The sixth installment of the magnetic Bloodline starts after John finishes examining the old transcript of the questioning he endured when he was a teenager. Overcome by guilt for not coming forward with the truth while Lenny was interviewing him about the real causes and perpetrator of Danny’s injuries, he calls his older brother.
Amidst tension, uncomfortable silences and lingering regrets, the Rayburn golden boy offers his sibling to join him on a fishing trip. Since Danny has just listened to the tape recording of John’s statement, he is not in the mood for hanging out with his younger brother, and therefore, he refuses the offer and hangs up on him. The mystery woman is alongside Danny once again.
What resonates the most from that scene isn’t even the mysterious lady, but the fact that John doesn’t make more of an effort to patch things up, when it’s plenty clear that there is something going on with his brother. On the other hand, Danny does not confront him; he remains passive-aggressive. He remains disappointed, hurt, and broken.
In the meantime, Sally takes a look at her late husband’s will and is saddened to realize that Robert did not make empty threats: Danny was officially disowned. Once again, Spacek does a formidable job at conveying the “in love” woman who knew better but wanted to believe her beloved partner could change. One might argue that the writing on the wall was clear; Robert couldn’t stomach his firstborn, yet it is understandable that Sally would project and hope for a reconciliation. She blindsided herself.
While everyone seems to be moving on the best they can, Danny is restless. Listening to the tape seems to have exposed his wounds even further, and without a support system, he falls into old habits. He needs a breather, and Sally allows him to take a break from his duties at the inn. Just like John had done earlier, Sally doesn’t make an effort to see why Danny is so overwhelmed. Maybe she fears the answers. For better or worse (and it’s definitely the latter) Danny visits his constant, Eric, who gives him cocaine.
Oblivious of pretty much everything is Kevin, who after picking some of his belongings from Belle’s residence, takes a look at his ex’s laptop only to find that she has set up a profile on an online dating site. Not convinced that spying is a bad idea, he goes through her instant messages and becomes privy about an upcoming date his ex has set. Later on, he meets Susie at the shipyard and questions her about her selling part of the space in order for a yacht club, which would annihilate his business, would be open. The woman points out that he should have made an offer, which prompts the hot-headed Rayburn to do so. She accepts.
Meanwhile, John has a conversation with Lenny regarding Danny’s injury. Still guilt-stricken, the sheriff asks the retired detective about what the statute of limitations is for making false statements to the police. Lenny does not give him the reply he is expecting; instead of bringing up a cold number that could ease his mind, he offers empathy by replying that “they were kids and they were all scared.” John asks what really happened, and the old man replies that he knows. Still not happy, John presses the issue; he wants to know Lenny’s perspective. As a result he hears the awful truth. Lenny had heard that Sarah drowned and went to the hospital, where he made the fatal mistake of interviewing Robbert and Danny together. They both gave him the bogus statement that Danny’s injuries were the cause of a car accident. Then the then policeman spoke to Kevin and Meg, who repeated the same story. Lenny knew they were fed said information but refrained from digging for the facts because he thought he should let the family mourn Sarah’s loss. Lenny highlights that Sally was away, which he believed to be odd given it was high season. He also remarks that everyone covered for Robert, which by default, meant neglecting Danny. The Rayburns and Lenny failed him. As John tries to process what Lenny, who clearly regrets not doing more for Danny, has uttered, Lenny also admits to giving Danny the tapes.
The heart to heart that the two men had was one of the most telling scenes Bloodline has offered so far. It’s also one that lays the facts without cuts, jumps, or cryptic puzzle pieces. This deliberate choice made by the writers reinforces once again that Bloodline does not hinge on that fateful day the Rayburns lost Sarah, or what really caused Danny’s injuries. Bloodline centers on the ramifications of what was unsaid, of the lies, the pain, the justifications, and the excuses. The drama focuses on how a teenager’s soul was crushed, leading to him being a damaged adult that everyone casts away. Lenny’s words sink in like a stinger: everyone failed. Not just then. The resolution to have such explicit dialogue not only works, but it deserves a bow.
In parallel, and on a lighter note, Meg meets with Carlos, a man who used to work for Robert when he was a young boy, and who is also the cousin of a longtime worker of the inn. Carlos, who is an alcoholic, has been charged with larceny, robbery, and aggravated assault. Carlos tells Meg that he has been doing better as he entered AA; however, he needs a lawyer. Despite the fact that Meg doesn’t isn’t a criminal defense attorney, she continues her pattern as the person who can’t say no and agrees to represent him. She meets with the prosecution to try to reach a deal and, by chance, runs into Alec. Though Meg reiterates that the two are over, she offers an apology for having overreacted the last time they spoke. The interaction between the former lovers does not resonate as final, despite what they say. Instead, what can be appreciated is that Meg is able to open up to Alec, who, in turn, seems to be the only person who doesn’t push her into any direction.
