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'Rectify' fan recap: Pretend to decide

Season 3 | Episode 3 | “Sown with Salt” | Aired July 23, 2015

Sometimes watching Rectify is an exercise in managing my own human nature. There is so much head shaking, mouth covering, and shoulder slumping on my part in this hour of TV, that I grapple with this beautiful, exhausting mess long after the end credits.

This week, I think I said, “Oh, Daniel,” out loud to my TV at least half a dozen times. There are no other characters on TV like him, and that’s wonderful, but it makes it so difficult to love him. The strangeness, the broken poignancy, the constant reminders that he is fully formed human are pressing down on me, and the show, hard.

I find myself desperately grateful for Melvin, although cautiously optimistic might be a better tact. His light-heartedness with Daniel and the easy camaraderie are the only breaks Daniel receives this week.

Daniel meets with his probation officer, a demoralizing and humbling experience in itself, but his desperation for her approval is worse. He announces he has a job like a child showing his mother something he’s painted: “Look what I can do, Mom!”

This encounter runs directly into another in the hallway, as Sheriff Daggett waits to question him about George. Sheriff Daggett breaks the news about George’s death, and Daniel reacts exactly the way a man who has been in prison for 20 years would. You can almost see his internal wheels turning and his jaw clenching in restraint.

Daggett, however, registers this as prior knowledge, suggesting Daniel isn’t surprised by the news. Daniel, ever the growing smartass, informs Daggett that he is neither surprised by nor sure about anything anymore. Daggett’s reaction to that is confounding.

Sherriff Daggett tries to solve George

Daniel, too, is rattled by their exchange. In their conversation, Daniel gets flustered and almost says “killed” when he means “died,” referring to George’s death; the Sheriff latches on to that. He presses and presses into Daniel, but Daniel, practiced in this sort of dynamic, defers Daggett to his attorney. He does so with a politeness that subverts how tortured he really is. Still waters run really deep.

Later, however, Daggett seems equally skeptical of Trey when he goes to question him about George. Daggett circles Trey with questions, sizing up every answer. Daggett is slightly less menacing than he is with Daniel, but it’s apparent he mistrusts Trey as well.

Trey tells Daggett his version of the events of that night on

Trey tells a twisted version of the events of the night at George’s trailer, coloring it with all the biases Daniel faces after the trial and his plea. Trey is not the dumbass he pretends to be, and neither is Daggett. Both men are trying to play each other, and both are suspicious of the other.

This scene between Daggett and Trey is packed with subtext and is artfully constructed around our assumptions about the past. As much as this scene demonstrates impeccable writing and timing, it also showcases two actors saying twice as much as their words allow.

Once Daniel gets his wits about him and enlists Jon to help, he finds himself, once again, sitting across the desk from the sheriff. During this meeting, Daggett tries to connect the dots—from Trey’s account of their night at George’s to Teddy’s attack and, of course, to Hannah’s murder.

Daniel is conciliatory but petulant. He conveys every answer gingerly, and everything he says feels like a cryptic challenge. It’s frustrating to watch. Jon, mirroring my anxiety, barks, “Just answer the questions, Daniel.” Daniel denies killing George, of course, but he doesn’t help himself … at all.

Stoic silence has already been established as a Holden trait, and now self-sabotage can be added to the list.

At least Amantha is self-aware enough to know what she’s doing. In the winner of “scene that brought me to heaving sobs” award, Amantha breaks down in front of a room of fellow Thrifty Town manager prospects.

Amantha tell

In an obnoxious ice-breaking exercise, the overly enthusiastic moderator calls Amantha up on stage and asks her to “tell us a story only you can tell.” Sigh. Here we go.

She recounts Daniel’s story of prison, vacated sentence, plea deal, and banishment as her voice cracks and trembles under the restraint it takes to say the words. Her flinty laughter is sad and embarrassing in a way that makes me feel fiercely protective of her.

After she tries to be glib, shouting out to Peanut for “getting knocked up and put on bed rest,” her story tumbles out. The moderator tries to make light, suggesting Daniel should “buy her a Coke” for wasting her entire life on a brother who doesn’t seem like he appreciates it.  For a moment she seems regretful that she’s told her story, but then gives a shrug and says, “So … that’s me.”

Later, she meets the dreamy Forrest (Michael Vartan) at the hotel bar and they hit it off. Amantha’s game is rusty, but Forrest is impressed by her nonetheless. Amazed, he tells her he’s never met anyone like her before, and I believe he’s sincere. So does she, because she invites him back to her room.

There’s always so much to get to, and I never have enough room. Here are a few odds and ends.

  • Tawny and Teddy are reunited briefly and awkwardly. Teddy is angry that Tawny won’t just do what he wants, and Tawny is learning to manage her fear of him.
  • Things are tense between Ted and Janet. Her anger builds as Daniel’s banishment gets closer, and it’s landing on Ted, who doesn’t really deserve it.
  • Daniel flashes back to the moment when Jon told him he was getting out. The sheer joy and relief that telegraphs through the glass partition is a testament to Aden Young’s talent. He worries about Amantha having to “conjure” him, and it’s an eerie parallel to Amantha’s current emotional state.
  • Daniel gets to work painting the pool, and we get to watch through a series of subjective and unusual camera angles that seem to suggest Daniel’s new trajectory.
  • Ray McKinnon deserves all the awards. Just give them all to him. From now on.

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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