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Rectify Review “Thrill Ride”

(Episode 3.02)

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<i>Rectify</i> Review &#8220;Thrill Ride&#8221;

Back in one of the early episodes of Rectify Daniel is watching Dazed and Confused, a movie filled with painful school experiences of fitting in—albeit, much funnier than what Daniel experienced. Navigating newly-discovered, hormone highways is hard enough. But, like that sorting hat in Harry Potter, there is a “shaking out” of where one lands in the social order. We’ve already seen where Daniel landed in those days and how a moment of ridicule and sexual embarrassment led to a dramatic outcome. But now we discover that Teddy’s own experience was surprisingly similar.

In a counseling session Tawney reveals that she had come from a foster system, and that “Miss Kathy” ran the home where Tawney lived until she was 20. When asked if she wants to save her marriage Tawney never answers, only saying that she feels guilty for being partly relieved about having the miscarriage. As much as I’m engaged with the complexity of her relationship with Teddy there’s a bit of a soap opera style, a snail’s pace in releasing the facts.

Sheriff Daggett finally tells D.A. Person about his improper search of George’s Florida trailer and his discovery of the note from Daniel to George (which Trey persuaded a drunken Daniel to write). Daggett offers to step aside, almost as if he wants to escape the case altogether.

Creator Ray McKinnon’s history as an actor and writer have always been centered around humor, something he employs often in this episode. When Amantha arrives to her cashier’s job at Thrifty Town, for example, she is delegated to stocking shelves since the legendary, not-too-bright “Peanut” has returned from maternity leave after giving birth to a very big baby. When asked if it hurt, she brightly explains, “Not really. I had an epidermis.” Amantha’s pathetic attempts at showing she cares are wonderful contrasts to her interactions at work. But Daniel experiences one of his best days, buying groceries (a warm and funny moment with the convenience store clerk) and even getting a job to paint the property pool “under the employ of one Melvin.” (As you might remember, Melvin is Amantha’s landlord and someone who has expressed support for Daniel in the past.) When Amantha arrives home to Daniel’s enthusiastic mood, classical music and a warm dinner she turns Debbie Downer and spoils it all by saying that she “just can’t pretend to give a shit” after her breakup with Jon. With her physical mannerisms and deadpan looks, Abigail Spencer has hit a more confident stride in playing Amantha these first two episodes of the season.

Teddy is having major mommy issues as he brings up his real mother to Ted. Daniel, he feels, has not only put a wedge between Tawney and himself but also with Janet his stepmother. Teddy brings some of Tawney’s things to where she is staying only to find her gone. Teddy, as is often the case, loses his temper and angrily leaves. Later, home alone, he lets loose with plenty of beer and country music before Jared stops by. Since Daniel’s confession, Jared has become more distant from him and closer to Teddy. The two stepbrothers go on a “thrill ride” with a drunken Teddy riding shotgun. As they approach where Tawney is staying, Teddy recalls a sexual experience with a date in high school. Comparing his seduction to sales, he explains how he persisted in his goal of “doing it” until he broke down her weaknesses and she relented. But what sounds like a typical high school jock bragging on his exploits suddenly turns into a life lesson. He emphatically tells an uncomfortable Jared to never do that to a girl, that “those guys that make you feel like a pussy ‘cause you ain’t got your cherry popped? They’re a bunch of assholes. And in ten years you ain’t gonna know most of them.” He reminds Jared that he’s not like Daniel, but also that he’s not like Teddy, either. “And that’s a good thing,” he says as he wistfully stares at the house window where Tawney is having dinner.

Dang it, Teddy. Just when I want to hit you I want to hug you.

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