It’s Q&A time on Rectify as everyone tries to probe, often unsuccessfully, beneath the surface.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Sown With Salt’ is a fascinating episode because it is almost entirely comprised of long, two person conversations. In nearly all of these, one character is making inquiries of the other, but the structure of the back and forth lends itself to deception, evasion and quick, staccato back and forth style responses.
In one sense, there is a very traditional narrative structure laid over the proceedings: Sheriff Carl Daggett (J.D. Evermore) is conducting an investigation into George’s death. His investigation twice leads him to Daniel (Aden Young) – once in an informal capacity and later in an official interview with Jon (Luke Kirby) present. He also tracks down Trey (Sean Bridgers) for additional insight into 2×08 ‘The Great Destroyer’s fateful trip to Florida. At the time it was evident that the trip was a mistake, particularly given how slippery Trey has proven at bending and twisting the truth. ‘Sown in Salt’ confirms this fear as Trey gleefully tells Daggett about Daniel’s attack, which, put in context with Daniel’s attack on Teddy (Clayne Crawford), paints Daniel in a dangerous light.
The investigation is but one small part of the episode. The majority of ‘Sown With Salt’s run time is spent exploring the push and pull of inquiries. Janet (J. Smith-Cameron) asks Ted (Bruce McKinnon) for money for Daniel’s move, but she does it in such a way that it immediately draws a financial line between her and her husband. Considering how Ted already feels about Daniel, it’s no surprise that this creates tension, tension that spills out into the discussion about the costs required to finish repairing the kitchen. Ted’s confirmation to Janet that he can no longer stand the deconstructed kitchen is one of the most loaded statements of the episode because it is so evident that he’s talking about more than the flooring and cupboards.
Things are similarly rocky with Teddy and Tawney (Adelaide Clemens). After dominating the last episode, Teddy returns to the sidelines. His big moment occurs when he surprises Tawney as she drops by the house to collect more clothes. Tawney’s reaction is unnerving: she’s terrified of him. Considering how much mileage Rectify gets out of framing its characters’ distance from each other, their close proximity in the bedroom feels cramped and mildly claustrophobic. Despite Teddy’s claim that he can’t stop her from leaving, it’s hard not to notice that Tawney’s sole exit is blocked. Their conversation, the first conducted in person this season, is frustrating because they’re speaking around each other like ships passing in the night. Teddy makes a stab at suggesting they go to counselling together, which is great progress, but Tawney’s admission that she’s already doing so throws cold water on his proposal. She doesn’t grasp that he’s reaching out until his admission about the attack, which is when she brings therapy back up. What Tawney fails to recognize is Teddy’s shame: it prevents him from discussing what happened with anyone (she overlooks or forgets the fact that Teddy never told her or his father; they just found out). Unsurprisingly Teddy shuts down the discussion and that’s where they leave it.
The exception to the unhappy Q&A is Amantha (Abigail Spencer). The lone member of the Holden family that appears to be doing okay is out of town on an excruciating-looking Thriftytown management training seminar. Her question and answer occurs after she skips the karaoke party bus and has a meet-cute with Forrest (Michael Vartan, charming as ever) in the hotel bar. Their hook-up is inevitably teased from the get-go, but their conversation over drinks is therapeutic for the show’s second most damaged character. It’s good to see someone finally call Amantha out for her self-deprecating defense mechanisms. Amantha’s anger and hurt over Daniel’s confession hasn’t diminished in the slightest over the last three episodes; it’s written into every action and made all the more evidence when you consider how she takes every opportunity to tell strangers about it. If the admission and the connection with Forrest helps Amantha to process her emotions, then I’m all for the casual sex. Hell, Amantha definitely deserves some happiness for a change.
- The three exceptions to the one-on-one Q&As include Janet’s passive aggressive kitchen encounter with Ted and Teddy, Amantha’s squirm-inducing confession about her family history to the entire Thriftytown group and Daniel’s official interview with Daggett and Jon. Of the three, Janet’s scene affected me the most. Watching the relationship between her and Ted tested in this manner is painful because they’re normally so solid. Clearly this latest conflict is really testing them, but all I could think during the scene is how unhelpful her tone is for resolving the situation.
- Confirming what Jared (Jake Austin Walker) mentioned last week, not only is he talked around in the kitchen scene, he doesn’t even get a line in this episode! Poor Jared.
- The final scene, when Daniel paints over the camera (standing in for the bottom of the pool) strongly evoked memories of Breaking Bad, which always loved these kind of symbolic scenes, particularly to open and close episodes.
- In the same vein, Amantha and Forrest’s “will they/won’t they” elevator ride reminded me of The Good Wife‘s penchant for turning a lift into an aphrodisiac.
- Daniel’s admission that he’s never surprised or certain obviously doesn’t sit well with Daggett. Considering what we know about Daniel’s prison experience, however, this is completely in keeping with his mentality. And yet, it’s easy to understand how worrying such a statement would be for a law enforcement officer, especially when it’s pared with Trey’s silver-tongued statements.
- One interesting linguistic note I’ve picked up over these S3 episodes: Daniel always refers to his plea deal as “banishment” or “exile” while others use “move”. Daniel doesn’t really mince words, so that partially explains his word choice, but it also infers a more personal / emotional response. “Move”, on the other hand, sounds voluntary and potentially positive – it’s a different kind of defense mechanism the people who care about him use to diminish how terrible it will be for this gentle man to be removed from the safety of his family and community.
- Daniel: “You wanna watch me pee on the record Sheriff?”
- Amanthat (finishing her whirlwind speech at Thriftytown management training): “So that’s me. I’m Amanda Holden and I’ve never been in a hot dog race at a baseball stadium”
- Daniel (speaking about Amantha after learning he’ll be released shortly): “It’ll be hard for her, Jon. To survive she had to let me go. Now she’ll have to conjure me back up.”
- Forrest (when Amantha asks if he’s living “the” life): “I’m living a life. I don’t know if it’s the life.”
Your turn: what did you think of the Q&As? Has Daniel dug himself in deeper with his confessions? Has Amantha torpedoed her Thriftytown future? Do you hope to see more of Forrest? Are you sad that Janet and Ted are on the outs? Will Teddy and Tawney find a way to reconnect? Will Jared ever be involved? Sound off below.
Rectify airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on Sundance TV and uploads to Netflix Fridays at 12am