Bloodline / Screen

Bloodline: “Part Ten”

Just when it seemed like John’s voiceover couldn’t get any more irritating, it does. Now he’s reflecting on Danny’s life, wondering what happened to him and proclaiming his love for the brother he just murdered. But why so stupid sounding? At this point the Rayburns have plenty of reason to kill Danny, and the shows made it apparent that all of their lives would be easier without Danny around. So why is John now pretending at remorse and talking about how much he loves the brother that’s slowly ruining all their lives?

John’s interrogation of Eric continues in “Part Ten”, as useless as it ends up being. Eric’s not the most interesting character but I am fascinated by his total loyalty to Danny. He’s another bad seed the Rayburns would rather see extinguished, as evidenced by Robert beating Eric in the hopes of getting him to stay away from Danny, but he’s also the closest thing to family Danny’s had. He and Chelsea are more open to Danny than his family has ever been. And apparently this isn’t something the Rayburns are very aware of, not judging by John’s hope that Eric is going to rat on his best friend. There are two sides to every story of course and everybody thinks they’re the hero of their own which is especially fitting for Bloodline. When Eric and Danny look at the Rayburns they see dangerous, selfish people who need to either be avoided (in Eric’s case) or punished (in Danny’s).

And John’s got some remaining kindness toward his brother, as he tries to protect him despite the DEA getting closer to identifying as the final piece to the Lowry puzzle. He undoubtedly knows that Eric will at least warn Danny that John’s asking questions, but Danny shrugs off the warning, even as John tries to protect him. He seems disturbed when John confronts him with the murder Lowry and Quintana committed and goes in to tell John everything. It’s a hopeful moment for the brothers. First there’s the fact that John’s actually trying to help his brother, which is a marked difference from the event that created such a gap between them. There’s an indication that it could be a way for the two to really mend fences, but it’s dashed when the plan to arrest Quintana goes south, due to a tip off from Danny, who refuses to give up the operation with Lowry or the money it promises.

John’s still the only Rayburn with the exception of Danny who the show allows itself to focus on exclusively. Meg, though she’s my favorite, continues to be vaguely characterized in comparison. She’s defined exclusively by her relationship with Marco, or lack thereof. She makes good on her promise to confess about the cheating so there’s nothing left for Danny to try to blackmail her with, a move which is surprising but also very mature of her, though it leaves her and Marco in relationship limbo. It’s almost sad, since their moments together actually veer into the realm of cuteness this episode. With her relationship in tatters, Meg has the free time to start poking holes in Carlos’ and Danny’s operation. How she jumps from seeing Carlos and Danny being friendly at work to Danny having intimidated a witness for him is beyond me, but it at least keeps things moving.

The sudden uptick in pacing is a relief after the slowness of the season, but it also feels like we’ve wasted a lot of time watching everything unfold thus far. Now Meg’s investigating the shed where Danny’s been stashing the drugs, John’s forbidding the kids from spending time with their uncle, and Sally’s swearing to choose sides if John continues to alienate Danny.

Sissy Spacek is woefully underused by the show. She’s just the Rayburn matriarch everyone’s looking to protect, who’s trying to make up for the past with her eldest and remaining blissfully unaware of the person he is. It’s a thankless role for her, who’s so much more talented than the show apparently believes she is. Sally’s under the impression she and Danny are on good terms even as she refuses to acknowledge what an awful life he had with them. Their talk on the porch is illuminating purely because of the idyllic portrait Sally paints of the past, even as she has a different take on it for John when she tells him that she was leaving Robert. It’s Danny that would benefit the most from this information (even if it ended up having no affect at all on his plans) because it’s him who was mistreated and abandoned by his family when he needed them.

As Bloodline nears the end of its first season, and Danny’s death approaches, we have to start seeing how exactly the Rayburns rationalize their decision. Besides  the hell Danny’s putting them through, the show seems to be hinting at the Rayburns turning to murder to preserve their flawless reputation. The peer dedication is coming up more often than not, a public showing of the Rayburns pristine image, and taking down Danny will mean sacrificing the family’s good name.  We’ve moved so far away from the Rayburns as pillars of their community and such that seeing them trying in vain to hold onto that title just feels cheap. The inn as their livelihood and Sally and Robert’s dream is a better turn since seeing people commit murder simply to preserve a reputation is a paradox that’s too annoying to see Bloodline adopt now.

Stray Observations

  • Why was Robert just allowed to pull adolescent children out of their houses and beat them? Where are the police? Where are other people in general?
  • I know Marco doesn’t know Danny as well as the rest of the family, but surely he should have been able to say that the voice on the tap sounded familiar.
  • Meg’s look of disdain and John’s side eye when Danny walks into their family wedding fitting is hilarious.
  • I didn’t know Chelsea was a nurse! I’m mostly shocked she has an actual job and isn’t just bumming around doing illegal stuff like her brother and boyfriend. But also she should stop hanging out with Danny because she’s officially too good for him.
  • So what is Kevin doing these days besides having his nightmares and telling anyone who will listen how crappy Whitmore is? I thought Bloodline had no sense of what to do with Meg, but I think it just has no idea what to do with anyone who isn’t John.

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