Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix
“Part 6” did not disappoint. After a rousing fifth episode, Bloodline’s tortuous journey continued to take dark turns, setting our characters up for disturbing collisions. Nobody’s dealing with the loss of Papa Ray well. The tragedy has rocked — in some cases directly, in others indirectly — every character to their core, forcing them to question what they thought their family’s status quo was, as well as what they’re after. While a ton of as-of-now-ancillary stuff happened (more on that later), John and Danny’s damaged relationship took center stage.
The episode opens with John doing detective work on the homefront. He knows Danny has spoken to Lenny Potts, and he knows Danny has the tape, a.k.a. physical proof of John’s lie. But how do you bring this up without being awkward? Or brave? As we’ve noted, it’s clear John can be the white knight at the sheriff’s office, maybe because that’s his escape from all this at-home dysfunction. But when it comes to his siblings, he’s much more of a gray knight. John, as most Rayburns are wont to do, puts the confrontation off. He calls Danny and asks to go fishing. Danny can sense something’s a little off, as this is the most random phone call the two brothers have probably ever shared. Fishing? Sure! Let’s do it … after I go on an insane bender in Key West and maybe commit suicide. These first few scenes were perversely fascinating to watch; they gave us a look at past John, present John, and present Danny all digesting the family’s gravest lie, and they expertly framed a stressful 57 minutes of TV.
After the phone call, we learn that Danny actually was cut out of the will. And a series of frustrating scenes follows: Sally is rightfully upset about this. She confronts Meg about the ordeal, and lets her know she’s upset. But — again, classic Rayburn move — Sally doesn’t take any responsibility for the decree of what should happen. She puts it on Meg. Who then puts it on the rest of the siblings. Who, aside from the Devil’s Advocate, Kevin, don’t want to take a stand one way or the other. The only person who eventually buckles is John, who says, If you cut him out, cut me out. Everybody kind of shrugs and says, We’ll deal with this later. The Rayburns are professional procrastinators, and I swear that’s one of the main reasons their lives are riddled with problems. Meg explains that sure, Danny’s been cut out of the will, but if everybody who’s inheriting the estate is willing to split it one more way, that’s totally acceptable. Effectively, Danny would then be put back in the will.
What are you guys waiting for?
Of course, as we’ve learned, nothing in this show is simple. There are a lot of layers to these kooky, complex onions of characters, and in this episode, Kevin took first place. One reason he might not be so intent on forking over his portion of the inheritance is he’s angling to buy his neighboring business’s space. Stanford douche-bag photographer from a couple episodes ago revealed that his mom had sold her real estate to developers who have plans to potentially bring in a yacht club — and then, Kevin fears, condos. This lady tells Kevin in this episode that if he gets the money by the end of the month, the whole kit and caboodle is his. Great, so that motivation kind of makes sense. On a deeper level, Kevin might not want to share his cut of the will because he still doesn’t trust Danny. But, as to this point, I’m confused. We haven’t learned much about Kevin’s past to know for sure that there’s bad blood between these two. At least nothing on the level of Robert and Danny.
If Danny’s wondering about his place in the will, he didn’t show any signs of distress. For him, the dramatic meat of this installment involved his disgust at John’s loyalty to their dead father. Danny, questioning his purpose and place in this life more than ever, links up with Eric to score some coke. He wants to fix things by getting cross-faded and dancing with barely legal girls in Key West. Well, he does both of these things, and in a truly depressing scene is taken advantage of by two youngsters who milk him for all the drugs he’s got and then bail. We never knew Danny before this point in his life, but it’s safe to say this seems like the lowest of his low points. Empty-handed, blue-balled, Danny heads to a bar where he starts a fight with a Navy man twice his size (both vertically and horizontally). This guy absolutely wipes the floor with Danny, and the Navy symbolism (remember, his dad was in the Navy) makes this thrashing all the more heart-rending. SeaSea, arguably the only person who genuinely cares for this black sheep, comes to take Danny home. But to make this night a complete and total self-implosion, Danny tells her he doesn’t care about her. To really drive the point home, he adds that if she cares about him, he cares about her even less. This episode was self-flagellation, both physically and emotionally, for Danny.
