Who’s ready for an awkward birthday party?
Let’s bitch it out…
It’s Janet’s (J. Smith-Cameron) birthday and the first that she’ll have with all of her children present. Or rather she would if Daniel (Aden Young) hadn’t ruined everything by showing up late, with Lezlie (Leon Rippy) and a gift that brings to the forefront all of the issues that divide the family Holden. An old gas stove is the stand-in: Teddy (Clayne Crawford) immediately goes for the financial jugular, Janet waffles in uncertainty, Jon (Luke Kirby) and Amantha (Abigail Spencer) approve because it’s rude to suggest otherwise and Ted Sr (Bruce McKinnon) appeases the group to diffuse the tension. Classic Holden family!
Special occasions on TV often serve to bring to the surface long-simmering issues. And so it goes here. For the first time this season, Daniel’s unresolved sexual tension with Tawney (Adelaide Clemens) reappears, prompting Teddy’s very early confession about her pregnancy. As soon as news of Tawney’s pregnancy was confirmed, it was obvious that the news would come out at the least appropriate time. Naturally Teddy uses the term “they” to describe their pregnancy and, like the lovable asshole that he is, he makes sure to stare Daniel down immediately following the announcement just to show him who is boss.
In truth the party is less eventful than I initially imagined (which is in keeping with this series’ stubborn refusal to travel traditional narrative paths). If anything, it’s ‘Mazel Tov’ quieter moments that stand out, even if the episode itself isn’t really a stand-out. My favourite scene: Daniel confronts Jared (Jake Austin Walker) about his stolen walkman, reassuring him that curiousity about the murder is acceptable, but warning him that he needs to be careful. It’s quiet, and brief, but this is the first time that Daniel has really ever addressed the crime with his brother. By the looks of the preview for next week, this foreshadows the return of the case in a significant way as we head into the second half of the season.
- Jon and Amantha try to have a normal date night at the roller rink, but things go sour when a woman confronts them over a PDA. It’s interesting to see how the two react: Amantha appears bitter for the interruption of their fantasy whereas Jon blames them for forgetting their situation. Both are unexpected, especially Amantha’s, who previously seemed to struggle so much with a Daniel-free existence.
- Turns out that last week Daniel actually slept with the diner waitress that Senator Foulkes (Michael O’Neill) “frequents”. Good thing the Senator doesn’t know since he already has such a large vendetta against him, once again criticizing Sheriff Daggett (J.D. Evermore) for not going after him with greater conviction.
- Cry moment of the week: In flashback, Daniel cries when Charlie, the chaplin, plays him music for the first time in years. It’s quietly devastating.
- Finally, there’s a very brief moment when Daniel sees Trey (Sean Bridgers) at the gas station. It’s the first time we’ve seen these two interact, and there’s not much said between them, but Trey’s reaction – he’s almost bemused – is unusual. We’ve long known that there’s more to Trey’s story than he’s telling, so let’s hope we find out more shortly.
- Amantha (protesting Jon’s upset attitude when they’re accosted): “I mean, screw her and the mini van she came in”
- Daniel (to Charlie, the chaplin): “I liked you better in the silent era”
- Tawney (when Teddy toasts Jon with Mazel Tov): “Is that appropriate?”
Your turn: what did you think of Janet’s birthday party? Did you appreciate the quiet moments or Teddy’s big reveal? When do you think the Senator will find out about Daniel’s dalliance with everyone’s favourite waitress? And what else is Trey hiding? Sound off below.
Rectify airs Thursdays at 9pm EST on SundanceTV
Huh. I thought this was a stand-out episode. I thought the pacing and momentum were more effective than in any other episode this season. Agree that some of the quieter moments (for sure the one you point out with Daniel and Jared) are major. But so are the “noisier” turns. My goodness, the sheriff tells the Senator about the coffee incident. Yikes! And, speaking of the Senator, yeah Trey’s hiding something, but it feels like the Senator’s hiding more than anyone. That dude is way not straight up and it’s to do with Hannah in some way.
Also, I think you’re selling Ted Sr. short. He’s not just playing his role or appeasing in the stove scene. He understands what’s desperately needed at that moment, a need that normally Janet would fill, btw, and he steps up. He steps up even though just days ago he finally became angry about something — his kitchen being torn up out of the blue.
I don’t know…I thought this was a beautiful episode. I am crazy about this show, but parts of other season 2 episodes have felt a little forced to me and awkward in the wrong way. Not this one.
Oh, I loved when Daniel apologized for calling Lezlie full of shit and Lezlie said are you taking it back and Daniel said “no.” Jesus….Aden Young is perfect….
And look what that full-of-shit guy (and I wouldn’t take it back either) did for Daniel — he’s getting guilt therapy in that last scene courtesy of Lezlie’s mushrooms. If only, right? If only….but it feels real; it feels like Daniel will be released in some crucial way from the misplaced crushingly disproportionate guilt he’s suffered all of these unthinkable years. And what do I know? Maybe an hallucinogenic trip under the right circumstances could rid one of such unbearable burdens….
That scene with Daniel and Tawney seeing each other for the first time…damn. And she, in her almost invisible way admits to him with that one word “yes” that she too was made to feel…and then the heartbreak of Daniel having to watch Teddy’s desperate announcement (“the lovable asshole that he is”)….
And, right, that the waitress (Marcy?) sleeps with him, that was a fabulous surprise, first, but more important, she’s not going to be able to back the Senator’s play, whatever the heck it’s going to be or try to be. She doesn’t think Daniel’s guilty anymore.
Just so it’s clear I’m not an idiot, I get that your reviews are….well, I was gonna say somewhat tongue and cheek, but maybe it’s more like parts of them are tongue and cheek…or some of them are more so, or, ok, you get it. And I really love the ones I’ve read. Only someone who loves the show could write these. Now I gotta go back and read them all since I think I’ve only read three? and maybe I have come back to correct…..
Hm. I just read every season 2 Rectify post you have up. I could swear there was one that was so hate-watch-y that it was like a parody….well, maybe that’s what hate watching is? But, I mean, the one I’m thinking of was more that way than any that I just read, tho it was still clear that the writer actually loved the show. Maybe it was from the first season? But I can’t find any first season reviews here….Jayson Warner Smith tweeted it; that’s how I found it. And it was not ages ago, if that helps……Thanks, Nomi
I don’t usually hate-watch this particular show (usually I reserve the snarky comments for the campier shows like Revenge) so I’m not certain which review you’re referring to. I didn’t cover the show in S1 because I only discovered it around 6 weeks before S2.
Thanks…so strange. We’ll maybe I’ll figure it out.
I’m still not getting email notifications even tho I think I’ve done everything right. I think? I click the box here, then each time I get a confirm email thing (I don’t know why each time) and I click on that; brings me to the list of wordpress blogs I subscribe to; you’re on it….Do you know what I’m doing wrong?