When we last saw Daniel Holden (Aden Young), he had been beaten and left for dead in front of the grave of the woman he had been convicted of raping and killing. So his journey from incarcerated criminal to freed man was definitely not over. We pick up in season 2 of “Rectify” with Daniel in the hospital fighting for his life and his family members gathered around him, praying for his recovery but also still dealing with the dramas that came with his coming home and their own dysfunctions. Judging by the first three episodes screened for press, SundanceTV have another intense, complex slow-burner of a mystery and character study in store.
Daniel may be lying unconscious in a hospital bed, but he’s not out of commission, as we are treated to many more flashbacks to his bleak, surreal life inside solitary confinement on death row, which means we see plenty more of his prison best friend Kerwin (Johnny Ray Gill), who was sorely missed after he was executed last season. The two also get a chance to explore the great outdoors in a dream sequence which closes out the premiere episode and which ranks among the show’s most powerful moments. It’s also proof enough that while the show could hypothetically keep going even without Daniel, he is still the very heart of the show, with Young’s delicate, empathetic
Meanwhile, in the real world, there are still people who want Daniel to return to jail (or who wish he would have just died as a result of this beating), but also those who are standing by him and who want to catch those who did this to him. Daniel’s mother (J. Smith Cameron) and sister Amantha (Abigail Spencer) are still his staunchest supporters, though his sister-in-law Tawney (Adelaide Clemons) can’t seem to help herself either, and prays for his recovery even as she is still reeling from the unforeseen consequences of reaching out to him last season. This of course causes more tension in her marriage to Daniel’s step-brother Ted (Clayne Crawford), who shows more shades of grey and perhaps even slightly sociopathic behavior as the show continues to explore his struggles with money woes and being in Daniel’s shadow.
Not much happens, per se, on “Rectify,” though the mystery of what really happened the night Daniel’s girlfriend died continues to be explored and the sheriff is on a new case – locking down the perpetrators behind Daniel’s attempted murder, which proves harder than expected. The most compelling thing about this show continues to be the subtleties of the interplay between the characters, the silences between dialogue and the hidden meanings behind every action. The thought-provoking and mesmerizing dream-like quality of season 1 is perfectly maintained, making “Rectify” season 2 another must-watch.
“Rectify” season 2 premieres at 9pm on Thursday, June 19th on SundanceTV.