Bloodline has had quite a run and has proven a success in getting viewers on the Rayburn roller coaster ride. In all honesty, my reviews were slightly dragged out because like with a good book, it was hard to let go of such a quintessential work of art. All in all, the Netflix series has given other shows a sound message: “Step it up.” Anyways, without further ado, this is my take on the Bloodline‘s Season 1 finale.
“Part 13” opens with John sitting pensively while he waits to meet his superior. Instinctively, one might deduct that the sheriff could be worried that his job might be at risk, given Danny’s troubles with the law and that there is a record that showed that the cocaine was stored at the Rayburn’s inn, albeit never found. However, the situation turns out to be exactly the opposite. John is told that he is one of the top candidates to become the sheriff of Monroe county. Danny being a person of interest and his condition as a “missing person” would make his run for the position challenging, but not impossible.
In the meantime, Kevin, who we last saw in a downward spiral, fueled by rage against his brother, cocaine, alcohol, and tons of “nothings to lose,” has a lucky break. The people who had made an offer towards buying the marina have suddenly pulled out, and as a result, the Widmars are interested in resuming a conversation with him. Slightly burying the hatchet but still taking advantage of his position, Kevin says that his family could potentially take use the inn as collateral and get a loan; however, he knocks a percentage from his initial offer. Mama Widmar reminds Kev that their families have history (the Rayburns seem to have a history with everyone in town). Regardless, all signs point to Kevin expanding his business.
On her part, Meg, who is on a clear path to become Ellen Parsons (I called this one!), is in New York, wearing the customary monochrome black outfit, interviewing for the position that Susana had offered her. All in all, the Rayburn kids seem to be doing exceptionally well in their professional lives. Almost like Danny’s death has fixed all their problems. What goes on inside the characters, however, is a different story. They all have jumped to the dark side now.
Speaking of darkness, flashbacks provide additional pieces towards what happened after Danny’s drowning. John, whose body was failing him, reached out to Meg, who proved to be as reliable as always and immediately assisted him. In spite of learning very fast that Danny was dead, she took John to the hospital and subsequently went to pick up Kevin, who had just had a surprise visit by Belle, who wanted to talk to him.
While John is in the hospital, he is informed that his high blood pressure was the cause of his poor state of health and chest pain, which makes sense, especially considering that killing one’s sibling has a high potential of acting as a catalyst for high blood pressure. Moreover, having Danny as a relative would be enough to bring stress levels to off the charts records. The Bloodline writers did a top notch job by establishing John’s heart problems as a preexisting condition, right at the start of the show.
In parallel, Meg and Kev stand over Danny’s lifeless body trying to see what the best course of action is. At no point does calling the authorities becomes a remote choice, which goes further to show how deep into the “other side” the siblings have gone. As they spot kayakers in the surrounding area, the siblings decide they need to hide their brother’s corpse. They put Danny’s body inside Meg’s car and also cover their tracks by moving Chelsea’s car.
Back at the hospital, John is sedated. As a result, Kevin’s attempts to get his feedback regarding what to do next are put on hold. That is not the only issue Kev faces, as his mother grows suspicious at the sight of him at the hospital. Sally is a great moving piece that can very well complicate everyone’s lives.
In the meantime, Meg is nervously driving while transporting her big brother’s cadaver. Her maneuvering of the vehicle becomes compromised as her state of mind takes over her, which results in a police officer noticing her reckless driving. The lawyer gets pulled over, and yet again, Linda Cardellini delivers a performance meant to be remembered. Her fears are shown in her eyes: “this is the end.” Nonetheless, she tells the police officer that she was distracted because her brother’s health was in rough shape, and she is let go just with a warning after her license and registration are checked. She clearly dodged a bullet thanks to the officer foregoing a search, yet her desperation multiplies and deepens. As a matter of fact, when she gets home, the infamous flashback where she gets startled by a call coming Danny’s phone prompts her to check her trunk becomes present-timed.
Meg attempts to give John answers; however, an unexpected visit by Marco obliterates her actions. That said, her former fiancee offers to help with what she is loading or unloading in the trunk and Meg replies that she had packed in advance for her trip to New York City, which is a lame enough excuse to wake up Marco’s detective senses. He inquires further and causes Meg to break down and shout at him to go away, which works. If that relationship needed an additional nail in the coffin, this was it.
Later on, John, Meg, and Kevin assemble to discuss their new skeleton in the closet, which, of course, is Danny in the trunk. Meg wants to believe that John ended Danny’s life in self-defense, while Kevin doesn’t seem too concerned about the motive. John is honest and tells the truth; he killed Danny in a moment of intense rage. They all decide that they are going to cover up what happened. Though John is the one with blood on his hands, there is a unanimous agreement that his life shouldn’t be ruined by Danny. The Rayburns are, in many aspects, like the Three Musketeers.
