Friday, July 10, 2015

Rectify 3.1: Stroke of Luck

Rectify was back for its third season last night, and looks set to continue as one of the most thoughtful, intense, literate shows on television.

The US Supreme Court's decision late last month not to strike down capital punishment by at least one form of lethal injection makes Daniel's story in Rectify even more pressingly relevant, if that's possible, than it's been from the outset.  He was released from death row on a technicality, and at the end of last season confesses in a deal that will keep him out of prison but away from his family.

His family and just about everyone other than the original prosecutor - now state senator Foulkes, who brokered the deal - are in varying states of horrified, disgusted, and furious about Daniel's confession - as was the audience, certainly including me.  It's pretty clear that Daniel didn't do the killing, not withstanding his flashes of violence.  For by far the most part, you won't find a gentler, more tender soul than Daniel's, and it sure looks as if one of the others in the gang of boys killed the girl by the river all those years ago.

The lack of absolute, 100%-complete closure, though, on what exactly Daniel did and didn't do is one of the powerful engines of this story.  The other is its incredibly slow progression, usually not a plus in a narrative, but something that works just exquisitely in this series.  Daniel has a month to pack up and get out of town, and you know that we're not likely at all to see that at the end of this season.

So why did Daniel confess?  Likely because he wanted to get away from the pain he's been causing himself and his loved ones since his release.   As much as he's desperately enjoying breathing in the real world outside of prison, he hasn't had an easy time of it.  Indeed, few breaks if any have gone his way, until-

Senator Foulkes apparently has a stroke at the very end of this first episode of the third season. Although everyone in authority is saying they're sure that Daniel's second confession is a "done deal," it's likely that with Foulkes not bent on enforcing it, and the current prosector not at all convinced that Daniel did the crime, Daniel may finally be in for a piece of some kind of good luck in this show - the first since his release.

Is the stroke for Foulkes a stroke of luck for Daniel?  I'm looking forward to rest of this season.


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