Later on, John goes to the inn looking for Danny, but Sally lets him know that she gave him some time off. The second eldest of the Rayburns asks if she knows where his brother is, but she doesn’t know, which prompts the sheriff to go to his office to makes some calls in an attempt to trace Danny’s car. He is not successful and his actions are interrupted by Marco, who has found a lead on the Juanita Doe case. John decides that he will see where the information takes them and meets with Christina Colon, a woman who had given her testimony about a separate case that has some similarities to the crime John is investigating. She claims that a few men threatened her and the other women with fire when they were on a boat. As it turns out, Christina recalls being locked up in a boat and explains to John that the men scared the women and threw a match into the ship to remind them that they could be burned alive.
Danny is trying to escape the past by getting wasted in the present, and he goes to multiple bars and does cocaine, which he mixes with alcohol, and parties with strangers. As if all that doesn’t seem like the road to premature death, Danny mocks a man for ordering a girly drink. He provokes the individual to the point where the guy starts beating him up. Danny keeps uttering insults but doesn’t defend himself. He just takes every single hit. He has somewhat replicated what happened years ago. Later, Chelsea tries to help him, but he refuses and decides to drive her away by hurting the one person who seems to genuinely care about him. He tells Eric’s sister that to him she is “less than nothing.” Then he continues with his attempt to get his death wish granted, walking alone on the side of the road until he eventually gets in an SUV with a stranger.
The Rayburn siblings who were not disowned by their father gather at the hotel. Meg tells her brothers that, despite what the will states, their mother wants them to include Danny. She also highlights that they can do whatever they want. Given their options, Kevin tries to make a case for following Robert’s wishes; however, John finally speaks up on behalf of the one person whose voice no one ever listens to. The sheriff makes clear that if Meg and Kev agree to keep Danny out, they will have to exclude him as well. John was clearly wearing a “Team Danny” shirt. Sadly, it’s a tad late for that. What is shocking about the scene is the fact that John actually mentions Danny having gone through enough in his life, having experienced the loss of his childhood. Kevin and Meg seem to be genuinely oblivious as to what he means. Were they too young to remember? Or did they never really know what actually transpired?
After talking to his brother and sister, and hours after witnessing Belle meeting another man, Kevin visits his ex and gives her his house keys as a sign of acceptance that their marriage is kaput. He also adds that he loves Belle, who admits to reciprocate the feelings before Kevin leaves. For the first time, Kevin seems to understand that love does require sacrifices.
The police finally locate Danny’s truck and call John, who searches the empty vehicle and finds Danny’s phone and the tapes. In the meantime, the eldest Rayburn is partying with strangers; the choice of poison, this time, is crystal. Thankfully, police enforcement shows up and end the party. John, who is there, tries to talk to Danny, who fights him at every turn. The sheriff, consequently loses his temper and voices what he believes, which is that everyone lied not to protect Robert but to avoid anyone digging into Sarah’s accident. Danny claims that there was nothing to investigate since what happened to their sister was an accident. The brothers struggle as John attempts to cuff Danny, and the latter steals John’s gun and points it at him. Tension escalates very fast, and John tries to defuse the situation, but the mystery woman who had been with Danny in the beginning of the show pops up and announces Danny that it is “time to decide” between himself or “them.” Danny alternates pointing the gun between his head and his brother until he shoots. Just when the audience jumps out of their seats, the episode cuts back to Danny at the party, letting narcotics torture his already haunted mind.
As a counterpoint to the previous action-filled sequence, Meg spends some time with Marco. While they have lunch, she tells her boyfriend that he should propose, but he doesn’t seem convinced that she actually wants to marry him. In all honesty, neither am I. Meg and Marco’s relationship is perhaps the one element of Bloodline that has been very week. That’s probably the case for a reason, but it’s still hard to be invested in the couple or even in Marco’s character. He has not been developed enough, and so far his role has been accessory at best.
The next morning, Danny goes back home. John meets him and inquires about his abandoned vehicle, then the favorite Rayburn suggests they need to have a conversation, which prompts him to come clean about what transpired when they were younger. The sheriff exposes his regret towards not standing up for Danny and admits that everyone was wrong. He adds that he wishes to start anew in order to actually have a relationship. Danny, giving a circular motion to the episode, proposes they go fishing.
Not surprisingly, Bloodline delivered another brilliant installment that fed the family drama with more information and a lot of emotions. On one hand, we have all these characters experiencing feelings that we can witness. On the other, as viewers, we process said emotions while also having reactions of our own, most of which, at given times, contradict one another. Bloodline, like the piece or art it is, behaves as such: it provokes, evokes, and asks for emotional responses while it posing facts and questions.
– Lenny introduces a very valid question about Sally that could be the key to many of the mysteries revolving around the Rayburns. I am mystified by this particular piece of information.
– Kevin’s high and lows are layering the character slowly. He is learning while he also appears to be volatile and unpredictable. It’s both terrifying and delightful to nurse the thought that he has the potential to be either a John or a Danny.
[Photo via Netflix]