Rectify: Pineapples in Paris

An amazing episode, one of the best in the series. How like Rectify that it consisted almost entirely of intimate, important discussions about major change, and many acts of kindness.

Marriages dissolving

Janet wants to sell the tire store, leave Paulie, and do something new with her life after being in limbo for twenty years. As they were driving to Nashville, she asked her husband Ted if he had ever wanted to do something else, like farm pineapples in Hawaii or be a gossip columnist in Paris.

And Ted didn't get it. Or worse -- he did get it, but decided not to play. Now is the time he has chosen to tell her that she owes him, that he resents her for being so wounded by what happened in her life. How dare she even consider putting her own wants and needs first for a change?

Come on, Ted! She gave him a livelihood during their entire marriage; how does she owe him anything? And now she's offering him a chance at a glorious early retirement, an opportunity to leave their humdrum lives in Paulie behind and have adventures together, and he isn't interested? What's wrong with this guy?

In this episode's bit of water imagery, Janet was in the bathroom at their hotel, running the water in the sink so that Ted wouldn't hear her crying. I have a feeling this marriage is over.

Tawney made divorce muffins. Much like miscarriage cookies.
While the conversation between Ted Senior and Janet was full of frustration and long submerged anger, the Teddy/Tawney breakup was almost unbearably sweet and sad. Teddy didn't want a divorce, any more than he wanted to lose his job. But he knew that he couldn't make Janet keep the store, and he can't make Tawney love him. So he said he'd be the bad guy and ask for a divorce because he knew she couldn't. He loved her enough to let her go.

I wasn't invested in their relationship at all and have been actively hoping they'd break up since season one, but this scene made me cry. It was the gentlest, sweetest scene between the two of them in the entire series. What a beautiful performance by Clayne Crawford, absolutely gorgeous. I never thought I'd say this about Teddy, but my heart broke for him. Tawney's scrunched up face when he left was also wrenching.

Later in the episode while Tawney was at work, Teddy went back, barbecued a steak on his own grill, and then broke into his own house, setting off the alarm that of course Tawney had changed the code for, a laugh out loud moment. And then he packed up his guns and his fishing tackle. There was a lot of going in and out of doors in this episode, something they often do in this series, some obvious symbolism. The final scene was Teddy standing in the doorway of his former marital bedroom. I hope Teddy is strong enough to move on. And again, I never thought I'd say that.

Conversations with beer

Teddy was having a beer alone at his parents' house and Bobby Dean stopped by, as if there was nothing momentous about that fact. Linds Edwards, who has played Bobby Dean as an angry and tragic but one-note character, did a masterful job with that touching description of what it was like to be a twelve-year-old dealing with the aftermath of his sister's murder. I was particularly moved by his description of how strangers would show up and cry on their porch as if they were borrowing the Deans' grief for their own purposes, and how it made his mother feel important and noticed for a change.


And then Bobby talked about the strange way George befriended him after the murder. It sounds as if George killed himself in the pilot episode not because of what he did twenty years ago, but because of what he knew. When Bobby related to Teddy that the last thing George told him back then was "Trey went back," I gasped out loud. And then Bobby actually apologized for nearly beating Daniel to death in the cemetery.

For a moment, I was worried that Teddy's justifiable anger toward Daniel would prevent him from passing on that stunning revelation, but no. Teddy showed kindness to Bobby Dean by actively listening to him, and then kindness toward Daniel by passing on to Amantha and Jared what Bobby had just told him. The three half-siblings sat around together drinking beer and talking about what this new revelation could mean. I was again touched that Amantha, who despises Teddy, realized how upset Teddy was about something, and showed some serious concern for him.

As an aside, I absolutely loved that little moment when Amantha asked Jared if he knew about the offer for the tire store, and he said, "Are you serious?" Another laugh out loud moment. Poor non-character Jared. No one ever tells him anything.

The beer conversations and acts of kindness continued with Jon Stern dropping by to see Sheriff Carl, at Carl's request. Carl left a file folder with Christopher Nelms' affidavit on the table under a magazine and said he'd be back in half an hour, finally confirming which side he is on, and omigod. And I absolutely loved Carl telling Jon he had to go see a man about a horse. Jon looked completely lost, another laugh out loud moment.

