I’m a big fan of Bloodline and waited to watch the last season because I wasn’t ready for the end. With 10 episodes, it’s the shortest run so there was that much less to anticipate. So did they stick the landing in this family drama of lies and cover ups? Mostly.
I’ve thought of the best way I’d summarize each season. I call Season 1 The Crisis of The Black Sheep, Season 2 The Sliding Aftermath and Season 3 The Consequences. The Rayburn family had an old skeleton in its closet that only got worse with age.
This show had a unique story telling style. The first season wasn’t shy about telling you how it ended almost right from the start. How and why everything got to that point was the story. Season 2 was the escalation of lies. A snowball of cover ups that, for me, made a riveting season to watch.
The final season had a lot of psychological weight to it, a stress that pressed in on everyone for every episode. Mostly it was guilt, surrounded by suspicion and anger from those on the outside (you do not want to be an O’Bannon).
It goes really well for 8 episodes. Then, the penultimate episode took a surreal psychological twist that was very out of character for the show. Maybe not entirely as the Rayburn’s have been under stress that would crack most people. But it was the commitment to doing it for a whole episode that I find bewildering. The 8th episode ends on a major cliff hanger that you have to wait for the final episode to get back to. It’s a detour into a supposed important abyss that I think could have been done in about 10 minutes and then gone back to reality to keep the story on track.
The problem I have is that episode 9 wastes a lot of time that was needed for other characters. With the season being 3 episodes shorter than the norm, time was already of the essence and it made some character motivations come off as unclear and half baked.
There are three characters who basically lose their minds. Two of which I can get behind. The other…it’s a reach. It also feels like they ran out of steam on some story threads (it’s a good thing Netflix didn’t give them a final order of 13 episodes, it would have gotten really bad). I didn’t like what they did with Roy and there was a chunk of important background to him with Sally and Robert that needed to be explored. I didn’t understand Belle’s turn well enough at all. And Ozzy! I loved him in season 2 and he hit a brick wall. It’s like the writer who came up with him left and no one else could figure out how to integrate him back into the story. One of the bigger fizzles of the show for sure. It’s strange. Almost of the threads that went back to Danny (the keystone of the show) ended up being ignored for Marco and Roy.
With those missteps, the finale managed to be strong. At the beginning of the show, you know there can’t be a good ending. I did get closure for most of the main players. That feels good, having a good idea what happens to them after the credits. But the landing stumbles. I felt gipped on John’s ending. It plays out like a dream where some kind of redemption for him is brushed to the side. I’m all for the final scene being between those two characters, but stopping where they did is dumb. End it with a dialog to tell us if the decision was to tell another lie or tell the truth. Then cut it there for an ambiguous but purposeful end. I think all of my problems at the end are easily avoidable, you just need to start with getting that time back from episode 9.
Bloodline didn’t end as strongly as I had hoped, but I still think it’s a great show. I really love the premise (the cast is fantastic) and it’s packed with some intense and memorable scenes. Given time, I’m going return to the Rayburn Inn and enjoy that time in the Florida Keys again.