Thursday, June 1, 2017

Bloodline Season 3: Peak Shoreline

My wife and I saw the third season on Bloodline on Netflix the past few nights. It's especially good to see on Cape Cod, where the shoreline at the foot of our stairs has a lot in common with the shore that's the swaying backbone of Bloodline.  But Bloodline's especially good to see anytime, being, as it is, one of the finest narratives ever to be on any kind of television screen.

I don't usually start my reviews with the acting, but it was a tour de force, across the board, in Bloodline.  We've been Kyle Chandler fans since Friday Night Lights, but he put in a performance in Bloodline which in some ways exceeded that, given the intensity of torment in his lead character, John Rayburn.  Norbert Leo Butz as John's younger brother Kevin was also superbly memorable, playing a character who is somehow even more complex and realistic, a package of weaknesses and surprising strengths impossible to classify.

When Sally - also wonderfully played by Sissy Spacek - surprisingly lashes out at John at the end (no doubt born of her hated over what he did to her beloved Danny), Kevin suddenly becomes the wiser, protective brother, telling John he doesn't have to absorb this abuse. Unlike John, who's too damaged to keep his wife and family together, Kevin is able to grow into being a father, and even tell his wife the truth about the family she has married into.

On that note, I would have rather seen a different ending - hopeless romantic that I am, I think Kevin and his wife and baby deserved better.  But the Rayburns are manifestly never ever about happy endings.

The storyline has all kinds of shockers, my favorite being the role of the coroner in the early episodes of this final season.  Even the smaller roles are top-notch, with great work by Beau Bridges and Melvin Van Peebles and Ben Mendelsohn.  It was also good to see David Zayas, almost reprising his police role from Dexter, and Linda Cardellini as sister Meg Rayburn.

But back to the storyline - not only would I have liked to see a slightly different ending, I'd be much happier if this was not an ending to the series at all.  There are all kinds of questions hanging, not only what John says to his nephew Nolan (Danny's son) on the dock, but the source of the same dream John, Kevin, and Meg are having, and what exactly happened on the boat years ago with Roy and Robert.  So here's a plea to show creators Glenn and Todd Kessler, and Daniel Zelman, and Netflix, for at least one more season (hey, their superb Damages had five).

The sun is high, the water's just right, so I'm going for a walk by the bay, and thinking how good it would be if we could see another season of Bloodline up here next year.

See also Bloodline Season 1: Mainlining Family ... Bloodline Season 2: Darker Maybe Even Better than the First

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