Rectify: Sleeping Giants

"Absence of destructive behaviors! Motivation to change!"

This episode, like the last one, began with Daniel trapped in his cell, and I thought, why do they keep starting this way? And then I went, idiot. Of course. He's in a coma, imprisoned inside his head. How else would he relate to what was happening to him?

Janet and Amantha were functioning much like Daniel was back on death row and there was nothing they could do for him; at one point, they realized that Amantha had treated Daniel's unconscious body like it was an inanimate object. As much as I like Janet and Amantha and as good as the performances were, I have found it a bit frustrating that Daniel's story has been stalled while he was trapped in a mental prison for these past two episodes. Even though the pecan grove scene with Kerwin in the previous episode was special.

Sleeping giant. Daniel seemed almost like a different person when he woke up. He was teasing his mother and Amantha, like getting pummeled nearly to death and spending time in a coma allowed him to get past the funk he's been in since his release. I liked seeing him that way. In fact, the way he pretended to wake up a second time so that his mother wouldn't have missed it made me laugh out loud.

Teddy and Tawney

I thought Tawney was doing all the blockading in the Tawney/Teddy marriage, but no. While trying to find some way to make more money at the tire store, Teddy was pushing Tawney away with both hands. He also appeared obsessed with the possibility that Daniel would end up vegetative and in diapers. Maybe that was what Teddy wanted. Another chance at Daniel disappearing somewhere and no longer screwing up Teddy's life.

Tawney felt terribly guilty for acting on her attraction to Daniel. But was it attraction? How much was it really all about "saving" him and bringing him to God? Tawney has always appeared to be genuinely sweet with above board motives. In Tawney's "life group," she was sharing Daniel's interest in St. Thomas Aquinas and God in nature with them, and one of them, Kate, observed that Tawney had tried to love Daniel the way Jesus would have.

The Teddy/Tawney marital fight was shot in such a striking way — in profile, but not the two of them together in the same shot. It illustrated how separate they are, how different their motivations. The Teddy/Jared scene in Jared's room was odd and uncomfortable, too. Teddy wanted Jared to have put up the Faith Hill poster he gave him, while Jared was looking guilty about listening to Daniel's mix tape on his old Walkman instead. Teddy wants Jared to be his brother, not Daniel's.

Jon and law enforcement

I liked the metaphor of DNA as a sleeping giant. Just like fingerprints a long time ago, DNA evidence has changed everything. It's funny how I've never thought about what happens when the DNA evidence doesn't exonerate a prisoner, but that must happen at times. It was beyond-the-call and too kind of Jon to stay for Hollis's last meal, anyway. I'd probably be more like Amantha, pissed that the guy had lied about his guilt and used up a quarter of a million of their precious funds that could have been used to free someone who was actually innocent.

The grinning murderer Hollis didn't even feel bad about using all that money, an interesting contrast to Daniel, an innocent who never allowed himself to hope for freedom. As creepy as Hollis was, though, they still humanized him. It made sense that even a guilty man would grab at the tiniest possibility of freedom, even though he knew that it almost certainly wouldn't happen. He also loved potatoes.

I'm starting to like Sheriff Carl. He did his job when it would have been so easy to just... not, under the circumstances. His buddy Lid the deputy expected it. The townspeople expected it. It's hard to imagine how the townspeople of Paulie will react to Bobby Dean's arrest for battering Daniel. I wonder how Daniel himself will react?

To conclude

This episode didn't come across as a cohesive whole, like most of the others. The different storylines moved ahead, and we got from here to there. I did like how those storylines were all held together by the truth, though. Hollis didn't score his freedom because he was actually guilty. Even though she was on Bobby Dean's "side," the little boy's mother allowed her son to tell Sheriff Carl the truth about what happened in the cemetery. Tawney tried to tell Teddy the absolute truth about what happened with Daniel, even though he was determined to find more wrong with what she did. None of these truths were particularly pleasant. They were just truths.

Bits and pieces:

-- Wheel rim rental? I could see something like that working in a big city, but tiny little Paulie, Georgia? What is Teddy doing? Sinking Daniel's family business on purpose?

-- A little parallel, with a drunken Bobby Dean urinating on the ground this time instead of Daniel. Much better. Although, and maybe this is unreasonable of me, I'd rather not watch characters urinating at all.

-- Trey visited George's father, who didn't seem to think Daniel was Hanna's killer. Interesting. Does George's father know something? He sure doesn't know his own son is dead.

-- Did they really shove a pamphlet about proper prisoner behavior under Daniel's cell door, or was that all in Daniel's head?


Daniel: "Proper prisoner behavior consists fundamentally of the following: Freedom from self-injury. Absence of unhygienic acts. Significant decrease in problematic behaviors. Motivation to change. Absence of destructive behaviors."

Janet: "Everybody's been so nice here."
Amantha: "It's because we're not in Paulie, mother. You'll notice a difference in tone sometimes when people don't wish you were dead."

Three out of four tater tots,

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

1 comment:

Jess Lynde said...

This one definitely felt less cohesive, but I liked a lot of the issues it raised. I find it really interesting that the show explores some of the same questions we typically get in historical or post-apocalyptic settings in a more modern, realistic context. The ones that popped out for me in this episode were the questions about whether you can just murder (or attempt to murder) a person because you think he deserves to die. Is that justice really? If it isn’t right for individuals, is it right for the societal collective to take a life as punishment? Should we instead find ways to forgive and leave the final judgment to higher powers? Should we still strive to see the humanity in the people who have done us wrong, recognize that we are all flawed, and find ways to respond with understanding or kindness? And how does the truth factor into what we think someone deserves a punishment? I love the issues this show makes me ponder.