Rectify: Thrill Ride

"What should I do?"

Twenty years of probation? Seriously?

By throwing his unwanted stepson out of the house, Ted Senior passed Daniel to his sister Amantha as if he were stray puppy that left messes around the house. Daniel is now in limbo for a month until his banishment, and it is clearer than ever that he can't function in the real world. The way he danced around Amantha's apartment singing "What should I do?" before his attempts at shopping for groceries and doing the laundry said it all.

Jon suggested that Daniel try the New Canaan Project, an organization that helps ex-prisoners adjust to the outside world. That sounds like a good idea. The kindly Melvin of the turtles has also stepped in with a little job for Daniel: painting the apartment complex's pool. Sort of like fixing Janet's kitchen, but with Rectify's constant water imagery thrown in.

Again, we got a parallel with Daniel, who was just thrown out of his family home, and Tawney, who we just learned is an orphan who grew up in foster care. That probably explains why Tawney said yes to marrying Teddy when she didn't love him. He must have seemed like a wonderful option in comparison to a group home, even though he wasn't. Sorry about that, Teddy.

As Tawney told her new counselor, Teddy never hit her, but she felt cornered and trapped as if she was always expecting him to do it. Did that come from him, or was it a product of her upbringing? She feels guilty about her relief that she miscarried because she wanted out of the marriage. But Teddy doesn't want out. He stalked Tawney twice in this episode, once by showing up at Mitch and Beth's with Tawney's undies in a laundry basket, and later by using a "thrill ride" with Jared as an excuse to watch her at dinner. Maybe in Teddy's mind, Mitch has taken Tawney away from him, and much like with the guy who refused to return the tire rims, Teddy tried unsuccessfully to pick a fight with him.

While in the car, Teddy made an interesting confession to little brother Jared that I wasn't quite sure how to take. Teddy confided that the first night he was legally allowed to drive, he took out a girl named Julie who had a fast reputation, and pressured her into having sex with him. Teddy advised Jared to never do that with his girlfriend Claire. But it so obviously wasn't about Jared, whom I doubt would do any such thing. It was all about Teddy, who seemed to be relating his selfish, immature behavior with Julie to what he did to Tawney. Does that level of self-awareness make Teddy a more relatable, more likable character? Not to me. Again, sorry about that, Teddy.

I enjoyed the scenes that showed the obvious differences between Teddy and Daniel. Teddy was playing "Stomp and Holler" as he strutted around the house drinking beer; cut to Daniel listening to a Beethoven piano sonata as he was drinking wine and preparing Amantha's favorite childhood meal: chili dogs and tater tots. I thought that meal was so endearing, but Amantha was having none of it.

Why is Amantha mad at Daniel? He was desperate. He took a plea deal. I get it. Why doesn't she? Yes, she spent years of her life trying to get him out of prison, but she's not the one who'd have to go back if the members of a new jury were having a bad day.

Speaking of which, there were several uncomfortable conversations about the late, unlamented George. Sheriff Carl thought that the investigation was already tainted, while Ms. Person was angry that the Sheriff's unofficial investigation of George's trailer in Florida would... taint the investigation. George's father, who had nothing nice to say about his own son, pointed the Sheriff at Trey's recent and rather suspicious actions.

Please tell me that Hanna's murder will actually get solved, and Daniel won't have to endure banishment on top of twenty years of probation. Twenty freaking years. Honestly, that shocked the hell out of me.

Bits and pieces:

-- Amantha, whose career at Thrifty Town might be taking off, said that she and Jon were "divorcing" after their "marriage of convenience." That's sad. I like Amantha and Jon as a couple.

-- Janet realized that Ted Senior threw Daniel out, and Ted told her why.

-- At the tire store, Teddy turned off the red dancing air cross-shaped thingy, which was a reminder of Daniel's father. Ted Senior turned it back on. I get that to mean that, even though Ted Senior threw Daniel out of the house, he's still very aware of where his livelihood comes from.

-- Teddy's mother, who hasn't been mentioned before, is still alive.

-- Daniel's takeaway from listening to the FM classical station was that the deejay (or curator, I loved that) unselfishly passes on information about the greatness of others.

-- Daniel is 38 years old. I don't think they've actually said how old he was until now.


Daniel: "Good morning."
Amantha: "Jesus!"
Daniel: "No. Daniel."
Possibly a little jab at Daniel's status as a metaphorical Christ figure?

Amantha: "See, the way I roll is I don't eat, I don't eat, I don't eat, and then I eat shit. A lotta shit."
Daniel: "Seems to be working."

Amantha: (looking at the photo of a huge newborn) "So! That's Wyatt Andrew. God, that must have hurt."
Peanut: "Not really. I had an epidermis."

Peanut: "Amantha. That's such an unusual name. Family name?"
Amantha: "No. Actually, my mother's dyslexic. (pause) Kidding."

Daniel: "How are your turtles?"
Melvin: "Well, they're dead. I mean, they lived a good life, uh, except one."
Daniel: "To the good life."
Melvin: "And the turtles. In all their flavors."

Three out of four minimally filled laundry baskets,

Billie Doux loves quality television and spends way too much time writing about it.


Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

One of the things that irked me like hell yet is completely in character is Amantha's absolute lack of understanding of Daniel's situation. She spent twenty years trying to get him free. Now that he's out and he takes steps to ensure he can actually stay out, she reverts to the worst kind of self absorption to the point where she's utterly pissed off by having to house him for one month. I've had friends crash on my couch for longer than that.

It's like now she comes across as only having done what she did for the reputation of the family, and when Daniel confesses, in her mind it was all for nothing. She is also completely clueless as to how being on death row can change and damage an individual's psyche. She's had close to two decades to think about it and apparently she hasn't figured out a thing. All in all she reads as less sensitive and more unreasonable than even Teddy.

Amantha is willing to roll the dice with her brother's life just in order to save his reputation and get rid of the banishment clause. It's like she prefers him to die like an angel rather than live as a perceived demon.

As for Teddy's past transgression I am not reading it like I guess most do. Nearly all people have made mistakes at some point in their lives, things they aren't proud of. It's just that when the mistake in question is of a sexual nature, everyone sees red, which is a symptom of living in a culture that glorifies violence but demonizes sexuality. It was a scene beautifully played out and Clayne really managed to sell his character's confusions, his remorse and also why he'd tell Jared such a thing in the first place, even if it obviously freaked him out.

In a sense, there are obvious parallels between Daniel and Teddy. Both have self-absorbed tendencies and terrible impulse control and both have a lot of remorse. Of course, Teddy is less complex and has more outward rage issues whereas Daniel keeps it all in. The difference is that Daniel's self-absorption is more understandable given his lack of social experiences having spent two decades on death row.

Marianna said...

Amantha's default is angry. She jumps to it before considering other options, probably as a result of the trauma she's been through that gets ignored in comparison to Daniel's. I don't blame her so much for being angry at Daniel (especially since he hasn't shown much if any appreciation for all she did for him) as I do for her anger with Jon. I think they had a good thing going and she's blaming him for doing his job and doing it well, which is one of the things she originally liked about him. I think she should move to Boston with him and possibly bring Daniel along.