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Why Aren't You Watching This Show?! By Sundi

Rectify poster

Rectify Airs Mondays at 10pm on Sundance


There is this quiet little show on the Sundance channel that is moving me every Monday night. Rectify, written by Ray McKinnon, is about as earnest and rich as anything that is airing right now.  Gritty and edgy as an indie film, but nuanced and complex, I am smitten with every character, every camera angle, every line of dialogue, every...single...thing. The show is riveting because it has a voyeuristic quality that makes me feel like I have my face pressed to the charactersí family room window.


Rectify is about Daniel Holden, who has been on death row for 19 years for the rape and murder of his high school girlfriend. The verdict is overturned when new DNA evidence surfaces, yet he is not fully exonerated. This is an important detail, because, even after six episodes, I still canít decide if Daniel is innocent or not. The exposition is doled out in tidbits that offer fragmented and distorted versions of the actions of the past, mixing up the picture of anything that happened before the show picked up in the first episode. While this can get frustrating at times, I suffer this teasing because I am so intrigued by these characters and the magic that happens  in the stillness; when they exchange glances, sigh, gesture, touch..


The arc of the first six episodes is so tightly focused on the minutia of Daniel and his familyís readjustment, that it is hard to reconcile the horrible crime he is accused of. In fact, the story is soft-pedalled in a way that makes the flashbacks to death row exponentially disturbing. Daniel, is grappling with the new way in which time passes. The actor who plays Daniel, Aden Young, has mastered the ambiguous subtlety that makes me want to weep for Danielís loss. It plays out so incrementally on Danielís face that his sincerity goes straight through you. The melancholy in this show is so well-crafted that it becomes part of the fundamental makeup of the show; becoming self-aware with lines like, ďItís the beauty that hurts you the most, son, not the ugly.Ē


However; once you step away from the excruciatingly beautiful details, it is hard to ignore the powerful thematics. As much as this show is about the individuals, it is about time, loss, vision and most importantly, loss. These converge in a scene in which Daniel visits Walmart for the first time; it is most apparent how much he has lost as he wanders the aisles assessing the newness of of the world.  Its like watching Daniel see the world for the first time and it is such an intimate and poignant moment I have to force myself not to look away. It is scenes like this that strip away all the moral expectations associated with the crime he is accused of, and forces me to see the man for what he is.... human.


Rectify is set in Paulding County, Georgia, and shows set in the South often present problems for me. I am always hopeful that a show will get it right and not make caricatures of Southerners. I believe this show does pretty well. The accents and dialect resonate and the family dynamics strike just the right chord. The show answers the negativity by being fiercely intellectual; Daniel quotes Aristotle, Flannery OíConnor AND Thomas Aquinas for Godís sake. Even the archetypes are handled with a deft hand, and the show is careful not to define itself by its setting. I admire the charactersí close study of the accents and the writersí honoring the culture; it could have gone a completely different way, but I am more than pleased with its trajectory so far. YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING THIS SHOW!!!


The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The TV MegaSite or its other volunteers.

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