Rectify Season 2 Review “Donald the Normal”

Rectify Season 2 Episode 4 Donald the Normal (6)

Imagine trying to explain Rectify to someone. It could be really fun to try it after an episode like “Donald the Normal”. A wondering meditation of an hour, the episode has so many wonderful moments that would be lost on someone without an extensive history with the show. An episode like this underscores where a lot of cable television series are going in 2014. The good shows take into account all of the moments that have come before it when writing a scene. The series becomes less about solving some problem or discovering a mystery. Shows like Rectify are about the journey. We’re not watching to see if Daniel Holden is innocent or guilty of the crime he was jailed for. Rather, we’re simply watching a moment of time for these people of Paulie, Georgia. The show gives the sense of a shared town history, but also the idea that Paulie will continue on long after we’re finished visiting.

The show’s slow and calculating nature really benefit it when it wants to take detours like in “Donald the Normal”. With the entire show feeling like a detour, episodes like this one can happen without someone raising too much of a stink. Chances are, if you’re watching Rectify, you’re aren’t watching it waiting on “something” to happen. Things do happen on occasion, but mostly we’re watching Daniel move through the world from experience to experience. In some instances, they’re silly little moments taking advantage of the odd fish-out-of-water situation. But mostly, the show uses these moments to say something about Daniel’s journey through life. All of those flashback scenes and fever dreams featuring Daniel’s friend Kerwin built to that amazing scene in the house of Kerwin’s mother. Like so many moments in this show, it’s altogether heart-breaking and beautiful. It’s three people reliving the funeral of a loved one. The moment means so much because the show did such a great job with Kerwin. He’s a man who found himself in prison. Whereas Daniel lived in a state of suspended animation on death row, Kerwin grew up through his best friend. The realization is one of the sadder ones you’ll see in the series, but watching Aden Young play the scene with his trademark quiet emotion was incredibly moving.

A lot of the fireworks in this episode came from Ted Jr.’s house this week. Watching Ted Jr. continue to spiral has given the show an added dimension for its first few episodes of the season. His gripes are perfectly legitimate, but it was good to see a potential return to normalcy at the end of the episode. It’s good to see the added depth for a character seemingly without for most of season one, but his continued poor treatment of Tawney was only going to lead him to an irredeemable place. He’s still a man without much to hold on to of his own in the world, so it’s probably safe to say we’re done with his storyline just yet.