Bloodline: Part 22

"You'll learn that, with a little creative thinking, you can accomplish anything you want."

That's putting it lightly there, Roy.

Nearly every major character in this show is functioning on a Machiavellian level of deviousness. Beneath their veneer of normalcy, these people are constantly engaged in low-key psychological warfare.

To be fair, some of these people have little choice when it comes to dealing with the Rayburns.

John, who seemed like such a normal, steady guy in the beginning, is particularly good at blindsiding people. As a well-respected policeman and public figure, he is in the perfect position to deftly cross the line back and forth as it suits him. But as this episode displays, John probably has the toughest battles to face, internally as well as externally.

Last episode, John discovered a security camera that could destroy his and his siblings alibi regarding Danny's murder. He spends the majority of this episode trying to gain access to that camera feed. The owner of the property it sits on is unwilling to let John inspect it without a proper warrant. He goes to his old friend Hank for an illegal means of find out what's on that camera. Hanks puts him in touch with a hacker. Through the hacker, John obtains the camera's history. He eventually discovers that the camera shows him, Meg and Kevin driving to the same place as Danny, and shows only those three coming back from that place. If anyone finds this camera, John, Kevin and Meg are all done for.

While this is going on, Kevin and Meg are trying to avoid what they see as their possible downfalls.

Kevin has been on the verge of losing everything since practically the beginning of the series. However, he is apparently saved when Meg puts him in contact with Roy Gilbert, who decides to generously purchase Kevin's marina and keep him on as a top employee. Roy also makes another big donation to John's campaign, claiming it is payment for Meg's legal counsel in setting up the deal between he and Kevin. It isn't until after all of this is done that Meg learns that her mother never liked Roy Gilbert, that he and Robert were never friends, and that Roy only cares about helping himself.

We see what she means after Kevin has signed over his business to him, and Roy's helpful, open demeanor instantly shifts to something a little more superior and condescending. It gets even darker later, when Kevin notices some unknown people docking boats at the marina and doing shady things at night. He goes to question them, and is confronted by the White Shirt Man (or Luis), who claims to be working on behalf of Gilbert. So this whole time, while the seemingly respectable businessman Gilbert been deeply investing in the seemingly respectable Rayburn family, he was actually the head of the criminal empire that Wayne Lowry worked for. This makes all the other shady dealings make a lot more sense. Meg and Kevin have essentially made a deal with the devil.

Also, Nolan moves out of John's house and goes with Eve to stay at the inn. Meg is immediately wary of this, and becomes convinced that it's a bad idea when she happens to spot Eve meeting with Ozzy, not knowing that she met with him to break off their relationship. Fearing what Eve might be capable of, Meg tries to convince Sally not to let her and Nolan stay. Sally lashes out at Meg, and refuses to hear it. It's not clear who is right in this situation. On the one hand, Sally's desperation to make amends for the past might be blinding her to Eve's darker nature just as it blinded her to Danny's. On the other, Meg's knee-jerk reaction of choosing to judge and ostracize someone without all the details is the kind of behavior that's resulted in their family's endlessly terrible predicament.

That's the thing about this show; the writers don't really choose sides or judge their characters. Everyone is kind of right, and kind of wrong; the only exception might be Kevin. It's mostly left to us, the viewers, to determine.

Surprisingly, the greatest danger to the Rayburns at the moment is a most unlikely duo: Marco Diaz, John's former partner and Meg's ex, and Eric O'Bannon, Danny's lowlife best friend. Eric knows John stood by as a hitman nearly killed Danny, and that John was the last person to see Danny on the day he died. He's willing to reveal everything he knows if Marco can get him immunity. Marco won't get him immunity until he shows him some evidence he can use.

Eric tells Marco to ask Jane Rayburn about the seahorse necklace Danny gave to her. An increasingly paranoid Diana watches Marco question Janie at school, and relays this to John. Enraged and desperate to shut Marco down, John leaks the dirt he has on his protege. Marco and Sheriff Aguirre are quickly put under investigation by Internal Affairs regarding their alleged (but, I'm guessing, very likely) cover-up of Aguirre abusing his ex-wife, stalling their own investigation into John. The cycle of revenge goes on as Marco is smart enough to know that John did it, fueling his own desire to bring John down and expose his lies.

John realizes how close Marco is to his goal when he discovers the immunity papers he has ready for Eric. Which leads him to review the camera footage again. And he finds out that Eric O'Bannon was there at the shore where Danny met his end shortly before John arrived.

Eric retrieves Janie's seahorse necklace -- the evidence proving John was at the location where Eric last saw Danny alive -- and delivers it to Marco in the end, becoming the key to his case against the Rayburns as well as the man most likely to be John Rayburn's second murder victim. How unexpected.

Bits and Pieces:

* John's opening flashback -- featuring him and Danny as teenagers talking over cigarettes at the spot where John would eventually kill Danny -- was bittersweet. It reminds us that, despite his flaws, Danny was the only one who saw his family for the trap that it was. And that he and John were never as different as they appeared. They both longed to be free from the pressures of being a Rayburn. Props to Owen Teague and Zachary T. Robbins too for not only looking like they could be younger versions of Ben Mendelsohn and Kyle Chandler, but also acting just like them.

* The scene where it slowly dawns on Ozzy that Eve has left him was hilarious. He seems completely derailed by this. Not so hilarious is the fact that this makes him even more driven to make the Rayburns pay. It's really personal for him now.

* We see the police photos of Danny's burned corpse when his body was discovered. They are pretty gnarly; it looks as if some of the fabric of his clothes got burnt into his flesh. John is clearly disturbed when he sees them.

Quotes:

Young Danny: I'm leaving. As soon as I graduate, I'm out of here. If I stay, nothing's gonna change. I'm always going to be what they think I am. You should leave too.
Young John: Me?
Young Danny: You gotta be careful, John. We can never be what we want if we stay here.
Young John: Where're you gonna go?
Young Danny: Doesn't matter. I'm just gonna get in dad's old truck and... just drive.

Roy Gilbert: Is there a problem?
Kevin: No. Thank you, I'm just not really used to people having faith in me.

Hank: Whiskey and cigars? You must be in quite a jam.

Ozzy: Not only are these people fuckin' amateurs, they've got a guilty fuckin' conscience.
Eric: As well they fuckin' should.

Sally: Did you and John and Kevin build this from nothing? Did you raise five kids while trying to run a business, Meg? Did you almost have a fucking nervous breakdown trying to make everyone else happy but yourself?
I can't say enough good things about Sissy Spacek. She is always golden. She brings the same realistic intensity here that she did in the film In the Bedroom.

John: You know, if you keep going down this road, you're not gonna find what you think. It's not gonna end well for you.
Marco: Well then it looks like it's not gonna end well for either of us.

Three out of four incriminating security cameras.

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