Rectify Review: “Act As If”

(Episode 2.05)

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<i>Rectify</i> Review: &#8220;Act As If&#8221;

It’s been ten years since Rectify’s creator Ray McKinnon starred as the passionate but dying Reverend Smith in the first season of HBO’s exceptional series Deadwood. Apparently the show’s cast made a lasting impression on the director/writer/actor. No less than three of Deadwood’s principal characters have shown up in Rectify so far. Sean Bridgers we’ve already seen as the secretive body-hiding Trey Willis. W. Earl Brown as Dan the Goat Man took Daniel on a strange, devilish ride last season. And now, Leon Rippy plays Lezlie, a philosophizing, junk store owner who invites Daniel to a party.

Ted, Sr. straightens up Daniel’s kitchen demolition and is surprisingly supportive in letting Janet and Daniel begin the remodel, though not without a few ground rules that I thought were valid. Even so, Janet gives Ted a totally unwarranted upbraiding. Throughout the series, Ted has been steady as a rock in spite of marrying into a family rife with dysfunction. He deserves better from Janet.

Tawney and Teddy are still playing ring-around-the-relationship as he again apologizes for his behavior. Tawney admonishes him for his anger, saying that it will consume the two of them if he’s not careful. He agrees, but I doubt that it will stick. He’s happy right now, of course, because he has used the loan he got to begin the rim rental service in the tire store. In my eyes, it has failure written all over it. (I admit I didn’t know renting rims was “a thing”.)

After Tawney’s debacle with Daniel it has become obvious that she needs something to fill her life. She tells Teddy she wants to go to college. But, almost in the same breath, she says she might be pregnant. The couple’s road to happiness is paved with plenty of potholes.

At this point, if Amantha does not say something to bring everyone down in an episode, it’s an exception to the rule. She doesn’t disappoint in “Act As If”. In a jocular moment between Daniel and Janet she feels the need to announce that Daniel’s first lawyer, Rutherford Gaines, has died. We had only seen Gaines in one episode, in which it was implied that he knew more about the case than had previously been released. Did he take that information with him to the grave? The news leads to a one-on-one between Janet and Daniel as she tells him about one of his stays of execution she endured when Daniel’s father was still alive. It plays as a necessary purging for both of them.

Jon returns to town and asks Amantha if she will consider coming to Boston with him where he has been offered a new job—she says she will think about it. The Amantha we see with Jon is different from what the rest of the family sees. There is a pleasant honesty between the two.

Senator Foulkes gets in the D.A.’s face again when she tells him of her plan to offer Daniel a plea bargain. She doubts that any jury would convict him of first degree murder a second time. But she’s willing to consider any option if the senator can help find one. With this scene I realize that I am missing the murder mystery portion of the series. The facts of the case have been coming piecemeal for two seasons now, and my patience is running thin. Yes, I enjoy the family drama, especially when the acting is this good. And I understand that every episode is a day-in-the-life. But I need something bigger to sink my teeth into.

Lezlie had invited Daniel to his party after deciding that Daniel was the loneliest man on the planet. At first, Daniel regrets going. “Act as if you belong here,” Lezlie tells Daniel. Some alcohol, some cocaine and a willing blonde help clear the path. Soon, he’s out in the yard with Lezlie shooting CDs with a shotgun.

In a river nearby—the one where Daniel had allegedly committed murder—we see Trey wading with a flashlight and stick as he searches the bottom for what I expect is George’s body. Now we’re talking.