Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn.
Photo: Rod Millington/Netflix
The three-season arc of Bloodline ends with a shot of a man staring into the eyes of his nephew, possibly about to tell him that he killed the boy’s father. In this series finale, we get closure on a number of arcs, including the saga of Kevin Rayburn, and we say good-bye to a number of the key characters throughout the series. Most of them will leave the Florida Keys, a setting that practically became another character on this award-winning drama. Diana moves out of the home she created with her once-prominent husband. Meg is already on the other side of the country, seemingly happier than anyone else. Kevin and Belle flee to another country, but fail in the way that Kevin always does. As Sally realizes that she’s trapped in a doomed vacation spot she can’t sell, John finally gets the chance to speak to Nolan. What does he say? That’s for you to decide.
Before that ambiguous ending, Kevin’s world collapses. He knows that the Feds are getting closer to his drug-running operation, and he’s told by his best employee that he needs to get an attorney. Shortly thereafter, he’s persuaded even further by one of the Cubans pushing a gun into the back of his neck. He’s got to make things right and get the bad guys to safety in Cuba — and he’s only got 24 hours to figure it out or his family will die.
As John tells Eric that he’s finally ready to confess (and Eric tells him to “go fuck yourself in Hell, please”), Sally prepares to sell the Inn. She calls it bittersweet, kind of like the end of the show for its hardcore fans. She tells John that Nolan wants to talk to him about Danny. Wait, is this is another hallucination? Beth is there, too, and John hears his dead brother whisper, “John, John, John. She’s a friend of mine.” John is still deeply haunted, and I don’t think it’s his blood-pressure medication.
The equally haunted Kevin seems ready to end his sorry life. He’s in the garage with the barrel of a gun pointed to his head when Belle finds him. She convinces him to put the gun down. Belle seems convinced that John can fix this, but how? Kevin goes to his brother with typical finesse, yelling at the man who might save his life. He does make a few good points about John Rayburn’s superiority complex, however, and asks what Nolan knows about the Eric-Marco trial. Why was he sitting with Chelsea in the courtroom?
Our first major good-bye scene arrives in the form of Diana saying adios to her distant husband. She left him half of everything and got a new place for herself and the kids. While she gets a decent monologue about how the Rayburns were sad from the day she met them, it’s mostly a reminder that Diana was a strong first-season character who had no real place in the show’s last two years. Still, I’m glad Bloodline actually gave Diana a good-bye scene instead of just forgetting about her again. She leaves her husband, and John Rayburn cries.
The second good-bye hits John’s kids, as Sally tells them that she’s selling the Inn. The Rayburn legacy is no more.
While his family gets some closure, John is scrambling yet again to save his dumb brother. He’s talking to a detective about how Kevin is “entry level at best.” Maybe they can turn Kevin and get him to testify against Roy Gilbert. Small problem there: Roy Gilbert and his team have the ceramic dolphin that Kevin used to brain Marco Diaz. That plan isn’t going to work. Kevin just needs to turn himself in. Kevin refuses and tries to talk to Roy … only to find out that he’s dead! Kevin is seriously out of options.
After looking for an evasive Nolan, John comes home to a drunk Sally and sulking Kevin. The Feds are coming for Kevin now, and Sally reveals that she can’t sell the Inn because the water is going to keep rising and it’ll all be in the tide within a decade. The sea takes everything, including her children and her home. She’s wasted her life. John is cruel, pushing his mother away. It’s an overwritten scene, but I like Sally telling Kevin, “I let you be weak” and finally yelling at her favorite son, telling John how much of this is his fault. It’s nice to see John call Sally on a little of that self-righteous hypocrisy, too, saying, “You had no idea what family was.” Sally Rayburn is far from blameless.
John Rayburn can’t even light a cigarette without thinking of the brother he killed. He’s imagining Danny again, flashing back to a tender exchange between brothers on the same beach spot where he’d kill Danny years later. He’s also speaking to the ghost of Danny, who says things like, “I was a bad kid from the start, right John?” This show was never stronger than in its beats between Kyle Chandler and Ben Mendelsohn, and I’m glad we got another strong one in the finale.
Cut to a sunrise over the Keys as John tells the special agents that Kevin will turn himself in. They pound on his door. Uh-oh, no one’s there. Kevin ran. John calls him and puts him on speakerphone, but he’s halfway to Cuba. Of course, the Coast Guard quickly catches up with the boat, but it’s a trick: Kevin and Belle are actually headed to Bimini and now they have a head start. It turns out that John was in on it all along, helping Kevin and Belle escape with their kid. However, Belle was too stupid to not turn off her phone’s GPS, and the last we see of Kevin Rayburn is the man’s bar time being interrupted by an arrest. There’s a bit of karma here, although I’m not quite sure it’s enough given how much we had to watch this dummy get out of a murder charge and ruin lives in the process. For all we know, Bloodline will reboot in two decades (doesn’t everything?) and we’ll learn that he wiggled out of these charges too. I just wish there were more of a final hammer coming down on Kevin Rayburn.
We learn about the GPS from Aguirre, to whom John tries to confess. He tells him that he killed his brother and framed a man for the murder of his partner. Aguirre won’t hear it, and tells John that he’s moving to Boston to work with Mike. Even Aguirre gets his own good-bye. It’s interesting that Bloodline has twisted and turned so many times that Aguirre doesn’t even believe John when he confesses — or maybe he just doesn’t care anymore.
Finally, John Rayburn walks to the family house and hears the ghosts of happier times. He sees a young Danny on the dock. Or is it Nolan? An adult Danny puts his hand on John’s shoulder. Young Danny suggests that Nolan doesn’t need to know what happened to his father. Older Danny knows that he does. John marches to Nolan on the dock. The two stare at each other. Cut to black.
• The series closes with Sam Shepard (who played Robert Rayburn) singing “You Are My Sunshine,” and then talking about the origin of the song over the credits. I missed Shepard in this season. Nice that even he gets a sort of good-bye.
• Was Ben Mendelsohn strong enough in these last two episodes to get another Emmy nomination?
• As for the season overall, the MVP is obvious to me: Kyle Chandler, who did phenomenal work in the last few episodes.
• All in all, this season had an interesting arc. The final pair were clearly designed as a satisfying farewell to the series, but we spun our wheels getting there. The trial was underdeveloped, Meg disappeared, Ozzy was wasted, and so on. But do you think it was worth the wait? There was something uniquely satisfying about these last two episodes, and I wonder if they would have been as strong without the other eight.
• Thanks for reading for the last two seasons. See you for the reboot in 2037!