Rectify Review: “Sown with Salt”

(Episode 3.03)

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<i>Rectify</i> Review: &#8220;Sown with Salt&#8221;

As the terms of his plea deal begin, Daniel meets with his probation officer. But before leaving, Sheriff Daggett shows up and has an informal Q and A with him, in the men’s room, in regards to the discovery of George’s body. This—and a later interview that includes Daniel’s lawyer—gets me so frustrated that I’m shouting, “Daniel! Just answer the question like a normal human being!” But “normal” is an extremely relative term when a man’s adult personality is entirely based on prison life, where beatings and rape and other indignities are considered to be “normal.” Where an escape through literature and poetry can redeem a death row inmate’s belief that humanity has taken a sabbatical, teaching him a sense of ethics that is sorely missing in incarceration. That is the foundation for all that is Daniel; that is why his seemingly flippant answers to the sheriff’s questions are intelligent and insightful but just a bit jaded. His unguarded responses are not the norm. But asking Daniel to change, like Jon Stern valiantly struggles to do, would be to abandon what makes Rectify so good: unpredictability.

During an informal chat with his new employer Melvin, Daniel discusses the choices on where he should go when his banishment from the state begins. As points around the world are thrown about, Daniel says, with tired resignation, “Truth be told, Melvin, I don’t see any foreign travel in my future, ever.” But does Melvin care about Daniel as much as he seems to?

Meanwhile, Amantha is in Macon for some Thrifty Town management training. When asked to stand before the small class and talk about herself, she lets everything out in a therapeutic burst—the loss of her brother to prison when she was only 12, the work to get him out, and the letdown of his confession. To top it off she has a one-night stand with a traveling salesman. She’s a woman with no direction. But that may change if Daniel is charged with the murder of George.

The sheriff also questions Trey about George and the night he and Daniel spent at George’s trailer. At first appearance it seems that Trey is playing Daggett as easily as he played Daniel. But from what we’ve previously seen, Trey will be stringently challenged by both the sheriff and by the district attorney.

Tawney stops by her house expecting Teddy not to be there. In a typical Teddy move, he shows up in hopes of getting her back. But, also typical, he sabotages all progress by scaring Tawney and angrily walking out. Later, at Ted’s and Janet’s house, Ted Sr. asks about Tawney, but receives no reply. The chip on his shoulder is heavy, especially in his treatment of Janet. This is the Teddy we’ve come to detest while hoping for the best.

Of course, Teddy’s feelings about Janet are wrapped up in his resentment over her love of Daniel. In a prison flashback Jon first tells Daniel that he will be released. Daniel says it will be hard on Janet, that “to survive she had to let me go. Now she has to conjure me back up.” It explains the roller coaster Janet has had to ride ever since Daniel got back. And now she’ll be losing him again, unless she chooses to leave Georgia.

On the other hand, there’s the mystery of George’s death which, thanks to the secretive efforts of Trey, may keep Daniel around a little longer.