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Rectify “Sleeping Giants” Review (2×02)

26 Jun

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“Well, Daniel Holden, it’s time to bring you back to the land of the living. I hope you’re ready for it, because it’s a shit show.”

Sleeping giants always wake up. This is what Jon Stern tells Hollis, a prisoner about to be executed, someone who Jon wasn’t able to save, someone whose impending death takes a personal toll on the death row lawyer. We didn’t see him in the premiere, but here he is, looking like he hasn’t slept in a week; therein we find the prevalent theme in “Sleeping Giants”: exhaustion.

Over the course of these two episodes, we see the effect Daniel’s coma has had on his family and friends, the weight each of them carries on his or her shoulders, the exhaustion that permeates every scene. Amantha, for example, is still fighting like only Amantha can, but there’s also a self-awareness there of her own situation. Her whole life’s been structured around Daniel–with his plight representing everything she dislikes about being in that town–but now, what is she to do? Does she go back to Jon, someone who has everything to do with Daniel, or does she try to make a new life for herself? Her grasping onto the bad underneath the good stuff from the doctor’s words are a result of her being conditioned to expect the worst, perhaps even a defense mechanism of sorts that lights the protective flame inside of her.

As for Teddy Jr. and Tawney, it’s extremely difficult to watch how emotionally distant they are, even when they’re in the same room. We see the same idea with Teddy and his other family members (like Jared, who finds Daniel’s Walkman), and at the end of the episode, he’ll sit in the bathroom, trying to stay closed off as he gets the news of Daniel waking up. He’s a guy who wants everything to be the way it was, and he’s trying to understand how to survive and keep his dignity without having to even talk to Daniel. Both he and Tawney are trying to navigate their feelings about the guy, but it’s so very hard to do when Teddy views Daniel as an intruder. Tawney admitting she had feelings for him is, to Teddy, an implicit rejection, and for Tawney, so is Teddy walking out the door. He recognizes the impact Daniel waking up will have on the family, and while he’s fighting hard to hold onto what he has left, he isn’t very successful.

Ultimately, like everyone else, he’s fighting to close the distance between himself and various loved ones. We battle on through the hardships, and our relationships may suffer for it, but at the end of the day, when we get back someone we all love, there can only be relief.

And joy. Pure joy, because Daniel Holden was sleeping, and now he’s awake.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Beautiful shot of Amantha–obligatory Abigail Spencer praise–sitting on the curb amongst the leaves. Also, those boots on her. Man.

-I really like the Tawney life group scene. Once again, the show is handling religion with the nuance and care it deserves, and the way the writers tie Daniel and his release to the religious folks’ contemplation methods is plain excellent.

-Good job, Stevie.

-The final scene cuts between Daniel in the hospital room and Bobby Dean getting arrested. It’s the loss of one son and the gain of another.

-Sheriff Daggett’s a good guy. He feels the weight on his shoulders as well, the responsibility of putting someone away who most people don’t believe deserves to be put away.

-Aden Young’s going to be interacting with the main cast again. This is exciting.

Photo credit: Rectify, Sundance TV

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