Rectify Recap: Season 4, Episode 6, “Physics”


I hope you’re ready, because in this Rectify recap, we’re taking on directness, shame, and how little we know about physics.

This week’s Rectify recap is going to the biggies of this week’s episode, aptly named “Physics.” There was an overdue, much needed emotion-dump in this installment, and I didn’t even realize we needed this release. A catharsis, if you will. I finished the episode feeling exhausted, but incredibly lighter. Like I had I just reached the top of a climb and took my pack off.


Rectify is famously and beautifully obtuse, so when the characters come straight at one another, it can feel jarring. Such is the case as Daniel and Ted Sr. swap apologies over the awful things they’ve said and done.

Photo: SundanceTV/Rectify

Ted Sr. is still riding the momentum of the conversation with Janet in the car, and blurts out his feelings like he was trying to clear his throat. He apologizes for throwing Daniel out of the house and, in turn, Daniel apologizes for what he did to Teddy.

Daniel is usually so restrained and measured that it makes everyone uncomfortable, but this exchange is the beginning of a collective exhale that carries through the whole episode.  In a rare moment of directness and clarity, Daniel tells his mother to let him go, so they can both be released from the bondage of what could have been.

On the other side of this conversation, they both feel freer and more open to their own truths, and have a confidence with each other that I’ve never seen before. Daniel parlays this confidence into his dynamic with Chloe.

As direct as ever, Chloe comes right out and asks him about therapy, and he feels defensive and gets mean -also a first for Daniel. Even as he realizes he’s crossed a line with her, she pushes, characterizing him better than anybody else has, so far. She says he’s created an identity based on what every one said he was, and now that he doesn’t have to perform, he’s scared. And I say YESSS!!!

Daniel’s created an identity based on what every one said he was, and now that he doesn’t have to perform, he’s scared.


This conversation about Daniel’s identity is just is a corollary to his bigger issues with shame. We’ve seen Daniel, for the length of the series, grapple with his feelings of humiliation and guilt. The singular reason the conversation with his mother was so meaningful is because he names her as his reflection and confirmation.

Daniel articulates something that I’ve yet to put my finger on when it comes to Janet. While she has never acted like she was ashamed of Daniel, she is surely a conduit for every feeling Daniel has about himself. Janet embodies everything that Daniel is afraid to face, so he turns away from her every time.

Daniel’s fears about facing down his demons inform his reluctance to see a therapist as well. He’s not ready to bring up all those feelings of shame and, frankly, he might never be. He tells Chloe that he feels like he’s actually living, and she points out he that seems terrified by it. And this fear makes him feel forlorn and embarrassed. It’s a cycle we’ve been repeating for three seasons. While I’m not anxious to see Rectify end, I am grateful for what the end is ushering in.


I don’t understand much about physics, and neither does the cast of Rectify apparently. Teddy puts a fine point on this when he challenges the dancing man that floats in front of the tire store. Rectify uses symbols in the most clever ways, and this dancing man has become the stand-in for several characters’ ennui and malcontent.

Teddy decides to take matters into his own hands to cure his own broken heart. After a

Photo: SundanceTV/Rectify

drunken night squatting in Tawney’s house, and an entire day of drinking and self-pity, Teddy shoots the dancing man with his rifle. Because he definitely does NOT know how physics works, he winds up catching the bullet upon ricochet, shooting himself in the leg. This moment transforms him into a symbol for every other character on the show.

Just like Teddy, every time a character has tried to be honest or forthright in their feelings they are punished in some way. Even so, they keep doing it, and the emotional hits just keep on coming. For every action, there is an equal reaction. (See, I know how physics works a little.)

Related Story: Rectify Recap: Season 4, Episode 4, “Go Ask Roger”

A few bits worth mentioning

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Daniel is innocent of the crimes for which he went to jail. Jon Stern won’t relent in trying to clear Daniel’s name, and the more he digs, the more he reveals. Hannah Dean’s brother comes forward with a version of the story that implicates Trey Willis. There’s also the unraveling matter of CJ Pickens’ involvement that complicates Daniel’s confessions.

Photo: SundanceTV/Rectify

Tawney loses her beloved patient, Zeke, and his death forces her to reflect on her own family circumstances, specifically her mother. Meanwhile, Teddy, Jr. is unraveling into a tangled mess of raw nerves and emotional anxiety.

Janet and Ted’s marriage is unraveling as well, and she actually told Daniel that she didn’t know if they were going to stay married. It looks like the sale of the store is going to happen, so the money will really open up some options for them.

Oh, and Amantha is still ornery and grouchy.

Rectify airs Wednesdays on SundanceTV at 10/9c