“I want to give it my best shot. It’s all I can do, right?”
It’s oftentimes difficult to accept a situation that’s less than ideal. When things don’t work out in life the way you’d envisioned, it’s completely normal to feel some bitterness, some resentment, some disappointment. It’s understandable why you might become stuck in the past, trying to make broken relationships work and trying to fix a kitchen that also happen to be a really big symbol for your life. It is in that broken pile of hopes and dreams that Rectify extracts the true beauty in life’s smallest, yet most precious, moments. It is there that we find the essence of this wonderful show.
In “The Source”, the show takes a long, hard look at the way life marches on, recognizing the way things both change and stay the same. “It was so long ago,” Chris tells Daggett during his questioning. “I was not the same person.” Later on, Janet mentions to Daniel that he shouldn’t “expect things to look a lot like the old days”. A lot can change between the past and the present, just like a lot can change between the present and the future. At the same time, though, some of these characters are still going back to old patterns and jobs and cities, and a desire to “move on” might not bring as big of a change as expected. That’s just what happens, and some things we can’t control.
What we can control, however, is how we respond to the situations we’re in. Tawney and Teddy, for example, seem to understand that their relationship is broken, and the former even asks to change the locks on the house. “It’s just something I need to do for me,” she says, and it’s a moment of necessary honesty for them as they move on with their lives. Teddy does get a bit of fatherly advice from Ted Sr. about fighting for his marriage, but what’s important right now is that he finds a moment of happiness here with his family. As he’s talking with Amantha about their past relationships, they both respond to “It’s supposed to work out” with “Maybe it already has”. They accept that some things may remain broken, but they also accept each other and the joy that they can share over a game of gin rummy. And so, the camera slowly pulls back on Amantha, Teddy, and Jared having fun as they sit around the kitchen table, just feet away from the newly fixed kitchen.
As for Janet and Daniel, they head off on a road trip to Nashville right after they have an adorable fritter standoff with Amantha. It’s a storyline filled with gorgeous imagery all around, from Daniel standing outside of the prison to him playing catch on the beach to him standing in the water. It places an emphasis on who Daniel is–someone who’s “still outside the norm”, someone who “romances the cocoon”–and on who he can become: someone who lives a life on his own in a “brand new world”. The final scene between him and Janet is a beautiful one, and it certainly hits hard when Daniel asks his mother: “would you try and forgive yourself? You did the best you could under the most unusual circumstances.” It’s all anyone can do, isn’t it? The world throws all kinds of mud at you, and you have to find some way to push through.
I’ll leave you with this final thought: the Daniel-Janet scene in the restaurant is a perfect encapsulation of what this show is about. Even though their dance gets cut off, what matters is that they get up to dance in the first place, that they find comfort in the strong bond they share. In life, things get cut off. Plans don’t go smoothly. The one constant, however, is that you can always appreciate the times you share with the people you care about. That’s exactly what Daniel and Janet do here, and it’s absolutely perfect.
SEASON GRADE: A-
-Any mention of Kerwin is a sure way to get me to tear up.
– “Make sure you come back” and “All good things” are two short lines with incredible emotional impacts.
-The Tawney and Daniel dream/spiritual encounter is beautifully acted, filmed, and written. “God is in the flowers. In the rain. In your tears. As God is my witness, He is a rain frog. May Frog strike me down.”
-Badass Jon vs. Senator Foulkes. I like it already. Also, on the topic of Jon, his closing line to Amantha is pretty damn chilly: “We both known he would’ve been better off with someone less distracted.”
-Trey is now in a situation comparable to Daniel’s at the beginning of the series.
-Ray McKinnon has stated that we’re nearing the end of the show’s story, and although I would gladly watch several more seasons of Rectify, I’m perfectly fine with deferring to the creator’s judgment here. Whether it’s 6 or 8 or 10 or 12 more episodes, I’ll be here. See you next summer for season four.
– “Aren’t we all on a side trip?”
Photo credit: Rectify, SundanceTV