Thursday, April 2, 2015

REVIEW: 'Bloodline' - Danny Goes to John's Family Dinner and Gets Into a Disagreement with Kevin in 'Part 7'

Netflix's Bloodline - Episode 1.07 "Part 7"

John and Marco get a lead in their investigation. Meg does her best to help Carlos. Kevin comes clean with Danny.

Everyone in the Rayburn family wants to do good. That is simply in their nature. That's why it was so devastating and painful to learn how strongly they victimized Danny in the past. Danny is a necessary character within this family. He's willing to do the bad things so that everyone else can continue being good. That's why it hurts so much when he learns the full scope of what they did to protect Robert and not him in the wake of Sarah's accident. Of course, they were all children back then and didn't know any better that they shouldn't be protecting their father. However, it's a dynamic that is still fueling all of the family's interactions.

The previous episode was all about John and Danny dealing with the weight of the lie. They each came to recognize that it had happened and tried figuring out how best to deal with it. Danny is still in pain over it. And yet, he told John that everything was good between them. He's coming to family dinner with John, Diana and their kids and telling stories about John and Diana's teenage romance. That's what John wanted from Danny when he first decided to come home. When making that big decision with Meg and Kevin, he noted that he wanted his kids to have a chance to know Danny. That's what is happening right now. It's a much lighter moment for the show. It's not as tense as everything surrounding this family usually is. And yet, there are still those lingering problems lying beneath the surface.

Danny ultimately takes out all that frustration on Kevin. After learning that Kevin and Chelsea slept together, he has Eric beat Kevin up and steal all his money. That is a very drastic move - and one that doesn't feel completely earned by the show. Danny and Kevin's relationship simply isn't as fleshed out as the one between John and Danny. The previous episode worked so well because both brothers were dealing with the weight of the lie. Danny still is but his focus is shifting towards Kevin who doesn't know what's going on at all. His biggest concern is getting the loan from the bank so that he can buy the marina and keep the developers out of the area. That's Kevin's only real concern throughout the episode. Yes, he approaches Danny to come clean about him and Chelsea and apologize if he ruined a thing Danny was trying to get going. And yet, he's doesn't know what's doing on in the John-Danny part of the universe.

The events of the past are framed as a big story from Danny and John's point-of-view. Danny was the victim while John was the eldest child who decided to protect Robert. The tape containing Kevin's interview over the incident is played at the beginning and the end of the episode. It's the exact same statement that John gave to the police. It helps establish that the entire family wanted to help Robert and not Danny. And yet, it doesn't inform the audience on anything new about that character. He is just an innocent supporting player of this story. Danny and John are the true focus. Kevin just happened to get hit by the crossfire. So, Danny organizing this attack on Kevin doesn't carry the necessary weight. If he did the same thing to John, it would impact so much of the emotional narrative. With Kevin though, it simply feels like something that happened that doesn't really inform on the core stories of the season in a meaningful way.

It does, however, showcase how much Danny considers Eric and Chelsea to be his family over the Rayburns. So far this season, Danny has been trying to work back into their good graces. It has been a constant struggle. And now, he's learned the truth about the past and still sees his siblings acting the same way. Meg trying to become a criminal defense attorney for a former drunk employee of the hotel feels so tangential to the core narrative. And yet, when Danny spies what Meg and Sally are willing to do for Carlos, it's painful. Every single word out of his mouth towards Meg has this enormous weight to it. She is willing to help someone who's practically a stranger but she wasn't willing to help Danny all those years ago. That's painful. So of course, he goes off to be with Eric - the man who is actually giving Danny what he really wants. When that source of revenue dries up, he decides to dig deeper into the criminal enterprise of this town. We don't know why he needs all this money and to whom he's sending it. And yet, that's a mystery that doesn't need to be solved right now. The show is doing an excellent job in getting us into Danny's headspace. This season really is all about Danny trying his best. He's not the clear-cut problem child that he was made out to be at the start of the season. Every single Rayburn has issues and that's what is driving the narrative forward this season.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Part 7" was written by Addison McQuigg and directed by Tate Donovan.
  • Diana really wants to know what Danny told her daughter before her big date and so do I! That was actually really unsettling because it seemed to last perhaps a second too long.
  • So Marco didn't propose to Meg because he thought it was weird and her simply reacting in the wrong way to her father's death.
  • Obviously, Carlos' case, John's investigation and Danny's criminal connection are all going to merge together eventually. But right now, they still seem pretty scattered - especially now that we're past the mid-point of the season. However, Glenn Morshower showed up as the crime boss which means I'm much more interested in the story now.
  • John proclaims that he doesn't understand women - and sometimes I think the show doesn't understand them either.