polarizing characters on Ozark, likely second only to her mother, Wendy Byrde. Her most recent actions on the show have fans asking why she’s taking her parents’ side over Jonah’s, who understandably feels betrayed by his big sister. With the finale just around the corner, it’s the ideal time to look back at Charlotte’s most controversial decisions and lowest points in the crime-drama series.
Times We Felt Bad For Charlotte On Ozark
When She Was Forced To Leave Chicago
Moving from Chicago to Missouri was definitely a hard choice for Charlotte. She found it hard to fit in at the Ozarks as everyone she met seemed to be either too hostile to her or lie to her. Her lamentations about how she missed her life and friends in Chicago were also disheartening to hear. The feeling became worse when it became clear she was dealing with a broken family.
She found out that her mom had cheated on her dad and that the whole family had moved to the Ozarks to launder money for the cartel. The pressure seemed too much for her and looked like she would be the first member of the Byrde family to give up, but she got through it.
When She Had To Go On The Run With Wendy Byrde
The whole ordeal of having to leave her dad behind was hard for Charlotte. She had only started getting settled in the Ozarks and wasn’t ready for another run to nowhere. When they met Marty’s private investigator and were handed their fake IDs, Charlotte was negatively affected by the decision.
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She managed to convince Wendy that the family was better off when they stuck together but not without the emotions involved. The entire scene of the three of them hugging and crying before driving back to the Ozarks at the end of the second season was hard to watch.
When Garcia Invaded The Byrdes’ Home
Having to defend themselves against a cartel assassin is not anything young children should experience, but it’s unfortunately what happens to the Byrdes when Garcia invades their home. Charlotte is always the least aggressive and wasn’t prepared for the danger, unlike Jonah, who was already armed with a shotgun.
When Buddy came and saved the day, Charlotte seemed to have handled it bravely, but it was still a scary event for her. It seemed like she was the one likely to die in the incident considering her irresponsibility in the days preceding the attack.
When Zach Left Her
Zach’s role in Ozark may have been brief, but it left a lasting impression on Charlotte and fans of the show. It helped her realize things worked differently in the Ozarks compared to the big city. His sudden departure was that “I told you so!” moment for Wyatt, but it wasn’t the type one would smile about. Zach was the type of guy any smart girl could see for who he was from the beginning. However, it was only her first time, so viewers have to give her the benefit of the doubt.
She was very broken after the ordeal, which is why she hasn’t had another relationship with anyone since Zach left. The encounter may have, however, helped make her more sensible and less trusting, which, in her case, is actually a good thing.
When She Attempted Suicide
Charlotte has had lots of bad times on the show, but this was the worst for her. She was going through a tough transition, but no one around her seemed to notice. Marty and Wendy were both too focused on cartel business to notice her troubled state. Losing Wyatt as a friend left the ever-occupied Jonah as her only companion, meaning she was alone during this tough time.
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Charlotte came uncomfortably close to giving up, and it was almost too painful to watch her sink to the depths of the lake. She thankfully realizes it’s not that deep, which helps snap her out of the terrible moment. It’s her lowest point in the series so far, and audiences are probably glad she’s moved past that stage in her life.
When Wyatt Langmore Threw Her Gift Away
Charlotte and Wyatt’s relationship in Ozark served as her escape from that town that she hated. With Wyatt, she could goof around and pretend they were just a pair of normal teenagers having fun. This is why it was so disappointing for her when Wyatt reacted badly to an expensive book she stole for him.
Wyatt makes it clear that Langmores like him can’t be with privileged individuals like her, which understandably hurts Charlotte. She thought she was doing something funny and kind for her close friend, which is likely what viewers thought as well.
Times We Hated Charlotte On Ozark
When She Abandoned The Hotel Room
Charlotte’s story arc was off to a bad start when she abandoned the motel room and indirectly caused millions of cartel money to fall into the Langmores’ hands. She was so angry at her family for forcing her to uproot her life in Chicago that she forgot it was the whole family’s life her dad was trying to save.
She easily fell for Wyatt’s tricks by joining the boat ride and abandoning the hotel room with all the cartel money inside. When Ruth Langmore stole the money, it felt like the end of the road for the Byrdes. If Marty hadn’t sought the Sherrif’s help to track down the Langmores, the cartel would have come for them.
When She Wanted To Emancipate
Having money launderers for parents and living in fear of a cartel is not the best way to grow up. However, considering the love and effort Marty and Wendy put in to keep the children safe, Charlotte’s decision was selfish.
Her emancipation would raise suspicion with the cartel, and it also meant she would tell the lawyer about her family’s illegal business, both of which meant someone would have to die. She also forced Wendy into a tight agreement of going to see a therapist, a decision that got the supporting character Sue killed.
When She Tried To Run Away From The Ozarks
Living with the Byrde family is never easy, which is why fans try to understand Charlotte’s fears, but she tends to overdo it. When she bought a van and ran away without telling her parents, she put everyone in more danger. Unlike her brother Jonah who prefers finding a solution to family problems, Charlotte seemed to see fleeing as the best option.
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She caused a frenzy in the house as the whole family feared for her, and Marty feared the wrath of the cartel in case they assumed he was trying to hide his family. When compared to her brother’s patience and stability at that time, viewers couldn’t help but hate her.
When She Slept With Zach
It was easy to see that Charlotte and Zach’s encounter in Ozark would end badly, but that didn’t stop fans from hating Charlotte for how quickly she fell for his cheesy lines. She was desperate to escape her situation, and a reminder of her life in the city just happened to appear in front of her.
It’s not her fault that he took advantage of her situation, but that doesn’t make viewers any less frustrated about the whole thing. She developed feelings for and slept with a guy that didn’t care about her at all. It’s a common but painful mistake to make for teenagers.
When She Stole Cartel Money
Charlotte knows that her dad works for a cold-blooded murderer, so the worst thing she can do to him is to steal from his employer – she does so without thinking twice about it. Even though the amount didn’t get Marty into trouble with the cartel, it caused lots of problems.
First, she kept the money in the house, which was eventually found by the FBI. She also used the same money to buy the van she used in her attempt to run away from home. Stealing the money also proved that Charlotte just doesn’t trust her father that much with her security. It’s an annoying mistake, and one that thankfully doesn’t happen again after that.
When She Threatened Erin
Over the past four seasons, it has become clear that Charlotte is becoming more like her cutthroat and cunning mom. Perhaps the scene that underscores this transformation the most happens after Erin starts asking Charlotte questions about Helen, who has been missing for a while.
Charlotte not only comforts her over the phone but volunteers to go to Chicago, which her parents support. Viewers may have expected Charlotte to just be there to help her friend, but her intentions become obvious once she starts threatening Erin, implying that like Helen, the Byrdes can make her disappear. It’s a disturbing conversation that speaks volumes about how much Charlotte has changed, and not exactly for the better.
NEXT: 7 Times We Felt Bad For Wendy On Ozark (& 7 Times We Hated Her)
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