by Billie Doux
Sometimes I feel like this show is dragging me in directions I don't want to go.
Like Daniel reliving his confession and the murder alone in his room. It's clear that he loved Hanna back then but hasn't really thought about the actual murder. Such a huge event in his life, and it feels like he's always thought around it. Please don't tell me he actually killed her, guys. I still don't think so, and my investment in this show is at risk if he did.
Episode titles aren't always as appropriate as this one was. Superficially, "The Great Destroyer" was probably Daniel. Whether or not he killed Hanna, Daniel has messed up the lives of everyone in his family, and he knows it. For this entire second season, the kitchen has been a big metaphor about Daniel's return home. He's a broken mess that won't get fixed, and won't go away.
But I think "The Great Destroyer" here is actually the justice system, and how it has mangled Daniel's entire life in its maw. Jon, who apologized for not being a better lawyer even though he's been a darned good one, presented Daniel with D.A. Person's crappy plea deal. Daniel took it a whole lot better than I thought he would, and I totally understood his ultimatum: not one more day in prison. But it is simply bizarre that Daniel's only path to freedom could very well be confessing to a murder he didn't commit. There's something seriously wrong with a world in which things like this happen, and Amantha and Jared both were having difficulty even talking about the possibility.
And yet, if Daniel doesn't confess and take the deal, he gives up control of his own life again. If he goes back to prison, another inmate could kill him. That's probably why they gave us the flashback of Daniel finally getting the better of Wendall, when he realized Wendall acted the way he did because he's afraid of dying.
During the car trip from Florida and their long conversation in the woods, Daniel kept telling Tawney that he wasn't a good person. (Why? Hanna's murder? The assault on Teddy? Something else?) As usual, their conversation took place against a beautiful natural backdrop, a special spot from Daniel's childhood, and covered heavy topics, including the reason why Daniel thinks Tawney believes so strongly in God (her need to make sense of the world), and the emotional but not sexual way the two of them are cheating on Teddy. Daniel told her he was upset that she abandoned him after the baptism debacle, but I think Daniel was finally acknowledging without actually saying so that his treatment of Teddy was outright wrong. Their secret phone call and clandestine meeting felt a lot like a romantic rendezvous, even though it technically wasn't. I think Tawney is too honorable to act on her desire for Daniel, and Daniel respects her too much to make any sort of move on her.
It's interesting that Sheriff Carl and C.J. also had a complicated conversation against a similar beautiful natural backdrop. Twenty years ago, it was Senator Foulkes that convinced C.J. that Daniel was guilty, and C.J. then apparently convinced Daniel to confess. C.J. said that George had asked to talk to him and C.J. had refused because Daniel had already confessed. Wow. How could anyone who had a career in the justice system do something like that? It made me think a lot less of C.J. But at least it appears that Sheriff Carl is finally starting to have doubts about Daniel's guilt.
Janet and Ted Senior have been somewhat adjacent to the fray until now. After Daniel's second overnight disappearance, Janet finally came to grips with how broken her son is. She confessed to Ted Senior that she felt guilty for not trying as hard as Amantha did to get Daniel out of prison, and apologized for not loving Ted as much as she should. So Senator Foulkes is again the agent of the "Great Destroyer", the justice system, since he came by and obviously spilled the beans about the coffee grounds assault (sorry about the pun again). What will Ted Senior do now that he knows? It would make a lot of sense if it did indeed split the family apart, if Ted Senior took Junior's side against the rest of them.
Why does Senator Foulkes hate Daniel so much? Did he decide twenty years ago that Daniel was guilty, to the point of circumventing justice and refusing to consider evidence? Sometimes it seems odd that Foulkes would go so far without a personal reason for what he does. But people do that, I suppose.
-- I sort of couldn't believe Daniel left fingerprints and a note in George's trailer. Daniel even touched George's cellphone and wallet. And Trey took George's bedding. Why, for heaven's sake?
-- I liked how Daniel and Janet both gave Amantha's opinion more respect after they were reminded of her major role in getting Daniel released.
-- Another bath scene for Daniel. They do immersion scenes on this show quite a bit.
-- Ted Senior knocked over Daniel's little house of toothpicks. No symbolism there at all.
-- And speaking of symbolism... in the prison flashback, Daniel was reading Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find while in the adjoining cell, a television showed a reflection of Wendall sitting on the toilet. I had to think about that one.
-- Teddy came home for lunch to check on Tawney, and of course she was out picking up Daniel in Florida. She lied to Teddy this time. Maybe she's finally internalizing how even a mention of Daniel sets Teddy off.
-- As Daniel listened to his own confession, Jared was outside the Dean house watching Bobby cry in his mother's arms.
-- Trey told his daughter that if she ever wants to marry, she must never ask a man where he's been. What a shithead.
Tawney: "I can't remember the last time I used a pay phone. The last time I saw one, even."
Daniel: "They're hard to find. But it felt good to use a telephone that wasn't smarter than me."
Tawney: "Are you okay, Daniel?"
Daniel: "The only time that I've ever felt okay was when I was with you."
Daniel: "It's not easy to leave the only thing you've ever known."
Wendall: "We ain't that different, you and me. Two sides of the same coin."
Daniel: "We're not even the same currency."
Daniel: "How many conversations have you had about me over the years? For me, for my benefit? I hope that can end one day. I hope that you can talk about something... else. Like vacations. Or Chihuahuas."
Teddy: "First you hate it, then you love it. It's called beer."
I don't know about that. I still hate it.
Another interesting episode. Three out of four vacations and Chihuahuas,
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.