The Rayburns are back -- and, boy, things have not gotten better
Credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Oh heeeeey everybody, we’re back! We’ve returned to the sun-drenched and tropical Florida Keys where the Rayburns are here to put the “fun” back into family dysfunction. Remember all the insanity of last season? Me either! (True story I had to go back and read my own dang recaps and if you need to do the same you can find them here.)

We begin with John driving. Always driving, this one. The inky black skies above him signify he’s thinking about some pretty serious stuff: He’s remembering how this particular tale all began, trying to pick up Danny at the bus. Though, of course, if this show has taught us anything it’s that the tragedy that is the Rayburns were set into motion many, many years ago.

John comes home. Danny’s secret son, Nolan, is asleep. John gazes at this kid, this mystery boy that so embodies his dead brother. (Trivia, this is the same actor, Owen Teague, who portrayed young Danny last season). He picks up Nolan’s phone, and there’s a password on it, which duh. Secrets. So many sexy secrets!

In the morning, the rest of John’s family is all… so, WTF? Why is this kid so weird? Who is he? Is he really our cousin? Uh, take a look at him, kids! What do you think? He tells them not to say a word about this to to anybody. Rayburn motto right there.

John goes outside to talk to Nolan and goes straight into his Coach Rayburn mode: very genial and friendly and all concerned about how Nolan slept and then finally is like, yeah, we need to talk. This kid is so spookily like Danny, it’s really quite something. Especially when he fixes John with a cold blue stare and asks if John is afraid of him. John is like, uh, nope I outweigh you by about 150 lbs. He does tell Nolan he’s curious as to what he wants. Nolan says his dad is dead, and he has nowhere else to go. He hands over his mom’s phone number. John says he’ll track her down. Nolan is all, yeah, good luck with that. Nolan continues to unnerve by being just slightly off and yet in such a familiar Danny Rayburn fashion. Ooof, I miss Ben Mendelsohn.

Kevin, clad as usual in flip flops and shades, looks haunted as he looks at the ice get loaded into his boat. We all know what he’s remembering! He decides on the spot to sell it (for much less than it is worth) to Freddie, who has apparently always liked it.

Meanwhile back into druggie fish land, it’s Wayne Lowry (a.k.a. Landry’s dad from Friday Night Lights). He’s with an even bigger drug dealer, and it’s all the same usual blah blah blah intimidated. People need to get murdered. There’s this poor dude, Jose, shaking in his boots awaiting execution, and even Wayne is all nah, he’s just some errand boy. Bigger, badder drug dealer doesn’t care. He wants to clean house with everyone who ever saw Wayne Lowry or dealt with Danny Rayburn. That guy, Carlos, Danny’s former partner, is on his list as is our old pal, Eric O’Bannon. (Eric O’Dirtbag! How I’ve missed you.) Wayne says that the word is he’s left town, and he cautions that this will all blow over and they can pick up where they left off.

Meanwhile, the Feds are showing pictures of Wayne’s guys that have gone missing, including Jose Munoz, to John and Marco and acknowledge that the drug dealers are cleaning house. John stares in a daze at Danny’s headshot, and Marco says they should close this case. (I’m guessing not so much.)

In New York, our gal Meg is also not handling things so well. For example, she’s sleeping on her office floor and her poor assistant has to wake her up and ask her about some secret Papa Rayburn bank account. Meg’s boss is looking less than thrilled with her when she shows up for a meeting. She asks if Meg is free to entertain some prospective clients that night.

John makes some calls about this Evangeline Rodosovitch. Marco comes in and says he’s bothered by something: Was Danny really going to go to the Pier dedication? Ruh roh. But guess what: John has become a really good liar. He stays cool. Marco tells him that he’s going to pursue other leads. We watch John’s blood pressure rise but his face betrays nothing. Marco tells him sincerely that he wants to do something because Danny was John’s brother, and John has no choice but to say thank you. But great news! It’s all about Eric O’Dirtbag now — which pleases me.

Speaking of which, here’s our favorite dirtbag now! He’s remembering the night at the hotel when Danny brained that dude who was trying to kill him with a seashell. We remember that John was outside and didn’t try to stop him. We see Danny’s face settle into a somewhat indescribable — part murderous part sad — expression, and it cuts to him in a car with a tape recorder in the heavy Florida rain. He lights a cigarette and hits record.

Kevin is flip-flopping around at the shipyard. His partner is like, hey, dude are you okay? Kevin vamps that it’s all fine. His worker pal is not convinced. He says that ever since Danny died Kevin has been unfocused and his mind isn’t on the job. Kevin does his whole “no worries” thing. He tells poor Jake to relax.

