Every series has its “wow” episode. This was Rectify’s. Opening with a rich, drama-laden, familiar orchestral piece (that set the tone for the entire show), a troubled Ted Sr. stares at Daniel who is lying on the lawn outside. The same music accompanies Tawney as she learns that she has had a miscarriage. Her demeanor is sober, almost serene. It’s a quality that will later anger Teddy.
After learning about the coffee grounds incident between Daniel and Teddy, Ted Sr. first confronts the sheriff, then the senator, who he tells to leave him and his family alone. But while this plays out, Jon tells Daniel that the district attorney has agreed that he will serve no more time as long, as he pleads guilty and agrees to never set foot in Georgia again, except for Echols County, because it would be unconstitutional if it was every county. (Choosing Echols County could be a respective nod to the real life Damien Echols, who—like the character Daniel—spent 18 years in prison for murder and was later released due to new evidence, like Daniel.) Daniel seriously considers the deal in spite of sister Amantha’s objections. And while he tries, he fails to tell his mother about the deal. It is good to see the show’s writers reveal what lies beneath Amantha’s oftentimes (okay, most times) disagreeable personality. Through a letter she had written to Daniel while he was in prison, through a conversation with her mother, through a conversation with Daniel, we see that she can be irritating as hell, but she does care about her family. And she has been right on many things.
When Tawney tells Teddy about the miscarriage, he is surprised by her lack of emotion and tears. Later, when he comes home, he begins to verbally assault her, scaring her and accusing her of not wanting the baby. While Tawney’s behavior had been strange (she’s looking at colleges online when he walks in), it in no way justifies his behavior as he tells her that she loves Daniel, that she wishes it had been Daniel’s baby inside her. When she begins to cry it only makes it worse. “You can’t cry for our baby,” he says “But the first mention of that bastard’s name and here come the waterworks.” Tawney’s usual countenance is so reserved that it sometimes appears that actress Adelaide Clemens has little to work with. But Clemens uses the character like a slingshot—pulling more and more tension out of her, showing the face of someone about to release. And release she does. As Teddy breaks down he tells her to go to Daniel, where, if she’s lucky “he’ll kill you, too.” As I’ve said in previous reviews, these two actors and their characters, along with Daniel, are what make Rectify great.
Clemens’ work continues when Tawney leaves the house and goes to a motel, drinks a bottle of wine and invites Daniel to come over. At the same time, as Teddy drives through town looking for Tawney, he decides to drive to the house of a customer whose credit card was rejected and attempts to remove the car rims he sold him. When the customer begins to beat and kick Teddy, Teddy turns and beats the customer senseless.
Through the open hotel room door Daniel finds Tawney swaying to the music of the radio. She keeps asking Daniel if she’s a bad person. “Of course not,” he says. “Are you a bad person?” she asks. “Yes, he replies.” She explains that they can’t be together, but asks him to dance with her. They dance. To the sounds of Low’s “The Great Destroyer”. (Nice choice.) All I can think of is Teddy saying, “He’ll kill you, too.” Next week: the season finale.