Danny’s body is moved into the cargo of a boat and covered in ice, then John and Kev enter the apartment where Danny had mailed the money and search through his things; they find pictures, cash, and even a piece of paper that has John’s name written on it. While they are there, someone is witnessing their actions.
As the measures to cover up what has happened continue, the siblings decide that they need to stop Sally from getting more suspicious. Towards that goal, they fake a phone call between John and Danny right in front of their mother, who now thinks her eldest child is on the run. So far, the plan is working, yet there is one element that doesn’t quite work. John tells Sally that he had cut a deal with the DEA that would allow Danny to be part of the impending pier ceremony. I don’t think that was necessary at all and does muddy the waters. That said, Sally Rayburn is not a dumb woman, and her children are underestimating her intellect.
Cut to the event at the pier. John, Kevin, Meg (wearing Patty Hughes sunglasses!!!), and Diana are all by Sally’s dide, while Danny is obviously absent. Mama Ray offers a heartfelt speech about her family and her luck, which doesn’t seem to completely hit home when it comes to her kids, but when it comes to the audience, it resonates. There is not such thing as luck going on within that clan; additionally, their family has become smaller.
Speaking of families, Belle finds Kevin after the dedication and confirms all suspicion: she is in fact pregnant. The new development not only thickens the plot because now Kevin has something to lose (or recover), but there is a piece of information that brings the arc full circle: the new Rayburn was conceived the night of Robert’s funeral. The Bloodline writers did a great job by reminding us why this show is called Bloodline instead of damages.
Later that evening, “the Keys’ Musketeers” meet to talk about their next steps, and once again, their joint decision is that the show must go on. It’s the logical path, after all, as the other option is jail. Nobody likes jail.
After the siblings make their pact of silence, “Part 13” travels to the present day. John is trying to launch his “make me sheriff” campaign and, for such an endeavor, brings up Danny’s troubles with the law. The voice-over heard throughout the season is stitched together in his speech, which works like a charm. John’s public is pleased by his honesty, while the audience sees the other side of the story through flashbacks of John carrying the body of the brother he drowned.
Meanwhile, Sally and Lenny meet and the mother asks the former police officer now turned private detective to find her missing son. She fears that Danny is in danger and that something bad might happen to him. Sadly, it already has, a confirmation that is further punctuated by the fact that Danny’s body is found a few days later, floating in the water.
Later on, Danny’s autopsy shows that the man had drowned; therefore, the assumption is that the body was burned as a way of getting rid of the evidence. It comes as no surprise that Marco becomes suspicious of John. In addition, the DEA has raided Danny’s apartment and stumbled on the (planted) drugs. When it comes to the case, the general consensus is that Danny was a victim of Lowry’s. So far, the Musketeers’ plan seems to be working.
A series of flashbacks fill in more blanks: the siblings also planted text messages in Chelsea’s phone by using Danny’s to write to her. They also employed the device to call Lowry. As if that didn’t already make for a compelling case, John torched the body mimicking the mechanism used on Jane Doe AND Danny was wearing the clothes he would have sported at the pier ceremony. In other words: Rayburns: 1, DEA: -90.
Cut to one month later. Meg and Alec meet in the Big Apple, and Kev and Belle are back together, getting ready for parenthood; he is even trying to get on a healthy diet. John discusses with his family if he should accept the offer to become Monroe County’s new sheriff. In polar contrast, Sally gets slapped by Lenny’s findings, as he doesn’t waste a minute sugarcoating that her children have been lying to her.
When it looks like Sally has a choice to make between digging further or letting Danny’s demise go, thus staying in the dark about what her other children have done, a teen boy crashes John’s family dinner. It’s the same boy who had seen him and Kevin (and probably, their shenanigans) at Danny’s apartment. The youngster request to know what happened to his father: Danny Rayburn.
There aren’t many ways to put it: Bloodline Season 1 was an intricate puzzle of sorts. Though its pace acted more like a slow burn, the show effectively grabbed the audience by showcasing not just an elaborate story about a complex family but also, stellar performances and a clear voice. There aren’t many other products around that could resemble this one, and that alone, equals bonus points. Though Mendelsohn’s absence represents a game changer for Season 2, I cannot wait to see what else the writers have in store for these “good people who did a bad thing.”
– Sarah drowned, Danny drowned, Robert almost drowned. Water has been a leitmotif hroughout Bloodline, and one that worked at that.
– Damages alumni, Julie Claire and Katie Finneran are both in “Part 13”, which yet again is a promising fact.
[Photo via Netflix]