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Rectify: Charlie Darwin

"Emotion is for losers."

Let's start off with a metaphorical window cleaning, followed by an equally metaphorical branch falling off a tree, shall we?

The window cleaning that of course made us think of that tiny rectangle that was Daniel's only window to the world while he was on death row. Loved the panes/pains thing, and the fact that so many scenes were framed by that big broken branch. Of course, Daniel himself is that broken branch, detached from his family, difficult to deal with, and yet right in the middle of everything.

For me, this episode seemed to focus on the similarities and differences of three prisoners: Daniel, Hollis, and Bobby Dean. And of course, I'm starting with Daniel. I thought it was smart of Daniel not to identify Bobby Dean. What would it get him? An even more riled up populace, a lot of negative publicity? But I think Daniel was so angry about the beating on top of his imprisonment that he had to get away, to "borrow" his mother's car and just drive to let it out. He certainly has reason to be angry.

Sometimes I think Amantha's function in this series is to express the anger that Daniel cannot. Daniel doesn't want Amantha to be angry for him, and Janet thinks Amantha should take her anger and go back to Atlanta. For Daniel, expressing anger in prison resulted in hurting himself. In being completely strapped down in order to get medical treatment for his injuries. In maybe getting pain pills, if the person who treated him cared enough to "run it up the flag pole" (I hate that expression). When Daniel couldn't lift that tree branch, his neighbor said that sometimes we confuse being better with being well. Daniel is far from well, both physically and mentally, but he's desperate to move on. He doesn't want to dwell on the beating. He wants to do something positive to make things right, like redoing his mother's kitchen.

As hard as things are for Daniel, he is still free now and can eat what he wants and do what he pleases. I liked the deliberate contrast between Daniel appreciating the donuts and Jon bringing Hollis hash browns for his final meal. (How weird is it to have to order a last meal? And how unfair that it was cold food from a nearby diner?) Hollis didn't understand why Jon would be kind to him. Hollis is "wired differently" and said it was fun to pretend to be normal, another explanation for why he allowed Jon's organization to spend so much money on him.

Sheriff Carl was understandably pissed that he went to all the trouble to investigate Daniel's beating and arrest Bobby Dean, angering everyone in the process, only to have Daniel refuse to identify him. In a deliberate echo of the Jon/Hollis scene, Carl asked Bobby Dean outright if he was worth saving. Is Bobby Dean worth saving? Will he see his release as the huge gift from Daniel that it was? Or will he try to hurt Daniel again?

Meanwhile at the tire store, I'm trying so hard to not hate Teddy, but it's hard to do when Teddy is still pushing Tawney away while simultaneously trying to manipulate her. I'll give him a little credit because he was prepared for that bank interview, but putting up their house for collateral was such a bad mistake, and so not fair to Tawney. She hesitated to sign her own house away the minute he asked and he was immediately nasty about it, mansplaining that she would never understand all of the issues because she didn't have his years of experience in retail. I knew she'd reconsider and let him do it, probably because she's just not emotionally invested in their marriage no matter how much she tries, but I didn't think it would be so soon.

The actors did such a great job of expressing
how uncomfortable this was, for both of them.
So then, Teddy tried to manipulate Janet to co-sign for his wheel rim rental scheme. And then Ted Senior told Janet they couldn't afford for her to redo her kitchen. But it's Janet who owns the tire store that supports them all. And she can't have a cheap kitchen remodel? That really pissed me off.

Bits:

-- That song "Charlie Darwin" was gorgeous and bleak, plus there was that water imagery again. "Oh my god, the waters cold and shapeless. Oh my god, it's all around. Oh my god, life is cold and formless. Oh my god, it's all around."

-- Nice touch, that man-out-of-time thing where Daniel observed that car controls look different than they did twenty years ago. Apparently, everything's rounder.

-- The woman in the donut shop was a town ally, glad that they'd arrested Bobby Dean for beating Daniel. It's interesting how the townspeople are portrayed as either allies or enemies and you can never tell which they'll be.

-- Amantha was reading The Black Swan, which I'd never heard of. It's not about psychotic ballerinas. It's a book about outliers, rare events with extreme impact, and how people react to them. No, not applicable at all.

