Rectify “Unhinged” Review (2×10)

21 Aug


Finales are supposed to provide endings. Court cases are supposed to go one way or the other. When we leave, we’re supposed to start a new life and close off our old one. However, life simply doesn’t work like that; it’s a constant barrage of revolving doors, of perceived endings and desired outcomes backfiring on you. It’s not to say that you should have a cynical worldview, but rather that you shouldn’t be surprised when an outlined resolution of yours ends up holding no weight. This is what happens to the characters in “Unhinged”, the season’s moving finale about the difficulty of moving forward.

It all started with the Hanna Dean case, and now, those connected to Daniel seem to be attempting to find their own resolutions to their own difficult situations; the problem is that although they’re feeling increasingly disconnected from the man they built their lives around, they hope to find resolution by extension off of Daniel’s decision. That puts pressure on his shoulders that he simply does not want, and it scoops these characters up into a profound wave of complexity.

What’s so great about this episode, and the show in general, is its ability to give us all viewpoints in a thoughtful, compelling, and complex way. No one is really right here, but at the same time, you could argue that everyone is. For example, we can see exactly why Amantha would call Daniel a coward, why the suggestion to just change her name seems so surface level, knowing what we know about her life with regards to her brother. On the other hand, we can see why Daniel just wants it all to be finished with, why he wants to end the pain he’s caused his family…even if it means banishment. He expresses that pain in the first scene of the episode, telling Tami about that night with Ted Jr. and the way it’s left a mark on him moving forward. What happened to Ted, after all, is similar to what happened to Daniel in prison, and both men have to live with it.

As for others like Amantha and Jon, that complexity is also present. Jon is a reminder of this period of her life built around Daniel, but he can also represent a future for her in Boston. For Ted Jr., he recognizes all the bad things he’s done in the marriage and still cares about his wife–great touch in there of him slipping the cash into Tawney’s purse–but the crumpled letter and his subsequent trip to the sheriff represent his fixation on Daniel. For Ted Sr. and Jared, it’s all about how he can live with the knowledge of the assault and how he can satisfy his curiosity about the past, respectively.

In the end, it all centers on Aden Young’s brilliant performance–seriously, get that man an Emmy–in the debrief scene. It’s the scene with the most possible interpretations, and it emphasizes a major theme in “Unhinged”: everyone wants resolutions, but will there ever really be any? Tawney and Daniel tell each other in that hotel room that they’re leaving, but then, the follow up question is “Do you have anywhere to go?” The answer is a simple “no”, and therein lies the beauty of watching these characters live.

They’ll keep moving and struggling and coping and staying and fighting, but that’s because they’re all human. They’re all complex individuals with stories we never want to see come to a close, and the finale provides us with a stopping point that neither satisfies nor resolves. Rather, it simply tells, and that’s why we watch.

That’s Rectify.





-The shot during the flashback of Amantha on Daniel on either side of the glass is reminiscent of the final shot of season one, with Daniel and a cleaning crew person on the either side of the cell wall. Similar usage of black frames, as well.

-Final shot of the episode (above) is of Daniel, and it looks like he’s in a prison of sorts. 

-I also like the parallel of the boys finding that body at the end and the boys on the night Hanna Dean was killed. This one event completely alters the world around them and leads to a loss of innocence.

-I love the Janet-Ted Jr. scene, in which she helps patch up the injured hand and he tells her about the miscarriage. We haven’t seen many scenes like this; usually, it’s been Janet-Daniel, which have been great, but this is also a reminder of who also became a part of her family when she married Ted Sr. Poignant moment, and very well done.

-Courtesy of the AV Club’s Jay See: “Amantha’s hangman word–ABSOLUTION”.

-Who’s Christopher? Hmm. How about…Christopher Moltisanti?

-Will Daggett continue to investigate Troy?

-Any interpretations of the confession scene? Share below. Honestly? I’m not sure if we’ll ever get answers about the case itself, and it should remain that way.

– “If I say that, will you let me go home?” This time, Daniel gets to say “We’re done”. It’s not easy and it’s not all cleared up, but it means something.

-This would not work as a series finale for me, so thank you, Sundance, for renewing it.

-Best episode of the season? So many great ones, but I have a special fondness for “Donald the Normal”.

-Well, that does it for season 2 coverage of one of the best shows on television. This has been a wonderful little show to pick apart–I really don’t know why others haven’t been doing more weekly reviews–and I look forward to doing it again next year for season 3. It’ll be a 6-episode season, and if it’s the end, then so be it. When McKinnon and co. decide it’s over, then it’s over. Until then, we have another season to look forward to. Thanks for reading.

Photo credit: Sundance TV, Rectify


2 Responses to “Rectify “Unhinged” Review (2×10)”

  1. Matthew Thompson August 22, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    I loved this finale. I think how they set up all the pieces sort of falling into place at the end, but with us not knowing exactly how they will fall and affect each other makes for a lot to think about in the offseason. Which should certainly be fun (I like shows that make me think between episodes/seasons). And I can’t wait to see more next season! Rectify has been the highlight of my TV summer for sure. Great coverage on here this year!

    • polarbears16 August 22, 2014 at 11:33 am #

      I agree. The show has the foundation for a typical drama series, but the way it goes about it is truly unique. Thanks for reading!

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