Superb Netflix Original Season Two
I’ve been waiting impatiently for Season Two of Bloodline to arrival and did my best to savor every episode. Last year’s Season One conclusion of the Netflix Original Bloodline left me both riveted and wondering where show creators Glenn Kessler, John A. Kessler and Daniel Zelman would go from there. Little did I know it could get even better.
The original concept was superb: A seemingly postcard perfect family infected by dark secrets and emotional scars from the past that lead to alcoholism, drug addiction and trafficking, jealousy and even murder.
For as deliberate as the series began and evolved last season, Season Two has been a sprint fueled by the addition of writer Dennis Lehane, the famous author of “Mystic River” and “Gone Baby Gone.” How will Det. John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler), the second oldest of Robert’s (Sam Shepherd) and Sally’s (Sissy Spacek) children, be able to keep his freedom as well as his reputation and that of the family intact following the biggest family betrayal one could muster, the murder of his oldest brother?
On one hand, John and attorney sister Meg (Linda Cardellini) are well respected in the community of Monroe County in the Florida Keys, but baby brother Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) is a hard-drinking hothead who refurbishes boats at the local marina. Then there’s Danny (Ben Mendelsohn), the black sheep who for years is blamed by the family for the accidental drowning of eldest daughter Sarah (Mia Kirshner). Long ago, Danny fled the family compound for Miami and new start and to escape the condescension of his father (Sam Shepherd). But Danny is unable to catch a lasting break, as he struggles between following in his family’s entrepreneurial footsteps and taking the easy, criminal way out.
When the prodigal son finally returns home he has a vendetta to settle, and in doing so threatens to destroy the good Rayburn name by using the bed and breakfast to run drugs for local kingpin Wayne Lowry (Glenn Morshower), John, Meg and Kevin ensure Danny no longer embarrasses them, their mother or their now deceased father’s memory.
Season Two meshes the aftermath of Danny’s murder with further details of how he went so bad in the first place, as well as how family’s sordid past finally caught up with it. First introduced to him at the end of Season One, the audience gradually becomes acquainted with Danny’s illegitimate son, Nolan (Owen Teague), who shows up in the Keys to exact revenge for his father. Is he wise to the secret kept by John, Meg and Kevin, especially as he is the lone eyewitness to John and Kevin unloading Lowry’s stolen drugs at Danny’s Miami apartment?
Meanwhile, John falls deeper and deeper into his own criminal activities as he attempts to cover up his and his siblings’ crime and to keep alive his own hopes of being elected the new sheriff. Not only are John’s associates in the sheriff’s office, notably Marco (Enrique Murciano), searching for answers into who killed Danny but so is Danny’s best friend Eric O’Bannon (Jamie McShane), himself of questionable morality who recruited Danny into first stealing gas for use by local drug runners. Danny, being the entrepreneur he was, quickly saw how he could increase his payday by getting involved in the actual trafficking for local distributor Lowry.
Conveniently, John advances the presumption that Lowry had Danny killed for stealing a large shipment cocaine, which Danny was storing at the bed and breakfast and hastened his siblings’ decision that enough was enough.
To further complicate matters, Ozzy Delvecchio (John Leguizamo), a sordid character from Danny’s past, also surfaces in the Keys to find out what happened to Danny. And we are introduced to tycoon Roy Gilbert who is ready and willing to bankroll John’s campaign. But, at what cost?
Each episode of Season Two is more harrowing as the plot thickens, with things coming to an end in the season finale with Kevin confessing John’s crime and John abducting Eric to keep him from turning state’s evidence against him for Danny’s murder. As John hightails it out of town, with the memory of his brother riding shotgun next to him, Season Three is bound to be some of the most riveting television in a while.
For all the promise that other shows like HBO’s True Detective have shown in the inaugural season, only to suffer a sophomore slump and cancellation as a result, Bloodline has taken the crime drama to all new heights. I can’t wait for where that ride will take us.