BLOODLINE Review: “Episodes 8 – 10”

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Airtime: Streaming on Netflix
Episode: Season 2, Episodes 8 – 10 (S02E08 – 10)

TB-TV-Grade-B

Tweetable Takeaway: John has lost control, and Kevin does something terrible as #Bloodlines waits to resolve itself until a 3rd season


Things spiral completely out of John’s control as the second season of wraps up. The greatest threat to the Rayburn Family is themselves, but can they all get on the same page before the ugly truth comes out?

This second season of Bloodline is a tricky thing. The first season was hands down some of the best television ever made, but the second season has lost some wind. Even with the inclusion of one of the shows most interesting characters (Mendelsohn) despite his death last season, there’s still something missing. Last season was a small, tight noir, contained within the confines of a single family. The intensity and the concentration of the effects of Danny on the rest of the Rayburn’s is what drove the show, as well as their guilt for everything that happened to Danny in the aftermath of Sarah’s death. As Bloodline opened up its world outside the Rayburn family, it lost itself and the magic of what made the first season so compelling. It’s still a good show, but there’s an aimlessness to some of the narrative this season that’s missing from the original, even though this season is 3 episodes shorter.

The inclusion of Lowry and his larger role makes sense, but his death midway through the season left a void where the story just kind of meandered for a bit. At first I was really annoyed by Eve and Nolan’s presence in the show, but as the season wore on it became more and more clear how well they fit in. They are Rayburn’s too, even though Sally and Robert cast them aside. Their story arc makes sense now, but it’s the Ozzy angle I really don’t like. He seems like an appendage meant to merely create some waves in the vacuum left by Lowry’s death. The only thing he does that O’Bannon can’t, is use the same knowledge to poke at the Rayburn’s and extorting money from them. Ozzy isn’t down there to get justice for Danny, he’s there for a payday and the sick joy he derives from messing with the family.

The only other new driving force in the show is Roy Gilbert (Beau Bridges). He’s funding John’s campaign for Sheriff, but other than that it appears his goal is to get his fingers into the entire Rayburn clan as a set up to be the big bad guy if there’s a third season. He buys Kevin’s marina and allows him to continue to work there, but he’s doing something illicit out of it now. He may be drug running, or he may be human trafficking, it’s unclear. Gilbert’s goons now control the marina, will be putting in high tech security, and have to approve anyone Kevin hires. Perhaps he’s the new Lowry in town. Besides Kevin, Gilbert has gotten Meg to do some shady things for both his business and for John’s campaign. He now has enough on them all to be able to control them if he needs. It’s also revealed Gilbert has the tape Danny made. How did he get it from Lowry? Was Lowry working for him? When Sally finds out Gilbert is involved with her children she doesn’t like it. What happened in the past between Gilbert and Robert? It has to be something pretty big.

Marco’s investigation of the Rayburn’s is yielding some leads, and creating larger questions over the roles Meg, Kevin, and John played in the last days of Danny’s life. Meg’s lie to Marco about who she was with the night Danny murdered the hit man is soon proven false, and only adds to his suspicions. At first Marco thinks the Rayburn’s helped Danny get away with murder, but soon his theory begins to change. O’Bannon tells Marco that John saw Danny the morning he went missing, which contradicts John’s own statements to the police. O’Bannon is willing to tell Marco everything, but he wants full immunity first, and only then will he tell everything. Things come to a head when Marco questions John again about the timeline leading up to Danny’s death. He basically states he thinks John broke the law to help Danny, but also maybe John killed Danny himself. It’s an incredibly tense scene, with both men dancing around the subject. John tells Marco to back off, or he’ll leak the story of how Marco helped cover up Aguirre’s domestic violence assault and was hired a month later by Aguirre for the Sheriff’s department.

Ever since Danny died, Sally’s life and business has been falling apart. The Inn has lost some of its luster, which is best represented by the problems Sally is having with bungalow 3 and the plumbing. She can’t seem to get it fixed, and her handling of the bungalow, as well as the business, seems to be slipping. She needs something in her life, some semblance of normalcy. Her misplaced anger at Eve and Nolan eventually dissipates, and is replaced by her honest desire to make them a part of her family like they should’ve been all along. She would like to start over and make up for her role in interfering with their lives, so she invites them to stay with her at the Inn as family. It’s a nice gesture, and reveals Eve and Nolan only really wanted to belong. Eve does end up breaking things off with Ozzy, which doesn’t resolve itself in this season, but is sure to come to a head in the next after an awkward visit he makes to the Inn.

Besides Marco’s push to find out the truth, John is in a precarious situation after he realizes there may be security footage of him at the beach where he drowned Danny. The landowner distrusts the government and won’t let him see it, so he turns to his radio guy and hires a hacker to give him access to the server that stores the video. It implicates everyone; John, Meg, Kevin, O’Bannon, and Danny are all on that tape. John leaks the domestic violence story, and Internal Affairs are all over Marco and Aguirre. It’s supposed to buy him time, but Aguirre gets to his ex-wife and the allegations suddenly disappear. Marco goes all out against John now and gets the immunity for O’Bannon. A date is set for the interrogation.

The only person who can ruin everything for the Rayburn’s is O’Bannon, unless of course they ruin things for themselves. Meg and Kevin turn against John, scared and afraid they’ll go down for what John has done. The only thing to do is kill O’Bannon. Without him, Marco has nothing. John kidnaps O’Bannon, Kevin goes to Marco’s home and confesses to him, and Meg is about to confess to Sally. John almost kills O’Bannon, but can’t go through with it, and after Kevin tells him everything, Marco taunts him. This sets Kevin off and he bashes Marco’s head in with a statue until he’s dead. Everything is left up in the air to be settled in a third season.

It wasn’t the most satisfying way to end the season, and it definitely didn’t live up to the first one, but I’m unwilling to write the second season of Bloodline off. It’s been thrashed by a lot of press, but I still found it entertaining in it’s own different way, and the true test to the quality of the narrative built the second time around, will be how it pays off in the third season, if there is s third season.

TB-TV-Grade-B

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For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates.
Twitter: @OfSoundnVision

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