The action (or “action”) in the pilot begins when Danny returns home for a Rayburn family celebration. He wants to officially move back home and join the family business, but the rest of his family isn’t so sure. There is also an unknown dead woman, Juanita Doe, because the rules of prestige drama dictate that there must be a dead woman in the pilot. But she seems to fall by the wayside in favor of the Rayburn theatrics. To be fair, though — and here’s a big spoiler — the Rayburns have their own dead woman looming over them: a fifth child, the eldest daughter, who died young, leaving Meg destined to always live in her shadow, and be Robert’s second-favorite daughter.
Bloodline tries to keep things moving by employing dreamy flashbacks and flash-forwards, each hinting at the dark and twisted secrets that populate the Rayburn family, and each with the implicit goal of keeping viewers watching. They are certainly intriguing, but these moments of intrigue are far and few between, particularly during the first few episodes, and didn’t generate enough suspense to keep me coming back for more. One telltale sign that Bloodline hasn’t worked for me so far: I actually sought out spoilers for the final episodes, worried that I’d never have the patience to sit through it otherwise.
Much of this has to do with how this show’s approach differs from that of most other Netflix original series, in which the first episode is so engrossing that you have to keep watching (especially if you don’t want every big twist ruined for you on social media). Bloodline moves at a pace that we’re not used to. It promises, from the very beginning, that something big and bold will happen toward the end, but it’s determined to make us really work in order to get there.