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Rectify - All I'm Sayin' (Series Finale) - Review: "I'm cautiously optimistic"

15 Dec 2016

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We're at the end of what has been an incredible journey. In what was by far the longest episode of the series, we get to say one final goodbyes to all these beloved characters, and while this final season as a whole may have not reached the dramatic heights of Season 2, this doesn't diminish what turns out to be THE perfect way, to end such a unique series.

"Nothing will Rectify what's happened"

The hour opens up with a flashback, one dating back to the events of the Pilot, only mere minutes before Janet, Amantha and the rest of the family go meet Daniel as he gets released from Death Row. Amantha asks her mother to just be happy, just for one day, and as the scene juxtaposes with another conversation between the two, now though happening in the present day, we're hit with the revelation that Janet was clinically depressed and had been after everything that happened with Daniel and Hanna. While it shouldn't really surprise us, it's still something that has been lying underneath every interaction between Janet and the other characters, though hidden to us as we had never witnessed the character before Daniel's release, before those initial moments in the Pilot episode. Current day events even overlap a little, as Jon meets them to share with them the same information that we already got last week when the old sheriff Pickens deposed to Sondra about all the wrongdoings of the department in the immediate aftermath of Hanna's murder, but also something that is news to us too, as both Doggett and Sondra seem willing to ask to the GBI (Georgia's Bureau of Investigation) to undo the case from 20 years prior and begin anew with all the new information that had shown up recently. We get to see Jon and Amantha share one final moment together, as she tries to convince him to go back to Justice Row once everything with Daniel is settled, and reveals how she ended up "settling" with what is her life now, working in Paulie, living in Paulie, after having an "epiphany" in the scene where, back in episode 402, we saw here smoking pot in a satellite dish at sunset, accepting that what's done is done, and that there's no point in living into the past, as it cannot be changed.

Daniel still isn't all that engaged by his job of pulling up and stacking boxes, as he shows during the interaction with his boss Julian and later confesses to the group. He aspires for more, he wants more, and while it might not feel good, as Pickle puts the feeling itself is good, it means that Daniel has now sufficient self awareness and personal growth to have expectations, the kind that might not be reached. He then goes to meet Chloe at her house, only to find out that she's already gone, as she doesn't like goodbyes. She leaves him a painting, something that it might look good in the fun house, as she puts it. Something that we'll see Daniel holding on to for the rest of the episode and that finds new meaning in the final sequence. In a phone conversation with his sister Amantha, he has the first of many goodbyes he'll get to have. This, as those later in the episode with Teddy junior, Tawney and finally Janet, aren't really goodbyes, their lives will continue after this episode, after the series has finished telling us the tale of these characters, they'll talk again, and meet again, but in a sort of meta and really touching way, the show treats these conversations for what they're for us viewer, the final moments we see of these characters interacting with each other. And damn if it does a wonderful job of it.

The last day for Lester's tire store has finally come, the show hasn't dealt with the offer storyline on screen anymore, but sometime along the last two episodes, the offer became real, and was accepted by Janet, Ted and the rest of the family. With Teddy junior not interested in keeping up with the same line of work, they are now selling out everything to get rid of the inventory. Carl Doggett shows up to inform Teddy that the DA is willing to scale his charges back to misdemeanor, for what happened when he discharged his firearm in public, shooting at the inflatable guy a couple of episodes ago, and even put words to what has been going through his mind for some time now, confessing to Teddy that he doesn't think anymore that Daniel was involved in Hanna's murder. The tire store shows up again when the whole family reunites for the final set of tires being sold, to Melvin nonetheless, and with some old faces, as Tawney shows up with her legendary monkey bread, and welcome additions, Billy now officially joining the family, even already picking up some of Amantha's slack as he has a funny back and forth with Teddy junior.

In a big moment that has been building up since season 1, we finally see Janet and Judy, the mothers of Daniel and Hanna, share a moment together, as she too now doesn't believe anymore that it was Daniel who killed her daughter. And actually doesn't really care of ever finding out who it was that did it. She might just find out soon enough anyway though, as Jon goes to Nashville to tell Daniel about the breakthrough the case just had, and we're given another moment of growth from Daniel, as he no longer feels undeserving of all the help he has got from all these different people for all this time, but rather sees it as something to live up to, a push towards what he should become to finally become worthy of all that help. And that help bears its fruit, as the DA and the sheriff summon a press conference to reveal to the world that at her request, the GBI has opened a case about the death of Hanna Dean, a press conference that she uses to discredit and dispute everything that the Paulie's sheriff department did 20 years earlier, all the oversight and the mistakes made in identifying the responsible of both the rape and murder of Hanna Dean, a case that she clearly states could once and for all clear Daniel of all charges, undoing his plea deal and making him a free man, for real. This is an amazing sequence that has also been building up since the beginning of the show, and that shows us the reaction from all the various perspectives, from Daniel's family to Hanna's family, to the citizens of Paulie, even to Roland Foulkes, as he tighten his grips, unable to utter a single word for the rest of his life. When Doggett visits Trey to inform him of the charges they have against him for the murder of Hanna Dean, the latter lashes out one final time, accusing Chris Nelms of being the sole responsible of her death, the one who raped her and that had the most motive to kill her as she threatened to tell to everyone about the rape. This is the most we'll get out of the show about the subject, but while not necessarily one hundred percent clear, I think we have enough pieces of the puzzle to put together all the events of that night, and be sure, once and for all, that Daniel isn't the one who killed Hanna.

We didn't get to see Daniel's reaction to the press conference, and that's because he didn't watch it, as he and the rest of his room mates from the halfway house were too busy celebrating Pickle's recent hiring to answer his mother's call about the recent news.
Early in the day before the celebration, in his usual therapy session, Daniel this time addresses a different event of his past, as he describes to his doctor the time that his friend and cell neighbor Kerwin was taken by the guards to be brought in front of the executioner, something that we have actually already seen happening in a Season 2 flashback, and that gathers even more weight when Aden Young tells the doctor about it, and in some way reminds us of. But that's not all, as Ray McKinnon give us a final gift and brings Kerwin back for one last flashback, in a wonderful scene so akin to many of the same kind that we saw during Season 2, where Kerwin once again helps Daniel to not giving up, to still have hopes and dreams, as they share an a imaginary car trip in New York City. It was a very sweet sequence greatly appreciated from someone that loved Kerwin and everything about his stint in the show.

In the final conversation between Daniel and Tawney, and in the dream sequence he later has while lying in bed, lies the final message that the series wants to give us, one of "cautious optimism" as Daniel says, where all the characters acknowledge that they are at the end of something that has been extremely difficult for all of them, but that doesn't stop them from hoping for something better, even if it won't ever be perfect, even if it won't be a sweet ending like the one that Daniel dreams of, being with Chloe and her baby in a field of corn kissed by the sun, being a father. It was sweet, it was sad, it was poetic and it was powerful. What an amazing way to end an amazing series. Nothing is perfect in life, but this sure came really close to perfection. Let me know what did you think of the series finale in the comments section down below.

Rectify - 4.08 "All I'm Sayin'" - A+