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[Warning: The following story contains spoilers for the seventh episode of Bloodline‘s third season, “Part 30.”]
While Bloodline‘s third and final season began with John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler) speeding away from the Florida Keys and ignoring calls from his mom and siblings, it’s Meg Rayburn (Linda Cardellini) who’s ultimately able to break away from her family.
She previously tried to start a new life in New York in the Netflix series’ second season before ultimately getting sucked back into her family’s issues. And earlier this season, she’s seen in a flashback telling then-boyfriend Marco (Enrique Murciano) that she’s thought about leaving but always comes back.
Indeed, it’s Marco’s brutal murder by youngest Rayburn brother Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) that prompts Meg to move away and change her identity. As viewers learn in the third season’s seventh episode, when John finds her, Meg is now going by Amy and is telling her new group of friends that her parents died in an accident and that John is a childhood friend whose father was in the Navy with her dad.
It’s a significant break but one that she’s able to stick with, not going back home with John despite his arguing that it would help with the ongoing trial.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Cardellini explains why she feels like Meg has to take such extreme measures, what Meg’s future holds and why Meg’s so affected by Kevin killing Marco.
Co-creator Todd A. Kessler said they had to modify or condense some things they had planned because they’d hoped to have five or six seasons and ended up with only three seasons. How did this affect Meg’s storyline?
I think it made her have to fight for her own survival faster. I think if there were more seasons, she would’ve — I think they probably had it planned where all of the characters end up; they probably wanted a longer time to get there. I actually think it makes Marco’s death more important to her in a way. It makes that the catalyst of her change. His death really shines a spotlight on who the people you think you know really are. She’s always sort of fought for Kevin and had been on Kevin’s side, and after that it’s just over for her. It’s completely unnecessary what he did and just brutal. It’s strange because Meg was never a very good girlfriend to Marco and so for him to be the person that makes her turn everything around is interesting. But I also think that she knew he really loved her. She just couldn’t love him back properly in the same way. The idea of someone who actually really loved her and cared about what she wanted and who she was as opposed to her family who has to love her and are doing things that are just destroying her life and watching his family, who really protected and loved him, fall apart because of it, it’s an interesting mirror to be held up to her. Looking at his family vs. her family and his loyalty vs. her family’s loyalty. Is it truly loyalty within her family, or is it just survival with people with whom you happen to share the same DNA?
She does seem really affected by Marco’s death. She sees his body [and she’s crying], and she’s also troubled by what Kevin did. How much do you think Marco’s death awakened feelings that she had for him, and how much was she motivated by how awful what Kevin did was?
I think with Danny[‘s (Ben Mendelsohn) death], they were able to justify it that it was for the good of the family, it was for the good of everybody. But I think when she sees what happened to Marco, which just looks like murder, even though the other was as well, I think that it’s so brutal, the brutality of it, it’s too much. It’s too much. Where does it end? And who are these people? And I don’t want any part of it. I feel like there’s a part of them that wanted Danny to disappear, and I think there’s a lot of them that wanted their problems to disappear but I don’t think she ever could have imagined, like she says to Kevin, “You hit him over and over and over again.” Like, that takes something else. That takes something inside of somebody. It’s so brutal and it’s so disgusting that it changes her perception of what she’s dealing with and the world.
Meg does leave and moves away. Why do you think she’s finally able to break away from her family? This is something that we’ve seen Meg try to do before with New York and even this season we hear her saying she’s thought about leaving but she always comes back. Why do you think it sticks this time?
I think she has no way of relating to anybody anymore. There’s nothing really there for her anymore. Her mother (Sissy Spacek) cares more about making ceviche and keeping up appearances than she cares about what actually happened. And her brother. They’re all so selfish, including her, but I don’t think she recognizes her own selfishness, as most jerks don’t. I think it’s really difficult for her to stay there and what’s been created and what even ends up happening there. How do you go forward from that? I think she has to run away. I feel like it’s the only way she can survive, or it’s going to swallow her entirely.
She really breaks away — she changes her name, her phone number, some of her life story to the people that she’s hanging out with.
Well, yeah, she goes on to live a huge lie, which is the thing that started all of the problems. So you have to imagine in the future her life may not get that much better. If she ever has a child, my God, that history’s going to be — I guess it’s going to be better to probably never say anything.
Why do you think she has to go that far (changing her name, her life story, etc.)?
I think it’s the only way she can think of to try and survive somewhere else. The idea that she could be somewhere and someone could run into her who had come to the inn on vacation or knew about her family or Googled her, I think, is terrifying. With the internet everyone can know everything about you in an instant. The idea of changing her name is the first step in really trying to separate herself. How could you even begin to tell that story or where you’re from if you’re trying to get away from it? Somebody would know somebody somewhere.
We see John come out there and see what some of her life is like, and he tries to get her to go back for the trial. Why doesn’t she go back with him?
I think it’s a huge step for her that she doesn’t go back because if she does, she’s just going to be in the same position she was when [she came back from] New York. She’s tried that, and it didn’t work. I think she’s done taking chances on or sticking up for anyone in her family. She’s making it so if someone wants to come after her, they really do have to come after her. I think she’s just done there. I think she still cares about her mom. You can’t help but still love people. It’s a family. Even if people aren’t such upstanding characters, the love is still there, especially between a mom and a daughter. I think that she still cares about everybody in a way. But I don’t think she can involve herself anymore if she wants to have any kind of life. I think the first two seasons were about surviving and the family surviving and the third season is about each of them trying to survive on their own. It’s about their own survival. How lonely it must be to have that many secrets.
It seems like Meg is still in touch with John, because he sends her a couple of texts that the trial is over. Do you think she’ll continue to stay in touch with John or get in touch with her mom or even Kevin?
I think Kevin will take the longest for her for sure. I think she has to deal with a lot of her own feelings and deal with what Kevin did and that’s going to be difficult for her. In order for her to have her own life, it’s one of those things where she can’t really engage too much. But I imagine someday when and if she has her own family, there’ll be a lot of questions that she has to answer. She might never even tell a single person. I don’t know. Or she may choose to never have a family because of it.
What do you think the future holds for her? Is she just going to continue to reinvent herself?
I would imagine she could. I think she’ll always be haunted by it. I think she’s got to get her drinking under control. I don’t think it’s going to be an easy life for her, just because she moved away and changed her name and got new friends and can sing karaoke when she’s wasted. I don’t think that makes her path and the future easy at all. She’ll forever be haunted and forever be running away from herself and what has happened. I think she has the best chance of getting away and maybe starting over of the siblings for sure but I don’t know that that’s necessarily a very bright future.
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