There are all different kinds of intrusions. Someone can violate your personal space by “beating off” while you’re trying to sleep (go ask Manny). A grizzly bear can tear you to pieces, or the thought of as much can inspire your alarm passcode. Your soon-to-be-ex-husband can sneak into the house you once shared for a curtain call on a waning marriage.
This isn’t the first time Teddy’s committed an ill-advised offense while wasted and looking to reclaim something he’s lost. A couple seasons back, it was rented rims. Now, it’s closure with Tawney, the kind that can’t be achieved over date-night fettuccine. The light they shared was already dimming with every successive sundown visit to their weekly meet-up spot, and after allowing Tawney to grant him a divorce, all he can do is ritualize the life he tried so hard to make happen in the shadows, sneaking around like a stranger in his own home.
Meanwhile, his father and Janet are acting out a much more intimate exchange of truths on their way to a reckoning. This is where Teddy and Tawney may have found themselves in 30 years had they stayed together, with nothing left to bare but their souls, and far less time to reconsider a new reality without resentments. Their series of volleys at the roadside BBQ/Boiled P-Nuts stop are exacting and brutal, lapsing into a kind of depressing monotony of points for Ted (“I blame you for never thanking me” is a real stinger) and pointed confession and coercion from Janet. Looking out the window, readying to hit Ted with what — for him — amounts to rhetorical questions about fantastical lives that could have been, Janet has to be wondering, “What if I’d settled down with Lester in Vancouver and we were tour guides for visitors to the wilds of British Columbia?” Ted likely anticipated as much, and had but a few moments to ponder, “Do I console and plea guilty to predictability, or risk the unknown by pushing back?”
Circling back to the saga of Manny’s midnight masturbation, Daniel finds himself in a similar (if slightly more menacing) dilemma: “Do I let myself be victimized by my neighboring resident’s self-regard, or do I stand up for myself and hope everything doesn’t shatter?” What Daniel discovers, to his great relief, is that at New Canaan, his cries for help aren’t muted. Avery takes Manny for a walk to do what Avery does (speechify, scold, nurture, etc.), and in walks Pickle as Daniel’s new roommate. That moment is right up there with Chloe’s comforting hug outside the warehouse as an affirmation of the highest order that hope is not lost. He can be reassembled and surrounded with support.
Daniel’s none the wiser about the revelations spilling forth from Trey, Bobby, and Sheriff Daggett back in Paulie. But given his continued path toward rehabilitation (albeit one strewn with the baggage of tormenting PTSD symptoms), he might finally welcome absolute exoneration. If he were free of shackles and guilt — presumed or otherwise — he could set upon the kind of journey both he and Janet have only dreamed about it, with enough abandon for two lifetimes. Maybe he could even find some pineapples in Paris.
Assuming Daniel can find a way to accept his anger and grief about what was taken from him, all that stands in his way are a handful of thrilling loose ends. Rectify is rightly cited as a lens into human beings aiming simply to be, but the suspense surrounding Daniel’s ultimate culpability in Hannah’s death is where the show really transcends. As the series winds down, having dutifully and vividly attended to several key interpersonal relationships, the drama concerning this mysterious Roger is ramping up. Ditto for questions about Chris Nelms’s involvement (something likely detailed in the documents Sheriff Daggett left John to peruse) and whatever Bobby Dean meant when recounting for Teddy how George once told him, “Trey went back.” The latter could implicate Trey directly in Hannah’s death, or that he went back to the site of the crime and covered Chris’s tracks. Who knows what tacit understandings were struck in those woods and within that police precinct? Let alone by whom? But the dread that’s stuck to stretches of the past couple episodes and hinged on Daniel’s many moods has receded somewhat, and a clearing has formed. No matter who’s left vindicated, vexed, void, or revived in the end, everyone in Rectify may find themselves echoing Tawny and imploring no one in particular to “tell me what to do.”
Apart From All That:
- Well, you wanted to feel like more of an insider in the family, Teddy. Say hello to Bobby Dean!
- Bobby’s character — and our earliest assumptions about him — is actually its own referendum on withholding judgment.
- Darnit, Janet. Ted may not know if he wants to open a tire store somewhere else, but at least he can say assuredly that your suitcase is between the set and her bicycle.
- And if there ever were a subliminal reference to Janet’s restlessness, it would be that bicycle.
- Janet, like her son, is remarkably self-aware.
- In his own way, Teddy now understands what it’s like to come home and not belong.
- Nevertheless: Hoorah to Teddy for including Jared in his debrief on Bobby’s unburdening.
- Teddy and Bobby’s argument about life’s constant weirdness may well have been Rectify’s thesis statement.
- I trust Billy Harris even less in his absence.
- Chloe seems nice.
- Does this show really have to end?