It’s time for hellos and goodbyes as Rectify wraps up for another year.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘The Source’ is structurally similar to the final episode of S2, only instead of Daniel (Aden Young) getting the third degree from Sheriff Daggett (J.D. Evermore) and DA Person (Sharon Conley), S3 puts Trey (Sean Bridgers) in the hot seat. Devoting so much time to Trey, a lying manipulative character, is my biggest gripe about the finale, but I recognize that this episode is meant to mirror its S2 predecessor and, in fact, the events that define the entire series. By ending with Trey under arrest for a crime that he didn’t commit (just like Daniel all those years ago), Rectify makes a damning statement about the twisty, interpretive nature of police investigations and evidence. From all appearances Trey’s story about George’s death is just another lie that the evidence doesn’t support; we only know Trey is telling the truth because we were privy to what really happened in the woods six months ago.
The unfortunate side effect of spending so much time on Trey is that it cuts down the time we spend on the Holdens. As teased in last week’s episode, Daniel and Janet (J. Smith-Cameron) head out on the open road en route to the Canaan Project where Daniel’s new life will begin. I spent the week anticipating the road trip and while it is a little briefer than I had hoped for, it still delivers an emotional wallop. The goodbyes are a mixed bag: Daniel’s is a tearful, hug-filled goodbye with Jon (Luke Kirby) and Amantha (Abigail Spencer) while Janet’s clipped, curt goodbye with husband Ted (Bruce McKinnon) doesn’t even include physical contact.
Once they’re on their way, Daniel requests a side-trip to their side-trip to visit the prison (something Janet tries to understand, but struggles with). From there they press on to the beach and a substitute seafood restaurant that is definitely no Hoppys (alas the “seafood extravanganza” is only discussed, but never seen). The destination is a cold looking visit to the beach where Daniel’s dip in the ocean acts like a second baptism: he cleanses himself joyously in preparation for a new life. Throughout the trip, Janet keeps her spirits up, playing the supportive mother and keeping her obviously tumultuous emotions in check. When they finally arrive at Canaan, however, and Daniel asks her to work on forgiving herself, the tears begin to flow (full confession: I basically spent the entire episode in tears, but when she began to cry, I completely died. This show = all the feels).
And just like that, Daniel has moved on to start his new life. It’s a natural stopping point (S4 will presumably chronicle his efforts), but after only six episodes, it’s too soon to say goodbye. Take care, Rectify, we’ll see you next year.
- Initially it’s unclear whose dream we are seeing when Tawney (Adelaide Clemens) visits Daniel in jail. At first it’s like some kind of bizarre retcon – a first meeting that happened in the past that threatens to upend their entire relationship on the series. Then it becomes clear that this is a dream – Daniel’s we assume because it involves details of the prison and because it occurs immediately after his ocean baptism. Eventually it becomes clear that it is actually Tawney’s (the false prophet comment is a give-away). It’s a strange, eliptical sequence that drudges up a lot of their history on the show, including that beautiful first meeting way back in episode two. It is, unsurprisingly, beautifully acted – towing the line between religion, desire and sadness in a really compelling way.
- Why does something as silly as Daniel and Janet descending on Amantha and a box of fritters fill me with such delight?
- The look on Tawney’s face when Teddy (Clayne Crawford) tells her that Daniel isn’t coming back is fraught with conflicting emotion. You can literally see the surprise, the hurt and the acceptance skirt across her features. The same thing happens with Crawford moments later when Tawney mentions changing the locks and Teddy’s face doesn’t quite match the confirmation in his voice. Such wonderful subtle acting from Clemens and Crawford.
- Jon may have told Amantha that he’s moving on (to Boston), but his final scene with Senator Foulkes (Michael O’Neill) suggests otherwise. Jon’s promise to investigate Foulkes’ dirty past in order to disgrace his legacy and clear Daniel’s name suggests that Jon’s ties to the case continues to be a very personal issue.
- It is just me, or is there some mild sexual tension in Teddy and Amantha’s Chinese dinner/gin rummy escapades? They’re both so unmoored, and as their conversation makes clear, they have a comparable romantic history of being left. I just hope that this isn’t the start of a set-up. I’m fine if they get to know each other better or raise the white flag, but please no romance!
- Chris (confessing to rape): “It evolved, Sheriff. It wasn’t premeditated. It just became.” This could be the mantra of this show.
- Ted (after Janet mentions Teddy’s offer of his house to Tawney): “I spent there last night and he didn’t say a word of it.” Argh – this family!
- Daniel (disagreeing with the assessment that Jon’s view is shitty): “I’m still outside the norm, then.”
- Daniel (as Amantha pulls up): “How’s the view for you now, Mr. Stern?” Jon: “More complicated.”
- Trey (after Daggett suggests he spend the night at the police station): “You never even had any kettlecorn.”
Your turn: what did you think of this final episode? What did you think of S3 in general? Were you glad that Trey has been arrested? Are you sad for Teddy and Amantha? Will Janet and Ted ever address their issues? And what form will S4 take? Sound off below.
Rectify has finished airing its third season. It has been renewed for a fourth which will likely begin airing next summer.