Rectify Recap: Season 4, Episode 7, “Happy Unburdening”


In this Rectify recap, we reluctantly ready ourselves to say goodbye to one of the most moving and beautiful series on television.

It’s hard to say goodbye to an a beautiful new friend, but this Rectify recap is a way for us to prepare ourselves for the end of a series that is one of the most magical and captivating on television.

This episode has a neat and gorgeous symmetry to it, beginning and ending with Daniel replaying the events of his assault. In the first few moments of the show, we listen as Daniel details the events of his gang rape to a therapist. He is stoic and aloof, but the tremble in his voice gives away the strain of the telling.

The therapist forces him to stay in present tense, as he goes through each brutality with Rectify’s methodical and unhurried pacing. It’s the first time Daniel has done anything but allude to it, and to hear him say it out loud is chilling. It’s so captivating that I didn’t even have time to become emotional or feel my own feeling for Daniel. I was too rapt at the way he wades through it, like a someone wearing ankle weights would try to resist quicksand.

Watching Aden Young play Daniel Holden is like watching someone construct an intricate sand castle. The nuance and grace build upon each other until you’re completely enthralled in his narrative. Somebody give him a damn Emmy!

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After his session, he comes to Chloe lighter and almost whimsical, admitting that the therapist’s strategy is hard. Maybe it’s his unburdening that made him lighter, but I like to think it’s his relationship with Chloe that affects him like that. He’s different with her, and as he’s said before, when he’s with her it feels almost like living.

The symbiotic nature of their relationship is something entirely new for Daniel, as the mere

The mere existence of a relationship like Daniel and Chloe’s makes me hopeful for the possibility that he’ll be okay.

existence of a relationship like his and Chloe’s makes me hopeful for the possibility that he’ll be okay. He said it better than I could when he confesses his feelings for her. He tells her, “You give me hope. Or at least the hope of hope.” It’s transformative and a comforting in the face of having to say goodbye to him.

Unburdening is the theme of this penultimate episode, and not just for Daniel and Chloe. Amantha too gets her own sort of closure. Bobby Deen’s request to meet and then apologize to her gives her a way to close the door to the part of her life that revolved around Daniel. She spent 20 years of her life in his orbit that being without him is changing her.

Photo: SundanceTV/Rectify

Even though she doesn’t forgive Bobby for assaulting Daniel that day at Hannah’s grave, she’s allowed the opportunity to put it to rest. This leaves room in her heart for a real life of her own. Her encounter with her old friend Jenny is evidence of this. She has the emotional bandwidth to welcome back everything she threw out to make room for Daniel. It’s incredibly moving to watch her shift into this Amantha that is, what I can assume, part who she was and part who she’s going to be.

The other characters are looking toward the future as well. Teddy and Tawney have a poignant conversation on his couch about what’s ahead for them both. His future is pragmatic and functional, much like Teddy himself. But Tawney’s is much more idealistic. She wants to move away with Doctors without Borders and he’s thinking about just taking some time to heal. Both projections seem right for these two, and I can live with either of these futures for them.

Clayne Crawford is doing incredible work as well. Like I said in the live stream piece, “Crawford

Photo: SundanceTV/Rectify

is a magician, pulling emotional rabbits out of his hat, time after time. Just when we think we’ve seen the depths of his sadness and pain, he gives us more to break our hearts”

He delivers one of the most moving scenes of the season when he tells his father about his and Tawney’s divorce. The mix of sadness, shame and relief in his whole countenance belies Rectify’s power over the small moments. There’s no teeth gnashing or fist-shaking, but Teddy brought me to my knees this week.

It’s hard to imagine that next week we’ll be talking about the final moments of this show, but I’m feeling better about letting these characters go, knowing now that they are getting what they deserve. And it’s not just because we almost certainly know that Daniel didn’t kill Hannah Deen.

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Rectify airs it’s series finale on SundanceTV, Wednesday December 14th.