Bloodline: Season Two – Almost Shakespearean (Review)

Netflix poster for Bloodline

The second series of “Bloodline” aired May 27 and while it was only 10 episodes this time around, this slow moving, almost Shakespearean tragedy, is  impossible not to watch.  Having missed the first season, it was fortuitous that Netflix gave newbies a recap that was as engrossing as the entire second season.  In fact, it was so interesting that the first season had to be binged in order to get completely caught up in these latest proceedings.

Tri-Creators Glenn KesslerTodd A. Kessler and Daniel Zelman bring us a Southern family, based in Florida, who have more secrets than Carter has little pills.  None of the players are likable, too caught up in the selfish pursuance of their lives and businesses to care much about each other.  This is not a close knit family, although three of the siblings manage to team up for one to murder Danny Rayburn (Ben Mendelsohn) and the other two to help him hide it. 

Kyle Chandler is John Rayburn the cop in the family, a detective with aspirations to be the next Monroe Country Sheriff.  Linda Cardellini  is Meg Rayburn the lawyer in the family, Norbert Leo Butz is Kevin Rayburn alcoholic boat yard owner.Sissy Spacek is the matriarch  whose husband, played by Sam Shepard, died in season one. 

Beau Bridges plays what can best be described as the devil as he pours money into John’s election campaign and bails out Kevin.  He also apparently is  the man above drug runner Wayne Lowry (Glenn Morshower).   

In season one the Rayburn clan  clearly won the dysfunctional family award, at least in Florida,  and season two carries on the theme while Meg, Kevin and John conspire to continue hiding  the murder.

Oddly enough, this Netflix original series features characters that are not very nice or overly charismatic. The siblings, with the exception of dead Danny, all profess support for one another and do manage to work fairly well together until John’s opponent for sheriff starts digging up clues about Danny’s murder.

Even Sissy Spacek’s character, despite her twinkly eyes and ready smile, is not overly pleasant. Sure she is friendly to the paying guests but she has yet to fix that shower in bungalow three. She also lashes out violently at another character in this season.

It is not just the Rayburn family that come over as deeply unpleasant. John Leguizamo plays small time crook and leech Ortiss and he is sort of a friend to Eric O’Bannon (Jamie McShane) who is a low-level miscreant who was Danny’s best friend for years. Evangeline, Danny’s wife (played by Brit actress Andrea Riseborough) is a sponger and possible con artist. 

Danny, who manages to pay back the entire Rayburn clan by dropping  them so deeply into the sh*te that it seems they will never climb out, was no worse than his entire family.

The show is slow, almost plodding in its snail’s pace of delivery, but there is something compelling about the entire series.   Part of the enjoyment comes from brilliant camera work, great set pieces and convincing set dressings, not to mention as great plot.

Of course the main reason is that sterling cast.  Kyle Chandler literally screams cop from his every pore. Cardellini convinces whether she is on the attack or so vulnerable that one wants to scoop her up in a blanket and sooth her.  Mendelson, in his flashbacks and visits to brother John, is just brilliant.

Bridges as Ray Gilbert is like Ka from “The Jungle Book.” Cool, soothing and hypnotizing, this man is pure evil dressed as a mega-rich and benevolent businessman.

Anyone who watched the first season will not be amazed at the way season two ends.  No one, it appears, gets out unscathed. It does literally end in tears and with another murder, possibly two.

This drama is compelling and hard to stop watching. Once the first episode is seen, it is nigh-on impossible to turn off till the end.  In fact the only real complaint about “Bloodline” season two is that it ends far too quickly with only 10 episodes.

(On a sidenote: Spacek literally seems to have conquered aging.  It is delightful and not a little unsettling to see how well the Oscar winning actress has aged.)

Catch Sissy and the rest of an uber talented cast on Netflix. All at once or a bit at a time, you will not be disappointed.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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