Monday, March 23, 2015

REVIEW: 'Bloodline' - Danny Confronts His Father Which Then Leads to an Uncertain Accident in 'Part 2'

Netflix's Bloodline - Episode 1.02 "Part 2"

An accident exposes old wounds, complicating the already difficult situation between Danny and his family.

The secrets and suspicion in the past with the Rayburn family are still being shrouded in mystery. And yet, the secrets and lies that have occurred since Danny has returned home aren't being buried for that long. John's lie to Danny about Robert saying no to him staying at home and working at the family hotel has already been exposed. The complications of that decision are slowly but surely weaving into this family and tearing them apart.

Danny is upset that his father has said no to him. He comes to the realization that it was wrong to use his brother as an intermediary in this decision. He needed to talk with his father directly. That is what kept him in town again - even after John dropped him off at the bus station. From there, the episode bends time and perception. Danny meets his father during his morning kayaking. The screen cuts to black. The next thing that is shown is Robert being unconscious in the hospital with some kind of head injury and Danny experiencing even more pain in his arm. It's a mystery about what happened out there on the beach that the episode deliberately keeps from the audience until the last possible moment. The family is already on edge because of Danny's continued presence in their lives. This just makes things worse.

Kevin is convinced that Danny assaulted their father. Meg is certain that Danny would never be capable of doing such a thing. And then, John is somewhere in the middle and needs to do a personal investigation in order to figure out why Danny chose to stay at all in the first place. Amongst all of this is Sally who the rest of the family is trying desperately to protect from all the pain that Danny will inevitably cause. When she first learned that Danny had left town without saying goodbye, she was done with him and always trying to bring him back into the family. And then, she learns that Danny did not leave and actually asked to come home and work with her at the hotel. During the tragedy and uncertainty with Robert, Sally wanted the family to embrace Danny one more time. She adamantly stood for it and made sure that neither Kevin nor John tried to change her mind. She has felt the pain that the rest of the family has dealt with because of Danny. And yet, she is still offering him chances and not looking at him with only suspicion and pessimism.

John's narration opens the episode telling us that Kevin is the hot-headed one of the family. That was painfully obvious throughout the first episode. Stating it again at the beginning of this one where his anger issues are even more pronounced just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It is so much better to see those issues and let them define the character instead of simply being told them. It's also the description that John wants to give to Kevin because his issues are much more outwardly apparent. And yet, all of the Rayburn men seem to have chaotic problems. Danny has always been an uncertain quality to the family. Why else would they be reacting the way that they are upon his return to town? John does a much better job of suppressing his rage. And yet, it is still there boiling under the surface waiting for something big to happen. Because of the flash-forwards, we know that that event is going to come soon. And yet, John is still adamant that Kevin is the only one who is hot-headed. The narration isn't really necessary to this piece but it does allow us more insight into the way that John sees the world and his family.

And as much as John is trying to piece together what criminal thing Danny and Eric are doing, he still has love for his brother. He knows what kind of pain that Danny has suffered throughout his life. He knows that the beating Danny got from Robert has left him with chronic pain in his shoulder. It's an injury that requires surgery and has led to Danny depending a little too much on pain killers. John is all set to confront Danny about what he and Eric are doing and then gets taken aback once he sees how Danny needs to pick up his pills on the beach after he drops them. It's that kind of dependency that makes John want to be a good brother to Danny. And then, Kevin comes strolling down the beach throwing even more accusations at Danny because he now has "witnesses" to the event. Seeing Kevin attacking Danny brings back the memories of the past for John. The past is always informing the actions of everyone in the Rayburn family. So it's nice to get a little insight into what is going on between them.

The family is distrustful of Danny for a reason. And yet, he was telling the truth in regards to what happened between him and Robert. He went to that beach to say goodbye and to get rid of the bad blood that he thought was still there between him and his father. He learned that John lied to him. Robert was the one who gave the weight of the decision to the rest of his children. That is a painful realization for Danny to have. And yet, he doesn't take any of that frustration out on Robert. He lets him go back to kayaking and is there to rescue him when he has a stroke and collapses into the water. The prognosis for Robert isn't directly addressed though. The family doesn't know what is going to happen to him. He's the only one who can confirm what really happened out there with Danny. The audience knows the truth but that doesn't keep the rest of the family from being suspicious of Danny. It just means it's going to be that much harder for him to win back their love and respect. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Part 2" was directed by Johan Renck with teleplay by Jeff Shakoor and story by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman.
  • Seriously though, what is with the dead girl case that John is also investigating? Again it is just one scene in the episode and it feels so out-of-the-place from the rest of the show. I know that it will connect to the main narrative eventually, but right now it just feels like a problem that the audience just has to sit through.
  • Sissy Spacek does a lot of terrific silent acting while she's waiting by Robert's bedside for any news on his condition.
  • Chloë Sevigny is the latest great cast addition. She pops up as Eric's sister, Chelsea, who doesn't want to be around her brother all the time but doesn't want him to go back to prison either. She has a complicated dynamic with both John and Danny too.
  • Kevin, of course, the "witnesses" will say whatever vague detail you want them to say if you keep offering them money. Just leave the actual detective work to John.
  • Unsurprisingly, Kevin's hot-headedness is also causing problems in his marriage with Belle. He has news for his parents but isn't able to reveal it before everything that happens with Robert.
  • Meg needs to be the one at the hotel making sure everything continues to run smoothly. She understands that her presence there and instead of the hospital is what will give her mother peace-of-mind.
  • Both Kevin and John are certain that Danny is up to no good. And then, in the flash-forwards, it's shown that they are working together with Kevin handing John an untraceable gun.