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Review: Bloodline Season 3

Oh Bloodline, the moody, beautifully morose, and almost great (for a time!) show that just keeps getting harder to love. Season 3 picks up where the last season left off, with the manic and incompetent Kevin Rayburn (Norbert Leo Butz) having impulsively killed Marco Diaz (Enrique Murciano), who was just too smart to be kept alive. Marco, the former detective partner of John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler) and former romantic partner of Meg (Linda Cardellini), knew the Rayburns were involved in Danny’s murder and was set to destroy the family name.

The Rayburn family name is not so easily destroyed it turns out and besides, how dare you, Marco? Only the Rayburns will bring down the Rayburns! Without skipping a beat, Sally (Sissy Spacek) and the devious Roy Gilbert (Beau Bridges) form an unlikely duo intent on maintaining the Rayburn legacy, for their own reasons, of course. As the season goes on, it becomes clear that all of the worst things about this show – gross incompetence, nonsensical decisions, and way too many incriminating voicemails – are going to drive the plot almost entirely. That near-greatness the show stumbled upon on occasion through the first two seasons is almost entirely absent here, despite so much potential, as always.

When it was made public that Bloodline was forced to make season 3 its final season and that the season would be trimmed to ten episodes, audiences didn’t expect much, but they also probably didn’t expect this. It’s not so much that this season of Bloodline is bad, even though it is that sometimes, but that it prods along at such an uneven pace it seems the condensed timeline plainly confounded those in charge. Character arcs move along rapidly or end abruptly, some plot lines are relied on too heavily and others are thrown away, and of course, there isn’t enough Danny to go around. For a show with less time than it wanted, it sure spends a lot of time going in circles, even for a show as dedicated to the slow burn as Bloodline.

Despite all the negatives of this season, the show still manages to be gripping from time to time. The characters are still interesting, even if remarkably stupid, and watching this family come to terms with its past has always been compelling. These glimpses into what might have been only make the majority of the time spent with the Rayburns so frustrating. Even at its best in Season 1, Bloodline felt like a polarizing but solid, well-acted show that could and should have been an outright masterpiece. Much like the Rayburns, Bloodline just never figured out how to get out of its own way.

2.5
Dani Saad

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. Unless you're Harry Potter in which case you'll lose... everything.