Rectify “Girl Jesus” Review (3×04)

30 Jul

“You have to bend to this life, Daniel. It does not bend to you.”

Rectify has been using the “fix the kitchen” metaphor to reflect the lives of its characters, to highlight just how broken and in need of repair many of these relationships are (also, Humpty Dumpty metaphors). Ted’s kitchen-fixing journey seems to be a never-ending project, one that lingers at the back of his mind at every second, and there’s no question that the tension has been mounting between him and Janet over it. What makes this show so layered and nuanced, however, is the fact that it delves deeply into both the “broken” and “in need of repair” parts. Yes, these characters have experienced disappointment and pain and neglect, but little by little, they might just be able to make something out of the kitchen. Progress may be slow-moving, but that’s just how life can be sometimes. It’s more of a “crooked path” than a “straight line”, as Amantha and Jon discuss during their scene together.

The most compelling aspect of the episode for me is the focus on the Tawney-Teddy relationship, which is beautifully handled by Clayne Crawford and Adelaide Clemens (it should go without saying every week). Their couples counseling session centers around a catharsis of sorts for the two of them, one that’s painful to watch but necessary to hear. “You always hold something back!” Teddy accuses. “You never tell the whole truth.” And here’s the moment of truth for Tawney: “I don’t know what I want, Teddy! I don’t know if I want to be here today…I don’t know if I want to be married to you.” This moment has been building up for a while now, and it’s understandable that them kissing later on in the car would only come after they let all that pent-up frustration out. I do wish Tawney would get out, though, as I’m afraid they’ll just fall back into the same cycle.

Still, the key part of their counseling doesn’t just involve them letting those frustrations out; another important moment here is when Rebecca mentions that “two people have individual attributes and complexities”, which is most certainly one of the overarching themes of the series. She goes further, though, when she ties the two together after their individual stories: “It’s interesting…your histories, your similarities. Have you ever talked about what it was like, not knowing your mothers?” The show recognizes what it means to be an individual, but also what it means to be an individual who finds connection in the world. And even though those connections may not always last, they play an essential role in shaping who you are.

Daniel, for example, brings up something similar during yet another fantastic Amantha-Daniel scene. “I loved someone once,” he says, going on to say that he thought she was his savior. “We all do that sometimes,” Amantha responds. It’s a wonderful moment between brother and sister, one that involves the latter telling the former that she’s proud of him for trying, that “tomorrow’s a new day”. In a one word response, Daniel speaks volumes: “Sure.” He’s finding life outside of prison to be an imprisonment in and of itself, as conveyed when we cut between him walking down a hallway to deliver the signed form and him walking down a prison hallway. Like Trey says, his situation is “hard to come back from”. He’s “never gonna get the years back”, and he’ll always be tied to this case in some way.

And so, he heads out to the pool when it’s dark, kicking the paint can over as he watches its contents oozing out in front of him. The small moments–the process–are undone here, and we’re left to watch as the paint drips into the night.



– “That’s good? I don’t know what that means.” It seems like there are at least three emotional powerhouse scenes each week, and this Ted-Janet scene is one of this week’s. It’s also one that brings up the topic of dialogue again; oftentimes, these characters like to speak around the issues, and the vagueness of words–adjectives in particular–has been pointed out by characters like Jared. “Troubled, difficult, tragic…whatever word you want to use.” Frankly, words by themselves can’t strike at the true complexities of all these characters.

– The handling of religion in this show is really done well. That scene between Tawney and Daggett is so well written and delivered: “I don’t think Daniel carefully considered committing a sin.”

– “That’s just Daniel. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s been like that.” He’s an individual with his own attributes and complexities.

Photo credit: SundanceTV, Rectify

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