Rectify “Until You’re Blue” Review (2×09)

15 Aug


“I want people to talk to me in my language sometimes. That does not make me the bad guy.”

The above quote, said by Amantha to Janet, is a perfect representation of how so many people in Paulie simplify things so as to make it black and white or us versus them or good guy versus bad guy. The Daniel Holden case brought our main characters together, but it was under the constant pressure and watchful eye of an angry crowd. It was under shared hardship, not shared happiness, and although it’s united them under a common goal, it’s also torn them apart and prevented them from living life as a true family.

For, people may look at Amantha and Ted Jr. and Daniel through tunnel vision, but the truth is that they’re all human; they’re all flawed and complex and so much more than the townspeople want to believe they are. They have family, too, people they want to spend time with and love. The flashback to Charlie the Chaplain is a nice encapsulation of this idea: Amantha’s letter states that she’s writing to just her brother, not her brother on death row. It’s a key distinction, and the point is clear: the incarceration, the case, and the town have all come between her and her family.

It’s still the case in the present day, and it seems like the characters are slowly becoming more self-aware, more likely to question themselves and the influence they have on others. Amantha has that aforementioned scene with Janet, Daniel has the “it’s a metaphor” comment about the merry-go-round, and Tawney asks Daniel at the end whether she’s a bad person. Even though the plea deal now comes with no rape charge, “banishment” feels exactly like what’s happening to all these characters.

Daniel in particular seems like he’s starting to become more integrated into the world again, but it’s at this moment that he’s “banished”, that he recognizes the pain he’s caused throughout the years and attempts to convey that to his loved ones. He’s unable to tell Janet about the changed terms, but he’s able to lay it all out for Amantha in the Thrifty Town parking lot. He snaps at her, asking her to name one person who’s been happier after his release; she quickly attempts to respond with “we’re all happier”, but they both know that in reality, Daniel’s right.

However, maybe one day, Tawney can be the one person who’s happier due to Daniel being out of prison. In “Until You’re Blue”, we see her and Ted Jr.’s relationship erupt in a devastating scene, one in which all the words and emotions and ugliness come pouring out; it’s been a long time coming, but we know that as long as Daniel’s still around, Ted’s going to be teetering on an emotional precipice. The scene is filmed so that although the door is opened, it seems like the two are trapped in their own home, Tawney literally backed into a corner and Ted with nowhere to turn; when Tawney finally leaves, it’s almost like a temporary escape. It’s a claustrophobic, intense, and ultimately sad sequence of events, and Crawford and Clemens brilliantly express the pain that’s been inherent in their relationship from the beginning. They were never meant to be together, they both knew it in the back of their minds, and now, Tawney’s in a Best Western and Ted’s being called a “pathetic little bitch”.

Fittingly, Tawney has no idea what to do with herself in the hotel room. She stands in the middle of the room, blankly staring off into space until Daniel Holden knocks on her door. It’s not a romantic visit; rather, it’s two people who need each other at that moment in time. The facades are down, the acknowledgment of hardship is real, and, most importantly, the connection is real.

And sometimes, in this absurd world they live in, connection can be beautiful.



-I noticed some fantastic camera work between “Act As If” and this episode, and I put together an imgur album. Take a look: 

The scenes are similarly set up, but the first one (from “Act As If” is more open and hopeful). The next three are not.

-Clayne Crawford and Adelaide Clemens, your Emmys have arrived.

-Once again, Ted Sr. is one of the coolest guys around. His arc is one I am very intrigued by.

-I kind of wish the song played over the slow dance at the end was “My Way”. Or, at least have Don Draper pop up in the background. Anyway, for anyone wondering, the song played over the montage is Keaton Henson’s “Beekeeper”.

-Hi, Jared. Oh, wait.

-One more episode left. Sundance, this is a show that should be renewed. Just a heads up.

Photo credit: Sundance TV, Rectify


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