Television dramas have historically trained their audiences to expect a period of character development when said character “makes a scene” in an episode. It’s a method that Rectify employs to a point. But now, in its third season, viewers have caught on that their new, beloved characters may never be seen again. The Goat Man, the preacher, the junk store owner, the beautician, the museum cafe lady, Hanna’s brother, Hanna’s mother, even the strange statue in the field—they’ve all come and gone regardless of any expectation of seeing them again. “Not all who wander are lost,” says the Goat Man. But Rectify’s earlier Lost moments of exploration were reminiscent of a TV show about an airplane and an island, and another show surrounding the investigation of a high school girl’s murder in the small town of Twin Peaks. Now, however, Rectify has come back to earth to clean up some loose ends surrounding the murder of a different high school girl. And there is plenty of damage to be undone.
This episode could have been titled “Revelations” with what we learn in “The Future.” Teddy continues to periodically defy his previously typical behavior when he shows up at the marriage counselor’s alone. He even demonstrates a remarkably astute understanding of what Tawney (Adelaide Clemens) has gone through. “It’s called empathy,” says the counselor. “How ‘bout that?” replies Teddy, as they both allude to the damaging childhood Tawney experienced, a backstory unrevealed until now. Tawney is at Miss Kathy’s where she did most of her growing up after some sort of traumatic experience as a young child. In hindsight, it explains a lot about Tawney going back to the early episodes. Clemens’ performance has made an impression on the series’ success. Teddy also touches on childhood issues, “mommy and daddy stuff” he calls it. And his fear of losing Tawney has evolved into a more mature understanding, rather than his earlier resentment.
Daniel takes a long walk to the pool store for more paint and begins to repair the earlier damage he caused. Melvin graciously lets the matter go, more concerned with having to tell Daniel the apartment complex owner has demanded that he leave after receiving pressure by the tenants. “Tell you this much,” says Melvin who could easily be talking about Daniel’s recovery, not the pool. “It’s gonna look great, Daniel, when you’re finished. Like brand new. You can walk away from here knowing that.” A moving, funny scene takes place with Amantha as Melvin explains to her the eviction. Melvin truly cares about Daniel, and Amantha understands that but she has to get to work and Melvin’s not moving from her table. “Why don’t you leave first?” Amantha says awkwardly. “Then I’ll go.”
Waitress Marcy serves Janet who explains that she had not come into the diner since her first husband died. They make a friendly connection not knowing who they actually are. Something has come alive in Janet as she takes command of her family. First, she assures Jared that she will explain everything to him after she has helped Daniel with his relocation. Then, as Teddy and Ted are working on her kitchen, she lets them know that Daniel is moving back to the house temporarily, telling Teddy—twice—that her heart breaks for him for what happened with Daniel (the coffee grounds incident). But her heart is also breaking for Daniel. “Daniel is not a bad person. He’s a sick person. He’s a damaged person.”
Sheriff Daggett has another talk with Daniel and, in a move that takes Daniel completely by surprise, tells him that he’s a witness, not a suspect, and that he believes Trey murdered George. But, as viewers remember from Season One, George killed himself. Trey only found him. His efforts, and reasons, for disturbing the crime scene and framing Daniel are not entirely clear, as yet. When the sheriff and other officers show up at Trey’s house with a search warrant he calmly, sarcastically complies as he sits and watches TV with his nervous family.
In contrast, the episode ends with a warm and fuzzy moment for Daniel and his family. While Daniel puts the finishing touches on the pool, Amantha, Jon, Janet and Jared sit around him and celebrate the news about Daniel’s dismissal as a suspect. But the reality of Daniel’s imminent move to Tennessee comes up, to which Daniel half-jokes “I’m not sure I want to live in a state that’ll have me.” As he and Janet share a moment alone in a couple of lounge chairs he asks Janet if they could leave the next day, a single tear running down his cheek. A damaged Daniel now appears grounded in the reality of getting on with life, and getting on with living. If Paulie will only let him go.