Bloodline: Part 13

"I wish I knew what happened to him. But wherever he is... I hope he's okay. And I hope he knows... I love him."

We have now reached the cliffhanger scenario established from Part 1. Here the writers manage to wrap up one season while neatly setting up the next.

This is certainly the most nonlinear episode so far, starting in medias res, shifting back to the present, and then randomly jumping everywhere else in between. So I'll start with where we left off.

The Murder

After giving his older brother the Godfather Part II treatment, John is hit with the gravity of what he's done when the now deceased Danny gets a call from their mother that he will never be able to answer. John is stricken with pain in his chest; his high-blood pressure has been brought up here and there, but now it's finally getting the better of him. He appears to be having a heart attack and is forced to call his siblings for help; Kevin is hung over and doesn't answer, but Meg rushes right to him.

This is where things start to really spiral out of control. Meg sees Danny and realizes John killed him. John refuses when she asks if they should call the police. She drives John to the hospital, and immediately leaves to pick up Kevin. They go back to Danny's body and try figure out what to do, only to end up impulsively moving him when people approach nearby. Kevin decides to move the cars left behind by John and Danny as well, the latter of which was borrowed from Chelsea O'Bannon. This leaves Meg with Danny's corpse stuffed in the trunk of her car, which gets really nightmarish as she tries to drive home while freaking out about what's happened.

Suddenly these ordinary, good people are put in circumstances where they are compelled to do things just as bad, if not worse, than their loathed black sheep brother, who ultimately is the victim of their crimes. This is where the show's realism becomes truly unsettling.

The Lies

Things take a turn after John recovers, leaving the hospital to meet his brother and sister. We see how quickly John, Kevin and Meg go from trying to explain why they did the reckless things that they did to all three agreeing and coming up with ideas to cover up their crimes, since they feel Danny is not worth going to jail for. John shows what a devious bastard he can be, putting his policeman's knowledge to use and manipulating Danny's death to look as though he was murdered by Wayne Lowry, guiding Kevin and Meg along the way.

The three Rayburns manage to lie for nearly a week, pretending their brother's still alive and that they're worried about him, while they all work from behind the scenes to ensure their alibi.

After the pier dedication ceremony, John deals with the body. In an incredible sequence, we find out that John's confessional narration we've been hearing over the course of the season was actually him explaining the situation with his brother to the police officials overseeing his candidacy for sheriff. His telling of the "truth" is juxtaposed with him going through the grueling process of disposing of Danny.

When the charred corpse is discovered shortly thereafter, John's plan works like a charm and Wayne Lowry is blamed for Danny's murder. He even covers Lowry's missing drugs by storing them at Danny's apartment, with Kevin's help. John seems to have gotten away with murder, having covered all of his bases.

Cut to a month later, and things are finally looking up again for the Rayburns. The Rayburn House was saved, as was the family legacy. Kevin managed to save his business too, and is back together with Belle, who is pregnant with his child; apparently they had sex on the night of Robert's funeral. Meg has started working at the New York law firm and goes on an official date with Alec Moros. John has an excellent chance at becoming the next Sheriff of Monroe County. So they've all got things to do next season.

The Rayburns are back to being the perfect family everyone knows them to be. All is well.

The Aftermath

But we can't have a show about a bunch of two-faced people who got away with committing fratricide and simply moved on with their lives. Which means there will be new conflicts for the family.

There's still the criminal element to consider. Wayne Lowry is still an antagonist, and there's always the people Danny owed money to in Miami.

More seriously, we have Sally, who contacts Lenny Potts and reveals that she was the one who told John, Kevin and Meg to lie, compounding her guilt over Danny's fate. She asks Potts to find Danny, but it's rendered moot when his remains wash up. However, Potts seems to have found out that her children are lying to her. Sally is horribly devastated by the death of her firstborn. So there's no telling how she'll react if the truth ever comes out about what happened to him, and what her remaining kids have done.

It's nothing compared to the final reveal, though. While having dinner with his wife and kids, John is approached by a stranger. A dark youth, maybe 15 or 16. The kid wants to know what happened to Danny Rayburn. Because he's Danny's son. We end on John's stunned face, likely screaming "Nooooooooo" on the inside.

We spent so much time focusing on either Danny's present situation, his distant childhood, or his future demise, that we barely had time to examine his deliberately mysterious past; in a previous episode, Wayne Lowry asked him if he had children and Danny just said "I don't think I'm cut out for being a father." Not only did he own a restaurant and got caught up with crooks, he had a son no one knew about.

A lot of people weren't happy with this twist, as I recall, feeling as though it were tacked on. I thought it was great. The son opens up a whole new can of worms for our characters. He can provide a look into Danny's past that we weren't allowed to see, and present John with a unique opportunity to do for this boy what he could never do for his father. Or the kid could turn out to be an unpredictable degenerate like Danny had become, "forcing" the Rayburns to repeat the vicious cycle all over again.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to binge watch the rest of this series.

Bits and Pieces:

* I love how this show uses its tropical setting, where we're seeing lush, beautiful landscapes in contrast with the occasional chaotic rainstorms and human savagery. There's a very awesome shot of a small rainbow hovering over Danny's corpse before John carries him off to be blown up.

* The editing in this episode was standout material. The way they cut back and forth between the various scenes of John "confessing" and the scenes of him covering up his crimes, giving his lies an even greater impact.

* Very ironic that John essentially subjected Danny to the same fate as those immigrant girls he was so justly determined to avenge: drowned, burned and left to rot in the mangroves. If this was tragic irony, then the arrival of Danny's son must be poetic justice.

* Danny's son was the unseen person wearing the Rayburn House T-shirt earlier in the episode. This means he watched John and Kevin moving Lowry's drugs into Danny's apartment. Uh oh.

Quotes:

John: I know you don't want to hear this, but I can't help him anymore.
Sally: You don't just give up on family, John.

Meg: (to John) What happened?
Kevin: That's not important. We understand that whatever you did out there, you felt like you had to do. We all know what Danny was capable of.
Meg: Did he have a weapon? Did he attack you?
Kevin: Meg leave him alone.
Meg: Were you defending yourself?
John: ... No. He said some things. And then he walked away.

John: I am not throwing my life away. Not for him! I am not doing that.
Kevin: And you shouldn't. Okay? You shouldn't.

Meg: (to Sally) At least, you'll get to see him at the pier dedication.
That was pretty cruel, Meg.

John: We never say it in this family.
Kevin: Say what?
John: ... I love you.

John: I always thought the greatest thing that happened to me was being born a Rayburn. Now I'm not so sure. I'm gonna tell you everything. It's not very pleasant, but it's the truth. Sometimes you know something's coming...

Though perhaps more mundane than the other shows I cover, I find Bloodline unexpectedly intriguing and look forward to exploring its dark depths all the way to the story's conclusion. Four out of four burning boats.

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