Our Rectify coverage finally resumes as a plea deal threatens to separate the Holden family forever.
Let’s bitch it out…At this point in the season, two dominant storylines have emerged: Daniel’s (Aden Young) plea deal in the murder of Hannah Dean and the dissolution of Teddy (Clayne Crawford) and Tawney’s (Adelaide Clemens) marriage. The former has preoccupied more screen time than I would have imagined when we first began season two. Although I still don’t believe that Rectify is as interested in the murder whodunnit as any other show would be, the facts about the case and the plea deal with the DA that emerged last week have become increasingly dominant as we head into the finale.
This makes sense narratively because it forces to the surface all kinds of suppressed emotions. As Daniel and Jon (Luke Kirby) discuss the details of the plea, Amantha (Abigail Spencer) feels increasingly sidelined – in both relationships. This season has spent a considerable amount of time proposing that Amantha’s decision to focus her life around her brother’s case is detrimental to her own success (case in point: her glamorous job at Thrifty Mart). The juxtaposition of the Amantha of today with the one hinted at in the letter read by Charlie Chaplin in flashback is pretty distinct: Amantha has lost touch with the girl who acknowledges that Daniel is her brother first and foremost, not a brother who is/was on death row. She may suggest that his banishment if he accepts the plea deal would hurt the family, but even she can’t argue that his return from prison has improved any of their lives. I wonder what he would have said had she been able to state unequivocally that her life is better due to his release?
The details of the case are starting to leak into other character’s lives, as well. Ted Sr (Bruce McKinnon) visits Senator Foulkes (Michael O’Neill) to confront him about Daniel’s attack on Teddy, which he learned about last episode. It’s been gratifying (if that’s the right word) to see that the attack has had such an impact on this second season, and I’m thankful that it’s occurred in a realistic sense – the shock waves that have resulted have been simmering under the surface throughout the season. It feels a long time coming, it’s good to see Ted Sr getting more involved in something beyond supporting Janet (J. Smith-Cameron) and this new information gives him something to grapple with in that it complicates his already complicated relationship with his wife, son and son-in-law. As hissably bad as the Senator is, his speech about Daniel’s guilt acknowledges that he has an awareness of his motivations and a basic understanding that even those standing in Daniel’s corner have likely questioned what really happened the night of the murder. Still, I’m glad that Ted Sr didn’t bend under the Senator’s will and re-asserted that matters will be settled within the family.
Unfortunately if the Teddy/Tawney side of ‘Until You’re Blue’ is any indication, there may not be much more family to protect. The rupturing marriage has been Rectify‘s strongest storyline in a slightly erratic second season and both Crawford and Clemens have risen to new heights thanks to the challenging material. Their dramatic confrontation in the bedroom after Teddy decides that Tawney isn’t emotional enough over the loss of their child is one of the most gripping instances of domestic violence I’ve ever seen on the small screen. The beats of the argument are familiar in that we’ve seen variations of this fight several times, but never with such spite and vitriol. Teddy literally backs his wife into a corner and berates her, flat-out suggesting that she’s happy that she’s no longer pregnant, that she can now live her life and maybe even be with Daniel. It’s a desperate rant from a wounded man, which is not a defense of his indefensible actions against Tawney, but rather accolades for Crawford for continuing to find something human in such an unlikable character. Teddy’s subsequent attack on Mr. Anderson, a client who has defaulted on his rim payments, is pretty obviously a projection of his desire to battle Daniel and unfortunately feels like the one true misstep in an otherwise rock solid episode. His attempt to reclaim the rims is well executed in terms of dramatic pay-off, acting and editing, but it is very obvious. The moment that he began calling the man, it was clear that a confrontation was inevitable and his comment about “stealing another man’s property” is far too unsubtle for such a well-produced show.
Thankfully things end on a high note with a final scene between Tawney and Daniel. After escaping from her home, Tawney checks into a hotel and proceeds to get drunk. When Daniel arrives, she asks him a series of close-ended questions about their relationship (it’s significant that both confirm that they can’t be together, even as they end up in each other’s arms). There’s a marked difference between the men in Tawney’s life as Daniel shows genuine concern for her over the loss of her child, which is something Teddy never did (either out of shock or because he felt something with amiss with her). The episode closes with Daniel and Tawney quietly dancing, an open ending that may be misinterpreted by some as an inference that something else happens (the preview for the finale states that Daniel doesn’t return home). To me, however, the repeated assertions by both that they can’t be together makes it clear that they won’t act on their interest in each other. If anything, it is their genuine love and affection for the other that unites them, not the simplistic lust that we see on so many other shows (ie: characters who rip off their clothes the moment a marriage dissolves). Still, there’s clearly more chemistry in this pairing than there is between Teddy and Tawney, a realization that seems destined to come a head before the season is out.
- Daniel (in response to the news that the DA has agreed to his terms for the deal): “A good deal is one where everyone walks away happy. Or at least equally unhappy.”
- Daniel (referring to Thrifty Mart, Amantha’s “home away from home”): “It’s, uh, well-lit.”
Your turn: do you think Ted Sr will tell Janet (J. Smith-Cameron) about Daniel’s attack on Teddy? Are Amantha and Jon destined to break up? Was the fight between Teddy and Tawney difficult for you to watch? And what will Daniel do about the plea deal? Sound off below.
Rectify airs Thursdays at 9pm EST on SundanceTV