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Why Bloodline's Finale Ended That Way, According To The Co-Creator

john at a bar on bloodline
(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Spoilers below for Bloodline Season 3 up to and including the series finale.

This past Friday, Bloodline delivered its third and final season to rabid fans who couldn't wait to see what new depths of emotional damage the Rayburn family would end things with. And dig down deep, Season 3 did, with two final episodes ushering in a mountain of bonkers moments and quasi-resolutions. The finale closed out with Kyle Chandler's John at the onset of what would presumably be a mega-confession to Owen Teague's Nolan, with a clicking Zippo lighter as the last big sounds we hear. Here's what co-creator Todd A. Kessler had to say about that all-important moment.

There were a few different thoughts on how it could end. I came up with that image of John and Nolan [silently] facing each other down on the dock last summer. That specific image was not conceived of at the beginning of the show. But the feeling of bringing the audience to a point where they are hopefully understanding the predicament that John is in and that he is really trapped was, by design, how the series could end from the very conception.

Todd A. Kessler, along with co-creators Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, had originally envisioned Bloodline to spend five or six seasons drawing out the myriad skeletons in the many closets within Rayburn House, but Netflix cut things off at Season 3, even lopping the episode count back from 13 to 10. And so Season 3 definitely comes across as rushing through the story at times, particularly John's descent into madness, while other moments like the finale capper are drawn out and contemplative, answering questions through audience assumptions more than anything else.

So it's a fairly bold move for Bloodline's creative team to still decide to go in this direction, especially after a penultimate episode whisked through a series of reality-morphing dream sequences and re-introduced the spirit of Ben Mendelsohn's Danny Rayburn as John's moral muse. And especially knowing that so many of Bloodline's other questions would still be left unanswered, offering the unavoidable consequence of fan frustration. (Some viewers might have used a word other than "bold" above, for example.) But while the details regarding John and Nolan's placement on the dock might not have always been in the cards, it's good to know that Kessler, Kessler and Zelman had at least always intended to finish this story on John unburdening himself to the person who'd arguably be most affected by that confession. That helps.

During his interview with TVLine, Todd A. Kessler also dropped a surprising-to-me reveal about Kevin and Roy's relationship. Specifically, that there wasn't anything connecting their own bloodlines, as he said this about Beau Bridge's drug smuggler potentially being Kevin's biological father.

I think the audience projected into that. We never tried to guide the audience to that conclusion. He was always more of a father figure. But in terms of hinting at the [complicated] history between Roy and Sally and Robert? There's something there.

I'm going to keep quiet about my theory that Chelsea O'Bannon's life rots to the point where she kills the remaining Rayburns in a revenge tale directed by Quentin Tarentino. Because I don't want either of the Kesslers or Zelman to tell me I'm wrong about it.

There are no plans to take Bloodline to a different studio to continue the story, as it's all finished now. (But maybe we're still hoping for another miniseries season that connects some of the disparate dots.) You can rewatch all three seasons to your black heart's content right now on Netflix, and you can hit up our 2017 Netflix schedule to see what other shows are hitting the streaming giant this year. For everything else, our summer premiere schedule will set you up with all the new and returning shows hitting the small screen in the next few months.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.