Rectify: “Jacob’s Ladder” (Episode 1.06)

TV Reviews
Rectify: “Jacob’s Ladder” (Episode 1.06)

From the show’s theme song, “Bowsprit” by Balmorhea, to the piped-in Jimmie Dale Gilmore at the local convenience store, Rectify uses an impressive list of music appropriately layered into the dramatics of the show. Episode 3 alone includes tracks from The Pharcyde, Stone Temple Pilots, Cracker, Mazzy Star, Heather McIntosh and The Drive-By Truckers. So, it’s not surprising that the scenes of the season’s finale would ebb and flow like the movements of some classical symphony.

The episode opens where last week’s ended, in the tire shop, where we find an unconscious Ted Jr. face down with his pants around his ankles and a load of coffee grounds up his rear end. Obviously it’s a message left by Daniel who has stopped into the local diner for a late-night snack, served by the snotty waitress who’s having an affair with Daniel’s nemesis Senator Foulkes. The day’s earlier events—the goat man encounter, the baptism, the attempted kiss with Tawney and the confrontation with Ted Jr.—have left Daniel ravenous, extending to some pecan pie with an accommodating Ted Sr. (Bruce McKinnon) when he gets home. I would expect the welcome would be different if Ted Jr. had revealed his embarrassing mishap with the coffee but as the next day dawns it is clear he has no desire to tell anyone, even Tawney, who is now expressing her doubts about the baptism. “Too much too soon,” she says. But I think Tawney just realizes that life is not as simple as she expects, and Daniel’s story is much too real for her. Later, she listens to a voicemail that Daniel leaves saying he’s “going away for a while to get better, or different.”

Daniel’s attorney Jon Stern re-listens to the evidence tape of Daniel’s murder confession in which we are finally able to hear the younger Daniel telling police about how he raped and killed Hanna. It’s only the beginning of a monkey wrench being thrown into the assumption days earlier that Daniel was innocent. As Daniel, Aden Young beautifully walks the line between what is true and what is false. It is one this year’s best performances on television. “I’m not used to contemplating all the variables one might encounter,” he tells Jon when he unexpectedly finds him at Amantha’s apartment. “I didn’t even consider there could be somebody else behind this door but my sister…I mean, even just the door opening is very unreal.”

When George is still missing Trey gets a feeling and goes back to where they had secretly met days earlier—near Hanna’s crime scene—and finds George’s body, which he throws into the river. Their connection to Hanna’s murder is still a mystery.

In an emotional flashback, Daniel says goodbye to his prison cell neighbor Kerwin (Johnny Ray Gill) who is taken away to be executed. He tells Daniel he “knows” Daniel didn’t kill Hanna. “Because I know ya,” he says repeatedly. “Because I know ya. Because I know ya.”

The season ends when Daniel visits Hanna’s grave and is attacked and severely beaten by five masked cowards. One attacker removes his ski mask at the end, revealing himself to be Hanna’s brother, who urinates on Daniel’s face before leaving. Daniel is eventually driven away in an ambulance.

Writer/director/creator Ray McKinnon doesn’t as much wrap up loose ends but instead stirs things up with not only the confession but with statements Daniel matter-of-factly makes to his sister Amantha like “When I confessed it was such a relief” and “After I told them that I’d killed her I could finally accept she was dead.” Amantha replies, “You were just 18, high on mushrooms.” Say, what? Is she excusing that he killed Hanna or justifying why he wrongly confessed to the murder? Thankfully, there’s a real possibility of finding those answers. Rectify has been renewed for 10 new episodes in 2014.

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