Quotes:

Amantha: "You do windows now?"
Daniel: "Side effect of the coma."
Amantha: "The doctor didn't mention that as a possibility."
Daniel: "It's rare."

Daniel: "No crying, sister."
Amantha: "Sorry."
Daniel: "Emotion is for losers."

Daniel: "Something sweet in the morning."
Janet: "It's everything."
Daniel: "It's something."

Amantha: "Don't expect me to thank you for doing your job."
Sheriff Carl: "I won't."

Jon: "Sorry everything's cold. It takes a while to get it through all of the protocol."
Hollis: "Strip searched my hash browns, huh? Buncha animals."

Good episode. Not great, though. Funny how the excellence of Rectify has spoiled me,

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

7 comments:

  1. This show is insane (in the best possible way).

    I've become sort of obsessed with Teddy. Or more accurately, with how I feel about him. He was violated. Plane and simple. Why doesn't that make me hate Daniel? Why doesn't that make me want to give Teddy a pass or two? Or even a hug? Is it because Daniel has already suffered so much? Or because Teddy is kind of an ass hat a lot of the time? Generally speaking, dealing with a less than great person is not an excuse to choke them out or do weird things with coffee grinds in their pants. But I don't want Teddy to turn Daniel in. I don't want justice for him and I don't want Daniel to suffer any consequences for what he did. This show is giving me a complex of my world view.

    I don't think I could ever be beaten into a coma and then let the people responsible just walk away. I understand the logic of it not solving anything, but I would want them to know that I got the last laugh. I won. Or something. My heart kind of broke for Amantha when she realized that once again there was going to be no justice for her family.

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  2. Laure, for me it's the deeper issues that make me root for Daniel and dislike Ted. When Daniel attacked Ted, it was right after Ted had said some extremely cruel and practically unbearable things to Daniel. And of course, Ted's actions are spurred by his anger at Daniel getting out of prison and taking back his own position in the family, which Ted is interpreting as pushing himself out. Ted hasn't expressed even the slightest iota of compassion for his stepbrother, who has suffered so much and didn't deserve it. Ted also resents his own wife showing that compassion to Daniel that he won't show, and is determined to interpret it as sexual. It's so complicated.

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  3. I agree with everything you're saying, Billie. I feel the same ways that you do towards these characters, but it still feels like it goes against the grain somehow. Like we are blaming the victim.

    It really is so so complicated.

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  4. As I posted my previous comment, I went "Duh, obvious, Billie! Laure knows that." :) I just can't be mad at Daniel for attacking Teddy, even though Teddy didn't deserve it.

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  5. I actually have a lot of empathy for Ted. I don’t agree with a lot of his choices or the way he sometimes expresses himself --- for example the dealings with Tawney in this episode --- but I find him very human. He’s certainly an ass hat much of the time, but he’s a human one. And what Daniel did to him was appalling. Teddy didn’t deserve it --- no one deserves that --- and he’s struggling to process it. Much of reason he’s pushing this tire business and reacting to Tawney the way he is are fallout from being violated that way. Hearing your wife confirm that she had affection for the man that did something like that to you had to be pretty hard.

    But that’s what makes the show so interesting for me. I understand the perspectives of both men and see can understand their choices and attitudes as often flawed but very human. Much like what Bobby Dean did to Daniel. And what Hollis did to John, and then the way John responded. It’s all part of the fascinating beauty of this show.

    The material with Daniel this week followed on very nicely from the previous episode’s questions about forgiveness, or leaving the judgment to others. As you both say, it’s hard not to see the Bobby Dean issue from both the Amantha and Daniel perspectives. Of course we want people to pay for the harm they’ve done us and those we care about. But I think that impulse is often more about vengeance and retribution than justice, and vengeance rarely leads anywhere good. Most of the time it just creates an endless cycle of violence and more harm. Look at what the town’s need for vengeance cloaked as “justice” for poor Hanna has already done to the Holdens. (Bearing in mind that we don't really know if he murdered her or not. We just don't want to think he did.) Perhaps Daniel is right to just let the beating go at this point. And perhaps Bobby will actually do something worthwhile with this second chance that he knows he doesn’t necessarily deserve. That would be the hope.

