Friday, March 17, 2017

Rectify Season 4 Review

Rectify (2013-2016)
Season 4 - 8 Episodes (2016)
Watch Rectify on Netflix
Created by: Ray McKinnon
Aden Young, J.D. Evermore, Abigail Spencer, Sean Bridgers
Rating: TV-14 

Daniel Holden re-enters the world after serving nineteen years on death row.
Season four has Daniel in Tennessee. He's got a job and a place to stay, but he doesn't quite have a grasp on life yet. It's clear this is the final season as the show funnels the story lines to a conclusion.

My season 4 review is much like season 3 (read my review). This is a character drama centered on Daniel Holden. This season skews too far in putting a bow on all the story arcs, but it's still doing what this show always has. It focuses on the characters. We share in their struggles and joys, no matter how small or large they may be.
Daniel is away from his family, by court order, and trying to forge a new life. This season sees him learning how to interact socially. Season three was more of a murder mystery than the previous two seasons, and this season brings the focus back to how Daniel deals with life after being locked up for so long.
By the end of the season everyone's lives are turned upside down to varying degrees with all of the arcs ending nice and neat.
Watch it.

This is certainly an overlooked series. It creates amazing moments, but the lack of recognition is due to the lack of flash. It's a simple story told with wordless sequences and glances instead of explosions and intricate fights. It's such a neat show that's completely character driven. Aden Young does such a great job in creating the intriguing character of Daniel. I want to see Young out of character just to see what he brings to this character.
You can tell early on this will be the final season as it's clear various arcs will be wrapped by the final episode.
Daniel is still a man that doesn't fit anywhere. His experiences are something you don't get over, and they stay with him like an anchor. What this show can do in a single episode is impressive. The first episode tells you everything you need to know by saying so little.
He's at a group home for convicts, New Canaan House, and the first episode comes full circle with him trying to overcome his loner tendencies and the other guys in the house accepting his effort. It's a great moment. Daniel has people whether he realizes it or not. This season is a chance to form connections with people who know who he is and what he's done without any preconceived notions.

The second episode updates us on everyone else. This is a show where even the side characters have a charm to them. They are real people, not just characters. Episode three is the beginning of the end with RiteAid wanting to buy the tire store. This causes Janet, Ted Sr., and Teddy to questions their lives and whether they should sell.

Teddy has really turned a corner from the first episode. He's changed from a character we don't like to one for which we feel bad. He and Tawney are separated and he's made changes. Teddy is trying, but it isn't always enough. By episode five, you get the feeling he might have a rough ending.
Episode six and seven hit low points for Teddy and Daniel, but they are also turning points. Daniel's new friend Chloe has urged him to enter therapy to address his PTSD. You can probably guess what experiences he relives in therapy. It's something we knew happened, but I never wanted to delve into it.

By episode eight everything is wrapping up, though we do come back to the age old question, who really committed the crime for which Daniel was imprisoned. It seems a bit odd that Trey comes up with all this information twenty years later. Why did he hold out and why talk now?
Rectify provides a solid finale. We have a good sense of the guilty party in Daniel's case, even if getting there feels a bit contrived and it's unproven, but that's not the focus. It's there just to provide a little bit of hope, for us and Daniel's family. They need that hope because they haven't moved on. Daniel has. He finally has a sliver of contentment, with his friends at New Canaan House and Chloe.

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