The biggest sleeper series in Netflix’s growing slate of originals, Bloodline debuted on the streaming service last year dripping with Florida humidity and fraught with rampant tension. While the masterful Season 1 twisted viewers around the downhill tumble towards an event we knew was coming since the opening moments, Season 2 offers viewers no such blatant foreshadowing, instead making audiences just as paranoid and tortured as the Rayburn family’s middle generation.
Here are six things you need to know and/or remember before diving into Bloodline Season 2, which is currently streaming on Netflix, for a 10-hour binge session. Or, you know, whatever you have time for before your nerves start snapping in half. While spoilers from the freshman season will get mentioned, no big secrets or reveals from Season 2 will be shared here, as that would ruin one of the drama’s biggest draws.
There’s So Much We Still Don’t Know About DannyBen Mendelsohn’s Danny Rayburn was one of the most memorable (and deplorable) characters of the 2015 TV season, strengthened by a beaten-path story mired in tragedy and bad decisions. But while we’re aware of his coke smuggling and part of his role in Sarah’s death, among choice other things, there’s no reason to think that all of Danny’s story has been aired out, and that’s part of how Mendelsohn got to show up for Season 2. On a set visit for Bloodline Season 2, the actor spoke with me and a few other outlets and explained that he doesn’t even understand Danny completely, though he understands the appeal.
I feel like in a lot of ways that I’m still getting to know him and I think the way I’ve thought about him has changed over time, particularly in terms of what he does towards the end of that season, you know, why he would do something quite so grand and so difficult as bringing all that coke through. So, I have thought about him a lot. I think people resonate towards him because he’s very central to proceedings in the first season, and I just think he’s a very well written character. I suppose a black sheep is, by its nature, an interesting kind of a character.
Now, we don’t get to see as much of Danny in Season 2 as we’re used to, which means the beer and cigarettes budget on the show must have plummeted, but we do get to see how he spent some of his shitkicking days in other parts of Florida. Particularly where it concerns new character Ozzy Delvecchio, played by John Leguizamo. A character like Danny probably has skeleton-filled closets in many different places, just waiting to be opened.
John Is No HeroIn Season 1, John Rayburn came off as the one character who seemed to have a full hand of cards at all times, and even if he had an ace in his sleeve, he wasn’t the kind of guy to use it. Part of that had to do with him being a lead character and the other part is that it’s Kyle Chandler. But as we saw when John snapped and killed his brother for myriad choices that reflected badly on the family and put many in danger, there are areas of John’s persona where the values of his badge aren’t allowed to travel. He doesn’t become Danny by any means, but…
Season 2 widens the hell out of that morally grey zone that John currently inhabits. After all, he’s hiding a murder from his law enforcement coworkers as he mulls over taking a shot at stepping up the professional ladder, all while having to deal with everyone else that’s been affected in some way by Danny’s death, and most of them are bad news. If you think John is able to keep a sensible level of peace in his life without having to dirty his hands and cross more lines, then you’ve been in the Florida sun too long. Will his day of reckoning ever come? Or will it be more like a week and a half of reckoning?
Danny’s Son Didn’t Show Up RandomlyWhen Season 1 came to a close on the last minute arrival of Owen Teague’s Nolan Rayburn announcing his existence as Danny’s son, I thought it was problematic and felt like a cheap tack-on. But that was me admittedly not having enough faith in creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, who’d already explained that they’d mapped out several seasons of plotlines for Bloodline early on. And so no, Nolan does not feel like a cheap tack-on in Season 2, and he opens up yet another broken and unfinished chapter in Danny’s life.
Nolan also strikes another chink into the Rayburn armor, as he’s an apple that did not fall far from the tree, but not necessarily one whose polish has gone away entirely. And while his presence ties up some of Season 1’s loose threads, this leg of Danny’s drama doesn’t begin or end with Nolan. He is the means to a not necessarily greater or more comfortable end, but definitely one that causes tension along the way. He is Danny’s son, after all.
Sally Needs Some Answers, TooSissy Spacek was often sitting in the background or entertaining others during many of Season 1’s scenes, but that is in no way indicative of Sally Rayburn’s role in where her family’s darkened history goes. Obviously she’s not strapping on tights and a mask and becoming the Florida Keys Vigilante, but Season 2 sees a stoically mourning Sally allowing her curiosity to take her behind some doors that weren’t open to her before. During the aforementioned set visit for Bloodline, I’d asked Sissy Spacek if she felt any relief from Danny’s death, given how complicated things got, and here’s how she explained Sally’s thought process.
No, God, no. She misses him desperately, and I think that there’s a sort of, I think she’s feeling an estrangement. I think she’s feeling that there’s something very unsettling about Sally’s world and about the Rayburn family now, but I think that for her, you know, when you lose a family member in a really close-knit family, it changes the dynamic, and I think that the family is kind of fractured because Danny, of Danny’s death, and I think that, you know, that’s enough, him having died and the repercussions of his death are, that’s enough to, for her to think, everybody, we’re all acting this way, we’re all not ourselves, because we’ve lost somebody that we care about and that we love.
Because of the family that she held together at times – and rerouted into bad territories at other times – Sally can often be lumped in with those around her for their sins, but even though her role in some of the Rayburns’ history is muddled, nobody tells her much anymore. That doesn’t mean people aren’t asking her questions, however, which inevitably gets her asking questions. You guys know how it goes when people start digging up dirt.
Wayne Lowery Is Still Out ThereAs a second-tier villain and drug mini-boss, Wayne Lowery was pretty well-rounded throughout Season 1, thanks in large part to Glenn Morshower’s take-no-shit performance. A solid threat to anyone standing in the way, Lowery was also a family man who took few risks, making him a great foil for Danny’s death. But Season 1 wrapped up without really delving into where the dust settled on Lowery’s situation. Season 2 has not left him behind, fear not.
Season 2 kicks off as the investigation into Danny’s murder is ongoing, both officially and slightly unofficially, as is the plan to take Lowery down for his drug-smuggling ring and those burned-up girls. It should come as no shock to learn that Lowery is caught up right in the middle of that, but there are several very reasons why taking him down for good would cause problems...and not just for Lowery. It should also not be shocking to learn that Morshower nails the role so well that you just want to push his face into a pile of fish guts every time he says something with even an ounce of cockiness.
Kevin Is Now The Least Reliable Rayburn SiblingDanny was without a doubt the black sheep of the Rayburn family, but his backbone remained intact as he carved his own travail-filled line through the muck. Kevin, on the other hand, wasn’t on the opposite end of the spectrum from Danny, but he chose to coast along with the family, so he never became strong enough to stand up to his own wrongdoing. Season 1 saw him losing his grasp on the somewhat reliable life he’d built up around himself, and having to play a role in someone’s murder is understandably not something that even the most mentally equipped person can easily cope with. So Kevin is wading neck-deep in shit creek.
The horrible events of Season 1 reverberate in everyone else’s lives, but they make visible dents in Kevin’s head, and he definitely earns some scornful attention from quite a few of those around him. His actions affect every aspect of his life and then some, too, so an even keel is not easy for him to maintain. It’s a good thing he’s got such dependable, nonjudgmental and calm people like John and Meg to hold him steady, right? Maybe.
All 10 episodes of Bloodline Season 2 were released on Friday, May 27, and are all now streaming on Netflix, and they are absolutely worth cancelling your plans this weekend over. To see what else Netflix will keep you busy with in the future, check out our release schedule.