Rectify Season Two

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Credit: Sundance TV

Rectify was one of the most powerful series of 2014, a quiet study of a man trying to return to life after 19 years on death row. Aden Young was remarkable in the lead as Daniel Holden, and the rest of the cast was equally good.

The second season was excellent and you should absolutely watch it and then read the review here. (Needless to say, if you didn’t watch the first season then get over to Netflix and take care of that.)

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Rectify Season Three

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It seems like buzz is building for the new season of Rectify on SundanceTV, and I hope this series finds a wider audience. It’s easy to say that something is unlike anything else on television, but Rectify can accurately be described that way. Slow and cerebral, this series can make things as ordinary as a baptism or a trip to the museum into nerve-wracking experiences, and not because zombies are at the door but because of the things we fear in ourselves.

Seriously, watch the first two seasons on Netflix if you haven’t already and then watch this third season.

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Rectify Jacob’s Ladder

Credit: Sundance Channel

Rectify has been most interesting as a slow and quiet exploration of Daniel Holden trying to come to grips with his new life after nineteen years on death row. Daniel doesn’t have the experience to understand how to interact with people on the outside and those people don’t know how to interact with him. And looming over Daniel’s assimilation is the crime for which he was convicted and the effect that Daniel’s freedom has on those who are still convinced he’s guilty.

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Rectify Drip, Drip

Credit: Sundance Channel

In its best episode since its opening hour, “Drip, Drip” lays all Rectify‘s themes of reality vs fantasy, faith vs reason and good vs evil in a series of conversations. What do we need in this world to make our way? What do we believe? I know for this series to continue (and it’s coming back for a ten episode second season) that there will be more about Daniel’s possible retrial and about the townspeople that aren’t happy Daniel is back, but “Drip, Drip” was riveting in only being about Daniel’s soul.

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Rectify Plato’s Cave

One of the interesting things in Rectify is that Daniel doesn’t necessarily fit the conceptions that people had of him, and they all have ideas about him. In “Plato’s Cave”, both Tawney and her pastor are surprised by Daniel’s erudition and the depth of his thought. Teddy’s friend Kent thinks Daniel is odd because of his speech upon release. And Susan, a former classmate, assumes Daniel will want intimate physical contact.

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Rectify Modern Times

Credit: Sundance Channel

Rectify has been mostly focused on Daniel trying to figure out in his new world and this continued in “Modern Times” but this episode also furthered some of the other plots that will be necessary to sustain the show, particularly with respect to Daniel’s attorney, Jon Stern and to an increased sense of place.

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Rectify Sexual Peeling

Credit: Sundance Channel

It is a common prejudice for people from the northern US to think of people from the South as backward and slow. As a Yankee who lived in Georgia for a several years, I experienced this first hand, along with the realization that while things are slower down there, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of intellect. I have been thinking about this while watching Rectify, in how even among his family Daniel Holden is underestimated or misunderstood simply because he is slow to respond in conversations, and his answers are often short and simple.

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Rectify Always There

It’s impossible to separate yourself from what you are looking at. We may always strive for objectivity but we will always fail. So when I watch a TV show, I can try to evaluate it for reasons that have nothing to do with me, but how I respond on the most basic level has to do with who I am. This is probably why I think Mad Men is a better show than Breaking Bad. And maybe that’s why I am very impressed with the new series on the Sundance Channel, Rectify.

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