Bloodline: Part 4

"Too many memories."

This was a bit of a breather episode. One that I was thankful for, since a peaceful resolution does not appear to be in the cards for the Rayburns.

For the most part, Robert is the focus of this episode. As we've seen, he plays the part of the ornery grandfather and worn-out patriarch very well. Yet it is belied by the hidden bitterness and spite he has for his eldest son, and seemingly for the past in general.

He's even pretty good at hiding this. When he comes home from the hospital, he seems to accept that his wife and the rest of his family have accepted Danny's return. He wearily joins in as everyone tries to get back to a place of calm normalcy. Seems like he's being positive about the whole thing.

There's a surprising amount of positivity and hopefulness in this episode.

Robert's apparently back to being his old, laid-back self. Danny continues to be a good worker at the inn, despite everyone's reservations. Meg is offered a job at a law firm in New York; though she initially believes it's a machination of Alec Moros to prolong their affair, learning the offer is genuine leads her to seriously consider it. All the ladies of the family are getting along and looking on the bright side of things. Kevin is relatively even-tempered in this episode. John is just happy things are starting to settle down.

Most notably, Danny is determined to repair Robert's old school pickup truck and get it working again. In an even more surprising turn, Danny and Kevin -- who seem to have this lingering animosity toward's each other -- work together to accomplish this task. And they get it done, in a lovely, triumphant moment; amazing, the good brothers can do by working together instead of ridiculing each other. This leads to an even more uplifting scene where we see all four Rayburn boys riding together in the truck, Robert at the wheel, Danny in the passenger seat, and John and Kevin in the back. This scene, all smiles and sunshine, nearly felt like something out of another show. We're so used to seeing these characters quarreling in some form or another.

Unfortunately, this glimmer of hope is not meant to last. It's a brief respite. The calm before the storm. Because the past is still there. And like an anchor, the past holds the Rayburns in place and keeps them from moving on. And though the majority of the Rayburns would very much like to let the past finally die and stay dead, it burns alive in the mind of Robert.

At any moment in this episode where Robert appears to be getting used to the idea of Danny being there, he is haunted by the past. He thinks of Sarah, his most beloved child, and all the bright, joyous memories he has of her. Then he thinks of Danny, frantically racing back from the ocean with Sarah's drowned body. And finally he will remember what he did to Danny, in the storm of his grief.

We can see how memories like these could poison a man's mind. It's a lot of clashing elements. We realize that, while he can't forgive him for causing the death of Sarah, Robert's feelings towards Danny aren't pure hatred. Danny's presence reminds him of his failings as a father, the greatest tragedy of his life, and everything that went terribly wrong with his perfect family. This is why, in the end, he sits down with Danny one-on-one and personally (almost diplomatically) tells him that he wants him to leave and never come back. He's even willing to pay him a substantial amount of money so he can start a new life elsewhere.

Danny goes through a range of subtle emotions throughout this conversation. He presents a few valid points along the way, but ultimately lands on pettiness and decides he'll leave on the condition that he makes Robert pay for it the rest of his life. Danny leaves and Robert is suitably bummed about profoundly fucking up his relationship with his son. Not a happy ending.

Bits and Pieces:

* Despite being lighter in tone, this episode opens with the most gut-wrenching flashback yet as we discover the origin of the dead girl found in the first episode. She was one of several illegal immigrants who were being smuggled on a speedboat overseas. That is, until the coyotes doing the smuggling got paranoid about being spotted by the Coast Guard. So they locked the people in the brig, set the boat on fire, and sent it speeding out into the ocean, where it exploded as the people inside tried desperately to escape. John and Marco start putting the pieces together when another victim washes up. And it turns out that the blonde-haired man who ordered the boat explosion is the one Eric O'Bannon (and Danny) are smuggling fuel for.

* Since Danny's aware of her hotel hookup routine, Meg and her lover are back to having steamy car sex.

* Robert kept getting agitated and distracted when reading over his will at Meg's behest.

* Kevin's having some issues with his rich neighbor, who's trying to sell off the property adjacent to his marina to some high-end folks that will probably make the boating business a lot harder for Kevin.

* That little guitar leitmotif that plays throughout the episode is so tranquil.

Quotes:

John: I lied, I-I'm sorry.
Robert: Well, we all lie.

Meg: Can I tell you a little secret?
Susan: Yeah.
Meg: I actually don't give a shit about the law.
Susan: Does anybody?

Guest: (sarcastically) How depressing must it have been to grow up here?
Danny: (not-so-sarcastically) It's the worst.

Danny: You will never see my face again, dad.

Four out of four little, broken-stringed guitars.

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