We gave it a B+
“We’re not bad people. But we did a bad thing.”
That was John Rayburn’s explanation of what happened in the first season of Bloodline first season, when we watched the designated caretaker of the Rayburn family decide protecting his closest relations meant killing one of its own. By season’s end, John (Kyle Chandler) had gone from distrusting his brother Danny (Ben Mendelsohn) to murdering him.
Season 2 picks up right there with John, Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz), and Meg (Linda Cardellini) all dealing with the aftermath of their choice to pin Danny’s death on drug dealer Wayne Lowry (Glenn Morshower). Will they get away with it? And perhaps more importantly, can they handle the emotional repercussions? Because as Meg expresses as early as episode 2, despite his death, this season is “still all about Danny.”
For one thing, Danny’s alleged son Nolan is now in town — played almost too well by Owen Teague, who played a younger version of Danny in the first season — and he’s a mirror image of his father. Then there’s Eric O’Bannon (Jamie McShane), Lowry, and even Danny himself, still making his presence known with things he left behind, all of whom act as potential threats to the Rayburns. It seems the family’s efforts to save themselves from Danny has left them more entrenched in Danny’s world than ever before.
But while the tone tenor of Bloodline remains consistent, the storytelling has changed. Things are knotty now. If the first year played out like a puzzle — we knew Danny would end up dead and watched to find out how it happened — season 2 is a maze. There’s no clear end game for where things are going, as the family unravels in more and more dramatic ways. Presenting itself as more of a thriller than the first set of episodes, season 2 isn’t as easy to binge, simply because each part builds upon the fear of what’s coming around the next corner.
Which is not to say season 2 isn’t of the same quality. On the contrary, the show’s darker tone gives its powerhouse cast more to play with. The Rayburns are no longer just a family with a difficult brother, or good people who did a bad thing. Maybe they’re much, much worse.