“You’re not like me either, and that’s a good thing.”
Early on in “Thrill Ride”, Daniel paces back and forth, uncertainty written on his face as he repeats the same question over and over: “What should I do? What should I do?” This is a guy who hasn’t always had a set purpose in life; he’s explored the world around him and has found beauty in the smallest things, but now, the people in his life are looking for some sense of structure. Even though they obviously don’t want him to be in jail, the weight of the past still lingers on their shoulders, causing bitterness and regret and sadness as they attempt to move on.
Janet may say that “not everything’s decided”, but ‘moving on’ for many of these characters now entails making a decision, finding a structure. In a fantastic scene between Janet and Jon–seriously, these various character pairings never fail to disappoint–the latter states that Daniel “needs to decide on a place to live”, that he “has to be more accountable of his whereabouts to others”. He then brings up the Canaan Project, something that’s “certainly structured” and something that he thinks will help Daniel moving forward. It seems like some of these characters are solely focusing on what’s ahead, and we see that in the dinner table scene between Amantha and Daniel. Amantha’s been a great sister to her brother, but she’s at the point where she just wants to move on, where she understandably resents the fact that Daniel took the deal and cheapened her fight. “I was hoping I’d get on with my life…not babysitting,” she tells Janet, and later, she responds to Daniel cooking dinner for her by saying: “I can’t pretend I give a shit.” This has been building up for a while now, and it’s understandable why Janet saying that Daniel “wanted a change” is so exasperating for Amantha to hear. After all, him “wanting a change” just seems like more of the same to her, more of the same living situation and indecision and stagnancy in life.
In fact, even a store owner Daniel comes across is telling him to go a more structured route. “Larger grocery stores will give you more bang for your buck,” he advises before Daniel decides to just settle on the donuts. Another encounter, however, nicely encapsulates who Daniel is and how he goes about experiencing the world. In reference to laundry, Melvin states that “it’s overrated, the mechanics.”, and he then follows that up by saying that he finds the process “soothing”. Daniel’s about the process as well, about experiencing rather than deciding, about learning rather than living, and he appreciates the process that comes with cooking or listening to music or sitting in nature; he appreciates “sharing talents of others with the world with no rancor or envy”. Contrast all that with the Teddy-Mitch conversation in the episode, one that also features laundry–Tawney’s–but descends into a tense mini standoff.
Speaking of Teddy, the episode closes with a wonderfully delivered monologue by Clayne Crawford about a relationship he had with a girl named Julie. As Jared sits next to him in the dark car, he talks about what happened: “I didn’t force her. I just kept at it. ‘Pretty please, Julie.’ She just let out a big ‘ol sigh and gave in…let me have it.” We get the sense that Teddy sees his own major flaws, that he recognizes his weaknesses but can’t necessarily control them, that he has the weight of the past still on his shoulders. And so, all he can try to do is impart some advice onto Jared:
“Don’t ever do that to Claire, Jared…or any other girls. Those guys that make you feel like a pussy cause you ain’t got your cherry popped are just assholes. In 10 years, you ain’t gonna know any of them.”
-Interesting minor connection between two pieces of dialogue about two different things: during the Benji-Daggett conversation, we hear that “we can’t be 100% sure of anything unless we see it with our eyes”. Then, Janet responds to “I think we lose sight of how damaged [Daniel] is sometimes” with “I see it all the time”.
– “Isn’t a coop where chickens live?” “Never thought about it like that.” Really telling exchange between Jared and Teddy, one that definitely applies thematically to Daniel and structure and his past in jail.
– “Did you ever ask him whether he liked to be called Teddy?” That early scene between Tawney and her therapist is really nicely played by Adelaide Clemens, and it ties in to the Teddy-Julie relationship for sure. After all, Tawney goes on about how trapped she felt, how she felt like she needed to run away.
-Next week’s episode review will not be up the night of. I won’t be able to watch it till the following morning, so expect it then.
Photo credit: SundanceTV, Rectify