by Billie Doux
The laid back final season continues, with everybody still looking for a way to move on. Even Jared, who is almost a non-character in this series, is deaccessioning Furbys as a way of trying to put his childhood behind him.
While living under the strictures of the halfway house and a "grown man curfew," Daniel is struggling to attain maturity. In so many ways, he's still an emotionally arrested teenager (pun intended), uncomfortable with the outside world and feeling a constant threat of danger. This was well illustrated when Chloe took Daniel along to pick up an art object donated by a country music singer famous enough to get their underwear stolen by a fan. (Who it was, they don't say. Any guesses?)
While Chloe was totally comfortable stealing imported pistachio gelato out of the guy's freezer and smashing nuts with one of his music awards, Daniel kept waiting to get into trouble. Yes, Chloe is right that he needs to stop being afraid and start living in and enjoying the moment, but you can't snap your fingers and make something like that happen. Daniel really should go see that psychologist.
Chloe is an interesting enough character; like Daniel, she is also seeking maturity since she is about to become a mother. The way she was pushing Daniel's emotional boundaries might even be a help to him, and I liked that she shared the loss of her brother with Daniel and suggested that everyone needs a shrink at times. But honestly, I was cringing a little when he kissed her in the car. It feels like they're pushing a romantic situation on him that doesn't work and hasn't been earned. I want Daniel to be with someone else. Guess who.
What Daniel needs is to be exonerated so that he can go the heck home. In his solitary search for the truth that will hopefully satisfy all of us as viewers of this series, Jon Stern may have discovered the key: that the rich are powerful, even in Paulie. While quietly stalking first CJ (unsuccessfully) and then Trey (a bit more successfully), Jon learned that Chris Nelms, who confessed to rape after he was certain the statute of limitations had run out, is the one who always had the most to lose by Hanna's death.
Suddenly Chris Nelms has jumped to the top of the whodunit list, and CJ may hold the key to why Daniel was framed. Maybe Trey, who is stung by the way the good people of Paulie are now shunning him, didn't do it, after all. Maybe Trey and CJ got paid off by the Nelms family to implicate Daniel?
I wish Jon wasn't off alone trying to solve a twenty-year-old crime in a vacuum. Maybe it would work better for me if Amantha was doing it with him. Instead, she's apparently trying to make peace with her return to Paulie by acquiring a new Paulie boyfriend. Why did Amantha go on a hunting trip when she prefers her meat to arrive in a sealed package? Obviously, to find out what Billy Harris was really like.
And I'll admit that I really do like Billy Harris. Even though he and Amantha both said they weren't looking for someone, come on, of course they are. He told Amantha that they didn't have to shoot anything, that they could just be, and I liked him a lot for that. Existence without conflict might be what Amantha needs the most right now.
I also really liked the way the episode connected Amantha's story about Daniel's reaction to his first hunting trip to the moment when Daniel looked at the deer head mounted on the wall. This is something Rectify does so well, creating an emotional moment without having to explain it or point it out. I almost don't want to mention it because it's so unpleasant, but it was much like the scene at the end where Daniel was lying in bed at the halfway house trying to shut out the sound of his roommate masturbating. We just know without being told that Daniel is thinking of the horror of his rapist Jelks in the next cell, masturbating to fantasies about Daniel.
I am really enjoying Janet's story this season. Janet has suffered nearly as much as Daniel, and I think it would be massively cool if she got a huge amount of money for that damned tire store so that she could go where she likes and do whatever she wants. I noticed that this episode mentioned Daniel's father Lester more than once, but that tire store doesn't just represent Lester. It's also a physical manifestation of the ties everyone in the family has to Paulie.
Maybe this series should end not with Daniel returning to Paulie, but with Janet moving away from all those terrible memories and making a new home in Nashville near Daniel. I think Ted Senior would go with her. He was deferring to her during the meeting (she does own the store, after all, but not every husband would do that with his livelihood on the line) and he did tell her that he wants to make peace with Daniel.
Of course, all this would leave Teddy out in the cold, which was well illustrated by his unsuccessful attempt to take control of the meeting by "running the numbers." Clayne Crawford did such a lovely job with that scene where Teddy sat on his couch crying as he listened to Tawney's phone message apology. Teddy has probably lost his wife and he's about to lose his job. Even though I dislike Teddy as a character, even though he unfairly lashed out at Tawney at the restaurant, I couldn't help feeling bad for him.
I'm also sad that Tawney seems to be losing her faith. She so clearly relates to Zeke, the dying patient at the nursing home who has no relatives, no one to call or care, and who spent years tangled up in grief as his life got smaller and smaller. Tawney must see Zeke as her possible future self.
And I hope this particular plot thread isn't going to end with Tawney reconciling with Teddy. Billy Harris mentioned to Amantha that his mother had deferred to his father, and that is not Tawney. She needs a partner, someone who will love her for who she is, someone she can love back. Someone who won't constantly long for her to simply shut up and be supportive, like Teddy does. Even if it doesn't turn out to be Daniel.
-- There were several shots of our characters being framed by a doorway. There are lots of shots of doors in this series, some obvious symbolism.
-- The guy who might buy the tire store without the actual tires, was late because he had a flat. Very funny.
-- What Jared is doing echoes what Daniel did when he first came home: rediscovering his past in the attic. Janet apologized to Jared for being a bad mother. I don't think she was a bad mother to Jared because of what happened to Daniel, but I'm sure it affected his upbringing.
-- Someone called Susan was mentioned as an interviewee twenty years ago. Was that the woman in the beauty shop who slept with Daniel in "Plato's Cave?"
-- Daniel told Chloe that he kept falling asleep in cars when he was first released. He hadn't been in a car for twenty years.
-- "Go ask Roger." So who is Roger?
Tawney: "I'm sorry."
Zeke: "For what?"
Tawney: "Life, I guess."
Teddy: "She ran some numbers for us."
Janet: "What does that mean?"
Teddy: "What does what mean?"
Janet: "Ran some numbers."
Teddy: (in what was possibly the perfect illustration of mansplaining) "Oh, that's just how they get a ballpark figure of a, you know, fair offer. Get comparables and whatnot."
Janet: "I understand the colloquial meaning attached to it. I just don't know why they say 'ran the numbers'. Sounds like someone trained digits to do parlor tricks."
Teddy: "They need to know that we know what they know."
Chloe: "Surrender to the gelato. I'm serious. Just you and the gelato. Nothing else exists in this moment except mano y gelato."
Teddy: "You don't need a husband. You need a saint."
Daniel is practically a saint. He's certainly suffered enough.
Chloe: "We're temporarily perfect for each other."
Daniel: "At least for today. I have to go now. Grown man curfew."
While I enjoyed this episode, like I have enjoyed every episode of Rectify, I'm sort of still waiting for the season to begin. I want to be following one story, not separate threads.
Three out of four pints of way too obvious in the symbolism department imported pistachio gelato,
Billie Doux loves quality television and spends way too much time writing about it.