No TV show captivates me in the same way Rectify does, and no other show makes me consider the world so differently.
Rectify is like the great literature of the television world. It’s not a show that you can have on in the background while you’re making dinner, or that you can watch without giving every detail a great deal of thought.
Rectify Season 4 Episode 1, “A House Divided,” sets the tone for the show’s final season, which gives us a glimpse into Daniel’s struggle to not only adjust to a new life, but ultimately, to decide who he is.
The good news is that it feels like Daniel might just be okay. Eventually.
Right now, he’s going through the motions. He’s been at The New Canaan Project for a few months, and he’s already managed to get a job working in a warehouse. It’s really the perfect job in that he doesn’t have to spend much time interacting with anyone else. He focuses on getting the job done, gets his paycheck, and goes back to his house with a few other guys who don’t know quite what to do with him.
This place that he’s in truly does seem positive. Avery leads this group of men, offering advice and opportunities for them to share, and creating a sense of community.
But nothing could make Daniel more uncomfortable.
He’s not used to being in such close quarters with other people, and he’s certainly not used to forming those kinds of relationships. His housemates are frustrated with his disinterest, and I think even his lack of emotion.
What this episode does so well is to show Daniel’s struggle in that area. It isn’t that he’s intentionally rude or apathetic, it’s that he simply doesn’t understand all of the nuances of these social interactions.
He does finally open up to Avery — and it’s heartbreaking. Daniel is depressed, lonely, and angry. All of that comes out as he shares what’s on his mind, tears streaming from his eyes. (I cannot get over Aden Young’s performance. He’s absolutely incredible).
Really sit and think about this: here is a man who was locked away, completely alone, for over 19 years. That alone would be traumatic, and adjusting to the outside world would be unthinkable. Now add to that the fact that Daniel truly doesn’t know if he’s innocent or guilty.
He’s been forced to confess, and forced to believe, that he was the one who killed Hannah. And I think on some level, he wants to believe it, because otherwise, it means he was locked away for no good reason.
On the other hand, the possibility that he did commit that crime makes Daniel suffer from unspeakable guilt. Avery’s advice is exactly right — he’s going to have to come to a place of acceptance. And more than that, why not lean the other way for a while? Daniel needs forgiveness and acceptance, but he needs those things to come from himself before they come from anyone else.
Daniel (or should we be calling him “Dan” these days?) does seem to take Avery’s advice to heart. It begins with a return to the art studio that he stumbled upon during the power outage at work. I think he realizes on some level that this is a way he could be a part of something, and it could also give him a much-needed outlet.
More importantly, it’s clear that Chloe isn’t put off by Daniel’s admission that he’s been to prison. She’s someone who’s willing, at least it seems at the moment, to accept him for who he is.
His real turning point, though, is something that may seem much smaller. He returns to the house, and rather than retreating to his room, he allows himself to join the other guys as they play cards. He’s hesitant at first, but they insist in a way that is welcoming.
These guys want to bring Daniel in, and they seem to understand that for Daniel to sit down, play cards, and even talk about playing Rummy with his sister and his father? That’s a big step.
Now if only he’d return his mother’s phone calls.
What did you think of this episode of Rectify? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Rectify airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on SundanceTV.