Bloodline Season 1 Episode 9 Review: “Part 9”

Bloodline

“Part 9” begins with Sally Rayburn, undoubtedly the least developed character of Bloodline‘s core group, in a flashback. Her young self frantically packs some clothes and gets on a bus. The scene itself doesn’t say much, though it is meant to fill some of the gaps the story has purposely left blank until now. In parallel, the opening feeds into what Lenny, the former detective, had openly said: the fact that the matriarch was absent during the time Sarah passed and Danny had been injured was always suspicious. Additionally, if we keep connecting the dots, it is safe to say that Robert was no walk in the park, which is something this episode in particular delves into.

Meanwhile, in Jane Doe related news, John goes to the bait shop where Wayne and Rafi work and talks to both men, with the excuse of a bogus fishing trip. Just as he believes that the case is getting some traction, he finds that the police headquarters has visitors. As it turns out, the DEA is onto Wayne. However, they want him for his drug activity, and they are in the dark about the human trafficking, which is the angle John uses to remain on the case. As a result he is privy of one key detail: Eric is in cahoots with Rafi and, therefore, with Wayne.

Having learned the new information, John immediately assumes the worst and fearing that Danny might be involved with the case, he meets with his brother. The sheriff asks the black sheep of the family if he has seen his buddy Eric, and without blinking, Danny responds in the negative. John doesn’t believe him yet understands that pressing the issue would be counterproductive. Instead, he changes the subject and mentions to the eldest Rayburn that Diana did not appreciate his behavior the night the two men went out and got drunk together. In turn, Danny promises to make things better. The scene unfolds like a game of emotional chess, where both men are trying to anticipate the other’s move.

Later on, Kevin, who is very much a paranoid nervous wreck, decides to avenge his attack. With a baseball bat in hand, he unloads his anger on Nick Widmark’s car, who he has decided, with absolutely zero evidence, was behind the assault. This action, like most of what Kevin does, is a bad idea from beginning to end, yet is also completely in-character with who he is.

Meanwhile, Danny and Sally have some mother-son bonding time by going out for dinner. It is pleasant to see the two of them together, yet every time they have one of these gatherings, we, the audience, know that a storm is ahead. Danny wastes no time and tries to push another of his ideas to leave his imprint on the inn, continuing to erase his father’s legacy. This time around, he suggests they broaden their dining services. He believes that their restaurant shouldn’t be exclusively for guests, which makes sense; however, the way he tries to convince his mother is manipulative. He pushes Sally’s buttons by claiming that now she has a say. It is an uncalled for and cruel comment, and Sally interjects, telling him she always had a voice in the family business. Her comeback is satisfying, albeit not powerful enough to dissuade Danny.

The following day, Wayne calls Danny and asks him to do an impromptu delivery. The now drug and hotel entrepreneur packs a bag and gives instructions to his lackey, Carlos, who uses a company vehicle to do the drop off at a gas station.  Given how implicated the inn is now in Danny’s narcotics side gig, it is easy to sense that something bad is going to happen very soon. At the same time, a part of me could see the guys from Graceland investigating the Rayburns AND doing a better job than what John, Marco, and the DEA have been doing so far.

Later on, Danny is cutting a fish when Jane stops by to visit her grandmother. The two have a nice conversation, and Danny teaches his niece how to fillet a fish. He also casually mentions that Diana and John paid for his culinary school. Though the scene is mostly benign, there is a very twisted element to it. Not only that Danny is holding a knife in close proximity of that young girl, but also, simply given the fact that he is after revenge and taking as many prisoners as he possibly can, it makes the thought of him and Jane getting acquainted a very terrifying thing. Once again, Mendelssohn’s performance brings the chilling factor to unprecedented territory.

Sally is unaware of the deterioration her family is experiencing: John is hitting dead ends both at work and at home, Meg is haunted by having to make a choice she is not sure of, Kev has absolutely nothing to fight for, and Danny is deeply involved with traffickers while he plans to bring his own family down. However, her subconscious is sending her signals, and as she sits outside of the house, facing the beach and holding a bridal magazine, she remembers that fateful day when she got on that bus, ready to leave her family behind. Sally’s thoughts on that time are not further explored because Meg interrupts, and the two discuss Danny’s new idea. While Sally is now on board, Meg points out that she doesn’t believe the plan is viable.

The other profoundly undeveloped character of the show, Diana, is upset at John. She had been plenty clear about not wanting Danny around their children, and hearing that Jane spent time with him earlier is not something she is comfortable with. Rightfully so, she tells her husband that he has fallen short at taking care of the situation. And he has. Diana, who is reminded by her daughter that she and the sheriff paid for cooking classes, also asks John about that. Once again, he comes up empty. This was my favorite scene of Diana’s in the show so far. She has consistently stood her ground and, unlike her husband, doesn’t let go easily. I really wish she had more scenes and power.

