A Rectify Community
Monday 10:00 PM on Sundance Channel (Returning Fall, 2016)

A lot of you probably don't have SundanceTV. A lot of you probably do and don't even know it. Either way, that's no longer an excuse not to watch one of the most captivating and poignant TV series in recent memory. The entire six-episode first season of the network's first scripted series Rectify is available to stream on Netflix, and I can promise you it's worth your time.

A masterfully calibrated meditation on doubt, loss and change, Rectify is about Daniel Holden (Aden Young), a man who is unexpectedly released from prison after spending 19 years on death row. Holden was convicted as a teenager of the rape and murder of his high school girlfriend, and his exoneration reopens old wounds in the small Georgia town where his family still resides. While law enforcement works on building a new case, many of the residents lack the patience for modern justice to run its course.

"I will seriously need to reconsider my world view," Daniel announces upon his return to society. And more so than the mystery of whether or not Daniel is guilty of killing Hannah Dean, this is what Rectify's first season is about.

The series moves at an unapologetically slow pace, subtly and hypnotically mining the emotional depths of Daniel and his family members' attempts to adapt and connect in the wake of his return. But despite the deliberate tempo, Rectify is never boring nor self-indulgent. Daniel describes his years in prison as "the time in between the seconds," and that's exactly how the series feels. The show breathes in a way that makes Mad Men seem rushed, and its languid hero offers a welcome respite from the cocksure Don Drapers and Walter Whites that currently populate television. Of course, some viewers might complain about the amount of time Daniel devotes to merely staring at his surroundings, but it's truly a profound experience, seeing the world through Daniel's eyes, where the most mundane aspects of daily life suddenly become monumental.

However, even as Daniel finds solace in simplicities, the years he spent in solitary confinement have left him paralyzed in the face of an overwhelming number of variables. "Now that I'm here in this world, where everything's marked by hours or dates or events, I find myself in a state of constant anticipation. What it is I'm anticipating, I'm not always sure, nor is it necessarily a pleasant feeling," Daniel explains.

The world Daniel returns to is drastically different from the one he left behind. His mother has remarried, expanding his family to include a half-brother, stepfather, stepbrother, and even a sister-in-law, and they're all as foreign to him as wi-fi, DVDs and the countless luxuries we take for granted each day. And while Daniel's social maturity stagnated within the confines of prison, his kid sister Amantha (Abigail Spencer) flourished, growing into a fiercely protective and headstrong adult whose entire life, including her romantic relationship, inordinately revolves around her brother. (And yes, I spelled that right. Amantha. It is a testament to Spencer's talents that the absurdity of the name is quickly forgotten.)

Young delivers a generous and soulful performance as an untethered man who vacillates between the young kid he was before his incarceration and the detached, contemplative man he became behind bars. Flashbacks to Daniel's time in prison provide insight into his transformation, while his friendship with his fellow convict Kerwin (Johnny Ray Gill) shows that for as much as Daniel tried to resign himself to his windowless purgatory, he was never completely able to shut out the world and its beauty.

Despite Rectify's elegiac tone, there's an effortless humor to the show, much of which stems from Daniel himself. His fish-out-of-water befuddlement with the world ("Does this work?" he earnestly asks a cashier, regarding a bottle of SmartWater) could easily devolve into a series of cheap clichés, yet series creator Ray McKinnon manages to turn even a wide-eyed trip to Walmart into a tender moment where Daniel reconnects with his mother.

And by the season finale (whose emotional pummeling rivals the devastation of Game of Thrones' Red Wedding), neither the audience nor any of the characters—Daniel included—seem to know who he really is. This ambiguity feels both inconsequential and incredibly profound. Daniel is not a character you know, he is a character you feel. And whoever he may be cannot be reduced to simple binaries, especially those of innocent and guilty.

Rectify is a show about trying to apply order to variables. When Daniel loses everything that he's accepted to be true about his life (most notably, that he would die in prison) and is forced back into the society that tried to shed him, Daniel must learn what it means to be human all over again. And this, he discovers, means embracing the unexpected: a life where miracles are as likely to happen as misfortune, and where nothing—from the person waiting behind a door to the beliefs he previously held—can be predicted or relied on.


Rectify's first season is currently available on Netflix. Season 2 premieres Thursday, June 19 at 9pm on SundanceTV.


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/13/2015

Season 3 : Episode 6

23 Comments
Comments (23)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Would like to thank you for writing this article. I watched the first season over the weekend and just caught up on season 2. It is a beautiful show and I was really drawn into it. I love the pacing and can't believe the magnitude of the actor who plays Daniel.
Reply
Flag
Thanks for the beautiful and well-written article about a beautiful and well-written show.

