“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.
Head here for the Recap & Review for Episode 9.
And so we reach the end, all ten hours of season 2 (and twenty-three of you’ve been on board with the Rayburns from the beginning) have come to this. Was it worth the trip? Absolutely….then again……
Sometimes the characters have made choices that serve the story but not logic and the season finale has perhaps the biggest of these so far. John running for Sheriff throughout the season has offered up juicy plot points of Aguirre and his covered-up domestic abuse, Marco and his complicity in it and the ever present fear of him being found out, thus consigning that precious Rayburn name to the Keys dustbin evermore. But the logic of him pursuing his political ambitions never rang true; if you, me or anyone else were in John’s position, we would lay low and hide, not put ourselves out there open to scrutiny from anyone and everyone. But where could the story go then? Exactly.
So what’s needed from the finale is some fireworks and real tension to stop us thinking about such things. And what we get largely works, but the seed-planting and writing toward the announced season 3 doesn’t allow for the real dramatic and thriller beats we want, and Bloodline really needs.
Eve broke it off with Ozzy last episode and is now living at Rayburn Inn with Nolan. But Ozzy isn’t the sort of man to let that stand and fetches up at the family business, using his unique charm to creep Sally out. Over dinner later, Eve fills Sally in as to who Ozzy really is; a lowlife acquaintance of Danny who helped him rob a drugstore after Danny’s request of a loan was turned down by Sally’s late husband Robert.
But this is not what happened. A flashback shows Robert was willing to either give Danny the money to help his restaurant or continue paying for Nolan, but not both, and Danny chose the latter, robbing the drugstore for the restaurant money. When he got banged-up for that, Nolan torched the restaurant for insurance money but when that didn’t pan out, Danny had headed to the Keys and his family (and all of season 1). It’s no wonder Nolan is carrying some guilt.
Meanwhile, the pressure is mounting on John. Wife Diana doesn’t want him at the family home anymore and Aguirre’s ex has mysteriously dropped all accusations, meaning Internal Affairs is now off Marco’s back, leaving him free to offer O’Bannon immunity in exchange for testimony that will likely lead to charges against John. And so – finally! – it looks like John might just do the unthinkable. Tailing Ozzy, he breaks into his car and steals his gun. Earlier he’d witnessed Ozzy threaten O’Bannon with it ,and had got a statement from his sister Chelsea saying as much. And we’re left in no doubt that his idea is to kill O’Bannon, frame Ozzy and have all his problems solved in one go.
But this is frowning John we’re on about and so when he forces O’Bannon to a deserted shack, and even when he pulls the gun and aims it square at his head, we know he won’t pull the trigger. And that’s sort of a shame, for this is the path John has been going down all along; executing O’Bannon would mean he’d finally Broken Bad (and Breaking Bad has been a touchstone reference series for Bloodline). Instead, he holsters the weapon and simply says, “You tell your story O’Bannon!” deciding instead to leave it all to fate.
And it’s now we get people acting out of character. All season John, Meg and Kev have stuck together, John being the calm centre of the whirling wheel, especially where Kev has been concerned. So when Kev and Meg meet and talk about going to Marco and confessing all before quickly turning against their brother, it rings false. And doubly so when they meet John and tell him exactly that to his face. “You need to handle this ok? Because we’re done now”, says Kev, and “This is on you now John” from Meg heightens the pressure on the eldest Rayburn but is not in character, and some roadmarks in their journey to this point should have been placed.
Still, for acting irresponsibly and making exciting if stupid choices we can still rely on Kevin. He may be sober, but the stress is getting to him and he decides to go to Marco and confess everything. So as Meg drives to Sally’s to do the same, Kev arrives at Marco’s house and unburdens himself. Marco takes a call from O’Bannon – he want to make his statement that moment, as John Rayburn has gone completely off the rails – and spits with contempt that he doesn’t care when Kev gives him the bombshell that John killed Danny. He already knows, he’s got O’Bannon – what good is Kevin? So Kev acts completely in character, impulsively and madly, and bashes Marco’s head in with a dolphin ornament. Is Marco dead? Maybe, maybe not, but Kev is once again in a whole heap of trouble.
And what of John? What extreme action might he take now? We’ve only minutes left and John is…..driving away. Slowly. It’s a neat mirroring of the very beginning of Bloodline, with a son driving to the Florida Keys and the Rayburn saga. Now another son drives away, but to call it low-key is an understatement. With Roy Gilbert’s dodgy right-hand man kidnapping Ozzy and Gilbert kicking back as he listens to the tape Danny made – yep, Gilbert’s got it, and thus full control over John and the Rayburn clan – season 3 is ready to go already.
It’s a mightily subdued way to end, and John running away doesn’t seem particularly feasible if we’re being honest. If only he’d shot O’Bannon. Then he really would have done a bad thing, and be a pretty bad person also.
Bloodline will return to Netflix for season 3 sometime in 2017.