by Billie Doux
This episode was beautiful. I cried, not once but twice.
Daniel will never be normal. He is living a life where tossing a ball to a child on a beach is something new, exceptional and amazing. He drives too fast with the windows down even while it's raining. The outside world is so beautiful to Daniel, and yet, it still scares him. Hey, it scares me sometimes.
The road trip with his mother was very much the emotional trip to adulthood Daniel should have taken in his teens or twenties. On the way to the New Canaan House in Nashville, they took side trips to the prison and to the ocean and revisited their past as they returned to the enjoyable, bantering relationship they must have once had twenty years ago. Janet escorted her son to his future, and let him go in the parking lot so that he could do the last part alone. I cried when he told her to forgive herself, since they both knew she did nothing that needed forgiveness.
The water imagery so prevalent in this series was front and center. The road trip began with the pouring rain, but then, of course, the sun came out. (Freedom is freedom, even when it's raining.) Daniel wanted to visit the ocean, the source of all life. He jumped into the water, yet another symbolic baptism, as he became a new person and started a new life.
As Daniel left the state of Georgia, possibly forever, Tawney finally came home and dreamed about Daniel. Of all the fantasy sequences or waking dreams or whatever in this series, this was my favorite. Even though it only took place in Tawney's imagination, it was yet another deep, significant conversation between Tawney and Daniel, a recognition that they have always connected on a special level.
Daniel: "You remember. God is in the flowers and in the rain. And in your tears."
Tawney: "God is in my tears?"
Daniel: "I've seen Him there, lurking."
Tawney: "You're a false prophet."
Daniel: "I'm going to tell you something, Tawney."
Tawney: "I won't believe you."
Daniel: "God is a rain frog. As God is my witness, he's a rain frog. May frog strike me down."
Tawney: "You're mad, Daniel."
Daniel: "And so must be God."
It was like a reset of all the upsetting flashbacks to Daniel's imprisonment. There was such joy on Tawney's face, happiness for Daniel achieving freedom and the chance to become the adult he should have been. When he put down the phone and let his wrists separate, there was a white light, the glass disappeared and they could finally kiss. This was the second scene that made me cry.
The first time through, I thought that it was Daniel imagining this scene while he was in the ocean, a callback to the baptism she talked him into back in season one ("Drip, Drip"). Instead, it was her fantasy dream, not his. Okay, maybe it was a combination of both of their dreams. I'm okay with that.
It was funny how Tawney's arrival pushed Teddy back into his childhood home, and rather lovely how he deliberately mended his relationship with Amantha with Chinese food and gin rummy, as if making things right with his "evil stepsister" was a prerequisite for finally becoming an adult himself.
And Teddy was the one to finish the kitchen o' symbolism, and that old stove Daniel found for Janet fit in the kitchen like a glove. Possibly a little foreshadowing that Daniel will return, and when he does, he'll finally belong with his family again.
I kept waiting for Hanna's murder to be mentioned, for the legal shoe to drop that would keep Daniel in Paulie. But this series isn't so much about crime solving and the legal issues -- it's about Daniel and his family. At least the Sheriff has finally gotten somewhere. Chris Nelms confessed to the rape, probably after making certain the statute of limitations had expired, and implicated Trey and George.
It's sort of sadly hilarious that Trey dug himself into this hole by trying so hard to frame Daniel, much like what happened twenty years ago. If Trey had called the police immediately after George shot himself in the pilot episode, he would have been fine. If Trey did kill Hanna, his arrest for George's non-murder was karmic.
And talk about karma. After unjustly imprisoning Daniel for twenty years, Senator Foulkes is now imprisoned within his own body. I loved Jon telling him that he was going to get Daniel exonerated, and that he ended it with, "I hope your house has termites." It was the perfect light touch that ended what could have been a heavy scene.
What do I want for the fourth and final season this fall? I want to know who killed Hanna Dean, and it had better not be Daniel. I want Daniel to be able to go home and collect a huge amount of reparations for wrongful conviction. After all, the title of the show is Rectify. I want what happened to Daniel to be rectified, as much as it can be.
And of course, it would be nice if Daniel and Tawney were finally able to love each other. But that might be too much to ask.
-- Omigod, I loved Daniel and Janet stalking the donuts.
-- Jon not only hugged Daniel goodbye, he also kissed him. Awww.
-- Tawney wanted to change the locks, probably to keep Teddy out. Teddy insisted on changing the locks for her. Did Teddy just not get it?
-- Ted Senior and Teddy both felt guilty that Teddy's mother Margaret left them. Ted Senior confessed that he'd turned to another woman, but just for friendship. Was that Janet?
-- It was implied that twenty years ago, Trey didn't know Hanna was dead when he threatened Chris the next morning. Honestly, who was it if it wasn't Trey?
Daniel: "I don't really have context yet, Jon. (Looking out at the parking lot and the dumpster) Would this be considered a shitty view, within the norm of shitty views?"
Jon: "To me, it qualifies."
Daniel: "I'm still outside the norm, then."
Meaning that it was still a vast improvement over Death Row.
Amantha: "After eating fritters in a cheap motel, the beach is gonna be such a letdown."
Daniel: "Mother, I know that day is coming -- my first Google -- but not to see if Hoppy's is still Hoppy's."
Daniel: "Could we take a side trip, Mother?"
Janet: "Aren't we on a side trip?"
Daniel: "A side trip to the side trip."
Daniel: "Sometimes I wanted to walk to the front gate and ask them to let me back in. Back into my box, my cocoon. That's not right thinking, Mother."
Janet: "You're not the first to romance the cocoon."
Daniel: "Maybe I can get... more normal. Run for dog catcher."
Trey: "You never even had any kettle corn."
This season finale was so lovely that gave me hope this story will end, maybe not happily, but with the possibility of joy.
Four out of four rain frogs,
Billie Doux loves quality television and spends way too much time writing about it.