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'Rectify' recap: At some point, they gonna wake up

Season 2 | Episode 2 | “Sleeping Giants” | Aired June 26, 2014

The more I watch Rectify, the more I fall in love with it. This week’s episode, “Sleeping Giants,” is packed with subtleties about the nature of family relationships, the limits to human compassion, and the lengths a person will go to protect the things they find most important. It’s fraught with so much humanity that at times it’s hard to know where I stand about any character at any given time.

RTFY_EP202_UNIT02_1000x594This episode opens on a flashback of Daniel returning to his cell to find a letter outlining his “problematic” and “destructive” behaviors during prior events. The letter offers “motivations to change,” and this seems to upset Daniel the most. His reactions turn to protests as he rips up his books, throws his belongings and chants the letter’s admonishments over and over. Daniel’s personality (or at least an aspect of it) is revealed through these flashbacks, and we get to witness a human at his most defensive and fragile. He is reduced to his reactions to the situation, and is stripped of his individualism altogether.

As Daniel dreams, Amantha and Janet continue their vigil; Amantha carefully applies organic lotion to his hands like a disciple would, and Janet absently flips through a catalog. Both of these acts are significant to each character and symbolize their relationship to Daniel. Amantha’s entire life has been in service of her brother, and she dedicated her youth to proving his innocence, at the expense of a life of her own. Freeing Daniel has been her only purpose, and now that he is out and about to recover, she feels adrift. She identifies as her brother’s keeper and is struggling with the possibility of a life that doesn’t include that service.

She is so tightly ensconced in the bubble surrounding Daniel that she didn’t even look outside of it to find love; instead, she gets Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 3.06.10 PMinvolved with his lawyer, Jonn Stern (Luke Kirby). Jon is an exhausted death-row attorney who bears the weight of every client and takes each case very personally. This week we see him visiting a client whom he couldn’t save and will be put to death soon. Jon, like Amantha, has the weary manner of a man who has to fight for every single thing in his life.

Janet, on the other hand, has done her very best to compartmentalize Daniel’s struggles, moving on to marry Teddy Sr. and have Jared (Jake Austin Walker). Her relationship to Daniel is paralleled in the comment she makes about the clogs in the catalog. She didn’t want to get them because she “didn’t want to stand out.” Amantha is the fighter of the two women, and Janet struggles to control the chaos Daniel’s return has brought.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 2.30.42 PMTeddy Jr. feels the chaos almost as keenly as Amantha and Janet, but he is trying to make sense of it in a way that limits Daniel’s effect on the rest of his life. He senses that Daniel’s return is going to irrevocably undermine his place in the family, so he takes on the family business, trying to remain relevant to his mother and father. When Teddy Sr. says no to his ideas, Teddy feels rejected. This, coupled with his feelings of humiliation over Daniel’s attack, wounds him in ways that we have yet to see. Some folks don’t find Teddy sympathetic, but I am endeared to him because his bravado is so transparent and immature, like that of an adolescent boy.

When Teddy Jr. bursts into Jared’s room, Jared is startled, illustrating the distance between them. Teddy Jr. is threatened by Jared’s curiosity about Daniel and his past, and insults Daniel’s father as a way to reinforce their family connection. He makes sure to call Jared “little brother” before he leaves, reminding him of the family dynamic.

“Sleeping Giants” spends a lot of time exploring Teddy Jr. and Tawney’s relationship. The air is tight around them inScreen Shot 2014-06-26 at 3.05.16 PM every scene, and when Tawney stops by the tire shop to bring Teddy dinner, the emotional distance between them is palpable. Tawney is hungry to be close to her husband, and her interaction with him is so openly sad that you wonder how Teddy can be so closed off from her. It’s not until you see Teddy Jr. reach up and wipe a tear that you sense the weight of his feelings as well. Both of them are shouldering secrets that have to do with Daniel: Teddy’s is his humiliation at being brutalized by Daniel, and Tawney’s is her feelings for him.

Later in the episode, Tawney confesses her secret to Teddy Jr., telling him that he wasn’t crazy for suspecting she had feelings, but Teddy doesn’t unburden himself in the same way. He reassures her that everything will be OK with a terse kiss on the cheek and leaves the house abruptly. Tawney is left standing there, feeling exposed and rejected.

Because of Rectify‘s pacing, it’s hard to believe that it’s only been a week since Daniel’s release. The town of Paulie is still reeling from this news, and not everyone thinks Daniel deserves this second shot. Sheriff Daggett has to fight public opinion to locate Daniel’s attackers from the season 1 finale. The mother of one of the young witnesses won’t allow her son to testify at first. Daggett has to remind her (and us too), “You can’t just murder people, Debbie, no matter how much you think they deserve it.” She finally comes around, and the boy identifies Bobby Dean as one of the men who beat Daniel and the one who “peed on him.”

Daggett arrests Bobby and puts him in the back of the police car. The scenes toggle between Bobby riding in the back of the car and Daniel waking up from his coma. Both scenes feature broken characters and the people who love them, and we are meant to see them as the humans they are. In that moment, you almost feel sorry for Bobby. And that is the genius of Ray McKinnon: He forces us to see past the deeds and into the humanity of each character.

RTFY_EP202_UNIT03_1000x594 (1)In the final moments of the episode, the sleeping giants begin to awaken, and Daniel is brought out of his coma. He teases and jokes with Janet and completely gives in to Amantha’s emotional fussing. The moment is filled with so much relief that you forget for just a second what circumstances brought him here. Even though he was dreaming of his bare prison cell just a few seconds before he awoke, those moments between Daniel, Amantha and Janet are full of joy. And this is the beauty of this show.

What do you think this show is saying about humanity? Is Daniel a good example or a poor example? For that matter, do you think Daniel murdered that girl? What about Teddy Jr.? Can you sympathize with him?

Rectify, rated TV-14, airs Thursdays at 9/8 C on SundanceTV.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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