Hidden in an extended-stay motel called the Hide-A-Way Cabins in the middle of the Ozark, Amy is able to sit back, relax, and watch the drama she’s engineered unfold. At 10:00 p.m. one night, her disposable burner phone rings—the alarm company is calling the new number she gave them a few months ago. She knows that Nick has made it to Clue 3, and imagines him fumbling around in his father’s empty house. Amy knows that she’s “left enough” evidence for the police to make their case against Nick already—the mopped-up blood in the kitchen and the credit card bills, for starters. She’s also hoping that Noelle will soon “spill [the] pregnancy news,” and then it’ll be just a matter of time before the police find out about Andie.
Amy relishes being able to watch from afar as her insane, dangerous opera unfolds back in Carthage. She has told a huge, dramatic story and engineered each and every part of it. She knows she’s done a good job, but without any external validation to take joy from, she has to be the one to congratulate herself and bask in her achievement. Amy has not even the slightest worry that things will go awry—she’s put her “amazing” energy and smarts into every step.
When she turns on the television, Amy is thrilled to see that Ellen Abbott has picked up her story. She is delighted to be making her “debut,” and happily watches as Ellen airs beautiful pictures of Amy and rails against the “idiot” Nick.
The real Amy is a textbook narcissist, totally preoccupied with herself and how others see her. Whether her parents have made her this way, or whether she’s always been self-obsessed remains unclear.
Amy has planned well for herself: she has a little over ten thousand dollars in cash, which she has stockpiled using cash forwards from the credit cards in Nick’s name. Moreover, Amy made a habit of stealing out of the tip jar any time she visited The Bar. She’s being careful with her money, and learning to budget so that her cash will last her the time it takes to watch Nick be arrested and marched off to prison. After Nick’s incarcerated, Amy is planning on traveling south upon the river, taking a handful of sleeping pills, filling her pockets with rocks, and committing suicide. Her body will be the “last bit of evidence” needed to make sure that Nick is given the death penalty.
This passage is one of the rare moments after the big reveal that makes Amy seem, strangely, a little bit sympathetic. One reading of this moment is that she hates her husband so much, she’s petty enough to end her own life for revenge—but another way to look at it is that Amy has been so hollowed out by the years of pretending to be someone else for Nick, for her parents, and for everyone, that deep down she really feels there’s nothing left of her, and dying would just be a formality in a way. She’s already truly “gone” on a soul-deep level.
Amy has met a couple people in the Ozarks—one of her neighbors, Jeff, brings her fresh fish, and the woman who works the front desk, Dorothy, brings her tomatoes from her garden. She is obsessed by thoughts of Andie and Nick, unable to keep lurid thoughts of their lovemaking out of her head. Amy tans daily, getting “brown as a berry” for the very first time in her life. Between her new tan, her brown hair and helmet bowl cut, and the nearly twenty pounds she’s slowly put on over the last several months, she is unrecognizable—the “opposite” of herself.
Amy adjusts to life in the Ozarks, remaining inconspicuous and trying each day to look and act less and less like the version of herself she’s been pretending to be all these years.