Rectify Review: “Mazel Tov”

(Episode 2.06)

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<i>Rectify</i> Review: &#8220;Mazel Tov&#8221;

Daniel’s invitation to Lezlie’s party has apparently turned into a three-day event. I’m not sure of the significance, but I believe this is the first episode in which they have strayed from the consecutively running “one day equals one show” model. And I for one want to know what happened during that lost weekend that ends in this episode’s opening, with Daniel waking up in the bed of none other than that snooty waitress Marcy, the senator’s frequent bedfellow. “Sometimes I do things I don’t have a good answer for,” she says when Daniel asks about their tryst. My first thought is that she’s maybe sleuthing for the senator. But later, surprisingly, she rebuffs the old man’s advances.

On his way home, while stopping for gas, Daniel sees Trey for the first time since Daniel’s release and makes a determined beeline in his direction before Trey makes a few strange remarks about freedom and about the good weather for catfish while the two engage in a stare-down. Daniel never says a word and Trey drives away. There are still several questions surrounding Hanna’s murder to which Trey, George (if he was still alive) and Daniel have answers. I’m expecting some revelations in this area over the next few weeks.

The strained subplot of the Tawney and Teddy show continues as they confirm that Tawney is pregnant. They appear happy, but Tawney also wears that distant stare of worry—something she is inclined to do whenever Teddy makes her uncomfortable (something that’s been happening more and more). They agree to keep the news to themselves for the moment.

Daniel apologizes to his mother for his disappearance before going to Rutherford Gaines’ funeral. Shocking most everyone, Daniel steps to the front of the service and gives a sort of eulogy to the man’s memory. Even as he speaks of men who “see what they want to see” that is precisely what Senator Foulkes and others do in the face of Daniel’s touching speech. The senator’s passion for putting Daniel back in prison knows no bounds as he demonstrates later in a conversation with Sheriff Daggett who spills the beans (yeah, I said it) about Teddy’s coffee ground assault at the hands of Daniel. “We just gotta get Junior on the record,” says Foulkes, to which Daggett replies, “He ain’t gonna like this.” You think? If this goes public, all hell will break loose. But an uncomfortable Teddy makes for good television.

Our other cute couple, Jon and Amantha, abandon their secrecy and kiss at the local rolling rink. It doesn’t take long for a local citizen to chastise them for their heartless, uncaring ways in light of Hanna’s murder from two decades ago. Jon adeptly puts her in her place as he continues to play the town’s conscience, even as an outsider.

Back at the house, Janet’s birthday celebration begins with everyone in attendance, except for Daniel who eventually shows up with Lezlie and his birthday gift to Janet—an old stove for her work-in-progress kitchen. At first, they all stumble over insincere compliments—even Janet. And Teddy, who despises Daniel, monologues on the drawbacks of the gas appliance in an electric household. But leave it to Ted, Sr., to put the gift and its installation in a favorable light. Daniel and Tawney later chat amiably but Teddy sees all and jealously announces Tawney’s impending motherhood, much to her disappointment. Strangely, the discomfort Tawney experiences with Daniel is not nearly as weird as what she experiences with her own husband.

Another flashback to Daniel’s incarceration reminds me of the sad, desperate beauty the camera always captures in the prison’s stark, white doors and walls. As Daniel wallows in drug-induced pity a chaplain stops by and plays music for him on a small cassette recorder. In spite of his attempts to ignore the gesture the music overwhelms Daniel. He succumbs, tears streaming. While it’s man’s inhumanity that forms the foundation of the series, it’s the humanity that gives Rectify its wings. Characters like Chaplain Charlie (whose name is another example of the show’s love affair with words) and Lezlie fall in and out of Daniel’s life, showing up at opportune times and leaving before the messenger can ruin the message with familiarity. When Lezlie tells him to “look behind” Daniel says he’s afraid to. “Yeah, I would be, too,” says Lezlie as he drives away. But that night Daniel goes down to the river, to the rock where they found him with Hanna, and he takes the magic mushrooms Lezlie gave him, and he begins to hear Hanna as she calls his name.