Thursday, August 13, 2015

REVIEW: 'Rectify' - Daniel and Janet Stop and See Many Beautiful Things on Their Road Trip to Nashville in 'The Source'

SundanceTV's Rectify - Episode 3.06 "The Source"

Janet and Daniel take a road trip. Tawney returns home. Jon regrets not helping Daniel more. Amantha has dinner with an unexpected companion.

This was yet another terrific season of Rectify. It was also a season much different than the two previous ones. "The Source" is a very different type of finale than the ones that closed out the first and second seasons. It's just as equally great though. The show has thrived for so long in the ambiguity of the past and the reality of the present. Now both of those aspects are starting to come into better focus. This season spent a lot of time on Sheriff Daggett investigating George's death and how it related to Hanna's rape and murder all those years ago. This is a season where people stopped seeing Daniel as a suspect - even though he is now a convicted felon and on probation. That didn't make him any less of an alienating and strange presence to the people of this Georgia community. But the season allowed the Holden family to move forward in a way that was completely unknown.

The season opened with Daniel having 30 days to get out of Georgia. It ends with him and his mother going on a road trip before landing at his new home in Nashville. Daniel's decision to confess to Hanna's rape and murder was something he made in order to move past it. He was happy to take that plea deal because he could put all of this behind him. That wasn't the case though. Even during this transitionary time, he was still frequently questioned by the Sheriff and still seen as an upsetting presence by the people around him. He has no better understanding of how to operate in this new world than he did before. He is much more capable and ready to make jokes. But he's still learning how to be responsible with his actions again.

Daniel's probation is very strict. He has to obey those very stern and harsh guidelines otherwise he will be thrown back in jail. At times during his life on the outside, he has wanted to go back in. The world of the prison made more sense to him than the world outside the prison walls. But now, he is of a very different mindset. He is somewhat at peace with his decision to actually try and live on the outside. He understands that it's going to be a lot of hard work. He has proven himself to be a hard and determined worker in the past. But he's attempting to be a more normal person now. A task that seems daunting at the moment. But he's ready to take that challenge. He spends the day embracing what it's like to be free. This is a joyous occasion. He is simply enjoying a road trip with his mother. The two of them haven't spent a whole lot of time together this season. But she has always been there for him no matter. They both recognize that he has problems that came from his extended stay on death row. But this trip is just so simple for both of them. They are allowed to playfully fight over who gets the box of fritters that Amantha brought. They can enjoy feeling the wind in their hair as they drive on the highway. They can feel the sand between their toes and gaze at the never-ending sight of the sea and sky merging into one. This is a great day for Daniel. Never once does he feel the need to return to his former cell. He is able to be open and gracious for all that his mother has done for him.

Now, Daniel is on the mend. He steps into the New Canaan Project house willing to deal with his various psychological problems in the hopes of becoming a more normal person of society. That's a journey that he will be on by himself. His family will always support him. His life has shaped so many of theirs. His return forced them to confront many issues that were a part of their lives. They may not have always known how to react to him - and vice versa. But their love and support was always present - especially from Janet and Amantha. His release forced them to look at their lives differently though. Amantha realized just how much of her life she wasted on trying to save her brother from an unjust system. She is adrift in life with nothing to look forward to but her job as an assistant manager at Thrifty Town. Ted and Teddy saw firsthand how much love Janet had to give to her son in a time when they all needed support. That led to things becoming tense in both of their marriages.

Teddy and Tawney certainly have their problems. But Daniel entering their lives for the first time forced those to come out in a really big way. Their separation forced both of them to think about whether or not this is a marriage that they want to be in. Or if it was just something that felt right at one time but isn't right now. The two don't get any kind of resolution by the end of the season. They are just as uncertain as they were earlier. But the two of them recognize what led them to this point in their lives. Sure, Tawney's dream about visiting Daniel in prison could be very telling that she does want to be with him against her better judgment. But Teddy has given her that space in order to think more clearly. He obviously wants her back. But he's just doing his best to do right by her which is an admirable quality in this uncertain situation.

In fact, everyone seems at peace more than they have ever been before. They were able to rousingly celebrate Daggett clearing Daniel as a suspect in George's murder last week. And now, they are able to say their goodbyes to Daniel for now while also understanding what their lives are outside of him. They all have work to do. But this family is still together. Ted and Teddy have been able to finish the kitchen for Janet. It looks beautiful too. Teddy and Amantha are able to have their first true conversation as siblings who may actually like each other. Even though all of their lives are in flux at the moment, they are able to come together for these moments were they can just enjoy the simple happiness of their realities.

Big changes are in store for the future. Daniel getting the help he needs could make him a much different person. Daggett arresting Trey for George's murder is the beginning of Jon revisiting Daniel's case once more. Jon visiting the Senator confirms as much. The already announced fourth season has so many potential story avenues to explore. But this finale serves as a very strong close to this moment of the characters' journeys. They're still doing their best to life in this world. That's all that they can reasonably do. But it remains so powerful and beautiful to watch in its simplicity.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Source" was written by Ray McKinnon and directed by Ray McKinnon.
  • There was a time where I never thought the show would ever provide an answer to what happened to Hanna. It certainly didn't need to. But the reveal that George, Trey and Chris raped her was a very satisfying and dramatic story this season. It also gave Daggett strong purpose and direction this year. Plus, there's still the ambiguity over how she died.
  • There's such nice symmetry to Trey being arrested for a crime he didn't commit. He is guilty of other things including raping Hanna and trying to hide George's body. But he's innocent of actually killing George.
  • Even though it was never seen on screen, it was fantastic to see that Daniel was willing to open up to someone in his family about his friendship with Kerwin on death row.
  • It's just so great to see the show's ensemble get stronger and stronger with each season. Though it's still odd that the show still doesn't know quite what to do with Jared. He was in like three scenes this season. Is that because he's a character without much agency? Or is it because the actor no longer looks like a teenager? Either way, it's just strange.