by Billie Doux
The perfect phrase to describe this episode might be "miscarriage of justice."
Daniel got a plea deal offer that included time served and the rape charge dropped, but also included banishment. He stays free, but he has to leave. He can never sleep in his childhood home again or even visit during holidays. If Daniel is innocent, it's yet another injustice piled on top of twenty years of even more extreme injustice.
It felt like Tawney got a bad plea deal, too. It was hard to tell what was going on in her head. She was so calm and expressionless, absorbed in her college plans that would take her away from Teddy. Who bakes cookies to tell your husband that you had a miscarriage that morning? Maybe she just felt that the miscarriage was God's will. She did seem to find comfort in the doctor saying it was nature's way.
Teddy couldn't handle the fact that she wasn't crying. So of course, he made her cry with yet more accusations about Tawney's supposed secret love for Daniel. Terrific performances in that scene by Adelaide Clemens (Tawney) and Clayne Crawford (Teddy). And note the echoed phrasing. Senator Foulkes told Ted Senior that in his heart of hearts, he always believed Daniel killed Hanna. Teddy tried to hurt Tawney by saying that in her heart of hearts, she never wanted his baby. Teddy said that if Tawney was lucky, Daniel would kill her too, like he did Hanna. Strangle her until she was blue. Which made me think of kids who hold their breath in order to get their way.
Teddy is a well drawn character. He's not actually a bad person, but he has an impenetrable core of selfishness. He was probably right about Tawney not wanting the baby, but it was like he was determined to make her suffer and throw her away because she didn't love him enough. He lashed out at her and made her leave, and then he was angry because she left. And then he went out looking for his manhood in the form of unpaid tire rims.
So Teddy pushed Tawney out of the house, and what did she do? Exactly what he was accusing her of doing. She got a motel room and called Daniel, and of course, he went to her. We got another lovely Tawney/Daniel conversation. Are we good people? Does God exist? And they danced. Part of me would really like Daniel and Tawney to get together, even though I don't think that's the point of their relationship on this show. They are both damaged people and it feels like they could heal each other emotionally, something which is a lot more important than a physical relationship.
This episode included a nice thread for Amantha. After being shut out of Daniel's final decision on the plea deal, I liked that Daniel finally gave Amantha the respect of consulting her. The prison flashback was about Daniel refusing to see Amantha. I had never considered before that if Daniel was trying his best not to hope for the impossibility of release, he would want to avoid Amantha's constant focus on getting him out. Charlie the chaplain spends his time comforting and aiding the imprisoned, and Amantha did that, too. Amantha's entire adult life, and even part of her childhood, for that matter, has been completely consumed by what happened to Daniel. And now she's going to lose him entirely because he has to leave town.
Ted Senior also had a couple of terrific scenes, possibly his best so far in the series. He was so cool, taking no crap, protecting his family. Telling off Sheriff Daggett. Telling off Senator Foulkes. I thought Daggett at least felt guilty about betraying Teddy's confidence. But Foulkes just wouldn't stop, even after admitting that his reputation was tied into Daniel's conviction. Foulkes told Ted Senior that Ted must also have entertained the notion that Daniel had indeed killed Hanna, and you know, Foulkes may be right.
But I bet in his heart of hearts, Foulkes just wouldn't allow himself to entertain the notion that he might have been wrong for twenty years.
-- Sheriff Daggett talked to George's father again, who mentioned how 18-year-old Daniel wasn't given access to his own father or to a lawyer.
-- Teddy said that Tawney adding peanut butter chips to her cookies was exotic.
-- Daniel still hasn't read anything since he got out. Janet asked if Daniel still felt like he was "always there" in prison, and Daniel said no, that life has a way of drawing you in.
-- Amantha told Janet that she was tired of chasing after her for attention, and the two of them had a nice moment together. It's hard to imagine that a person as strong and forthright as Amantha has been overshadowed for pretty much her entire life, but she has.
-- Tawney wore white for nearly the entire episode. Women almost never wear white when they're bleeding, for obvious reasons. I think the white was a visual cue that Tawney's motives were pure, that she was trying very hard to make her marriage work.
-- As always, this episode was beautifully shot, like that opening scene with the close-up of Daniel's face in the sun. Daniel communes with nature in an almost religious way. I also thought the Daniel/Jon scene in the playground was gorgeous.
Jon: "A merry go round, Daniel?"
Daniel: "It's a metaphor. You asked for somewhere private. Hiding in plain sight."
Janet: "The world is... absurd."
Daniel: "I have to be honest with you, Charlie chaplain."
Daniel: "I thought you'd be funnier."
Daniel: (his verdict on Thrifty Town) "It's... uh... well lit."
Teddy: "Has it been a hard day? Baking cookies and planning your life with no baby now holding you back?"
This was a mournful sort of episode full of difficult choices and unhappy results, and the more I thought about it, the more it impressed me. Four out of four exotic peanut butter chips,
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.