NEXT: It’s a not-so-fun family dinner

Over at the Rayburn Inn, Sally sits on the porch and talks to the detective, Lenny Potts. Sally: She always knows more than the kids think she does. In this case, she knows all about Nolan. She’s like, they’re all coming for dinner, and John is supposed to get us up to speed on the investigation. Sally is all, man, I don’t know why John is lying to me. Detective Potts offers to help find out.

John chats with the sheriff, who says, I hear you are throwing your hat in the ring for sheriff. John gives a totally politician-y non-answer, which the sheriff is like, uh, great, so you are. That’s not cool. “I’ll tell you this as a friend: If you run, I will stomp your ass.” And then the two men laugh and laugh in the way men do when they are totally not kidding and they both know it.

John comes home and is not psyched to see Jane and Nolan having a grand ol’ time chatting. Jane really loves this particular DNA strain of the family, right? John sits down and Nolan gets a wary look on his face. John tells him he hasn’t found his mom yet, and Nolan is like, listen, you asked what I want? I wanted to meet you and see if the Rayburns were actually real or a lie my dad told me. Yup, that all sounds like Danny right? John gives him a strange line about not expecting people to embrace you when you come in out of the blue, and Nolan is like, chill bro. He said Danny started sending him money. John’s ear perks up. Turns out that’s the answer of the mystery envelopes of money! Danny was sending them to his own apartment there in Miami, and that’s where he and Nolan would also hang out. It’s seeming harder and harder to deny who this kid belongs to, right?

Nolan also happens to know about the drugs in the apartment. John is like, hey did you by any chance see anything there in September? Nolan says no, he wasn’t even in Miami in September. Hmmm.

The remaining Rayburn siblings get on a conference call. John tells them he totally believes Nolan’s story. Kevin, in character, freaks out. Meg, also in character, is like this doesn’t change anything. John says he’s not bringing Nolan to the inn and not to tell Sally. The investigation is at a standstill and he’ll fill them in at dinner. Meg clearly wants to be like, um, I live in New York, remember? But instead hangs up. Her assistant (to whom she is not nearly nice enough) reminds her the bank keeps calling and also she has dinner with her boss and clients.

Kevin looks at a sonogram of the baby with Belle. He grins a little weakly. Belle points out that he doesn’t seem happy. They go into the age-old couple fight where she doesn’t want to guess what he’s feeling and he needs to tell her what is going on and he tries to make her feel a little bit crazy. She points out that he won’t even talk about Danny. He blinks a bit and shuts down further. But then, he breaks and says he wants to tell her everything. Just tell me, she begs. He starts with, “I f–ked up. I’m in so much sh—.” And it really does seem like he’s going to tell her, but then he sort of reels himself in and (man Norbert Leo Butz is good) and feints left and pretends it’s about being broke. Oh, Kevin. Belle does not seem convinced.

Perfect time for a family dinner! Diana is drinking out on the porch — and runs into Lenny Potts. She tells John, and Sally confirms that old Lenny is still sniffing around, and John is a little put out by all this.

(Meanwhile, we’re given quick cuts to Nolan who prowls around the Rayburn home, opening drawers, looking at pictures, seeing the life not given.)

Meg is on speaker listening to the update about the investigation. (Nice touch by the show to have the annoying ambient siren sounds of NYC be completely annoying and distracting.) John reiterates that this is all about Wayne Lowry. Sally glowers at him and says not to give up on Danny.

Meg and her boss go to Daniel’s West End (which most definitely does not exist) in Midtown to charm a couple of bros. That’s where we get a nice little montage of Meg downing glass after glass of red wine. Uh oh. She’s clearly being inappropriate and we can tell by her boss’s slightly horrified face, but the bros totally dig it. I, for one, love drunk Meg! She talks about the Keys’ crystal meth and cockfighting and says unconvincingly she doesn’t miss it for a second. Suzanne, the buzzkill, tries unsuccessfully to get Meg to switch over to coffee, but that’s not happening. Meg looks at the menu with the name Daniel on the front, and she starts to come apart a little bit, so she steps away from the table and goes outside where she’s clearly having some sort of panic attack.

She’s not alone! Kevin pulls out a stack of cocaine from the bottom of the ocean. Oh boy, this is a bad idea.

