Rectify: Donald the Normal

"I don't belong here. No offense."

Time to go out into the world again, even if you have to use a different name. Or take a job that you know will bore you to tears.

Daniel goes to Atlanta

As I've mentioned before, one of my favorite things about this series is the unexpected depth of the conversations. Daniel was in an art museum looking at a painting he'd seen often in a book, and a stranger named Peggy (Frances Fisher) struck up a lovely conversation with him. They talked about art and expectations and the sense of wonder we experience as a child. I think that was a nice little reminder that, even after his unpleasant stay in the hospital, Daniel is still in a state of wonder as he experiences the outside world.

During lunch, Daniel lied to Peggy and her friends about his name and occupation, undoubtedly because he didn't want to deal with the whole miracle-release-from-Death-Row thing. But it's also clear that Daniel would love to be "Donald", the owner of a small bookstore in Mobile, Alabama. I think Peggy could tell that there was a lot more going on with Daniel, especially when he didn't know what a panini was. She could have been a possible future friend if he hadn't lied to her about who he really was.


Loved the book discussion. Peggy's friends didn't like The Mermaid Chair, and they were freaked that Daniel had memorized Tobias Wolff's short story, "Bullet in the Brain". I did some reading about "Bullet in the Brain" and I can completely understand why Daniel found the "time travel aspect" so fascinating. The book-club-like discussion was also an appropriately timed reminder of Daniel's relationship with Kerwin.

Daniel's visit to Kerwin's mother and brother made me cry. What I found particularly heartbreaking was the way Kerwin's mother kept talking about how Daniel's mother must be feeling. It was deeply moving, the way Daniel thanked Kerwin's mother just for Kerwin's existence, but it was also clear that there was no way that Daniel could have any sort of ongoing relationship with Kerwin's family. He would be a constant reminder that Daniel's mother got her son back alive, and Kerwin's mother did not.

Going on a day trip to Atlanta and keeping a long standing promise to Kerwin gave Daniel a much needed lift, although tearing apart his mother's kitchen, including the linoleum off the floor, may have been a bit too on the impulsive side. Daniel was also rude to the couple in the diner, allies who wanted their picture taken with him, which would have been fine if they hadn't followed up their initial kindness by being so mean and intrusive. It felt wrong somehow that Daniel was rude to them, although I certainly understood why.

I often talk about an episode's Most Obvious Symbolism. Daniel remodeling his mother's kitchen obviously symbolized the way Daniel needs to fix his relationship with his family and renovate his old life.

Teddy visits Carl

Frankly, I wish Teddy would just disappear from this series. I don't like him and his hatred for Daniel, and I especially don't like the way he treats Tawney. He's not abusive or anything, but he just doesn't see her as a person. Here, he was mad at Tawney because she didn't instantly sign away her house because he told her to. He was even madder because his friend Kent inadvertently echoed what everyone else has said about Teddy's new business venture -- that it's a terrible idea.

Teddy reacted to that little bit of truth by getting drunk and trying to have sex with Tawney without making up with her first. And then Teddy deflected his anger on to Daniel, deciding that it was all Daniel's fault that Tawney had rejected him. Which led to Teddy visiting Sheriff Carl's house and telling him about the half-Nelson coffee grounds incident.

There is nothing funny about assault and what Daniel did to Teddy was undoubtedly wrong -- and yet, Teddy confiding his shame to Carl and their discussion of the "general crack area" was weirdly funny. I think this was the first time Rectify made me laugh out loud. I especially liked when Teddy mentioned "hindsight" and Carl couldn't help smirking.

The thing is, Teddy even admitted that he knew that Daniel was just trying to get through to him. But it's clear as day that Teddy is never going to let this grievance go. I was also disappointed that Carl said that he still believes Daniel killed Hanna.

Amantha gets a job

I'm probably getting repetitive about how much I love Amantha, but she was hilarious in this episode. Eating a huge fast food burger while smoking simultaneously (loved the ketchup on either side of her mouth), lying to her mother about what she ate for lunch while looking for nonexistent bubble wrap (not stocked because no one ever leaves Paulie), interviewing for a job at Thrifty Town that she really didn't want, promising she wouldn't quit immediately and she wouldn't get bored. But she's staying in Paulie, and she did it for Daniel. Another reason why I love her. And I'm sure she will get bored.

Bits and pieces:

-- Daniel kept reacting to things that a normal "Donald" wouldn't, like the hood, the siren, the gorilla with the sandwich sign. Are there a lot of ape references in this series, or is it just me? What do they mean? I also didn't understand the use of the song "The More I See You".

-- Peggy described how she tried to imagine herself in the moment of an artist or writer or musician's life just as they finished a work. I've never done that. Interesting idea.

-- Beautiful shots of the white tables and bright orange chairs from above at the art museum. Kerwin loved anything orange, so I think that was deliberate.

-- Amantha worked at Atlanta Metro Gas for eleven years. When Amantha was packing, we saw a highlighted and dog-eared copy of Capital Punishment in Georgia that I hope she'll never need again.

-- Stefon Whitman, Kerwin's brother, was played by Aldis Hodge, who was a cast member on Leverage.

Quotes:

Peggy: "I think the brain's afraid of being in a state of constant wonder. It's for safety reasons or something."

Peggy: "I think we should reinstate wonder, banish expectation."
Daniel: "I concur."

Daniel: "Thank you for Kerwin. He was a good person, and he was my friend. I miss him every day."
Billie sobs.

Carl: "It's a big difference in the eyes of the law if an object, in this case, coffee grounds, had been forced into your... anal cavity..."
Teddy: "Jesus, Carl..."
Carl: "... rather than some had just matriculated into your, uh ... general crack area."

Three out of four bottles of orange soda,

Billie
---
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

My apologies for how long it took for me to return to Rectify. The fall season just intervened. I'm going to try to get as much done as possible before the winter premieres.