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Rectify “All I’m Sayin'” Review (4×08)

15 Dec


“He wanted me to believe in myself.”

Two years ago, Rectify aired what I consider to be one of the most beautiful scenes ever created on screen: Daniel and Kerwin in the pasture, talking about life while the former remained in a coma in real life. It was beautiful in its simplicity and transcendent in its emotion, and it was a stunningly gorgeous expression of hope and love and friendship. In just six minutes and with just two characters, it illuminated a thematic underpinning that the show stuck to throughout its run: the idea of hope.

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Rectify “A House Divided” Review (4×01)

26 Oct


“You gotta figure out some way to love yourself.”

Rectify is minimalist but profound. It’s about figuring out how the hell to live life, how to find hope amidst all the curveballs life throws at you. It’s not about whether Daniel killed Hanna; it’s about how that murder and subsequent events change the way Daniel interacts with himself and the world. As he says early on in “A House Divided”, it’s all just “a work in progress”. In fact, that’s all it ever was and ever will be, and Rectify understands that idea. Ray McKinnon and co. find compelling drama and quiet beauty in simple life stories, and that’s what helps this series strike a chord that very few shows can.

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Rectify “The Source” Review (3×06)

14 Aug


“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.

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Rectify “The Future” Review (3×05)

7 Aug


“What’s there to miss?”

“The future.”

Since the beginning of the series, these characters have been in a bit of a standstill, caught in the shadow of the past and uncertain about what the future holds. At the same time, though, the rest of the world hasn’t slowed down along with them, and as stated in this episode, “time gets away from you as you get older.” There’s a palpable sense of frustration throughout the show, frustration that years and years have been spent to try to resolve a case, disappointment that certain things haven’t been experienced and accomplished and tried. And yet, even amidst the dark times, this show can also be one of the most optimistic on television (as I’ve said many times before).

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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.

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Rectify “Sown with Salt” Review (3×03)

24 Jul


Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 11.08.38 AM

“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.

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Rectify “Thrill Ride” Review (3×02)

16 Jul


“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.

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Rectify “Hoorah” Review (3×01)

9 Jul


“He still has to live his life.”

“So do we all. Hoorah.”

Early on in the season three premiere, Senator Foulkes states that “life is always perilous…that’s what gives it spice”. Rectify understands that life is full of uncertainty, that just one event can cause a ripple effect amongst a community and can upend everything in one’s life. Whether it’s with regards to Daniel being released or Daniel confessing, each and every character is affected in some way, growing and changing and hurting and loving as genuine human beings. It’s what makes this show so special: it treats the myriad experiences and people that make up life with immense respect.

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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.

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Rectify “Until You’re Blue” Review (2×09)

15 Aug


“I want people to talk to me in my language sometimes. That does not make me the bad guy.”

The above quote, said by Amantha to Janet, is a perfect representation of how so many people in Paulie simplify things so as to make it black and white or us versus them or good guy versus bad guy. The Daniel Holden case brought our main characters together, but it was under the constant pressure and watchful eye of an angry crowd. It was under shared hardship, not shared happiness, and although it’s united them under a common goal, it’s also torn them apart and prevented them from living life as a true family.

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