Later on, John’s wife gets an unexpected visit at work. Danny tells Diana that he wants to apologize for whatever upset her, yet he sounds more threatening than before and does indeed tell her not to stand between him and his brother. After their interaction, Diana decides to get the answers her husband couldn’t provide and calls the school Danny supposedly attended. She is informed that he only went there for half a semester, which she tells John.

The sheriff now seems to have opened his eyes and wants to know more about his brother. He follows Danny and sees him send money somewhere, which prompts him to go to his office and check the criminal record database. Browsing, he learns that Danny had been arrested for possession of prescription drugs. The person who bailed him out was a woman named Beth, who worked at a restaurant in Miami.

In the meantime, Danny, who seems to be on a tour to surprise the women of the family, visits his sister and flat out tells her to quit voicing her opinion about the inn to Sally. He keeps seeing his siblings as obstacles towards his goals and is focused on threatening them. However, Meg is not a push-over and reminds him that she has her own mind, and she is entitled to express her thoughts, even if he disagrees with her. She also makes clear that she is thinking about what is best for the business, then proceeds to ask her brother to leave. Meg’s expression is mixed; although there is determination in her, there is a hint of fear. Again, Linda Cardellini delivers a convincing performance that Mendelsohn matches. Danny leaves with a warning; he can go “a lot further.”

In his pursuit of the truth, John checks out the restaurant where Danny used to work, which is now vacated. He then talks to a local who tells him that Danny used to run the place and ran it quite well. However, a fire destroyed everything, which, as expected, makes John suspicious. It does appear that everything Danny touches, sooner or later, turns into ashes.

In a turn that is perhaps to well-timed, Beth reaches out to the sheriff and the two meet. She explains that Danny owed money to his shady business partners and stole the drugs out of necessity, intending to sell them to pay said associates. According to Beth, the men could have been behind the fire. To top it all off, she tells John that Danny was a wreck after he lost the restaurant, and that aside from his affair with narcotics, he used to talk to Sarah. Yes, the man who taught his daughter to cut a fish open, had an actual conversation with their dead sister. Peachy.

John, who for some reason does not make sure that everyone takes the sharp objects away from his brother, visits Danny’s empty apartment. The landlord informs him that he has not been there in weeks and that he has gotten mail. When the second eldest Rayburn checks the contents of the envelopes, he finds money.

Later that night, Meg and Kevin meet. The lawyer of the family asks the train wreck why John was so adamant about everyone cutting Danny some slack. She is reminded by Kevin about what happened. The scene is solid and provides interesting context, since clearly Meg doesn’t recall what exactly took place. In fact, she is shocked to know that her father hurt Danny. On the other hand, Kevin accuses his brother of killing Sarah and excuses Robert’s brutality. I truly wished the scene was longer.

The next day, Meg and Marco are having drinks with Mama Ray. All of the sudden, Danny and Chelsea show up and are invited to join, an event that makes Meg visibly uncomfortable. To add to her displeasure, Danny teases her and Marco about Meg having secrets. This prompts the newly engaged lawyer to follow her brother to the kitchen and call his bluff. She makes it clear that she will not let him manipulate her by the fact that he knows about her affair and dares Danny to tell Marco the truth. While I still don’t condone the infidelity, I admired Meg owning her mistake and not letting the black sheep of the family profit from it.

That night, Sally and Danny have another bonding moment, when they share a joint and she opens up to her son about her marriage to Robert. The mother sheds some light as to how she met her husband and further explains that they got married young and fast. Mama Ray confesses she didn’t even tell her parents that she was traveling to the Keys to become a family woman. Then she clarifies: “When you have no other choice, you run away.” Having no choices and running is something Danny, too, knows well.

As the ninth installment of Bloodline is coming to a close, Eric is pulled over while he is transporting gasoline and subsequently driven to the police station, where John interviews him. The sheriff wants to talk about Danny.

“Part 9” was an hour of Bloodline filled with tension and drama, where old and new pieces come into play, shedding more light on the missteps different members of the family have taken, especially Danny, who, as the series develops, becomes more of a threat to everyone’s happiness. That said, a few developments did fall into John’s lap a little too easily.

Highlights:

– Diana was cleverly employed as a device to plant the seed of worry in John. She is, after all, protecting her family, and her intuition seems to be more in tune than her husband’s. At the same time, given that she is more impartial towards Danny because she does not carry guilt about his past, her vision is not as compromised. I do hope that the character gets more screen time.

– The DEA team. Why on earth can’t they decide how to pronounce Rafi’s last name? They do it different ways every time. I marked this as a highlight because even though I suspect it was an oversight, it could also be taken as lack of attention to detail coming from the task force, which is a problem considering that they are people who need to investigate. If they can’t pronounce a last name, how can they do anything a tad more sophisticated? Also, “Quintana” is not that hard to say!

[Photo via Netflix]


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