Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rectify Season 1 Finale: Searingly Anti-Climactic

The season 1 finale of Rectify on Sundance last night - and a short, intensely powerful season it was, just six episodes of anvil to the brain that penetrated to the bone and the soul - was powerful and oddly anti-climatic at the same time, which made this narrative even more searing and memorable.

We learn right away that Daniel didn't kill Teddy, just knocked him out with a choke hold, and then put  coffee grounds on his bare backside (giving grounds for a literal interpretation to the oft-heard, "Ugh, this coffee tastes like ...")  But I breathed a sigh of relief and felt bad about ever contemplating that Daniel might be a killer.  He apparently is the gentle, wrong, tortured soul he so much seems to be.

I say apparently, because anything is still possible on this one-of-a-kind narrative.  But, on Daniel's behalf, and to tell us again that he's truly innocent, his friend on death row tells Daniel he believes in his innocence, as his friend is taken away to be executed, in one of the best, perfectly emotionally rendered scenes in the series.

Beyond that, the concluding scene in which Daniel is beaten to within an inch of his life by Hanna's brother and his friends was horrifying and palpably brutal, but not surprising.  Indeed, the story had been building up to this, pointing to this, from the very first episode.  As such, the beating and the other degradations put upon Daniel were a necessary period to this part of the story.

So, too, were the parting reactions of Amantha, Tawney, and everyone else in the story - reactions not to the beating, which they don't yet know about, but to their budding relationships with Daniel.  No surprises here, either  - but just what was needed, an affirmation of the brooding, bizarre mix we already know.

Ray McKinnon has given us one of the most memorable, original series ever to appear on television, in which every episode stretched the envelope of what could appear on television, not in presentation of a crime and punishment story, but in its weaving of interior psychology and philosophy in a way that we might occasionally find in a fine movie or novel.   I'm glad indeed that the series has been renewed.

See also Rectify: Sheer and Shattering Poetry ... Rectify 1.5: Balloon Man


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