Bloodline: Part 9

"When you feel you have no choice, you run away."

We've spent a lot of time delving into the pasts of the four Rayburn children. This episode finally takes a look at the family's beloved matriarch, Sally. As she states in this very episode, we all have secrets. Now we're beginning to unravel some of hers.

For awhile now, Sally has been the all-loving, if not slightly irritable, mother of the Rayburns. She tries to run her business and just wants the family to get along. She also wants very much for Danny to get his life in order, and for him to feel that he is welcome at home.

Unfortunately, Danny is exploiting his mother's love and her guilt over what happened to him in the past for his own gains. All the changes he's getting her to agree to at the inn and the amount of control she's giving him are all feeding into his criminal dealings. It's like he's knowingly building up the Rayburn House's business and reputation, while he is corrupting it from the inside. It's really diabolical. And his mom, Sally, has no idea. Or chooses not to see.

Despite all the lies and deceit, Danny seems to enjoy spending time with Sally as much as she enjoys spending time with him. They even get high together later in this episode. That's not something you often see portrayed as a positive mother-son bonding moment.

The rest of the Rayburns aren't as lucky as Sally, since Danny has got them all on a razor's edge.

He's turned Kevin into an unstable wreck (well, more-so), capitalizing on his blind rage. Which leads Kevin to bitterly vandalize Nicky Widmark's car, ignorantly assuming he's the one responsible for his assault and robbery. Reality ensues when Widmark tells Kevin he's filing a restraining order against him. Every time I feel myself starting to pity Kevin, he does something incredibly stupid.

As for Meg, Danny is losing patience with her refusal to add him into their father's will so they can all be equal. I can't say I blame Meg, since including Danny in the will at this point would be a very bad idea. Danny is disgusted with her lies and hypocrisy, especially after listening to seven-year old Meg's taped confession. Danny needles her with talk of keeping secrets, hanging her affair over her head right in front of her husband-to-be, Marco. This compels Meg to put her foot down, tired of her brother's threats. There's probably no way she's letting him back into the will now.

Half of John's life seems to be getting consumed by Danny, while the other half is wrapped up in the major case he's working; little does he know, these two halves are set to intertwine. Danny makes John's wife nervous, which John addresses. Danny proceeds to seek out Diana and apologize for his behavior... then he tells her not to come between him and his brother, intimidating her even more than she already was. So she is understandably worried when Danny begins to bond with her daughter Janie, and prompts John to look into Danny's hidden past to find out what kind of person we're dealing with.

John discovers Danny has a criminal rap sheet, having been arrested in Miami for selling drugs. He heads to Miami and makes several more discoveries. Though he assumes Danny blew off the cooking school, John finds out that he actually ran the fancy Viva Caputa Restaurant in Miami, working as head chef. The restaurant burned down due to a fire of unknown origin. Danny was also indebted to some dangerous people, who may have been responsible for the fire. John finds Danny's apartment, as well as the envelopes full of cash that he's been seen mailing away in previous episodes. This leads John to pick up Eric O'Bannon and question him about Danny.

Meanwhile, Danny is learning of Sally's past. The episode opens with a flashback of Sally tearfully packing her belongings and boarding a bus. She appears to recall this moment while telling Danny about how she and Robert first met and fell in love. At 17, Sally and her girlfriends were flirting with the Navy men to get them to buy beer, and she ended up meeting Robert. They spent the night together and saw each other every day for a month. Robert then found the job and lands down in the Islamorada, asking Sally to come down and marry him. Despite her youth and fear, Sally left home to start a family with Robert.

She paints a pretty picture, but the culmination of her flashbacks tells a different story. Sally packs her things, boards a bus, and leaves in tears. But we discover that she's not leaving home to be with Robert. She was leaving the Rayburn House, leaving Robert and her children. Now we're left to wonder what that's all about.

Bits and Pieces:

* We discover that the bait-shop gangster -- who employs Rafi Quintana, Eric O'Bannon, and now Danny -- is named Wayne Lowry. John's department begins working with the DEA to build a case against Lowry.

* Kevin and Meg, the two youngest siblings, finally talk about Danny's beating. Meg had completely forgotten and came to believe that he really was hit by a car, while it turns out that Kevin was lying earlier when he claimed ignorance about "what Danny went through." Kevin remembers it vividly, and that they all lied about it to Lenny Potts. He also feels Robert's abuse of Danny was justified since "Danny killed our sister." Interestingly, adult Meg states that Sarah's death was an accident, while her seven-year old self outright tells Detective Potts that Danny "killed my sister", and stone-faced lied about him getting hit by a car even though she and Kevin watched him get beaten by their father.

* I really can't say enough about the casting on this show. Not only do the modern Rayburns look like they could be related, but the actors playing the Rayburns from 30 years in the past actually look like they could be younger versions of the other actors. It's especially striking with younger Sally in this episode.

* Speaking of great casting, it's kind of interesting that the actor playing a younger Lenny Potts, who is interrogating the Rayburn kids in the past, bares a striking resemblance to Ben Mendelsohn (Danny).

* Say what you want about Danny Rayburn, but he inspires a hell of a lot of empathy in others. Beth Mackey, who bailed him out of jail, obviously cared for him. The man who told John about the restaurant considered him a nice guy. Then there's his lasting friendship with the O'Bannon siblings. Even John and Sally, who are convinced that he's a total screwup, still love him and want to protect him. It's amazing how Danny manages to be the most villainous character on the show and the most sympathetic at the same time.

* Speaking of the O'Bannons, Danny appears to have rekindled his relationship with Chelsea. That's good, at least.

* Beth Mackey claims to have heard Danny talking to a woman who wasn't there. He called this imaginary female Sarah... More on that later.

Quotes:

Danny: (to Meg) Yeah, I'll go. But I can go a lot further.

Meg: I'm not gonna live in fear of you.
Danny: Okay... Does this mean I'm not gonna cater for the wedding?

Sally: Are you gonna roll that joint, or should I?
Danny: (smiles) ... Busted.

Four out of four misaimed baseball bats.

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