As he’s wandering home (thankfully he knows not to get behind the wheel), Danny’s picked up by a pseudo-hippie with a suspiciously nice set of wheels. Danny hops in, goes to hang out with this guy and his friends, and consumes even more potent drugs. In one of the more terrifying moments of this episode, Danny shows us a paranoid day-dream that helps us understand where his character is coming from: A SWAT team, led by John, raids the commune (or whatever this is), and John and Danny get into it. John questions what the hell Danny’s doing, tries to cuff him, and — Danny pulls a gun. Then things get wacky: Ghost lady comes back as the devil on his shoulder and asks Danny, Is it you or them? It’s evident that Danny’s wrestled with this very question his whole life. Who’s at fault here? Who’s the problem? Is his surplus of misfortune his doing or his family’s? If the family didn’t lie about the drunk-driving accident, would the police have dug deeper and criminally faulted Danny for the drowning death of his sister? Or, if his father were held accountable for his actions, would things have been different for the better? Again, my heart broke when I realized Danny has not and will not ever be able to escape his past and answer this question. Even if none of it was ever his fault. And what’s worse? All the people he truly needs to make things right with are gone. At the end of Danny’s vision, we see him half-fire Chekhov’s gun to make his joke from earlier in the episode come to fruition. (Another moment where I lost my marbles and almost threw my computer out the window.)
In the waking world, John calls on Lenny to confront him about the tapes, as well as the fact that Lenny’s picking at an old scab people are still trying to forget. Lenny reveals that when he went to the hospital, in response to Sarah’s drowning accident, he found Danny and Robert in the hospital together. As a result, he interviewed them together. John and Lenny collectively share a face palm and let the audience know this was Lenny’s biggest mistake. This was where the lie originated, and this was how it perpetuated. Robert, to protect himself, told all his children that Danny’s broken shoulder came not from his mean streak, but from a drunk driver who fled the scene of a hit-and-run. Without asking questions, and to protect their dad, all the children, including Danny, repeated the same story to Lenny. It’s important to note that Sally was out of town (for no good reason) and that Lenny, from that point on, never pressed matters further. As he puts it, he just wanted to let the family grieve Sarah in peace. But what’s significant here is that nobody was ever protecting Danny or standing up for him. It would be no surprise if that’s been the case Danny’s whole life.
John’s torn up about this, but not to the point that he can’t let it go. After all, Robert’s gone now. For good. Maybe there’s a chance to make things right with Danny. The last scene of “Part 6” served as a nice bookend to the first scene, showing that Danny’s scars run too deep to erase – he’s done with this family. He’s well-aware that everybody who should love him is two-faced as hell and just wants to sweep him and his baggage under the rug so their consciences can be clean. With a sinister laugh, Danny cues the end credits as his knife comes crashing down on a gutted fish’s head. Yeah, let’s go fishing.
• Kevin using internet divorce as a pickup line: classy!
• John can’t use a computer keyboard very well.
• This show is making me wish it were summer ASAP.
• I like that we’re moving into territory now where every scene counts. In the first few episodes, like I’ve said before, there could’ve been some fat-trimming. Now this show is feeling tight, lean, even when the episodes stretch closer to 60 than to 50.
• Danny’s ghost lady is back, and she is fucking with him big time.
• Danny meets up with Eric for an unfortunate line of foreshadowing, “Welcome back to the dark side.”
• Marco Diaz — Zodiac Ram. Mind blown.
• There were a few subplot developments that we should keep our eyes on: (1) Kevin goes to pick up some stuff at Belle’s house. He winds up snooping, only to find that she’s set up an internet dating profile. He stalks the date, but in a move that is surprisingly mature of Kevin doesn’t do anything, and then tells Belle that he’s come to grips with them separating. As fate would have it, he links up with a heartbroken SeaSea at a bar, and, wow, this doesn’t look good for Danny and Kevin’s already rocky relationship. (2) One of the inn’s valets recruits Meg to do some criminal defense work. (3) John investigates a lead Marco finds; he interviews an immigrant from Central America who was almost burned to death the same way Juanita Doe was. We learn that the fire is a safeguard that these human traffickers are using to ensure they never get caught by the Coast Guard, should their jobs go awry. (4) After gaining closure with Alec (at least temporarily), Meg forces Marco to propose. Marco says he doesn’t believe she’s ready.