“You can go anywhere.”
This is what Jon tells Daniel during a flashback scene midway through “Sown with Salt”. It’s a gorgeous scene all around, but it’s also one that offers up hope for a future that ultimately never comes, one that both emphasizes the show’s fascination with the world’s opportunities and underscores the static nature of life in Paulie. I’ve always maintained that this show is much more optimistic than it might seem at first, but there’s no doubt that it also gives us both sides of the coin, mixing them together into a wonderful exploration of all facets of life.
This particular episode continues to explore the season’s themes of uncertainty and indecision, and as Daniel tells the Sheriff: “Who is ever completely sure about anything?” The idea of uncertainty here doesn’t tie in with the spontaneous excitement of not knowing what’s next, though; it’s more about the “floating around in life” aspect, about the seeming lack of purpose and lack of hope for the future. At the beginning of the hour, Daniel states: “I don’t think anything surprises me, Sheriff.” Trey tells Daggett something similar later on, and it seems right now like everything’s out of these peoples’ hands. The world is moving on, what’s happened has happened, and any plot twists are more slow-moving acceptances than surprising drops of truth.
What does exist is a feeling, one that’s mentioned several times throughout “Sown with Salt”. Trey talks about the ominous mood surrounding him and Daniel and Florida, Tawney mentions that she “knows the feeling”, and Teddy mentions paranoia. The feeling is slightly different for each of them, but there’s a growing sense of unease, a sense that nothing can completely fix what was broken and scarred before. Fixing the kitchen just won’t do anything at this point, and Janet “doesn’t really care” about what material Ted Sr. uses; in this episode, she laments the fact that the world isn’t right, and Daniel recognizes that she had to “let [him] go” and “conjure [him] back up”. It’s been extremely difficult for her, to say the least.
It’s also been difficult for Amantha, whose journey has been brilliantly portrayed by Abigail Spencer (and that doesn’t change in this episode). Spencer gives an amazing performance during the awkward ice-breaker put on by the training seminar host, her body language conveying the exhaustion of the past and uncertainty for the future. You can tell she’s proud of everything she’s accomplished, but when the guy makes a joke about Daniel owing her a Coke, you see the anger and frustration and exhaustion break through. Later on, she tells Forrest–a guy she meets at the bar–her story, and everything’s summed up in her sarcastic “Oh, I’m living A life for sure!” The two connect with each other, Forrest expressing interest and wonder at what Amantha’s been able to do and pointing out her constant self deprecation. And then they get on an elevator, moving past her floor and into a dark hallway, one that might just be brighter than whatever came before.
-Apologies for the lateness of the review. I was unable to watch the episode last night.
– “I took the Midnight Train.” Daniel’s snark around Sheriff Daggett is awesome. I love it so much.
-There are some really beautiful shots throughout this episode, as is the case every week. The final one of the episode, Amantha and Forrest walking off the elevator, Jon and Daniel sitting on opposite sides of the glass, and the shot of Carl and Daniel walking in the hallway (reflected in the mirror to the left).
– “Deciding is hard.” “How about pretending to decide? You can be anywhere.” Love these Melvin-Daniel scenes.
– “Maybe she could help us…give us a chance in a way.” It seems like every single Tawney-Teddy scene is a powerhouse acting-wise from Clayne Crawford and Adelaide Clemens. The two just sitting there with their heads down is a perfect encapsulation of their relationship.
-The Daggett-Trey scenes are great. They’re full of tension and distrust, and both actors do a fine job here.
– “Daniel literally put his hands around your neck?” “Well, it damn sure wasn’t a metaphor.”
-We’re halfway through the season already! I like the shorter season, but I also don’t like it.
Photo credit: Sundance TV, Rectify