9 unanswered questions we have after Bloodline Season 1
Ivan Radford | On 26, May 2016
With Bloodline Season 2 arriving on Friday 27th May, some will be binge-viewing the first run to catch up with Netflix’s series. Others will be looking forward to returning to Florida Keys for more Rayburn family action after a 12-month wait. But whether you’re new to Bloodline or not, Season 1 left a number of unanswered questions, which have been running through our minds all week…
Warning: This contains spoilers for Bloodline Season 1.
Did the Rayburn family really not talk about what happened for that long?
From the moment we arrived on the Rayburn family ranch in the Florida Keys, it was clear that something was going on – something involving the return of Danny (Ben Mendelsohn), the eldest son of father Robert (Sam Shepard) and the black sheep of the group. Matriarch Sally (Sissy Spacek) welcomed him back with open arms, while the others – quick-to-anger brother Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz), sister Meg (Linda Cardellini) and nice guy John (Kyle Chandler) – all looked awkward and uncomfortable. It wasn’t until halfway through that we found out the truth: that Robert physically abused Danny when he was younger, something that the whole family then lied to the police about to cover up. Oh, and that the siblings’ sister, Sarah, died when they were all young, something that Robert blamed Danny for. Families can be good at keeping skeletons in the closet, but even with the cast doing a fine job of selling their troubled relationships, the show’s reliance upon the idea that it took several decades for the truth to surface undermined a lot of its believability; in such close quarters, the family members essentially had the same conversation over and over again for 13 episodes, yet still nobody thought to spill the beans.
How did the police not investigate more?
Families not saying anything is one thing, but police officer Lenny Potts (Frank Hoyt Taylor) failing to find out what happened was just as ridiculous: we eventually learned that Lenny had interviewed Danny and Robert at the same time, allowing the dad to cover up his abuse, while the rest of the kids played along. A intentional indictment of police practice? Perhaps, but for all of Hoyt Taylor’s weary regret, it was still hard to buy into the idea that he would waltz back into their lives without explicitly mentioning anything about his connection to the family until the first season’s second half. Especially with Danny in possession of the police tapes from those interrogations, playing them over and over. Danny’s murder in the penultimate episode of Season 1 – and Sally’s hiring of Lenny to investigate her son’s disappearance – is sure to mean the digging continues. The question is: will he ever find anything? Or will we just be treated to a string of fake-outs, as the police (and private detectives) prove as incompetent as ever?
Why didn’t John lose his job?
With the family drama unfolding at an absurdly slow-burn pace, it was the second half of Bloodline’s season that really kicked into gear, as Danny decided to get revenge upon the clan by using the restaurant as a front for trafficking drugs. That pushed the series into crime thriller territory, with Danny and John set for a head-on collision – but even after the drugs were (almost) discovered on their premises by the DEA, nobody suspended John from his own investigations into local crime bigwig Lowry, who was working with Danny (and may or may not have been trafficking humans too). Can nobody in Florida Keys say “conflict of interest”? It fell to Chandler and Mendelsohn to keep us engaged in their cat-and-mouse plot. Surely John, now he’s being lined up for election as a local official, will be exposed, given he was the one killed Danny?
Do we care about any of the others?
While John and Danny had an engaging relationship, the rest of the Rayburns never quite managed to grab our attention – will Meg ever choose between husband Alec (Steve Pasquale) John’s partner, hot-cop Marco (Enrique Murciano)? Do we even care?
Will Bloodline survive without Ben Mendelsohn?
Danny was not just the catalyst for the show’s plot – he was the centre of the whole drama. His relationships with, and his manipulation and distrust of, each of the family members pushed and distorted every other character on screen: even with his childhood abuse going unmentioned for so long, Danny drove the tension and guilt to the surface in a way that paid off come the show’s finale. Can Bloodline continue without that crucial presence?
Why isn’t Ben Mendelsohn in everything?
Mendelsohn has long been one of the big (and small) screen’s most underrated actors. Ever since Australian crime family drama Animal Kingdom, he has appeared in a range of projects, always stealing scenes with his signature blend of barely-concealed rage. His prominent role in Bloodline only made it clear that he was the best thing in the show – and, frankly, should be in every TV show ever made.
Do we really need more flashforwards?
Flashforwards were the secret to Bloodline’s success, as creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, who gave us Damages, kept teasing us with shots of Danny’s death to keep us clicking on that next episode to binge-watch. But it also meant they spelled out the future in a way that highlighted the predictable character arcs: the good cop going bad, the honourable attorney revealing her immoral side, the laid-back brother getting angry. With Danny gone, will they bring us more flashforwards for Season 2?
What exactly happened to Danny in Miami?
Perhaps the best thing to do is opt for flashbacks (a la Sarah’s pendant and Season 1’s emergence of her watery death) instead of flashforwards, giving us an insight into what was happening in Danny’s life in Miami, while he had disappeared for all of those years. That way, we still get some mystery – Who was chasing him to get their money back in Season 1? Who burned down his restaurant? And will these people now come after the Rayburns? – plus, more importantly, it would give us more Mendelsohn for our money.
Who is Danny’s son?
Season 1 ended with a tease of what’s in store for Season 2, with the appearance of Danny’s son asking what happened to his dad. With the rest of Danny’s family coming out of the woodwork, will the truth finally out? At the rate these people actually talk about their problems, probably not.
Season 2 of Bloodline arrives on Friday 27th May on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. Season 1 is available now.
Photo: Netflix / Saeed Adyani