The ninth and penultimate episode of Rectify’s second season featured yet another installment in what is becoming a wonderful calling card: the use of soundtrack to determine solely the mood of what’s taking place onscreen.
The opening shots are simple enough—Ted Sr., appearing emotionally distressed, looking out his window at Daniel as he lies in the yard. With different music, Ted might have been feeling anything there. Regret. Sorrow. But strings swell almost triumphantly over a terrifying, thumping bass, like the soundtrack to an epic romantic war film, much like Daniel’s first encounter with Trey in the gas station parking lot was scored like a horror film. The music says Ted is angry, but conflicted.
But that doesn’t mean he isn’t resolved. No, the greatest man on Earth seeks out Sheriff Daggett to get as many answers as possible on Daniel and Teddy’s freak coffee ground fight accident, then chastises him for sharing information that wasn’t the sheriff’s to tell. Ted’s next visit is to Senator Foulkes himself, who welcomes him with poorly chosen (not by the writers, though) words: “Door’s always open to Ted Talbot. Father or son.” The elder Talbot picks up where Junior left off, telling Senator Foulkes to shut his mouth and leave his family alone. Foulkes owns up to his smarminess but impresses on Ted his confidence in Holden’s guilt, to which Ted only re-administers his previous point.
When we find Tawney, she’s already been informed that she lost her pregnancy. This strategy of reveal to the audience is representative of the show’s foundation: the in-depth character studies of lives in serious emotional transition. Whereas in most shows an accidentally terminated pregnancy might be the episode’s emotional peak, on Rectify the event happens off-screen, the series more concerned with how Tawney reacts to the news and navigates informing her petulant ass-clown of a husband.
Ted Jr. takes it about as well as one would imagine he would: telling Tawney she’s glad her baby died, telling her to run off with Daniel, that Daniel might do her a favor and kill her, everything short of defecating in his hands and decorating the bedroom with it. What choice did he have? She was looking into taking online classes! Tawney takes the hint and leaves, only to get as drunk as I’ve ever seen someone get on a half bottle of wine, then she calls Daniel. The first thing he says when he finds out Tawney’s lost her baby? Just about the only two words Teddy didn’t use: “I’m” and “sorry.”
Daniel takes a meeting with John Stern at the real and metaphoric merry-go-round. He learns that the DA has accepted his terms, but with a catch: banishment, Romeo and Juliet style. Daniel’s future presence in Georgia would be unlawful (except for in one inconvenient county, as statewide outlaw-hood is unconstitutional).
This deal sounds like a no-brainer to me, but I may be biased, knowing what it’s like outside of Georgia and all. But this love for the hometown that hates his family’s guts so much is what makes this decision a toughie. We know how Amantha feels, and Daniel is so worried about how his mom would react that he can’t even broach the subject of the plea deal, when it was his intention during the entire conversation. Unless major outside factors come into play (obviously a total possibility), I’d be pretty disappointed if he declined the deal just because his family couldn’t have him over for the holidays; it’d be the show’s flimsiest blemish.
Plus it’d block my fantasy Season 3 for Rectify: half following Daniel around the world, backpacking, finding himself by doing stuff like buying an old motorcycle from a young boy in South America and riding it through the Chilean mountains for a week (or, you know, something else), and the other half remaining in Paulie, leaving the rest of the characters with Daniel out of the way, to have to face themselves finally, perhaps with Sheriff Daggett getting to the bottom of this Trey-George mess (it doesn’t look like we’re gonna get that far in the season finale, unfortunately).
One can only dream.
- Terrifying as it was watching Ted Jr. attempt his own repo job on one of his clients, I was actually relieved when Teddy took the guy down. Douche or not, that guy needs a win, and if he’s not taking it out on Daniel or Tawney? All the better.
- We get some more coloring between the lines of the Amantha-Janet relationship. Amantha’s mother remained distant from her daughter, likely as a result of losing her son. This has been an under-served relationship.
- Yet another fantastic encounter with Charlie the chaplain. He’s no Kerwin, but he’s a cool customer who cares about Daniel and can connect with him intellectually.
- Classic Ted Jr.: “You put the peanut butter chips in, too … gettin’ all exotic on me.”
- I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but when Tawney breaks the news to Teddy, I swear he looked at the camera for several seconds in disbelief. Intentional or not, it was pretty jarring.
- Seriously, being free in 99.9% of the world isn’t good enough for you?