The Season 2 finale episode of “Bloodline” is 67 minutes of long drawn out conversations that tick tock by as audiences wait for something major to happen … because something huge is bound to happen, right? Then, BOOM. A series of scenes quickly cut between John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler), baby brother Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz), sister Meg (Linda Cardellini), mother (Sissy Spacek), the brutal killing of a major character, and the return of the haunting presence that is Papa Rayburn (Sam Shepard).
The final few minutes of Season 2 are exactly as Kyle Chandler described to Zap2it, “a fireworks finale” that was smartly built up, and powerful in a way that the Season 1 finale failed to be. While Nolan’s (Owen Teague) character was a great addition to Season 2, introducing him as a last second bombshell at the end of Season 1 felt too random, too telenovela dramatic to be emotionally moving.
While Season 2’s finale could’ve benefited from editing out at least 15 minutes of the character’s seemingly endless brooding stares into the gorgeous backdrop of the Florida Keys coastline, with those precious minutes allocated towards explaining a few more of the show’s cliffhangers, audiences can at least take comfort that Season 3 is now imminent. It hasn’t been officially announced by Netflix, but a series of this caliber would never end with all the plot holes it left open.
First, we need to discuss the surprise guest starring role Beau Bridges’ played, Ray Gilbert. The creative team behind the series, Todd Kessler, Glen Kessler and Danny Zelman, dropped numerous hints throughout the season that Bridges’ character was up to no good, suspiciously way too generous in his continuous financial offerings to the Rayburn family while asking nothing in return. For who in their right mind would get into business with the dipsh*t character that is Kevin? As Meg warned Kevin in the end, something just wasn’t adding up. Did he listen? Of course, not.
In Gilbert’s final scene, it is revealed that he’s gotten ahold of Danny’s (Ben Mendelsohn) brandishing confessional tape (how?), and is planning some sort of evil slow burn take down of the entire Rayburn family. But why? Mama Rayburn told Meg that he was never friends with Papa Rayburn, so there’s definitely some decades old bad blood, but how did Gilbert get so rich and powerful? He’s a shady big time gangster with an entire squad of people doing his dirty work, but no other explanatory details have been given to viewers.
Where the finale truly thrives, similar to any of the best moments of “Bloodline,” is when the focus remains on the Rayburn’s family dynamics. The fight between John against Meg and Kevin is a twisting turn on the once tight band of siblings that always had each other’s back. Kevin’s brutal killing of Marco (Enrique Marciano) is bloody, and as ugly to watch as Danny’s drowning. The look in John’s eyes as he flees Islamorada for God knows where is incredibly intense with zero dialogue needed to convey the mixture of terror, exhaustion, and frustration in Chandler’s face.
Lastly, audiences are left wondering as to what story Meg is planning to tell her mother. It’s hard to fathom she would tell Sally everything. The real question is what version of the story she’s going to tell her already fragile mother. “She’s a people pleaser, and she wants to fix things and help people. But sometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” Cardellini told Zap2it during a set visit interview. “It’s out of love for family.”
And therein lies the rub.
The Rayburns’ fierce need to protect their family is the reasoning they use to justify all their actions: dealing drugs, accepting bribes, even murder. Except now the siblings can only look out for their individual families. Kevin’s sole priority is taking care of Belle and his future son. John says numerous times throughout the series that his only care is for the safety of Diana (Jacinda Barrett) and their children. Meg has no one left by her side except for her mother, which is why that’s the first person she runs towards at the end. She must cement that relationship in her favor.
It also finally becomes clear that all of Danny’s (Ben Medelsohn) actions in Season 1, which seemed so selfish and borderline insane at the time, were all last ditch efforts to help his son. So, the apple actually didn’t fall from the Rayburn tree. He was doing exactly what each of his siblings would’ve done to ensure the well being of their family. Danny wasn’t the black sheep at all. He was just like Meg, Kevin, and John. Echoing Janie’s yells of frustration, “This family is so fucked up.”