“I’m always at the end of the story now,” John teases in voiceover at the start of “Part 10.” It’s almost like the writers can anticipate just how anxious Bloodline viewers are to know exactly what happens to Danny Rayburn and how each of his siblings factor into it. It’s hard not to feel like John’s kids, Jane and Ben, who demand answers from their parents when they’re forbidden from seeing Uncle Danny. We may have a few more answers than the teens, but we’re still frustratingly in the dark about most of Bloodline’s most emotionally weighty plot points.
Sally’s motivations when it comes to Danny, at least, become clearer here, as we see that her insistence on giving Danny another chance comes not from a place of just motherly love but rather a place of guilt: Years ago, she decided to leave Robert, and when Sarah confronted her wondering why her parents were fighting, Sally told Danny to take Sarah out on the boat. And we know very well what happened next. Sally blames herself for Sarah’s death, but she also blames herself for the downward trajectory of Danny’s life after the tragedy. John is always talking about how Danny was dealt a bad hand in life, but every episode reveals more evidence showing that each member of the Rayburn family played a role in sending Danny down a troubled path. The Rayburns have simply used the lines “he’s our brother” or “he’s family” to justify keeping Danny around, but guilt sticks more strongly as real character motivation for their actions. The more we find out about the day of Sarah’s death, the more the Rayburns of the present start to make sense.
“Part 10” is one of those Bloodline episodes that weaves the past with the present very organically. Sally watches her past self pack her bags, and visceral power of the memory is enough to push her to tell John the truth about her plan to leave Robert. Danny’s criminal activities are finally taking a psychological toll on John, who has presumably been covering up for him for a few episodes now by not acting on his suspicions of Danny’s involvement with O’Bannon. At one point, he sees a young Danny sitting in the back of his car, reminding him that he can’t escape the gravity of that day.
And despite the fact that it’s easy to feel for Danny when visiting the past, in the present, Danny has dipped very deep into villain territory. Like John, for a brief second, I really did believe he was turning himself in. If anything could get through to Danny, the death of two teenage girls would seem like the thing to do it, considering his lingering psychological trauma of the death of Sarah. But Quintana’s assurances that their crew no longer trafficks humans is apparently enough to comfort Danny, who chooses the bad guys over his brother. Those last five minutes are the most exciting Bloodline has been in a while, and Danny even gets to deliver a classic “I call the shots now” villain line.
But I’m not totally convinced by his full-on commitment to bringing down the family. Unless there are still pieces from the past left to be revealed that could further explain what has brought him to this point, it seems a bit like a reach. Bloodline has stood out from other thrillers so far by not having a real, hardline villain. Danny’s mere presence rattles and his return to the family business has introduced conflict into everyone’s lives, but given the way the series has used the groundwork of his past to inform his decisions in the present, he’s much more complex than the typical TV villain. Presumably, listening to the tapes has convinced him that his whole family has been against him since the day Sarah died. But Danny seems to be working on an evil masterplan, and I’m not sure we’ve seen enough character work to indicate that the character has crossed this far over into Big Bad territory.
- A part of me wants to believe that Bloodline is pulling a How I Met Your Mother and all of John’s voiceovers are him talking to his children about what went down with Danny.
- Kevin is mad. What else is new?
- Quintana should have known Lowry—the man who didn’t hesitate to torch a bunch of trapped human beings—was never going to let him just sail off to the Bahamas until things quiet down.
- Meg has some really great moments in this episode, as she turns the heat up on Carlos and also comes clean to Marco. We know Marco will eventually come around though, because this wedding has to happen to get everyone into their seersucker murder suits.
- Meg might be a better detective than John.
- I’ve decided that everyone in this family loves cheap beer more than they love each other.
- Chandler and Mendelsohn continue to give acting masterclasses every time they’re on screen together.
- Danny’s “I may never take this thing off” line about the seersucker suit was a little too wink wink for this show. Yeah, yeah, yeah we know he dies in the seersucker.
- Sally says something about John needing to be held accountable, which checks out, but she also throws Diana into the mix. Does Diana have a bigger role in Danny’s downfall than we realize?