May 31, 2015


Glenn Kessler / Todd Kessler / Daniel Zelman, 2015
Bloodline is a very different piece of episodic television. We have now been spoiled by amazing pilots, episodes that completely pull us in upon first viewing. Many years after Lost (possibly the greatest pilot of all time), the standards are basically set and expectations are always high. Honestly, Bloodline's pilot isn't all that great. It's undeniably bold, you have to give it that. Not many writers have the balls to show the final events of the season in the first episode. That sort of tactic exudes confidence in the sense that you feel self-assured that everyone is going to stick with it waiting to see WHY what happened actually happened. And for a couple of episodes, you sit there wondering if you really did see all that you really needed to see. You decided to hang in there because of the veteran cast: Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepard. But then, there's a shift. It's actually hard to reflect on the season and determine when exactly this shift is, but it's somewhere around the fifth episode. The amount of character development in such a short period of time is stunning. You get pulled into the dysfunctional family dynamic and you don't want to leave. The series is so menacing and yet so alluring. The dream sequences, past memories constantly resurfacing in their present moments, talking to imaginary figures. All while trying to run a family business and dealing with the same conflicts that many families do in terms of competitiveness and jealousy. Anyone with siblings likely will identify with many of the conflicts that arise, hopefully without the whole murder and criminal elements at play. The series really serves as a coming out party for Ben Mendohlson who is just fantastic in his Danny character. But it doesn't stop with him, the series is perfectly cast. Not one bad performance. Everything is so well executed that by the conclusion of the first season you really don't want to leave the Rayburn Inn. And that's strange because you've spent enough time there by the 13th episode to realize how foreboding the place can be when you get off of the beach and venture inside.

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