A review of tonight’s Rectify coming up just as soon as I call in sick to myself…
“I think it’s kind of nice, considering what doesn’t have to be.” -Janet
Though “Pineapples in Paris” has a whimsical title, it’s easily the darkest and most powerful installment of what had previously been a light-ish final season of Rectify. Even the scene that introduces the pineapples phrase is a heavy one, as Janet and Ted Sr. finally talk about the origin and nature of their marriage more candidly than they ever have before.
That conversation is so fraught that for a moment, it seems as if the episode might end with both Teds ending their respective marriages. For now, though, the only one who goes through with it is Ted Jr., in a tender, heartbreaking scene where he recognizes that Tawney will stay in limbo forever if he’s not willing to play the bad guy for 30 seconds and not only suggest that they end their marriage, but outright ask for her permission to do so. It’s the right thing for both parties — even if Teddy wants to still be with Tawney, he knows she doesn’t want to be with him, and there’s no way that ends well — but it’s still a huge decision for him to make, and a huge emotional burden for him to take on, knowing how easy it would be to keep dating his wife, or even nudge her into a reconciliation she likely wouldn’t say no to. This has been an excellent season until now, but because so much of the focus has been on watching the characters try to rebuild their lives, it by design hasn’t been quite as tough or cathartic as previous ones. But when Clayne Crawford’s voice broke ever so slightly as Teddy asks Tawney to grant him a divorce, well… let’s just say the dust level around here was as high as it’s been for watching this show in quite some time.
It’s an extraordinary scene, three-plus seasons in the making, and one that puts Ted Jr. in an interesting place for the rest of the hour. With his marriage over in everything but name now, and with his father and stepmother deciding the rest of his future without him, there is nothing tying him to this place, or even to the rest of his family. When Hanna’s brother Bobby turns up at the house to unburden himself(*) about the important words George once told him — “Trey went back” — he is telling it to the member of the clan with the least incentive to help Daniel, the man who blew up Teddy’s marriage and put coffee grounds up Teddy’s rear end. Had Jared (whom Bobby once found hanging out in Hanna’s room) or Amantha been home when Bobby came knocking, there would have been no question about that information being passed up the chain. But as much as Teddy has grown over these seasons, there was still a part of me holding my breath at the thought he might sit on it, and which was enormously relieved to see him telling Amantha and Jared, right before breaking into his own home to grill and eat a steak, gather up his hunting and fishing gear, and depart the house forever. And we are late enough in this particular story that I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last we see of Teddy. Though his father, half-brother, and step-family are all still in Paulie, this is a man whose entire life has become untethered, and maybe he just gets in his truck and keeps on driving(**).
(*) Another scene remarkable for its patience and its power, as Bobby — whom we mainly know from the context of his brutal attack on Daniel at the end of season 1 — details exactly how terrible it was to live in that house in the aftermath of his sister’s murder.
(**) Perhaps he drives all the way to Los Angeles, growing a mustache along the way, training in policework, and teaming up with another cop who’s getting too old for this s–t.