Bloodline: Part 26

“One foot in front of the other.”

Apologies for my absence. Been sorting some things out in my life, but for now I'm back. Ready to finish this series?

This is a Meg centric episode, which we're due for. She spends most of it being crushed by the grief and guilt she feels over Marco's death, and these scenes are interwoven with ironic flashbacks to their relationship before everything went to hell for everyone. It's nice to be reminded of a time where things were calm and normal and happy. On the surface, at least.

I feel that Meg might be the most sympathetic of the adult Rayburns. Sure, she's done plenty of illegal, unethical things and been an accessory to two murders, but she, in particular, has always seemed as if she was struggling to keep afloat, suffocating under the weight of her screwed up family whose love and appreciation she had craved for years. The growing realization that they are truly bad people knocks them off the pedestal she thought they stood on, taking her own self-respect with it. Unable to live with the lies she and her ilk weave so beautifully, Meg decides to abandon ship.

Like her older brothers Danny and (most recently) John, Meg has run away before. However, the first time was under the guise of a business opportunity in New York. Here, it's pretty obvious she is trying to escape. But before that, it's brought home to her just how amoral and two-faced she and the other Rayburns are, and how destructive their attempts to protect themselves have been for those around them. She's already the girl who broke the late Marco's heart with her flakey cheating, but now she has to carry on knowing that she is partly responsible for his death by bringing an unstable to his door. It's enough to make her disregard her dislike of boats and being on the water -- a subtle indication of how her sister's untimely death affected her in the long run. In the end, she goes sailing out into the ocean to an uncertain fate.

The Rayburns are still trapped in their own little hell. Well, John and Sally, at least. Kevin, as usual, seems to willingly blind himself to the bad path that he's walking down. First of all, Kevin tries to rationalize his murder of Marco to John and Meg by claiming he did what he had to do to protect his family, that Marco was a threat. This is in contrast to John, who admitted openly that his killing of Danny was unprovoked. Kevin also refuses to see the downsides of getting himself so deeply indebted to a man like Roy Gilbert, whose helping hand nearly got Kevin killed.

Okay, so everyone knows Kevin's an asshole by now (except his poor wife). We've got him figured out. This episode also gets us closer to figuring out Roy Gilbert. So far, it's pretty much what I had guessed. He is a manipulative gangster who wants to use the Rayburn family's influence to aid his criminal endeavors. He makes it sound much more eloquent than mere corruption and blackmail, using the indiscriminate ruthlessness of history as his rationalization. Sally also accuses Roy of coveting her late husband's life and legacy. I'm not sure about this, but it would give some explanation as to why someone as devious and careful as Roy Gilbert would use walking powder-kegs like the Rayburns in the foundation of the little empire he's building. I'm sure there's no way one of them will end up interfering with Roy and the flashy Cuban drug lords he's dealing with.

The most complicated one of all is still John. He hates having to deal with Roy's scheming and Kevin's neverending stupidity, and just how generally rotten he and his family have become. His guilt and shame doesn't stop him from continuing down his path, though. If anything, it just drives him to keep going.

What makes John so compelling to me is very believable anti-heroic qualities. He seems to genuinely want to be a strong, brave and compassionate person, but realistically falls victim to his own innate weaknesses. He wants to be a good man, but his sense of morality has been so twisted that "doing the right thing" for him means he can frame an innocent man to protect his corrupt family so long as no one dies as a result.

Wanting to prevent Eric O'Bannon's murder at the hands of Roy Gilbert's men, John resolves the Eric O’Bannon situation in John’s typical underhanded fashion. To be fair, he screws O’Bannon to save his life from Roy Gilbert. Doing so just had the added benefit of using him as the scapegoat for the murders of Marco and Danny and Kevin's shooting.

Unfortunately, despite all the lines he's crossed for his family, they are still broken. Meg becomes lost to them, just like Sarah and Danny all those years ago.

Meanwhile, despite a serious concussion, Ozzy Delvecchio is able to casually steal a car in Miami.

Bits and Pieces:

* The opening flashback of Marco and Kevin getting along over dinner at the Inn felt like a reference to Godfather Part II. It’s one of a few Godfather homages this season. It isn't very subtle, but I get it.

* According to Beth Mackey, her mother had some connection to Robert and Sally, but this goes unexplained.

* You might have noticed that neither Nolan nor Eve have made an appearance or even been mentioned in these last three episodes. Probably because their actors were busy filming episodes of Black Mirror. Not that I really blame them, of course; that fourth season was tight.

* This episode is one of two directed by Mario Van Peebles, who also plays a new character this season.

Quotes:

Kevin: He said he could make it all better.
John: So this guy shoots you. Twice.
Kevin: That part was an accident.

Roy Gilbert: I intend to control history, son. Not be a victim to it.

Raul Diaz: (to Meg) Go try and relieve your guilt somewhere else… Fuck it. You wanna help my family?
I like this guy.

Meg: Hey, where were you last night? I called you over and over, and you never answered.
John: I just went for a drive.
Meg: Maybe you should have kept driving.
Foreshadowing!

Chelsea: John, I’m sorry about Marco. And Kevin. Shit, I’m sorry about everything.
John: ... Me too.

John: You did good.
Meg: Did I?

Four out of four treacherous backpacks.