Bloodline: The Final Season Review

It’s killing me to write this. I’ve watched the final season of Bloodline. And now it’s over. Done. Finished. And I’m left without one of my favorite shows, simply longing for more. The final season debuted on Netflix on May 29th, and it’s taken me this long to compose my thoughts enough to even write about it. I needed time to process, and time to let go.

Bloodline had me hooked from the very first episode. I have never been so fascinated and captivated by a television show so quickly before. I knew instantly, Bloodline was special. Not only does this show have my very favorite pilot episode of all time, but the first season is one of my favorite seasons of television that I have ever watched. It is incredible. For those of you who haven’t seen it, you need to start it, like yesterday. Ben Mendelsohn’s performance as Danny Rayburn, the oldest brother and black sheep of the family, is one of the finest I have ever seen (he won the Emmy last year in case you don’t believe me!)

Bloodline 4
Danny (Ben Mendelsohn) and John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler) Photo Credit: Pinterest

(SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ FURTHER UNLESS YOU HAVE WATCHED THE SERIES IN ITS ENTIRETY)

That being said, I was worried for how the show would approach its second season following the death of its most intriguing character (Danny). And yet again, it knocked it out of the park. Bloodline has a way of slowly building each episode and offering tiny pieces of the puzzle for you to put together along the way, so that by the end of the season, everything comes together and the pieces are solved, leaving you astounded by the sheer brilliance of the storytelling.  As demonstrated through both seasons, the true strength of Bloodline shines in its ability to use flashbacks in order to perfectly execute the story. Thanks to these flashbacks, Danny was kept alive throughout the entire second season and the show concluded yet another fantastic group of episodes.

And then it happened. Netflix released the news that Bloodline would end its run with its third season. I was disappointed, but I understood. After all that had happened on the show so far, I couldn’t fathom how the story could continue much longer without the characters facing major repercussions. Despite the creators’ plans for more, Bloodline had one final season to wrap up all of its loose ends. And, while I loved it and feel that this was an incredibly well executed series, the final season didn’t quite measure up to the other two.

As I said before, the two greatest strengths of this series were its use of flashbacks, and the character of Danny, both of which faltered in the final season. Danny did not make an appearance until the penultimate episode, and his return was anticlimactic, underutilized, and frankly, wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Because the writers’ had planned for six seasons, it felt like they tried to incorporate as many storylines from the next three seasons into this final one, which made everything feel a bit scattered. Let’s take John Leguizamo’s character for instance. Ozzy Delvecchio was first introduced in the second season as an adversary of the Rayburn family. His character was expanded over the course of two seasons. Each and every time he came on screen, I felt afraid. Not in a jump out of your seat kind of way, but in a this guy is capable of some very bad things kind of way. And then, poof, just like that, Ozzy shoots himself in the back of a car after doing nothing. I kept waiting for the moment when it was all going to reach the boiling point, but it never did. His story just ended without every having really began.

Same goes for Danny’s son, Nolan. His story is built all throughout season 2, and then he is absent for much of the final season until he is brought back in a desperate attempt to set up for that final scene. And again with Beau Bridge’s character, Roy Gilbert. Gilbert is introduced as this incredible villain that can wreak havoc on the family, and then he just dies without us ever discovering the truth about what really happened between him, Robert, and Sally all those years ago. I understand that the significance of his death was to make Keven accountable for his crimes, but as a character, I still felt he deserved more.

Meg basically gets forgotten, and while I understand that sometimes in tragedies like this, people try to separate themselves, I feel her character deserved more of a proper goodbye. And what about poor Eric O’Bannon, who is sitting in prison, rotting for a crime he didn’t commit? I’ll tell you what… if you told me at the start of season 1 that I would end up liking Eric O’Bannon’s character and feeling sorry for him, I would have laughed in your face. But low and behold, he actually turned out to be one of my favorite characters in the end. He brought out the truth about the real identity of the Rayburn family, especially that wicked, wicked, Sally. I’ll tell you what, Sissy Spacek played an incredible role as Sally Rayburn, and did a tremendous job revealing the tendencies of a woman who will stop at nothing to protect her family, and her name.

And then there’s John, who we really didn’t get to see face any consequences for his actions. He had a beautiful, yet very anticlimactic final interaction with his wife, and then confesses his sins to Sheriff Aguirre who dismisses him. In the end, we are left where the story all began, between John and Danny (well, the ghost of Danny), which in my opinion, is exactly where we should have ended. However, I was confused as to why teenage Danny was telling John not to tell Nolan, and adult Danny advised John to tell his son the truth. This seems like more of a “Danny” response considering his family lied to him his entire life and all he ever wanted was the truth. Nonetheless, we are left with a cliffhanger ending, wondering if John tells Nolan the truth when he confronts him at the dock. And so, the story ends. My opinion? I think he would have told Nolan everything and then, who knows what would come after that? But, I guess we’ll never know for sure.

The truth of the matter is that this show deserved more. More viewers. And more time to tell the whole story. I have not a doubt in my mind that had this show run for as long as the creators intended, each season would be just as phenomenal as the first and second. However, because time was cut short, I feel that too many storylines from the envisioned later seasons were weaved into the current story, making everything fall a little short. Nonetheless, this show is always worth a watch, and will be one I will never forget. Especially that first season!

To the creators of Bloodline, Glenn Kessler, Todd A Kessler, and Daniel Zelman, and to the incredible talents that are Ben Mendelsohn and Kyle Chandler, I thank you for giving me this unbelievable show.

 

Photo Credit (Featured Image): Official Bloodline Facebook Page

 

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