Some of Rectify’s strongest performances come with one actor’s ability to realistically react to another actor. Whether it is a reaction to a studied monologue or to a raised eyebrow, this cast shows off some major chops. (Note: Some of today’s best television screenwriting helps.) Every major character had an opportunity to show those chops in this, the season finale.
Trey’s narrative in relation to George’s death begins to unravel, starting with a confession from Chris Nells, in which he states that he and George and Trey raped Hanna on the night of her death. Sheriff Daggett carefully reels Trey in, accusing him of killing George until Trey tells the true story of how he found George’s body, and put it in the river and led law enforcement on a false trail. But, to Trey’s great frustration, all evidence points to him being George’s killer. Sean Bridgers plays the snarky, know-it-all Trey in his most dramatic performance yet, as he desperately tries to explain his innocence. By show’s end, Trey is arrested and charged in George’s murder.
Meanwhile, Daniel and Janet prepare for their journey. There’s some warm and friendly, morning banter between them and Jon Stern and Amantha (What is it about Janet and donuts?) before they leave for Nashville with a couple of side trips. First, what an epic shot of Daniel standing in an open pasture outside of the prison. He tells Janet that he sometimes wants to walk up to the gate and ask if they’ll allow him back in, into his cocoon. “You’re not the first to romance the cocoon,” says the insightful Janet, whose closeness to Daniel is touching and primal as they perform a sort of “do over” for the lost years. Before they head to the beach, their second side trip, Daniel says he wants to tell her about his friend, Kerwin, the inmate who had been put to death. When they arrive to Nashville he asks Janet to forgive herself saying that he knows she did the best she could under the circumstances. And with that he walks, alone, to his new home.
Though gone, Daniel leaves a wide, uneasy wake behind him. All of the series’ relationships—Tawney and Teddy, Jon and Amantha, Janet and Ted—are on shaky ground and none of them are in a state of reconciliation. With Teddy moving into Janet’s house, a troubled and hesitant Tawney moves back home. Jon leaves Amantha and Paulie, while Ted is at a complete loss over his sudden estrangement from Janet. He does, however, reveal more to Teddy about his divorce with Teddy’s birth mother, saying that he was partly to blame in that he was seeing another woman. In contrast to all that tension, Amantha and Teddy later find themselves in a surprisingly friendly game of gin over a takeout dinner of Chinese food.
Nothing, however, is as absorbing as the dream sequence between Daniel and Tawney in the prison’s visiting room. She explains that he is not there, but on the beach with his mother. He tells her that God is in the flowers, and in her tears, to which she replies that Daniel is a false prophet. Not since their dance in the hotel room have these two ignited such a spark. “You may kiss me, Daniel,” she says in this strange, metaphysical wet dream from which Tawney, not Daniel, suddenly awakens.
For a change, creator/writer/director Ray McKinnon answers more questions than he asks. But is the biggest question of all still a mystery? In the D.A.’s interview with Nells we learn that when the rapists left Hanna she was alone, and unclothed. That leaves an opening for Daniel’s guilt in her murder. In spite of the written confession, Jon stops to see Senator Faulkes on his way out of town and tells the defiant stroke victim “I am going to get my client once and for all exonerated for the killing of Hanna Dean.” And so the scene is set for Season Four.