As we’ve seen throughout the second season of the Netflix thriller, “Part 19” contains some interesting plotting, but also demands serious suspension of disbelief. There are times when Bloodline edges dangerously close to ’80s soap operas like Dallas and Dynasty, which valued gasp-inducing twists above logical behavior. We’re not there quite yet, but we’re getting close.
John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler) gets up in the middle of the night, panicked. How does this guy sleep with all this guilt and pressure? He pops some pills. Good move, since he’ll be dealing with the arrival of Eve (Andrea Riseborough) in the morning. John can’t hide his disdain, looking at her blankly from across the room with his arms crossed. However, John’s daughter Jane (Taylor Rouviere) starts asking questions. Why didn’t the Rayburns, who have always preached “family first,” welcome Nolan (Owen Teague) and Danny with open arms?
Meanwhile, Meg Rayburn (Linda Cardellini) is digging around the political gutter. She got a manila envelope at the end of the last episode, giving her crucial information about a skeleton in the closet of Sheriff Aguirre (David Zayas). And now she’s using it. She goes to see Aguirre’s ex-wife, confronting her with a report of a 911 call for domestic abuse. No police report was filed. Meg is relentless, asking if he hurt her or if she went to the hospital. It’s a pretty gross scene, and a bit overwritten. Why wouldn’t Meg just leak the 911 call or go to Aguirre himself? It’s excessive to pry secrets out of an abuse victim.
John goes to meet with Eric O’Bannon (Jamie McShane), the poor guy who looks increasingly like he’s stuck in quicksand. Eric is being used by Ozzy (John Leguizamo), pressured by Marco (Enrique Marciano), and generally hated by the Rayburns. He may love his sister, Chelsea (Chloë Sevigny), but it’s hard to believe that Eric wouldn’t just hop a train out of town. John wants Eric to lead him to Ozzy, and promises to nix the police pressure off if he does.
Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) has a brief confrontation with Nolan, then opens a letter to reveal that he’s 60 days past due on his mortgage and facing foreclosure. What does Kevin Rayburn do in times of crisis? Hidden booze! He makes a beeline to a file cabinet, where he’s stashed a bottle of clear liquid. Bottom’s up.
After a scene in which Meg and John go over some campaign ideas, Eric tells Ozzy that he’s getting pressure from the pretentious lawman. Eric is a pawn on both sides of the board; who will decide to sacrifice him first? Ozzy wants to poke the bear and get the big payday that he thinks that he can squeeze out of the Rayburns. It’s interesting that Ozzy thinks that he can intimidate a family like the Rayburns, given that he’s clearly heard from Danny and Eric that they’ll do whatever it takes to keep their noses clean. Ozzy will learn this the hard way.
After Kevin runs into Doug, his buddy from the substance-abuse meeting, Aguirre has an interesting scene with Marco about the Rayburn case. He wants to go back to the murder at the Red Reef Inn. Why is Aguirre looking over old case files? Marco mentions the campaign, and Aguirre drops an interesting line: “You and me, we got history, too.” Did Marco bury the domestic-abuse call? In the insular world of Bloodline — where all the characters feel practically related — that wrinkle would make sense. Did Aguirre cover something for Marco in return?
Meg meets with Chelsea, who, in a too-neat coincidence, works at the hospital where Mrs. Aguirre went the night of the domestic-abuse call. Meg asks her to break the law; she wants the medical report. Why would Meg even ask Chelsea? She HATES the Rayburns. Why would she help John? It’s soapy that Meg would even ask, much less that Chelsea actually fulfills the request. I don’t buy it for a second, and I hate seeing an actress of Sevigny’s caliber used in such a rote role.
It’s time for Eve and Ozzy to mess with the Rayburns. First, Eve takes Jane out for coffee to answer her questions and plant some seeds of discontent regarding her family. Meanwhile, Ozzy runs into Diana Rayburn (Jacinda Barrett) after a jog, offering to help with a flat tire. Leguizamo is great as Ozzy, but he overplays a bit here. He might as well be wearing a T-shirt that says “I Slashed Your Tire.” Diana quickly gathers that he knows more about the Rayburns than he should. While Ozzy acts all menacing to John’s wife, Eve is stealing clothing for John’s daughter. Yikes.