Sally sits on the porch and waits to hear her son come lie to her some more. He does not disappoint! First he asks her about him running for sheriff. She asks him about the drugs in the apartment in Miami and if it is possible someone else besides Danny could have put them there. He says it’s possible. She asks when he knew that Danny was dealing drugs. She shames him about not talking to her about it. She points out that she could have helped if she hadn’t been left in the dark. He apologizes. She’s like, well what do you say now? What else are you keeping from me? Now remember, she already knows about Nolan, so she’s basically setting him up. She tells him this is his chance to tell her what’s up. He sits and for a second you think he’ll come clean — but no, he does not. Sally’s face is devastating. She watches as he continues to spin around in his lies and misdirections and then she stomps off. Bad move, John.

NEXT: Danny causes problems from beyond the grave

In the morning Kevin drinks a beer, which is mos def healthy behavior, and then comes out to greet Marco. Ah, Marco. So tall and he never seems to sweat. He asks if Kevin will go with him. Kevin is all ah, sure, and does some coke in order to “calm down,” which… well it doesn’t really work, but who am I to tell Kevin how to do his drugs?

Meg sees her boss outside the office, and he quickly tells her how uncool her behavior was the night before. Meg is all, people drink a lot from where I come from. Oh my god, ME TOO MEG. The clients loved it, but her boss is not jazzed. Meg is like, wait, are you firing me? Suzanne is like, uh you slept at the office the other night: You might not be handling the transition well. She tells Meg to take the weekend off, and it does not sound optional.

Marco takes Kevin to look at a burned-out boat. Guess which boat it is? If you guessed the one John blew up with Danny’s dead body, you are correct. Kevin is a jittery mess. He looks closer at the boat, visibly sweating. Marco looks suspicious. Kevin says something something about insurance scam. But then he flips out a little bit at Marco about getting dragged down and plays the victim card and how-dare-you-question-me-at-a-time-like-this, which is strangely very effective.

John is sitting at the old Rayburn truck, trying to put up a for sale sign. He gets a call from Kevin. Cut to John being like, uh, why are you talking about the insurance scam? This leads to a discussion of what is normal behavior and what isn’t. Uh, too late Rayburns. John has become pretty scary: He tells Kevin he has to be ready for anything. Kevin says he’s scared. John says, you’ve got to be smart. “The only one they’re looking at is Wayne Lowry.” Kevin brings up the kid and then brings up Marco, and John is like, listen, you just need to worry about your wife and kid. Then they hug. Oh boy, John has a look on his face that says he is not too jazzed to see Kevin unraveling. Kevin asks John if he feels guilty at all. John: “You can’t think like that.” Yeow! Kevin tells John she wanted to tell Belle and John, scary-faced, says that will be a bad idea. “We had to do it, right?” Yes, Kevin, says John. We had to do it. John takes a call from Marco.

Wayne Lowry is chilling in his house while his kids play video games when the bell rings. Surprise! It’s the sheriff’s department. I actually feel a little bad for the poor boys in the living room. Lowry walks out and sees John out in the driveway. (Aside: Kyle Chandler looks so good in a law enforcement jacket!)

In New York, Meg talks to the mysterious bank guy. Turns out Pops Rayburn had a regular secret payment out to someone. It’s up to Meg to decide whether to keep it up or not. She says it depends on who the payment is actually going toward. Hmmm.

Wayne Lowry’s house is clean. Like, of course, he’s a smart criminal, right? John gets a call from the Miami shelter for runaways. Turns out Nolan was there in September, which means that he A) lied to John earlier and B) it’s entirely possible he saw John and Kevin planting the drugs in his father’s apartment.

Nolan is smoking just exactly the way his old man did and hitchhiking. He ends up at a little shack deep. He knocks on the door and tells our friend Eric O’Dirtbag (!!!!) that John is lying. Hmmm.

WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.

Meg is looking at the bank statements from her father: Turns out he sent $5,000 to one secret baby mama, Evangeline.

Back at his house, John looks over some papers and gets a call. He goes to the boatyard to meet (drumroll) Wayne Lowry! Wayne tells John he didn’t like Danny, but he didn’t kill him. He then tells John he needs the investigation to go away. John is all, and I’d do that why? Well, turns out Wayne might just have the upper hand: He puts a tape into a player, and we hear the voice of Danny. “Hey John, I’d like you to meet my friend, Wayne Lowry. I’ve told him some things that could make your life very difficult.”

Oh. boy. IT IS ON.

Episode Recaps

Netflix’s family drama features Sissy Spacek, Kyle Chandler, Sam Shephard and the list just keeps going.
  • TV Show
  • 3