Netflix Bloodline Season 2 – Episodes 1-3 Review
The Netflix Original Bloodline began in critical condition. The first season elicited skepticism and waning curiosity over genuine emotional investment. Through the viewers’ eyes, they cast their finger on the show’s pulse and felt its erratic behavior. It would accelerate, then taper, and, at its worst points, flat-line. The only solid reason to continue watching the show was to unlock the mysteries of the story’s repressed past and grim future. Now all previous questions have been answered, and from these answers arose new questions. However, there is only one vital mystery that remains: does Bloodline Season 2 resurrect the show and improve it? The answers may not be so promising.
Everything beyond the camera is exceptional. The lighting and color are superb. Both seem practical and look professional. However, the content and the visual design are rarely complemented by the camera work.
It’s almost as if the cinematographer and camera operator slapped a long lens on the camera, framed each shot, disregarded appropriateness to content, put the camera in a box, and shook it throughout each scene. Sure, the circumstances of the story and the state of the characters are immediate, imperative, and unstable. However, these qualities do not hold true in every scene. Ultimately, the consistent close-ups and shakiness dilute the effect; in many scenes, both seem employed as a crutch to compensate for poor framing.
Superficial. The narrative and plot have a shell of thrilling drama though Bloodline frequently feels hollow. The writers and filmmakers (Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, and Daniel Zelman) seem to have followed a drama instruction manual and assumed all the thrills would land. Sometimes they do. Only sometimes. More often than not, Bloodline appears to possess all the key actions and scenarios that reap intense drama, though they are difficult to believe and harder to care about. The recipe was followed tremendously; the product just didn’t rise.
The dialogue is intense, though often redundant. The flashbacks are informative, though often stall the narrative. The set-up is dynamic, though often falls flat. Nearly every element has its hamartia. The potential is so clear that its failed fruition is agonizing. In Bloodline, Danny is the problem child. He can ruin everyone and everything. It seems the fabric of the show has its own Danny. And he must be mad.
The Rayburn Family
Speaking of Danny, his prominence as the best character and performance remains resolute. For the actor behind the character, Ben Mendelsohn, this is great news. For the second season of Bloodline, now that he only appears in flashbacks or to haunt John Rayburn, not so much.
All other factors aside, this is where the catastrophe lies. Bloodline is built off its characters and their dynamic. They are the pillars and the motivation. They are what keep viewers watching and what constitute the show. They are everything, and yet, they are liquid. Rather than having a solid integrity, they take the form most suitable to the show’s circumstances and contrived progression. Each character contradicts how they felt and who they are in an instant. It is almost as if each character is a false alibi told by a child; there is no consistency, and the narrative is fundamentally broken. Either the writers knew where to start and where they wanted to end, then made it up as they went along, or they are delusional. None of the characters are people. Nor are they characters. Nor are they caricatures. Each is simply a mishmash of contradictory traits assigned a name. The result is vital to the shows failings and fatal to its success: the characters are unconvincing. Therefore, it is impossible to care. For any production, that’s bad. For one centered on the emotional turmoil of an intimate family, it’s unforgivable.
Ironically enough, Danny was the shining example despite being the most wicked character. He was the show’s redemption. Now killed off, his reappearances seem like desperate attempts to raise quality and acquire care from the audience. Or rather, vain attempts.
End of the Line
Bloodline is a step. The first step for Netflix in the drama category and another to be tread over in the general genre.
Maybe the show will return and attempt to make amends. Or maybe it will fall back into the same self-destructive cycle of its past.
Bloodline Season 2 is better than its predecessor, though still has a long way to go. If it does not fill its characters and story with substance and integrity, then it will drown with the family members that have and the reputation of the Rayburn name.
Danny stood out because of his mediocrity. Hopefully, the show will not continue in his image.
Perhaps the show can be better. Who knows; the Rayburn’s are never quite what they seem.
Our Rating: 6/10
All photographs are the courtesy and copyrighted property of Netflix.