Culture of Pop

‘Rectify’ Recap: ‘The Great Destroyer’

As is the case with many Rectify episodes, this one merely kicked the plot can a few feet, maybe one and a half sidewalk squares down the block. As is the case with all Rectify episodes, most fans don’t seem to care.

Part of it has to do with its ability to inject life into any situation, no matter how dark or emotionally complex. Trey, who until recently has only lurked around the periphery until recently, wakes up in his truck’s driver seat with a vomit-stained chin and his daughter knocking on the door asking where he was the previous night; “Do you wanna get married someday, Alice?” “I do.” “Then never ask a man where he’s been.” (While I don’t know whether Trey is sinister or just a good ol’ boy that’s kind of an asshole, this exchange is evidence that’d support both.) Then Jared comes to Ted Jr.’s under the confusion of Daniel possibly accepting a plea deal, and the teenager confesses he doesn’t like beer all too much. Teddy, who’s making a (very) slow comeback as a tolerable human being, replies, “First you hate it. Then you love it. It’s called beer.”

The show also possesses the ability to turn on a dime and become other shows, if only for moments. Daniel’s very first meeting with Trey a few episodes ago was scored for moments as a horror movie, and his mushroom trip in the woods was a trippy, psychedelic reprieve from whatever else happened before and after its last shot.

But mostly, the reason its audience doesn’t bother with the show’s pace has to do with the deepening and complicating of its various characters (and that’s when it’s not already drawing colorful vignettes of characters that come and go, like the first season’s goat man or Lezlie With A Z): If nothing else, this show is miraculous for softening, at all, its audience’s stance on Teddy Jr.; his father’s majesty as perhaps the greatest man to live is about to be tested; Daniel’s mother, for all her sweetness, is suffering from guilt that she didn’t have hope for her son; Amantha actually cherishes her job at a strip mall thrift store; Tawney and Daniel seem to have come to an understanding on the depth of their feelings for one another, even if that understanding is that they can’t understand it; hell, even Wendell showed that he possesses a philosophical slant when he’s not masturbating or running his mouth (or, as he’s wont to do, both at once).

And while we should applaud the program for executing the show so beautifully upon the reliance of the deepening of relationships and characters, its card up its sleeve is that there is still a mystery to be solved; these families are living, struggling, and coping with a nightmare that haunts Pawley County in the background. Which is why meetings such as Sheriff Daggett’s with C.J., his predecessor, can be so delightful and intriguing.

Daggett, who’s undergone his own series-long turn from a creep to a guy who just wants to get things right while being pressured by the powerful Senator Foulkes, seeks C.J. out and learns that there were conflicting stories from the kids near the scene of the crime, that Daniel’s confession could have very well been forced, and that George Melton (the departed from the series premiere) wished to speak to C.J. after the trial, but the sheriff wouldn’t see him. But I’m afraid that Daniel’s presence in George’s house will come back to haunt him if legal or law enforcement scrutiny ensues. He certainly left plenty of evidence himself, and I suspect Trey planted some from his criminal tote bag.

Up next week: How is Ted Sr. going to handle Senator Foulkes’ revelation regarding his son, Daniel, and coffee grounds? There’s a joke about percolating somewhere in there, I’m sure.

NOTES

  • One of the more terrifying personal moments from the series: With Ted home from likely learning about the coffee grounds incident, I held my breath in hopes he wouldn’t walk in on Daniel attempting to cull memories of strangulation.
  • One character who hasn’t undergone much transformation, which makes Daniel a lucky client, is Jon Stern. His favorite word is “understood.” Like he tells Amantha, all he wants is what’s best for Daniel, but it’s not up to him to decide what that is (oh, and maybe to have sexual relations with his gorgeous sister).
  • Daniel’s initial hostility upon finding out about the plea deal seemed to be what remained of his spirit after his talk with Tawney: life is cold and never perfect, and never expect what feels good to last.
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