Does Ben from Ozark Suffer from Bipolar Disorder?

Does Ben from Ozark Suffer from Bipolar Disorder?

Ben Davis was one of Ozark’s most poignant characters. He was introduced as Wendy Byrde’s brother in the previous seasons with quite a few mentions, but all of them were off-screen until season 3.

In season 3, Ben comes over to live with Wendy due to an incident. While interacting with the Byrdes and Langmores, Ben more than well wins fans over with his bright, eclectic personality that struggles to persevere despite his mental illness.

If you are looking to dive deeper into Ben’s character, I’ve got you covered (he is after all one of my favorite characters on the show): 

Ben Davis is Wendy Byrde’s brother, a former substitute teacher with bipolar disorder, who lost his job due to his temper issues. He was brought on-screen in Ozark season 3. His role is short-lived as he dies in S3 itself.

What role did Ben’s mental illness play a role in Ozark?

In season 3, we see Ben live with Wendy as he dealt with the consequences of losing his job due to a temper issue.

Does Ben from Ozark suffer from bipolar disorder?
Ben | Source: IMDb

What happened was, substitute teacher Ben found out that the school students were distributing a private picture of him. In a bid to get them to stop, he disposed their cellphones. But one thing led to another, and he ended up assaulting the campus landscaper, leading to his suspension.

He went into hiding for a bit, turning to Wendy for solace. Things did seem to get back on track, in fact, he even began dating Ruth. But when he realized that his medication could be putting a damper on things in the bedroom, he decided to stop taking them.

All this while, we’ve seen Ben appear happy (if not, recklessly so) — he is taking care of his health, he bonds with his family, he falls in love… So it takes us by surprise when we start witnessing the reality of what happens when patients go off their mental health medication before the right time.

But it’s not just his mental illness that is chipping away his life, it’s also the people Ben is surrounded by. In his infamous monologue, Ben talks about how he refuses to be called “not the normal one” just because he doesn’t accept that things like money laundering, cartels, and collateral deaths, are “normal”:

Tom Pelphrey has been praised for his portrayal of Ben, especially towards the last few episodes he appears in, where we see a more vulnerable, helpless side of the character. It almost breaks my heart to see him plead not to be “locked” in a mental asylum.

As Pelphrey himself says it, Ben’s story is so beautiful, but tragic.

Does Ben eddie in Ozark?

Ben reveals to Erin that her mother Helen is involved in the cartel, causing Helen to kills him and stop him from spilling more secrets.

Sadly, Ben leaves us just as quickly as he appeared, and it’s all brought through an awful chain of events. Ben befriended Erin, who is Helen Pierce’s daughter. You may remember Helen to be season 2-3’s main antagonist.

Does Ben from Ozark suffer from bipolar disorder?
Ben | Source: IMDb

Now, Ben had only recently uncovered that his own family is involved in the crime world — a fact that throws him completely off course morally. Being off his meds and in a terrible temper, he made the mistake of letting Erin know that her mother Helen too works for the cartel.

This angered Helen, who had kept all her shady business a secret from her daughter. And thus, considering Ben a liability, Helen put a hit on him.

Ben’s outbursts proved to be dangerous to everyone around, including Wendy, when she found out that Ben may rat out the cartel business to the police. So despite wanting to protect him, Wendy gave up and gives Helen his location.

Since Nelson is sent to dispose the body in Marty’s crematorium, we are spared of seeing Ben be killed on-screen. That is what I call a small mercy.

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About Ozark

Ozark is an American crime drama starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. It is a crime drama mixed with family concept and is created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Willaims. Bateman also serves as a co-producer of the show.

Ozark debuted on Netflix in 2017 and soon received favorable reviews, becoming a favorite. It received 32 Emmy Award nominations, including two for Outstanding Drama Series. It even earned Bateman an Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series and Julia Garner an Outstanding Supporting Actress twice in a row.

The plot revolves the Byrde family, with Marty and Wendy losing a money laundering scheme for a Mexican drug cartel and relocating to Missouri, with their family. Things start turning for the worse as they get entangled deeper into the organized crime world, including the biggest mafias.