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Rectify “Charlie Darwin” Review (2×03)

3 Jul

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“It’s fun to pretend. It’s as simple as that.”

Hollis is on death row. He had people searching for answers, believing in him until the evidence came out, standing by who they thought was an innocent man. It’s a situation that’s very similar to that of Daniel’s stint in prison, but it’s clear that this man is in no way the man Daniel is. Their world views are polar opposites, one looking at all humans as able to be saved, the other lacking regret when the truth comes out about the lie he lived.

Before I get to Daniel specifically, it’s interesting to note that Jon and Amantha are both searching for answers, two people whose purpose in life hinges upon, in Jon’s case, the cases he takes on or, in Amantha’s case, Daniel’s well-being. They’re slowly starting to realize, though, that people like Daniel are leaving them in the dust and that the past is beginning to elude their tired hands; here Jon is, ordering food for someone about to die, and here Amantha is, excitedly heading off to get an apple fritter for Daniel because it finally gives her a purpose. In the upcoming weeks, they’ll attempt to move on just as Daniel has done.

Daniel’s been revving the engine his whole life, constantly caught between the limitations of the town and his desire to break free, and the fallen tree in “Charlie Darwin” is representative of the actions he takes throughout the episode. It’s no coincidence that the tree limb falls while he’s cleaning the windows, an action that allows him to retain a sense of control in a world that beats him and kicks him when he’s down; the tree limb breaks free as Daniel stares out the window, and Daniel zooms by another fallen tree at the end of the episode. What once was something he could only dream of, something that burdened him and motivated him and injured him while he was trying to help his neighbor move it, is now far behind but essential nonetheless.

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For, Daniel Holden is done playing games. It’s not fun for him to pretend, and he not only throws away a bunch of his stuff, but also tells Daggett that Bobby Dean didn’t beat him up. Everyone knows Daniel’s lying, but this development renders Bobby Dean’s imprisonment unlawful, and the Sheriff is forced to let him go. This man is getting out of jail and he technically doesn’t owe Daniel a thing, but is that really the case? At the end of the day, it’s Daniel’s need for escape that translates to him finding escape for others, and it’s Daniel’s inherent nature that allows Bobby Dean a chance to turn his life around (not that he will). It’s Daniel who we see at the end, feeling the rush and excitement of an open road ahead of him, and that image comes at the close of a montage in which we see characters not with each other, but rather alone, contemplating the future and trying to find a purpose: Amantha at the bakery, Teddy Jr. at the driving range, Daniel gripping the wheel of the car.

Are these people worth saving? Yes. Yes, they are.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Abigail Spencer is so good, you guys. I should probably stop singling her out every week because the entire cast is stellar, but hey, what the hell.

-Tawney and Ted Jr. continue to be truly heartbreaking, and while I can sympathize with a man who, understandably, feels trapped by his situation and intruded upon by Daniel, it’s hard to like him when he’s putting the house up for collateral. It makes sense, though: Ted’s been directionless, and just like the rest of the characters, he wants to throw himself into whatever comes next. That means the business plan.

-The Teddy-Daniel scene is excellent, and Teddy’s forcefulness there is something we know many people, including Tawney, have felt. The tug there must hurt Daniel’s ribs, and Teddy knows that.

-Tailpipe, standing on a chair…the suicide imagery is starting to creep in, isn’t it?

-How fitting that Amantha’s reading The Black Swan, given the pervasive theme of trying to make sense of the world we live in.

-The flashbacks are understandably starting to diminish, and in this episode, we only get two. We can clearly see how much Daniel’s changed, though, and what an unsettling smile that is.

-Here’s The Low Anthem’s “Charlie Darwin”. Great song:

-One thing that disappoints me: the annoying promo voiceover that kills the mood right after the closing shot. Online, we get beautiful end credits, but on TV, that’s not the case. Ah well. Minor nitpick.

-Happy 4th, folks!

Photo credit: Rectify, Sundance

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