One small nit: Holden is not 'exonerated', his conviction is vacated. A small linguistic difference - but a large judicial one.
2
Reply
Flag
Rectify is definitely not for everyone. It's by far the slowest show on TV. A lot of people thought True Detective was too slow. Rectify runs at I'd say 1/2-1/4 of that pace. If you haven't seen True Detective, it ran at 1/4-1/2 of the pace of e.g Breaking Bad, Homeland, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. And there are people who think that those shows are too slow...
Reply
Flag
Great article, great show! Can't wait for season two...
Reply
Flag
I binge watched this and while I really liked it I wonder how I'd feel about it as a weekly watch. Things happen at such a glacial pace that small things have more weight than they would otherwise. It's good but when I consider everything that happened in the 1st season it feels like most shows on TV would have covered the material in 2 episodes. This would almost be better as a Netflix show that is released all at once.

One thing that saddens me when I read the backstory about this show is the storyline was originally developed for AMC in 2008 with Walton Goggins in the lead role. They passed and I would have loved to have seen their vision of this show. On the other hand, I'm sure AMC would have changed the pace and possibly ruined the emotional weight and it would have also prevented Goggins from taking the Boyd Crowder role on Justified so perhaps it is for the best.
Reply
Flag
Great article, everyone should watch this show, it's really nothing like what you''d expect it to be, most of the actors play warm, empathic characters and the show is just so beautiful to look at. It's really a trascendant experience watching this show, easily one of the best series on TV right now.
2
Reply
Flag
I enjoyed the show but let's not make it out to be more than it is. First it's entirely predictable. As a viewer you can almost predict the dialogue from each and every character. Let's also not forget that death row inmates have access to television and radio so to pretend they don't know what wifi is or any other modern day amenity is ridiculous.

The character development is what makes the show worthwhile. Rectify is as slow as molasses so if a show base almost entirely on character development is not for you than it's best you skip this series.
1
Reply
Flag
1) This show is so NOT predictable, it's ridiculous. So you predicted each episode in S1 would cover one day in the first week of Daniel's release? You predicted all of Daniel and Kerwin's prison discussions? Or Daniel's baptism? Or his time with the 'goat man'? Or Teddy's coffee 'experience'? Or dozens of other things I could mention from S1? If so, now is the chance to backup your assertion and predict what's coming in S2. Otherwise... total nonsense.

2) Seeing things on TV or hearing about them is vastly different than actually using or experiencing them. Otherwise, we would all know what it's like to be in almost any foreign land.
1
Reply
Flag
Rectify season 1 was fine. But I'm afraid not many people will be tuning in for season 2, since most of those who watched season 1 probably felt like committing suicide because of sheer depression after watching the show. Personally I'm still too depressed to consider...
Reply
Flag
It is one of the best new show of 2013. I am glad you (staff) are recommending it. I guess you are a new staff as I do not remember reading your reviews before.

It was a good review and pointed out many of the reasons why we enjoyed the show.

I am looking forward to season two and hoping it will be as good if not better.
2
Reply
Flag
Staff
http://www.tv.com/shows/rectify/modern-times-2841113/

Is the best episode in this fantastic series. Cannot wait for season 2. Going to re-watch season 1 tonight.
1
Reply
Flag
I watched the first season after another user recommended some time ago. It is really good.
4
Reply
Flag
I have Sundance, but not in HD, so I avoid anything that I can only see in SD... the show's subject matter just didn't interest me either though.
1
Reply
Flag
the subject is not interesting for me neither - but the show is good (have to admit, I did watch an illegal copy, so if you don't want to do that, might be difficult to catch up with it anyways).
Reply
Flag
Well la dee dah
6
Reply
Flag
I really like this show, it dose reflect the life for lots of people when they get outside the jail, the story will wrote and the acting is excellent, i do recommend everyone to watch it....
1
Reply
Flag
I'm usually pretty hopeless at picking up subtle details that directors put into shows, but during one of the episodes where they had a shot of Daniel in his cell and later in the same episode they used an identical shot of Daniel's bedroom at home. The room is the same size, the bed is in the same, there might be a few home comforts but his bedroom is the same as his cell. So Daniel might out of prison but he's still in jail. And they got that across so deftly without smacking people over the head with it, it was simply outstanding.
7
Reply
Flag
No Sundance and no Netflix. Guess I'll hope for a dvd release.
Reply
Flag
It is already out on DVD (at least in the States).
Reply
Flag
Thanks. I'll check for the dvd here in Canada.
Reply
Flag
A month of Netflix will cost a lot less than a dvd, there's also your first month free.
1
Reply
Flag
Thanks, but way behind on so much tv I've recorded from network and cable, I have no time to add Netflix shows. I know a store where I can rent tv series for $6 a week and if it's out, they always have it.
Reply
Flag
Um utorrent anyone?
Reply
Flag
Follow this Show
Members
1,319