Rectify truly is the best show no one is watching. And how strange is that concept? We’re not the first to say it, and we certainly won’t be the last. It is remarkable in its entirety but its final season alone deserves endless praise. It’s a series that demands its audience to feel for its characters, and it does so in seemingly effortless ways. By the time I was done with the entire series, I knew it would require its very own segment for Year-End Reviews. Rectify’s cast need Emmys and Ray McKinnon’s poignantly methodic storytelling has been nothing short of exquisite. Rectify didn’t end in “and they lived happily ever after”, but it ended with the kind of hopeful poetry that fills the human mind with profound gratitude. Gratitude for what we’re blessed with and the mysterious ways God works for us. Gratitude for those around us and gratitude for what we find when life throws its curve balls at us.
That said, I knew that if I gave Rectify the chance to, it’d land the number one spot in all our Year-End reviews and for that reason, we decided to give it its own article. To bid farewell in the best way we know how to.
Most Noteworthy Performance by an Actress
I’ve been familiar with Abigail Spencer’s work for quite some time now, and while she’s impressed me tirelessly as an actress, I’ve never been more in awe than I was watching the way she brought Amantha Holden to life. Spencer’s work as Amantha has been poignantly profound from the beginning, but her work in the final season has been groundbreaking. As Amantha took a step back, Spencer took two steps forward rising up to the best of her abilities in order to end the series doing some of her most impeccable work. And in the final episode alone, Spencer broke me each time Amantha spoke — speaking a thousand words with her expressiveness while subtly radiating immense adoration for her entire family. Amantha is finally at peace and Spencer exhibited a kind of unparalleled warmth all throughout “All I’m Sayin'”.
Most Noteworthy Performance by an Actor
If Aden Young isn’t presented with an Emmy in 2017, nothing is right or fair in the industry. From the very first episode Young had me floored — completely astounded after each scene. With the nuances he brought to Daniel’s character, Young layered him phenomenally, creating an intriguing character that isn’t easy to understand but effortless to care for. Although I had my doubts in the beginning, by the end of the series, I was certain of his innocence. I was certain of the fact that a significant amount of love runs through Daniel’s veins and Young convinced me of beautifully. It isn’t easy to deliver the kind of struggles Daniel faced, but with every look and every spoken tone, Aden Young grew through the series — delivering one remarkable performance after another.
I wasn’t sure I’d be able to care for Teddy in the beginning, but I was wrong. And it’s Clayne Crawford’s performances that convinced me of my wrong presumption. Clayne Crawford grew with Teddy from his first appearance to his last delivering emotions that were easily resonated with. And in the final episode, I couldn’t help but care even more. Crawford delivered each and every emotional whirlwind within Teddy with specs of profound admiration and remorse even in the midst of frustration. Teddy was a character who wanted happiness and family above all things. He wanted to believe and he wanted to grow, and though faint in some moments, it’s been a perpetual presence within his character.
Most Exquisite Moment
It isn’t easy to choose just one moment for this category because the entire series finale was filled with outstanding scenes. Whether it was Amantha and Daniel’s phone call or Teddy and Daniel making peace my heart was constantly full. It may have also been the closure between Jon and Amantha. Or Amantha’s scenes with Janet. Actually I’m fairly certain it was that final scene as they all heard the news together. Are you convinced you should be watching Rectify now? Because if not, I can keep going.
Rectify is a special series. I went in to binge-watch all episodes leading up to the finale with extremely high expectations and I came out with each of them exceeded. As mentioned above, Rectify demands you to feel. It takes you places you don’t expect to go and within one family it teaches you about humanity in all its raw, flawed imperfectly beautiful glory. Yes all families have their issues and yes it’s not foreign to television today, but it’s rare for television to do with Rectify’s done. Its intricate pace has allowed its viewers to understand the characters to their core and with its superb cast, it’s resulted in an extraordinary series. It’s tugged on the heartstrings and it’s evoked potently poignant emotions within us all. Ask anyone that’s watched Rectify and I’m certain they’ll tell you the series is a must watch. Rectify is heavy, it isn’t always easy to watch, but it’s nothing short of brilliant. Plainly, simply — brilliant. There hasn’t been and there won’t be another like it.
We definitely were watching the same show as your words could have (and have) come out of my mouth for the last 4 years. I would add J. Smith Cameron to your list out outstanding performances as she was impeccable (perfectly understated, reserved with that ever-present hint of depression and never 100% present-like a shell-shocked war vet) as a mother of a convicted murder in a small Southern town would really feel & act. Ashamed of the shame she feels. Despite believing her son’s innocence, there was that ever present thought of “what if he did kill Hannah” thought in her head. Janet didn’t have the vehement belief of Daniel’s innocence that Amantha did. Janet’s cautious optimism was the more mature approach as she was not a witness to the murder and Daniel confessed.
I hope legions of people read your review and watch RECTIFY. RayMcKinnon and cast created something greater and deeper than what the average TV watcher would expect. Comparing this show to others would be like comparing Georgia O’Keefe’s art to a Lichtenstein, or Flannery O’Connor to a comic book. RECTIFY is deep & meaningful high art. The emotions brought out by the RECTIFY experience makes me realize I am a human being.
I wish I could’ve talked about every single performance but at some point I had to shut up or it’d result in a 10k word review. But thanks for the kind words. And your input. I agree with every word.
I am so happy you decided to watch this show and that you loved it as much as I did.
“It takes you places you don’t expect to go and within one family it teaches you about humanity in all its raw, flawed imperfectly beautiful glory.”
In one sentence, you captured the show and everything that made it so special. All of these characters were flawed and broken but it didn’t make them any less beautiful or extraordinary. It made them real, almost too real at times. Watching them was an exercise in grace and empathy and gentleness. This show makes you feel so deeply and I love the way that comes through all over this post. This is a gorgeous tribute to a gorgeous show!
Thank you so very much, Heather. This means so much to me coming from you considering it was your love for the show that made me want to watch it in the first place. So thank you for the kind words. And I love what you said about watching it being an exercise of grace empathy and gentleness because of how much it forced us to care.