by Billie Doux
This one was a little bit quieter than last week's exceptional episode. But I am still enjoying this end-of-the-series direction toward brutal honesty, come what may, as well as the strong hints that the twenty-year-old murder mystery will finally be solved and resolved. Or possibly rectified.
Daniel finally asked Janet to let him go, and his reasons were heartbreaking. He sees all of his past pain when he looks at his mother, all the wondering about the person he could have been. They're afraid to be honest with each other for fear that any truths that emerge will be too much. And they had this heart to heart conversation while dwarfed by the columns of the Nashville Parthenon. (Did you know there is such a thing? It's on my list of wonderfully tacky American things I want to see someday.)
Although I haven't been happy about Rectify introducing a brand new major character in its final season, Chloe's role in this mother/son confrontation was a strong one and may have helped them both. She was outright nosy and direct about asking Janet what Daniel was like before he went to prison (sensitive, wise, rebellious). Later, when they were alone, Chloe told Daniel that she sees the shame in him for something that wasn't his fault, as well as the "Death Row Daniel" persona he acquired for protection, and she tried again to push Daniel toward therapy.
I totally understand that Daniel doesn't want to deal with the pain and anger that therapy would inevitably dredge up from the bottom of his soul, but I agree with Chloe that Daniel needs it desperately. He won't ever be able to move on unless he deals with it; he'll just continue to carry it through life like the burden it is. (Yes, I've had therapy. Why do you ask?)
When the episode began with Ted Senior's resentful no-pology apology to Daniel, I thought, well, that marriage is over. Instead, it was delightful that Ted Senior went on his very own pilgrimage alone to Camden, the site of Patsy Cline's death (she died in a plane crash), and came back with a clear head and a decision. Just as Janet was facing the real possibility of divorce, Ted decided that he agreed with Janet and she should sell the tire store; he doesn't want to sell tires anymore. Maybe he's interested in doing something different now. Maybe Ted and Janet will make the second half of their marriage work, after all. That would be nice.
Interestingly, Teddy, who is my least favorite character, bookended the episode: from the opener where he woke up totally hung over, throughout his drunken day at work, until the final moments of the episode when he took aim at the "dancing man" and accidentally shot himself. Shooting himself in the leg was a pretty holistic statement about Teddy as a character, wasn't it? We know these characters so well that I thought Teddy drank all day because he felt like he was supposed to because his marriage was breaking up and he might be losing his job, not because he was all that interested in or dependent upon alcohol. Maybe a relatively serious leg injury will shock him out of this (okay, justified) bout of self-pity.
Tawney's scenes this time were even more touching than Daniel asking Janet to let him go. She wasn't home for the exterminator because she stayed with Zeke all night while he was dying. Even though he couldn't hear her, she talked about her parents, that she never knew them and didn't think they were a couple, but that she was grateful that her mother had given her life. (That felt connected to Chloe deciding to have the baby that she clearly doesn't want.)
Helping Zeke die may have given Tawney her faith back. Tawney is such a genuinely good person; could it be that helping people out of this life is her calling? Her prayer for Zeke made me cry. And when she was fetching the plaque he kept asking for before he died, Zeke's housekeeper Bonnie seemed to give Tawney a message from Zeke in the beyond: "You're a good girl. You say your prayers, you'll be all right."
In fact, there was a lot of Christian imagery in this episode: the cross on Zeke's dresser, the "dancing man" at the tire store. While Daniel was talking to Chloe about how he couldn't bear to dredge up his suffering for a therapist, he was standing in front of two pieces of crossed wood with Chloe's stained glass window of multiple crosses behind that. And all during her heavy life and death scenes, Tawney was wearing a cheerful nursing uniform with butterflies on it. Butterflies are a Christian symbol of resurrection.
And I'll say it again, like I've said in every review of this season: if we don't get any more scenes between Daniel and Tawney, I'm going to be extremely put out. There are only two more episodes, dammit. Couldn't we at least have one?
At least we're getting closer to resolving the murder. During a scene in the kitchen that for an entire season was symbolic of Daniel returning to his family, Amantha told Jon what Bobby Dean had said about Trey, and Jon told Amantha about Christopher Nelms' confession without saying where he saw it. Jon has quit Justice Row and is considering filing an IAC, saying he was ineffective counsel even though he wasn't, in order to get Daniel out of the plea deal. That's a pretty amazing sacrifice of a legal reputation on Jon's part.
Jon's discussion with D.A. Sondra Person was inconclusive, but I think she's already there. Without Foulkes around dictating that everyone believe his prejudices, Ms. Person might very well allow justice to happen. At least I don't think she'll prevent it.
-- The title of the episode refers to Teddy choosing to shoot the bottom of the dancing man. In this case, physics failed him.
-- Ted Senior asked if Teddy could have the inventory, which is what I thought Janet should do.
-- The Talbot house had termites. Not surprising, consider that their marriage also had an unsteady foundation.
-- Zeke's house was so wonderfully full of collections, photos and beautiful objects, and yet he had no family. So sad.
-- Sundance TV is marathoning the first season of Rectify this Saturday. The first three seasons are also available on Netflix. FYI.
Jon: (re: Mrs. Dean) "His mother answered. She was... cordial."
Amantha: "God. Who's gonna be left to hate?"
Daniel: "I certainly think it fits within the mean."
Janet: "The mean of what?"
Daniel: "It's not the Louvre, but it's not Knicknack City, either. It's somewhere in between."
Janet: "I don't want you to feel like you have to be a tour guide and take me to places you've never been, talk about things you don't care about."
Daniel: "Parthenon of Nashville, Mother? Secular heresy."
Tawney: "I wish I could have kept you a little longer, but I know you're in a better place. I surely do. Lord, thank you for my time with Mr. Zeke. Accept him. Bless him."
Sondra Person: "The chips never fall well for one who has to clean up the mess."
Although I think Jon is right that if she sees it through, people will think the better of her for it.
Daniel: "They weren't real big on chopsticks in prison."
Chloe: "I wouldn't think forks, either."
Daniel: "Thank you, Chloe, for all this. It felt like... it felt like living."
Chloe: "I think it was living. I think we might actually be living."
I think Daniel might choose to live and do something about his PTSD. Four out of four... what? Crosses, chopsticks, or tourist spots in Nashville?
Billie Doux loves quality television and spends way too much time writing about it.