New roommates

With all of the marriage and murder mystery drama, Daniel's thread might have gotten shortchanged if it hadn't been so powerful. Daniel finally stood up for himself by calling out Manny in group. He didn't explain why Manny's "attending to his personal gratification" upset him so much, but he didn't need to explain. Everyone but Manny understood.


What was most touching was that Daniel expected the result would be ejection from New Canaan House. He was so upset that he actually went by the artist co-op and revealed to Chloe that he'd been sexually assaulted numerous times in prison, a revelation he thought would appall her. Instead, she acknowledged how horrific that was, and offered to simply hold him. Even though he stood awkwardly, hands in pockets, and appeared uncomfortable as she put her arms around him, Chloe was absolutely right that being held was what he needed.

In a way, that's what the guys at the House did, too. They acknowledged in group that what Manny had done to Daniel was inappropriate and disrespectful. When Janet and Ted were due to arrive, Avery took Manny out of the house so that Daniel wouldn't have to see him or deal with his presence. And then the guys changed the bunking arrangement so that Daniel wouldn't have to share a room with Manny anymore. Pickle even covered for Daniel with Janet, saying that Daniel had had to go in to work unexpectedly. (Pickle telling Daniel "I'm definitely changing the sheets" made me howl with laughter.)

When Daniel needed help, all of the people in his current life, people he barely knows, were there for him. All of them. It warmed my heart.

The construction of this episode was pretty much perfect, one revelation following the next in what felt like the perfect order. I laughed and I cried, and I'm not kidding. This episode brought me to tears three times, and it made me laugh just as often. There aren't too many episodes of television that can do that.

I've been thinking about why these quiet conversations on Rectify have such an impact. It starts with the superlative writing, acting and directing, of course, but there's also something so genuine about what is happening to these characters. They're such real people, and I've grown to truly care about them. I never get bored, even in episodes where not a lot seems to happen. A lot happened this time, though.

Bits:

-- Daniel threw out his attic stuff, and Janet pulled it back out of the trash in case he wants it later. It included Hanna's mix tape, which Teddy noticed and picked up.

-- Tawney took down the big photo of herself and Teddy from the foyer of their house. Teddy called the picture tacky, stupid and show-offy. That was his hurt talking, of course.

-- Zeke, the patient at the nursing home, is now in a coma. Tawney's face was scrunched up in pain as she asked him to tell her what she could do to help, even though she knew he couldn't hear her. It was much the same way she looked after Teddy asked for a divorce.

-- I don't usually notice the music so much, but the score of this particular episode was striking: long, disturbing and grating notes during the heavier scenes, slowly changing to gentler and more pleasant stuff at the end.

-- Maybe this is just obvious to me, but since Mr. Childers doesn't want the actual tires, couldn't Janet give the inventory to both of the Teds with maybe a quarter of the cash and let them open another tire store somewhere? And then she could go do what she wants. Let them have their freaking tires.

Quotes:

Amantha: "So much yelling so butt-ass early."

Janet: "I just think it's kind of nice to consider what doesn't have to be."

Tawney: "What are y'all gonna do?"
Teddy: "Ain't no me in that y'all."
I loved that one. Especially since Tawney was standing in front of a painting of sheep.

Avery: "Put it back in y'alls pants, now."
Daniel: "That's his problem, actually."

Teddy: "Everything's weird when you're a kid."
Bobby: "Everything's weird now."

Daniel: "I'm a romantic, and you're the girl."
Chloe: "And you're hoping the girl's gonna save you."

Teddy: "Well, we really are out of beer this time. That sucks."

Janet: "God, you resent me. Don't you?"

Tawney: "Just tell me what to do. Somebody. Please."

Honestly, I was reluctant to watch this episode because I've been feeling like this final season was taking too long to get somewhere. (Also, there was Thanksgiving.) But happily, Rectify's final season has finally arrived, big time.

Five out of four pineapples in Paris,

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

1 comment:

mazephoenix said...

This was so beautiful. Daniel being accepted by his new friends and love interest was gold. I think endgame might be Daniel/Chloe because she's pregnant isn't she? It would be cliched, but I can roll with that.
Poor Janet needs a divorce and to listen to her heart.
Teddy has grown, I hope he's not going to kill himself.. Tawney couldn't handle the guilt now..
Poor, poor Jared. Nobody hears him..