More Noir Than Puzzle

Bloodline Season 2 Review

When Danny Rayburn was murdered at the hands of his younger brother John at the conclusion of Season 1 of “Bloodline”, the rest of the family thought that the demons that followed their oldest brother were finally behind them. So far. as the second season of the critically acclaimed drama begins to unfold, things have only gotten worse.

John (Emmy nominee Kyle Chandler) has tried to put the burden of guilt on drug and human trafficker Wayne Lowry (Glenn Morshower, never more menacing). But Danny was even more meticulous at his efforts of self-preservation, and before he died, he passed on a recording featuring all of his family’s misdeeds on to Lowry. Now it seems that the tarpit that is Danny has gotten John in even deeper, which makes his decision to run for sheriff even more bewildering, especially to his wife (Jacinda Barrett).

The rest of his family is not doing much better. Meg (Linda Cardellini) relocated to New York in the season 1 finale, but her own level of guilt has been laying her low, causing her to drink and carouse even further to the point that she is on the verge of losing her job. Worse, she has now learned that a criminal case she tried back at Miami has tied her even deeper to Danny, making things get even worse. Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) is sinking into even more dire financial straits, in addition to learning that his wife is pregnant, and has now started to use and traffic in cocaine to keep himself afloat. And Sally (Sissy Spacek), the matriarch who could not stop loving her eldest son, even after he nearly destroyed her family, is now aware that the cover story that her children are telling her is an utter fabrication and is trying to find out the truth.

As if there weren’t enough complications already, the revelation that Danny in fact had a son, Nolan, is slowly reverberation among the Rayburn family. How much he knows about what his father was up to in Season 1 is still unclear, as is what exactly he wants from his family, but given the general menace that Nolan (Owen Teague, who played the young Danny Rayburn in flashbacks last season) has in appearance, when he merely looks at pictures, you don’t know what’s going through his head.

The Kessler brothers and Daniel Zelman seem to be heading in a different direction with their second season. For one thing, the flashbacks and flashforwards that pervaded Season 1 — and in fact, almost all of their work in television so far — are absent in season 2 of “Bloodline” This may come as either a relief to previous fans of the series, and may actually help gain viewers. What we have is less of a puzzle, and more of a kettle that is coming to a boil. The Rayburn family has done a lot of bad things, and its a question as to which of them will break first. (Considering how close Kevin came to telling two different people in the season premiere, that’s not a small issue). Danny Rayburn continues to haunt his family from beyond the grave (sometimes literally, but hey, I’ll take any reason to see Ben Mendelsohn again), and watching his family continue to crumble is far more riveting then you’d think it would be. Add the still unfolding investigation, and the mysteries behind Nolan’s family, and you have what it is arguably the best series on Netflix right now. Considering the level of production on this service, that’s no small achievement.

My score:4.5 stars.

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