Eleven episodes have built to this moment: Danny (Ben Mendelsohn) vs the Rayburn family in an all-out war. Bet you know how it ends!
Let’s bitch it out…
- If this is what we’ve been waiting for all season (the conflict between the family out in the open and Danny running around threatening people), why does ‘Part 12’ feel so anticlimatic? I suppose I was expecting that Danny would ultimately die the night of the storm, in a hail of bullets amidst gales of thunder and lightning. Instead, like much of Bloodline, the truth is much simpler: he dies in relative quiet at dawn on a deserted beach.
- It’s hard to get excited about Danny’s appearance at Meg’s (Linda Cardellini) place because it feels, beat for beat, like the exact same conversation that the pair of them have been having throughout the season, right down to his question about filing the paperwork. Ultimately as we near the finale, it feels like the women on this show have all been underused, underdeveloped or simply removed from the main plot.
- That definitely applies to Sally (Sissy Spacek). While John’s (Kyle Chandler) desperate attempt to convince Sally that Danny is dangerous was well acted by both Chandler and Spacek, his refusal – once again – to tell Sally the truth is aggravating. Considering what’s at stake and how out of the loop Sally is, wouldn’t it be better to straight up tell her how dangerous things have become? Of course, if John had then the family blow-up that occurs later wouldn’t have been quite as effective because Sally likely would not have let Danny in the door.
- Then again, Diana (Jacinda Barrett) knows the danger and all she can do is whine about being sent away with the kids. God she’s shrill. Is it bad that I secretly hoped she ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time and get shot?
- I most enjoyed Kevin’s (Norbert Leo Butz) showdown with Danny outside the gas station. Danny’s ability to read Kevin – and his inability to use the gun to coerce Danny into the truck – speaks volumes about how savvy a manipulator Danny is. Or that Kevin is all talk (hence his need to emotionally blackmail John into doing the dirty work later). Or maybe both.
- I could have done without the line: “if you hated me half as much as you hate yourself”. It just comes off as writerly and not something anyone would say in real life.
- Chelsea (Chloë Sevigny) is ultimately responsible for pointing John in Danny’s direction at the motel. Was she in on Danny’s plan to find out how far John would go? Or did she reveal Danny’s location out of legitimate concern for his welfare after learning that Eric (Jamie McShane) got his ass kicked in their kitchen?
- The attempted bait and switch with Lowry’s man and Danny in the motel (as the camera sloooooowly creeps around to reveal the identity of the dead man) is pretty insulting. It feels like the writers trying to produce false drama. After all, how would John possibly sneak the body out of the crime scene so that it can be burned on the boat (as seen in the very first flashforward from the pilot)? We’re not dumb!
- The timing of Kevin’s coke-fueled breakdown feels awkwardly inserted, as though it had to be included because we had already seen it. Initially I was more accepting of this scene because I thought the gun had to be passed from Kevin to John, but then it turned out it wasn’t even involved in Danny’s murder! I just didn’t believe that Kevin’s spiral at that moment seemed truly believable.
- The roundabout way of revealing that John facilitated the hit on Danny was expertly done. Rather than show John making the call, we’re left to assume that he was the one that fed the info to Lowry’s man and then Danny confirms as much during their chat on the beach.
- While it may seem like I’ve crapped on most of the episode, the final confrontation between Danny and John is a legitimately emotional climax. After watching John struggle all season to keep his composure and ensure the family is safe and united, he finally cracks and yells at Danny. It’s sheer catharsis hearing someone tells Danny that he has brought this situation upon himself and John’s reminder that Danny was a fuck-up long before Sarah’s death is an interesting twist. Chandler is exceptional in the scene, even as we realize with mounting horror that by finally cracking, John’s now in a mindset to put an end to his brother’s destructive influence. The final haunting image of John sitting on the beach, staring at the floating body of his brother, is deeply disturbing.
Your turn: Are you frustrated by the series’ treatment of its female characters? Did Kevin’s coke bender feel out of place? Will Marco (Enrique Murciano) discover the truth? Was Chelsea part of Danny’s plan? And finally, where do we go from here? Sound off below, but please refrain from posting spoilers about the final episode.
Bloodline‘s first season is available in its entirety on Netflix.