    I think it was actually Teddy that said the line to Daniel about confusing feeling better with being well. Not the neighbor.

    It’s interesting that you were pissed about Ted telling Janet she couldn’t afford the kitchen remodel. I thought he was being entirely reasonable. The business (that he and Teddy are running, even if she owns it) isn’t doing that great, they’re likely going to have huge medical bills after the beating, and they’re facing the potential for huge legal bills if Foulkes gets his way and the prosecution moves forward with the case against Daniel. They’ve got other priorities and remodeling the kitchen doesn’t seem wisest use of limited resources. :)

    I did really like the way their discussion mirrored the financial discussions/issues between Teddy/Tawney. And I totally agree that him pressuring her to put up their house as collateral and throwing a tantrum was a dick move. But again, I can easily read his behavior as an imperfect stress reaction to everything else he’s dealing with. (I'm no stranger to having imperfect stress reactions, so perhaps I'm just more inclined to see his in a slightly more sympathetic light.)

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  6. I can't believe I misspelled plain. Can we delete all these comments and repost them? :/

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  7. Amantha's story -as it pertains to Daniel- is essentially over now, isn't it? Daniel sparing Bobby Dean feels like he set his sister free too. I'm not sure what she brings to the table now that she can't be Daniel's protector/avenger anymore. I liked her being the manifestation of Daniel's indignation, but we're past it. Kind of.

    >>"(How weird is it to have to order a last meal? And how unfair that it was cold food from a nearby diner?)"
    Men shouldn't die on empty stomachs, but lmao who the hell cares if it's a little cold! They're convicts, and this one lied and wasted a quarter mil of the organization's funds! Food that's gone room temp is a very, very lenient punishment for that.

    Speaking of which that's such an interesting/depressing subplot, being conned by a fake innocent, that I'm both sorry yet not that it's not expanded on. I mean there's nothing more to be said about it than what the guy said anyway, I guess. "It's fun to pretend."

    I'm OK with Bobby Dean being let go now, though I do remember how I hated it the first time, especially his "not this one" response to Carl talking about how he'd owe Daniel one in some cultures. But I've cooled, and I completely understand Daniel "not seeking justice" if it might mean they'll all finally leave him alone (or even just Bobby Dean).

    @Jess Lynde: "Teddy didn’t deserve it --- no one deserves that"
    So dramatic. But I mean it was a shadow of what Daniel experienced. He deserved it a little more than Daniel did, and there was real drive and purpose and hurt behind it which I can't say for the motivation behind Daniel's repeated rapes. I'm really sorry for going on about it, I just really relentlessly believe you're too harsh on this one thing. In all this talk about people trying to administer their own justice, I just found this coffee grounds thing the closest thing to appropriate and measured retribution (on top of being creatively lenient) that if this is still considered too harsh and too far, there's no hope and it should just ENTIRELY be left up to the system. Which might be the right call in the end... but yeah just, no. No. NONONO!
    ---:"Hearing your wife confirm that she had affection for the man that did something like that to you had to be pretty hard."
    Indeed... but how could any self-respecting man let that happen to him in the first place? I'm just sayin', can't help but give the ol' boy a bit of the ol' side-eye after that, if you know what I mean.
    ..."I think it was actually Teddy that said the line to Daniel about confusing feeling better with being well."
    Ah yeah. Points to Teddy, yeah it was. I only remember because Daniel says it's very observant of him and I wouldn't notice that if he was saying it to the neighbor. I really loved their awkward walk.

    I have to agree that the show did a good enough job of conveying how dire the tire business is that Ted Sr shutting down Janet's remodel didn't bother me.

    @Laure Mack: "I can't believe I misspelled plain. Can we delete all these comments and repost them? :/"
    Hahaha oh man, the embarrassing part is even when I proofread I still only notice a typo after it's posted. It didn't used to happen to me before, even back when my forums didn't have an edit button. Something's deteriorating here D:

    No comment on Daniel's fucking gargoyle-face thing at the end when he's being checked if the pills were swallowed? There's something really satisfying about the sequence. The tongue, then the annoyed finger snap from the guard, then Daniel giving this magnificent shit-eating grin, lol. I didn't understand the significance of the pill stuff though. What was even the point of that subplot?

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