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'Rectify' fan recap: What should I do?

Season 3 | Episode 2 | “Thrill Ride” | Aired July 16, 2015

Rectify isn’t known for its robust pacing, but this week offered an even closer look at the characters as they interacted with one another in a deliberate, almost methodical way. Some scenes feel like they are happening in real time.

There are no scenes with more than two people, and the conversations between the characters onscreen seemed so restrained that what they aren’t saying tells a louder story than what they are.

As in most families, emotional politics make it impossible to come right out and say what you want to. Actually, Jared is the only character that does so. Like I said last week, Jared’s role as Greek chorus makes him the voice of reason. He tells Teddy, “Everybody talks around stuff. You can’t even figure out what they’re saying half the time.”

But the beauty of Rectify is that you can figure it out. You can look at these people closely, judge the tension between them, feel their hearts closing or opening or breaking, and know exactly what they want to say, but then usually don’t.

Daniel is now living at Amantha’s (“housemates,” as Janet calls them)—another scenario that they must learn to navigate. First thing in the morning, Amantha forgets that her brother is there, and starts when he speaks to her. She’s disheveled and rushed, grappling with a wine-and-breakup hangover.

Scenes between Amantha and Daniel are insanely valuable to the narrative, but we don’t get enough of them. Everybody is constantly making decisions for Daniel, and it’s riveting to watch Amantha try to disengage from that.

We can’t forget that only six weeks have elapsed since Daniel’s release. The show’s pacing makes it easy to forget, but this family hasn’t had the time that audiences have had to process through Daniel’s return.

In fact, Daniel is still learning how the world works. He spends his first moments alone contemplating, “What the hell should I do?” He decides on a few seemingly inane chores, but they are brand-new endeavors for a man who’s been in solitary for 20 years.

Daniel makes Amantha dinner on

Daniel meets Melvin on his way to do laundry, and I desperately hope that the writers make Melvin a legitimate friend—not some weirdo metaphor like Goatman, or a user creep like Trey. Melvin’s gentle nature seems like a good fit for what Daniel needs in his life right now, especially since Amantha is so angry at him. Let’s hope that Melvin isn’t a prison groupie or a sociopath himself.

Daniel’s presence at Amantha’s causes Janet to question Ted Sr., so Ted is forced to tell her that he asked him to leave, and why. The exchange is so measured between the two—the way they discuss “choking out” versus “strangling” and the way Ted Sr. mimics the language Senator used, saying things like “gain control” and “pass out.”

This speaks to the care that McKinnon puts into the dialogue, forcing the characters into an intricate dance in which they are constantly avoiding emotional landmines.

Tawney is so conditioned to this dance that she still feels afraid to speak her mind in her counselor’s office. The counselor tries to assure her, “You can say anything you want in here,” and warns her, “You’re going to have to trust someone, at some point.”

Tawny talks to her counselor on

This is hard for Tawney, given her history as a foster child who “aged out” of the system. Ms. Kathy is her foster mother, whom Tawney describes as “fair but firm.” There’s more to this too—as if she’s only giving half the story.

Tawney is afraid of Teddy, and tells the therapist he can “bear down” on her, making her feel trapped. It doesn’t seem like Tawney wants to save her marriage, but she also feels completely powerless to free herself. You can see she’s desperately scared of what Teddy will do.

Teddy, on the other hand, is dealing with his pain in other ways—ways that feel dangerous and destructive. He enlists Jared on a “thrill ride” in which they are essentially stalking Tawney. During the drive, Teddy remembers “sweet Julie,” the girl he lost his virginity to—the girl he basically date-raped, and warns Jared never to do that to his girlfriend.

The story is unsettling, but not because we’re surprised that Teddy is capable of something like that. It’s surprising that Teddy has enough self-awareness to draw parallels between Julie and Tawney. Although he denies forcing Julie to have sex, he describes an aggressively persuasive scene that underscores Tawney’s characterizations of him when he’s angry.

Teddy adjusts to life on his own on

Hearing Teddy retell that story, remembering how he begged, “Pretty, pretty please, Julie. Pretty, pretty please, Julie,” is eerie and disturbing, but painful to watch as Teddy realizes what kind of man he is. He doesn’t perceive himself as a monster like Daniel, but it seems like he’s coming to terms with why Tawney would want to leave him.

He and Jared sit in the truck and watch her conduct her life without him—Jared wild-eyed and shocked, Teddy sad and forlorn. It’s touching to see Teddy at his most vulnerable.

Amantha’s vulnerability manifests differently, in almost an opposite trajectory of Daniel’s. The more she tries to comes to terms with his second confession, the angrier she gets. She’s angry that she spent all that time defending her brother—fighting to clear his name. And within six weeks of his release, he confesses again, essentially invalidating the last 20 years of her life.

She and Jon split up and she’s forced to tell Daniel, “Jon and I are getting a divorce, I guess you could say. It was a marriage of convenience, and it’s no longer convenient.” Her anger lands on Daniel, yet she’s under such pressure from her mother to accommodate him. She’s likely to implode.

Amantha decides about Thrifty Town on

Janet won’t even tell her why Daniel is staying with her, and she’s growing. Although she’s justified when she tells Daniel that she “can’t pretend to give a shit,” it’s still painful to watch Daniel deflate when she rejects his dinner of chili dogs and “the tater of tots.”

Rectify often takes such an emotional toll that it’s easy to forget how funny it can be. Amantha’s reaction to Peanut’s return to Thrifty Town is a clever presentation of Amantha’s wit. She has a muted sarcasm that makes her deadpan delivery a refreshing break from the weightiness of the rest of the episode. Peanut didn’t know what to make of her.

Daniel’s attempts at whimsy are fun too, but in the way it’s fun to watch a toddler try to walk around in his father’s boots. He’s trying on this life; sometimes it fits, and sometimes it doesn’t, but we can’t forget that Daniel is an actual person—a fragile, damaged person who deserves our compassion.

Although I do wonder sometimes if Daniel was this weird before he went away, or being away made him this weird. What do y’all think?

Rectify airs Thursdays at 10/9C 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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