Rectify: Mazel Tov

"Beauty will redeem the world."

A birthday party, roller skating, and much ado about a stove.

Daniel woke up in Marcy's bed. So out of the blue that I actually didn't put her together at first with the waitress who sleeps with the State Senator Foulkes. What was Marcy thinking? Whose side is she on? I thought at first that she slept with Daniel to get information for Foulkes, but later Foulkes came on to her, and she said no. And she told Daniel to "be careful". Maybe she's a secret ally, after all.

Marcy referred to Lezley's eternal house party as a local rite of passage, something Daniel never got to do when he was young. No wonder he got carried away and didn't come home for three days. So understandable under the circumstances, but poor Janet. She's never even had all of her children together at the same time until this particular birthday.

It's a shame Daniel missed most of Janet's birthday party, because it made Janet unhappy and everyone else uncomfortable. But Daniel also went to a lot of trouble to find the perfect birthday present, a stove that Janet had told him she would like. And what did it get him? Teddy pointed out in an unkind way that they would need to put in a gas line and that would be expensive and that they'd have to tear out the old oven and stove top. This is pretty obvious symbolism. Daniel is that Wedgewood stove. He's older than he should be, battered around the edges, and there's no real place for him in that house.

(I liked Ted Senior pretty much for the first time during that scene, when he came down on Daniel's side. Maybe Ted Senior was trying to make it up to Janet for yelling at Daniel about tearing up the kitchen.)

So okay, in the symbolism game, Daniel was not just the Wedgewood stove. For Tawney, Daniel is Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Ted Junior is tire rims.


Teddy's initial euphoria about Tawney's pregnancy was actually sort of cute. But then he made me hate him again. Tawney specifically asked Teddy not to say anything about her pregnancy yet, but after he saw her deep in conversation with Daniel in the torn up kitchen, Teddy just had to tell everyone that Tawney was pregnant, to show that Tawney was his possession. Teddy gave Daniel such a subtle little "fuck you and the stove you rode in on" look afterward, too. What is he, twelve?

Daniel was also unwelcome at Rutherford Gaines' funeral. He got up and spoke because Gaines had sent him books in prison for nineteen years, and Daniel needed to explain what that kindness had meant to him. I loved what he said about "intoxicating lunacy" and the French revolution, about how people will see what they want to see, believe what they want to believe, and fight to the death for those beliefs. It was like Daniel was talking directly to Senator Foulkes and Sheriff Carl.

I was just starting to like Sheriff Carl. And there he went, breaking Teddy's confidence and spilling the beans (sorry, pun intended) about the coffee assault. Somehow, Carl and Foulkes were trying to relate Teddy and the coffee grounds with Hanna and the wildflowers, as if bizarre body decoration was Daniel's M.O. And yes, we still don't have a definitive answer on whether or not Daniel killed Hanna. It feels to me like the series is trying to tell us that guilt or innocence is not the point. I can't help but think that Daniel didn't kill Hanna. Where else would this crap with Trey and George have come from?

There were two high-noon-like confrontations in this episode. Daniel ran into Trey at the gas station and they stood there and stared at each other. Daniel said nothing, but his expression spoke volumes. Trey said, "Daniel Holden. As free as the wind blows. Feels real, don't it?" What did Trey mean by saying that it felt real? That Daniel wouldn't be free much longer? Then there was Amantha and Jon, who are no longer keeping their relationship secret, being confronted by a stranger at the roller rink telling them they should just get out of town so she doesn't have to be reminded about Hanna's death. Jon got into the woman's face in a satisfying way, but you know, as long as Daniel and members of his family continue to live in Paulie, this will keep happening.

Two big reasons why I find Rectify so compelling are the emotional journey of the characters and the beauty of the photography. After Lezley told Daniel to listen to the "forces" about what to do with his life, Daniel pulled on the branch of a tree, and white flower petals fell over him. The scene with Daniel down at the river was also just gorgeous as well as eerie, when a stoned Daniel heard Hanna's voice in the darkness. The water/baptism imagery in this series is amazing.

But the flashback scene in prison was the real stunner. Charlie the chaplain brought music to Daniel, because he said it was the only thing that worked to help the dying. "Beauty will redeem the world," Charlie said to Daniel, who started to cry. The scene was so beautifully shot, showing Charlie in focus outside the cell, and Daniel visible only in captivity, through the slot in the door. Daniel reached through the slot to touch the tape recorder as he cried, as if the music were redemption, or even God.

I cried through the entire scene, and I'm crying now as I'm writing about it. That's some pretty powerful television, guys.

Bits and pieces:

-- Another branch fell from the trees across the street. Is that like another shoe dropping?

-- Every time there is a scene by the river, I expect someone to stumble over George's body. But no one does. It adds this little touch of weirdness and creepy anticipation to those scenes.

-- I absolutely loved that the chaplain was named Charlie ("I liked you better in the silent era"). And that he talked to Daniel through the door, much like Kerwin talked with Daniel through the vent. People who cared, heard but not seen.

-- Janet baked her own birthday cake. I'm not sure what sort of symbolism to assign to that.

-- Just like Marcy did for Daniel, Daniel told his little brother Jared to be careful. Daniel also let Jared know that he knew about the little Walkman theft.

-- The closing music was "Tom Dooley", which was also about a man who murdered his girlfriend. What were they saying? Were they implying that Daniel will be executed no matter what?

Quotes:

Janet: "Your life hasn't been normal, so how could you expect to be?"

Daniel: "...the contagion of menacing fear, and mercy be damned. And occasionally I would see Mr. Gaines away from the crowd, catch his eye and... understand just how difficult it is for two people to come together in the face of such intoxicating lunacy."

Daniel: "I dressed up for him because, on more than one occasion, he dressed up for me."

Amantha: "Screw her and the minivan she came in with."

Lezley: "See you around the fringes, buddy."
Fun character, Lezley. I hope we see him again.

Daniel: "You made me feel, Tawney. Really feel, you know?"
Tawney: "Yes."
Daniel: "For the first time in a long time. That's a big part of what makes us human, isn't it?"
Tawney: "I think so. I think it ... deepens us."
Daniel: "I've been deepened."
Honestly, I love every Daniel/Tawney conversation on this show.

Charlie: "You want to die, Daniel?"
Daniel: "My sister keeps interfering."

I'm not sure if the entire episode rated four out of four tape recorders, but that flashback scene certainly did,

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

3 comments:

mazephoenix said...

I love these reviews. I also love Daniel's unguarded reactions to the world. Mostly. There's an innocence to him somehow. As well as great darkness.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the mystery I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was Daniel's idea for some sort of reverse prank/revenge that went horribly out of bounds due to others. It would explain his motivation and inactions afterwards.

Marianna said...

Didn't Amantha say in an earlier episode that taking shrooms was how he got into trouble in the first place on the night Hanna died? And now he's taking them and hearing her voice? This doesn't seem like it can end well.