Bloodline: Part 27

"Some free advice: Let the past be the past."

And here's where things take a turn.

We begin appropriately with the aftermath of the last dramatic episode. The Rayburns join the Diaz family and friends to attend Marco's funeral, except Kevin, who writes them a card to offer his condolences. It's a remarkably impressive and moving scene.

We then abruptly cut to five months later, and a whole lot has changed. John and Diana have separated, leaving both lonely and miserably. Meg vanished without a trace, devastating Sally. Chelsea and Eric O'Bannon's mother has finally died. Kevin is the only one who is happy. In fact, thanks to Roy covering up his crimes in exchange for smuggling drugs through his marina, Kevin believes he's on top of the world. He's got his freedom, the love and sympathy of his community, the state prosecutor is determined to punish Eric O'Bannon for the murder Kevin committed, and his wife Belle has given birth to his son.

'Part 27' is the point at which this show's premature cancellation becomes very obvious. There's still the illusion of a cohesive story, but the five month jump taken here makes it seem as if we skipped over half a season of developments. They try to maintain that illusion for the rest of the series, but, honestly, the holes get wider the further we go. It's a shame too. One of the things that struck me about this show was its precise cohesion.

Anyway, all is blissful in Kevin's land of ignorance. He's happy to continue reaping prosperity he doesn't deserve and blowing off the pain and distress he's causing other people like the Diaz family, the O'Bannons, his mother, his brother and even his loyal friend, Jake the Snake.

The conflict in this episode is centered around Eric O'Bannon. Roy wants Kevin to sign a petition allowing Eric to attend his mother's funeral. John intuits that Roy actually intends for Eric to be killed once he's out in the open, which Kevin doesn't have a problem with. John is generally pissed at the amount of control Roy has and how willingly Kevin offers it up to him. Despite there being nothing but animosity between the two, John can't live with the thought of having Eric's murder on his conscience.

The way John resolves this problem is probably the most interesting and well-executed thing that happens this season. Fed up with Kevin and Roy's incessant arrogance, he defies expectations and blows off his chance to be godfather to Kevin's son (he's got enough in common with Michael Corleone as is) in order to attend Mrs. O'Bannon's funeral with Chelsea; Roy, the suave gangster, gladly fills the role in John's place. And once again, John nobly saves Eric's life by completely screwing him over in the most unlikable way possible: bribing Eric's COs to deliberately miss his mother's funeral, ensuring that he wouldn't be killed by Roy's men. As always, John's guilty conscience and how he reconciles that with a ruthless sense of pragmatism is one of the show's most fascinating aspects. He clearly doesn't like making the O'Bannons suffer for his family's sins, even as he compels himself to keep doing it.

Just in general, the tension of this episode's ending was unnerving, even if it was a big, bold-faced homage to The Godfather. I didn't mind it, because it ended up being a subversion. Instead of a religious ceremony perfectly juxtaposed with a scene of cold-blooded murder, when it turns out to have been a shady means of saving a life. But the build-up to the revelation of what John did was intense because of how they made it seem as if Eric was about to get whacked at any second.

Bits and Pieces:

* The episode begins and ends with rather grand haunting ceremonies. First we have Marco's epic cop funeral. Then later we see both the christening of Kevin's son and the funeral for Mrs. O'Bannon, which perhaps was a thematic illustration on the duality between life and death. Of course, the Rayburns' duplicity might undermine this somewhat.

* Aguirre was re-elected as Sheriff of Monroe County during the five month gap, beating out John. It hasn't improved their relationship any. Also, John has a sexy new partner, Detective Degrassi, who has the hots for him.

* Speaking of the police, this show really doesn't shy away from the brutality they are so infamous for. Eric is horribly beaten by vengeful cops after he's arrested for Marco's murder, and his treatment at the hands of his correctional officers isn't much better.

* John meets Beth Mackey again during his search for Ozzy Delvecchio. Here we get our first mention of Nolan. Beth claims he came to her and confessed his feelings of guilt over what happened to his father. John wants to know where Nolan is, but, after how things went with Danny, Beth refuses to help him again.

* After John makes him feel small again, the proudly sober Kevin gets drunk, which results in a weird scene in which he christens his baby with beer. Not sure what that's about. Kevin probably isn't either.

Quotes:

John: Detective Marco Diaz. Our friend. Your brother, and your son. My partner. Family.
It's good that he kept it short and sweet. In every other instance in which John has spoken publicly he always ends up subtly hinting at his or his family's grave misdeeds. The poor bastard just can't keep a lid on all the lies he's got bottled up inside of him.

John: I'll be the godfather, but just what exactly does "godfather" entail?
I wanted to say, making offers people can't refuse.

Roy Gilbert: I contribute to many causes. Time spent managing how you're perceived in the public eye is never wasted.

Sally: Some people would say Roy Gilbert is a dangerous enemy. I say he's an equally dangerous friend. If he wants to help you, he'll go to any length.

John: I'll see you tomorrow.
Sally: God willing.

Kevin: Take a step back, get some perspective and get your mind right.
John: Like you?
Kevin: Maybe... Yeah, maybe. Why the fuck not like me? I'm sick of you looking down on me my whole life. Okay?
John: You remember that word dad used to use all the time? Disappointment.
Kevin: Why are you so upset about this?
John: You know what happens when you ask a guy like Roy Gilbert to help you? People get shot, don't they?
Kevin: Yeah, well... would that be such a bad thing?

Kevin: "God bless the boy that's got his own... That's got his own..."

While it's still one of the season's better episodes, this is where Bloodline's quality starts to drop off. Three out of four alcoholic christenings.

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