Belle (Katie Finneran) suggests to Kevin that they shouldn’t be painting the nursery just yet. She could have preeclampsia, which bodes terrible things for her pregnancy. I so want Belle to run. She’s the only honest person left in the Florida Keys.
Jane comes home in a huff, and compares her dad’s questions to an interrogation before storming off. (Fact: Every teenage daughter of a television cop must do this at least once.) Diana tells John about the flat tire, and how Ozzy said there’s “more dirt out there than people know” about the Rayburns. John goes to check the car, realizes that the tire was slashed, and notices Ozzy’s prints on the tire iron. After running the prints, he now knows who he’s after — and discovers that Ozzy knew Danny.
Meanwhile, Marco and Aguirre work the Red Reef case again, with the sheriff even suggesting that John was in the room when everything went down. Meanwhile, John goes to pressure Eric about Ozzy.
In this episode’s best scene, we get a conversation between Kevin and Sally (Sissy Spacek). The Rayburn matriarch enables her screw-up son once more, telling a story about how Kevin learned to ride a bike on his own when he was six. Kevin notes that his dad never told him that he was proud of him, which Sally essentially blows off. Belle later notes that mom and dad weren’t there for Kevin that day, letting him get bloodied and battered as he learned to ride a bike instead of, you know, parenting. A story about bad parents has been turned into another Rayburn Family Triumph. These people don’t just turn lemons into lemonade. They convince themselves that they always deserved lemonade in the first place.
Ozzy and John have their first post-tire encounter. “You’re gonna leave town, Ozzy. Today.” Kyle Chandler puts on his most serious “angry whisper,” just as he did on Friday Night Lights whenever Matt Saracen disappointed Coach Taylor. Ozzy can’t believe that John won’t even ask him what he wants. John doesn’t care what Ozzy wants.
Chelsea gives Meg the medical records, and they make the nightly news. Aguirre’s wife called 911 a decade earlier for domestic abuse. The sheriff publicly denies the allegations, claiming that no incident report was filed, then slanders his ex with stories of her mental-health and substance-abuse problems. Alibi aside, Aguirre is up to something.
Tying up a pair of new plot threads, Belle Rayburn finds out her son will be fine and Meg gets the campaign money for the leak. The most important detail: A family dinner at the Inn goes horrendously. Nolan is there and Jane is defensive after her day with Eve. Meanwhile, Meg and John are drinking while Kevin pops pills in the bathroom. After Belle announces they’re having a boy, Jane lashes out. “When Danny had a son, you didn’t give a shit,” she says. She’s not wrong. Sally chases Jane into the house and they fight. Grandma slaps Jane right in the face. Later, Diana is furious about what went down, spitting out, “Sally can fuck up her own family. I am NOT going to let her do it to mine.” Sorry, Mrs. Rayburn. That ship has sailed.
Mrs. Aguirre meets with Meg in a church — of course it’s a church — and reveals that Marco is the one who buried the report. She faces a tough decision: Keep pushing dirty politics to get her brother elected, or protect her ex?
Finally, Kevin drives off drunkenly on a boat, ending up at Doug’s door. Maybe he’ll finally get help. And John, after seeing a matchbook that says “Ask Me What I Want,” goes off to find Ozzy. He doesn’t ask questions. He doesn’t want to talk. He punches Ozzy in the face. And keeps punching. And punching. And punching.
- It finally happened: This is the first episode without an appearance by Ben Mendelsohn.
- Speaking of Mendelsohn: He was obviously the MVP of season one. Who’s the MVP of season two? I’m going with Kyle Chandler, whose performance has been coiled and intense as John’s drama eats him from the inside out. Riseborough and Leguizamo have been very good, too. Still, it’s hard to shake the feeling that these are good performances in search of a better show.
- Too much of the plotting in “Part 19” is convenient, especially given how easily the Aguirre/Meg/Chelsea stuff goes down. I know Bloodline has to move quickly through ten episodes, but this was a bit too much to buy.
- Only four episodes left. It seems like Ozzy won’t make the end of the season — John may have just killed him in front of the Red Reef — but I’m starting to think a regular might be in trouble, too. Maybe Marco? Or Kevin? Who’s in your Bloodline death-pool?