***Spoiler warning: This post contains spoilers for Bloodline’s first season; if you haven’t finished the series, back out now. Additionally, minor season two spoilers are teased.
Netflix’s recent drama cum thriller about the Rayburn family is one of this year’s best series, and features Emmy-worthy performances by Ben Mendelsohn and Kyle Chandler as brothers Danny and John. While the first season sets up Mendelsohn’s Danny as the estranged black sheep returning home to drive a wedge between the rest of the family, by the end of the final episode, it’s clear the dark side runs through the entire Rayburn clan (my prediction is that we’ll eventually see the whole family implode). John’s not-so-random act of violence, and the remaining siblings involved in the cover-up mean a the second season tension level only has one place to go — up. Executive producers and creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman pitched Netflix a six-season story arc, and they’re already teasing an exciting ***SPOILER*** return.
Zelman on Danny’s influence over his siblings:
“There’s a certain inevitability to how things unfolded. I also think that Danny’s creating the inevitability. He’s pushing that. I don’t think he’s specifically thinking I want them to kill me so they have blood on their hands, but I do think he’s pushing them to an extreme place. Because he wants them to, and particularly John, he wants to show that John is not the good guy everyone thinks he is that John is capable of getting pushed to being knocked off his pedestal. Ultimately it backfires on him because he gets killed.”
Glenn Kessler on the shift between the remaining siblings:
“For the first time in their lives, [they] don’t have this buffer of the black sheep. They don’t have this unifying force in their lives that no matter how difficult their own relationships get, they can look outside at this fourth party and know that we all have to be bonded as we deal with him. They now have to deal with each other in a real way for the first time in their lives and sibling rivalry and resentments and frustrations and all sorts of historical things that have been tamped down because of Danny’s presence - these things no longer can be tamped down.
Allegiances start to shift and all sorts of issues start to come into the relationship because they’re finally starting to come into light in a way that they were never able to before or never had to before. And of course it’s happening at the worst possible time because these three siblings are shackled together in the cover up of this murder. They’re not free to have challenges and issues that might be OK for them as siblings because they’re actually supposed to be working together. There’s a force that’s starting to push them apart because they’re actually starting to deal with each other in a full way for the first time in their lives. … Each of these characters and each of these actors have moved them to a place where you can absolutely see how the day comes, several seasons down the line, where it’s every man for himself.”
Was John already setting up his sister Meg (Linda Cardellini) in the blame game?
“In the third episode, John says about Meg, and some of this might play out in future seasons as well, that she made a mistake and maybe she shouldn’t have done what she did. What he is referring to is that by the end of the season Meg has decided to disinherit Danny and not bring him back into the business. What that is creating for John, and we may hear more of this going forward, is John is creating a motive for why Danny turned against them, so John can one day say to people, ‘Well, my sister did do this thing and I think that’s why he became angry and I think that’s why he started dealing drugs. … He went off the rails.’ John’s trying to add details that exist in the real life of the family so that if anyone were to look into it, they would say, ‘Oh, look at honest John, he’s coming clean.’ …echoes of that speech will continue to play out in future seasons.”
But, perhaps the best news; we haven’t seen the last of Ben Mendelsohn’s Danny. “Mendelsohn is under contract and expected to be back for the second season…Danny’s influence doesn’t go away.” (Kessler) Also returning is Detective Lenny Potts (Frank Hoyt Taylor):
“One of the fun things about second season is finding out exactly what he knows and how he knows it and what he’s going to do with that information and then what Sally’s [Sissy Spacek] going to do with that information. That’s certainly a thread that’s going to move forward and create jeopardy for the children.”
There are no clear eyes or full hearts here.
Bloodline returns to Netflix, 2016.