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Rectify “Weird as You” Review (2×07)

1 Aug

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“I know you. Now, you know you.”

This season, we’ve seen a Daniel Holden who wants to move forward, who wants to zoom off in a car to Atlanta and live a life as Donald the Normal, someone who’s appreciated for his intellect rather than his story. Recently, though, we’ve seen a Daniel Holden who confronts the past, who returned to the water’s edge at the end of the last episode and is now being taken on a trip down memory lane by Trey.

It’s certainly not a pleasant trip, though, as Trey obviously as a hidden agenda right from the start, one that slowly starts to reveal itself in that final sequence of the episode. At the end of it all, nothing is concrete, but the journey is truly unnerving and mesmerizing. Contrary to what the chilling opening sequence portrays, Trey tells a story of Daniel being the one at the bottom of the hill with Hanna, running off when he couldn’t “get it up” and later returning to kill Hanna after she had sex with Trey and George. We have no idea what story is true, but what matters here is that the idea’s been introduced; it’s been slowly inserted into the mind of someone who doesn’t remember how events went down that night.

There is an element of uncertainty in people’s certainty at play here, and the idea of coerced confession is hanging over each scene like a video recorder that’ll later be taken as a genuine portrayal of events. False memories and false confessions are powerful, because we all think, for example: How can these people, who saw a killer, not remember what he looked like? How can someone confess to a crime he or she didn’t commit? As a society, we simply can’t fathom that there would be any uncertainty, and because of that, we form a misguided notion of certainty.

Daniel’s someone who doesn’t remember what happened on the night of the crime, but there’s a moral ambiguity here that builds up as the final sequence progresses. It’s a very dangerous situation for Daniel because now, his fingerprints are all over the trailer and because now, he sees a part of himself awaken when he grabs Trey and slams him against the wall. Whatever Trey’s goals are, it’s clear that Daniel’s rattled–a statement like “You are who you are, forever” is damning–and with Daggett and Foulkes going after his family members and with Jon Stern being pressured by the opposition to have Daniel accept a plea bargain, his mental state is right at the edge of an emotional precipice.

The episode is directed in a way so as to convey that mental state, and there’s a drug theme that’s present in the proceedings. As Daniel and Trey continue to pop pills, the scene becomes blurrier, the mood punctured by statements of certainty like “I know you, and now, you know you.” There’s a surreal quality to the scene, and we can’t help but feel wary of everything that’s being said and done.

Elsewhere in the episode, that drug theme is present with Amantha; she and her friend Alesha get high and fool around in a tire store after Amantha continues to get pissed off at work, and it leads to a wonderful scene with Teddy in which he cracks a few jokes and has a bit of fun himself. The smile on his face is genuine, his never-ending struggle pierced by the light that is stoned Amantha. You get the sense that this–a moment in which he’s seemingly welcomed and embraced and loved–is part of why he tells Daggett and Foulkes that he made up the story of the coffee grounds. As much as he can be a dick, he’s a guy who cares about those around him; Daniel shattered whatever world he’d built up beforehand, but Ted Jr.’s slowly starting to realize just how influential he is, how one decision can tear apart his family all over again.

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As the above shot conveys, though, there will always be people watching over his shoulder. As Foulkes says, the truth stays with you forever. What do you do, though, when the truth everyone has in his or her mind is not the truth? What’s real? Perhaps it’s not only Daniel that’s a “time machine that don’t go nowhere but backward”.

Maybe, Paulie itself is spinning in a perpetual cycle that serves to break rather than build. We get glimpses in “Weird as You” of happiness and strong relationships and mending of bonds, but at the end of it all, reality comes crashing back down. You can get high and enjoy it, but later, a plea bargain will ruin your day.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Stoned Amantha is adorable, and is it too much to ask to have the whole cast get high in a future episode and mess around with vending machines?

-Amantha’s facial expressions as the guy is pulling money out of his crotch area: priceless.

-“Is That All There Is?” is what’s played over the cold open.

-Trey had a Paula Deen dream. I assume she was very racist.

-Speaking of the dream, I really like how that conversation plays out. Trey questions whether you should spend time thinking about your dreams, and Daniel then asks him if he thinks that life is meaningless. The beginning of the episode is a dream, and interestingly enough, Trey is the one who gets Daniel to really think about it at the end. It’s also a nice tie in to Daniel’s statement earlier in the season about having to tell sad stories because life is short.

-Three more episodes left.

Photo credit: Rectify, Sundance TV

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