“We’re not bad people. But we did a bad thing”
Bloodline is the Netflix Florida Keys set drama/thriller centering around the Rayburn family. The slow-burning, humid and dense first season was hailed as the normative successor to Breaking Bad and the perfect example in how a story can be most effectively told in a 13 episode, binge-ready format.
God bless Kevin Rayburn, for it weren’t for the drunken, cokehead elder brother John could have had everything pretty much sewn-up tight with a clear run to Sheriff to follow, if not his conscience. Last seen exiting the hotel room he’d been told to stay at, we know exactly what his plan is and where he’s headed. But it’s still sadly amusing to see him hand over what remains of Danny’s coke to Lowry and think that’ll solve everything. What, he thought Lowry quietly taking it was the end? Oh Kevin! Why are you surprised at a couple of Lowry’s goons on your tail two minutes later? Good job you’re drunk and coked-up; the traffic accident you cause has likely saved your life. The trade-off is being arrested for DUI and possession. It’s a very rickety path this Rayburn is heading down.
As if that wasn’t too much for John to deal with, the returned coke has given Lowry one more chance with his people and the deal he struck last episode is off the table. And he secures John’s help, getting him to collude with a tip off regarding the safest cove to land his imminent next shipment at. Just how bad is John willing to break to get him out of this mess?
Perhaps realising quite how big the Danny sized hole is, the writers have him make multiple appearances this episode. But as he’s dead, it all takes place in John’s extremely stressed head. Several scenes of Danny taunting his younger brother show the strain John is under and, once again, Kyle Chandler brings the goods, grounding these moments perfectly. We’ve also noticed the smaller his mouth gets, the tighter he’s wound and right now it looks like the back end of a cat. You just know it’s gonna end bad one way or the other, and very soon.
As if he isn’t being assaulted from enough sides, John’s wife Diana (Jacinda Barrett) decides now is a perfect time to confront her husband with the news she knows he went to Danny’s apartment in Miami a second time. Why? There are things it’s best you don’t know is all John can come up with; hardly an endorsement of a secure marriage. Oh, and he’s also found out Nolan has told the meddling Lenny the same thing. It’s amazing John doesn’t turn to the drink like his (remaining) siblings.
Talking of which, sister Meg has finally been given the sack from her high-powered New York job. Good. Time away from the Keys with her hard-nosed bitchy boss was distracting and, quite frankly, what took her so long to terminate the youngest Rayburn? Meg does what Meg has been doing an awful lot of lately and turns to the bottle, making a complete ass of herself with ex Marco in the process. Good. As the legal eagle in the family she could be extremely useful but with six episodes to go after this it makes more sense for her to be a lush. And far more entertaining. She bails out Kevin and promises to work his case; two drunks together.
We see little of Nolan and nothing of Lenny but we do meet Eve this episode. Eve is a white-trash looking prospective tenant of Rayburn House and insists Sally show her round personally. It’s a good while before she reveals exactly who she is – Nolan’s mother. And a bit longer until she admits why she’s actually there – money. Seems Danny had a type eh? Unbeknownst to Sally, recently deceased husband Robert (Sam Shepard) had been sending money to Eve ever since Nolan was born and his death meant the payments stopped. The Rayburn’s have more secrets from each other than the CIA and FBI combined. Sally’s weariness at them coming to light one after another seems to have toughened her up and made her hard; she finds it easy to tell Eve there will be no more payments from the Rayburns to her.
As we inextricably move toward Lowry’s drug run it seems that John has done what the bad shirt and awful shorts wearing criminal demanded and put the DEA taskforce off his scent. But John has asked sister Meg to make sure his family are looked after if anything were to happen to him, ‘chatted’ with the Danny in his head about how far he’s willing to go and sought reassurance from Marco that he’s a ‘good guy’. And so it’s with a sense of relief that shortly after the drugs are dropped off at the specified location, the Feds are there in force to arrest everyone and bring Lowry down for good. Delivered giftwrapped by John because as he says, “He’d talk eventually anyway”. And the would-be Sheriff begins the wait to see exactly what Lowry will say.
Which is not much as it happens. Because he’s dead, stabbed multiple times at his bait-shop which he uses as cover. Did John nip out and do the deed? Is he capable of that? Of course not. Lowry was killed by Vicente (Chaz Mena), the man whose daughter died during one of Lowry’s people traffic runs and who called John and Marco to the waitress who was working for him a couple of episodes back. And he’s perfectly willing to confess, provide the murder weapon and go to jail; he’s got his revenge. Which would all seem to tie things up nicely. Except that can’t be, can it? What of Lowry’s overlords now that their income source is gone? Are they gonna be coming for John and the Rayburns? Where’s Ozzy and what#s he got planned? And what is Eve capable of? Follow it all here at XO.TV
- Where was Ozzy (the wonderfully oily John Leguizamo), introduced so well last episode? The Danny-heavy instalment felt to be looking back too much and it seems a shame to meet someone so interesting then have him absent entirely.
- And in an episode with so many flashbacks, it would have been good to have Sam Sheperd back as patriarch Robert and how he and Eve connected in the first place.
- Part of the Netflix USP is the none-adherence to running times; episodes of their shows can run from a standard 45 minutes to well over an hour. At 67 minutes, was 2.4/Chapter 17 too long perhaps?
- We’re not suggesting any Laurel & Hardy pratfalls but Kevin and Meg drunk together and causing more trouble for John is something we’d definitely like to see.