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Bloodline Season 3

Upon its inception, Netflix was a novelty that provided an interesting alternative to a trip to the video store.

Bloodline-Season 3: B+ Bloodline-Full Series: A

With an expansive catalog and an easy method by which to rent and return DVD’s, it guaranteed that I could track down a copy of ERASERHEAD without scouring the entire CNY landscape. Flash forward to present time, and Netlix is now a powerhouse. Not only is there a seemingly endless array of films and shows available, but their original content now ranks amongst the best that the entertainment world has to offer. One such production is BLOODLINE. The dark family drama only lasted for three seasons, yet it delivered a story of stunning depth and intensity.

The final season of BLOODLINE was released at the end of May, effectively bringing the saga of the tortured Rayburn clan to a close. For those who have yet to see the first two seasons, the show tells the tale of a (seemingly) close-knit family who live in the sticky Florida Keys. Robert (Sam Shepherd) and Sally (Sissy Spacek) are the proprietors of a beautiful inn located on a picturesque beach in paradise. Their son John (Kyle Chandler) is a local police officer, their daughter Meg (Linda Cardellini) is a successful attorney, and their other son Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) runs a boat yard. Like any family, the Rayburns are not without their secrets. Most of these revolve around the eldest Rayburn child, Danny (Ben Mendelsohn.) While Robert and Sally’s three other offspring stayed local, the troubled Danny tackled various endeavors elsewhere. Many of these activities were illicit in nature, and as the entire family gathers for a Pier dedication for the Robert and Sally, the siblings hope that Danny will fail to show.

Danny, of course, returns for the event, and his arrival changes everyone’s lives forever.

Originally, at least in the minds of creators Glenn Kessler, Todd Kessler, and Daniel Zelman, BLOODLINE was going to have a five or six season run. When the announcement was made that Netflix would be canceling the show after its third season, however, it meant that a drastic condensing would have to take place. The result is a program whose final 10 episodes would need to deliver immediate resolutions to numerous story lines and character arcs.

BLOODLINE is a dark family drama that only lasted for three seasons, yet it delivered a story of stunning depth and intensity.

The first season of BLOODLINE was exciting, dramatic, and fresh. The performances by the entire cast were phenomenal, but it was Chandler and Mendelsohn whose turns were most noteworthy, earning Emmy nominations for their turns. Due to these accolades, they helped draw more attention to show, and provided plenty of hope for the future.

The second season of BLOODLINE dealt largely with the aftermath of Danny’s return, as the family attempts to stick together as their world crumbles around them. Drawn deep into a web of lies, deceit, and pain, they feign normalcy as closely-guarded secrets threaten to destroy them.

The performances by the entire cast were phenomenal, but it was Kyle Chandler and Ben Mendelsohn whose turns were most noteworthy.

You are unlikely to see two other episodes this television season that are more intense than that of the first two episodes in the third season of BLOODLINE. With each one of the siblings reaching a breaking point, they have all come to the realization that their lives have spun wildly out of control. Turning on one another and executing acts of desperation, they each find themselves on the edge of oblivion. In these initial episodes, the gas pedal is planted firmly to the floor, and the story blazes along at an unrelenting pace. While the remaining 8 episodes have their fair share of fireworks, their pacing is much more aligned with the previous installments of the show. That’s not to say they aren’t filled with drama and thrills, but they are a little more reserved than the frenzied events of the first two.

In my opinion, BLOODLINE stands alone as the best Netflix series to date. Admittedly, this third and final season does not quite match the same level of greatness as its predecessors, but this was obviously the result of its premature cancellation. There were so many different subplots developed in the preceding seasons, that it was difficult to resolve them all within a 10 episode time frame. The result is a number of disjointed and hurried story lines that failed to receive the time needed to make them work. Even so, as BLOODLINE reached its conclusion, there were a number of sequences that were absolutely spellbinding, and the performances, once again, of the entire cast were beyond reproach. They inhabited the characters with such biting realism and desperation, that it was easy to lose yourself within their gut-wrenching (and largely self-induced) plights. As absurd as it sounds, there were numerous times that I had to remind myself that I wasn’t involved in the Rayburns catastrophes, and I was merely along for the ride. From the shows earliest moments it seemed unlikely that any character was going to reach the finale with love and joy in their hearts, yet the journey was enthralling from the first moment to the last.

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.