TV Review: Rectify (3×04) – “Girl Jesus”

girl jesus

“Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who’s there”
– Depeche Mode, “Personal Jesus”

Among the best things about Rectify is its reliability. Even in its weakest episodes, there’s likely to be at least one mind-blowing scene that makes it worth it. “Girl Jesus,” a considerably lesser episode than the previous two, has two scenes like this. The first involves Tawney and Teddy who, after three episodes of teasing, finally go see the marriage counselor, Rebecca. Teddy tries to seem polite and accommodating, repeating back everything Rebecca says, though through gritted teeth. Then, when he starts talking about his stepmother, everything falls apart.

“Are you close with your stepmother?” she asks. “I thought I was,” Teddy replies. “Her real son came back and things changed considerably.”

He then begins accusing Tawney of not wanting to be there, not wanting him to be there, and thinking about Daniel. In “Thrill Ride,” Tawney said Teddy bears down on her often. Here, Rebecca gets a close-up glimpse of that bearing down as Teddy yells at her until she says what he wants to hear: “I don’t know if I want to be with you, Teddy. Is that what you want to hear? I don’t know if I want to be married to you.” Rebecca asks how that makes him feel. “Kinda great,” he says. “At least all this time, I know I wasn’t crazy.”

The other great moment gives the episode its title. Daniel asks Amantha if she loves Jon and proceeds to tell her about a time thought he loved someone. “Thought she could save me, thought she was my savior. Girl Jesus.”

As these scenes would imply Tawney is the star of “Girl Jesus,” someone caught in the middle of everything and just trying to do the right thing. Daggett calls her in for questioning, after Daniel says that she was the one who picked him up in Florida. He asks her if Daniel was wearing a jacket when she picked him up, which Trey had claimed. “I don’t think anyone wears a jacket in Florida,” she replies.

Daggett then asks what she and Daniel talked about. “Spiritual matters. Sin, redemption, forgiveness, God’s grace. It’s a big subject.” When Daggett claims that Daniel confessed to a pretty huge sin, Tawney says, “I feel any sin he has committed is far surpassed by the sins committed against him” because “I don’t think Daniel ever carefully considered committing a sin and then actually committed it.” She really is his Girl Jesus.

Tawney is almost too concerned with doing the right thing, as well as seeing the good in everyone. When Teddy asks if she wants to be at the counselling session, she says of course, because it’s necessary. She’s so consumed with what’s right that she rarely thinks about what she wants, and thus Teddy can manipulate her into wanting him. Later, as Teddy drops her off, she begins crying, leading to them kissing. It’s really hard to tell which decisions are hers and which he’s coercing out of her, which makes this scene somewhat terrifying.

Elsewhere, Amantha is back on Daniel’s side. Jon tells her that Daniel is suspected for George Melton’s murder, and the fact that Daniel is fighting for his innocence—as well as the fact that she now has an excuse to keep fighting for it herself—puts him back in her good graces. Foulkes also appears in the cold open, his first appearance since the stroke, although his scene doesn’t last long and doesn’t get me to care about this plot decision any more. Janet and Ted’s marriage is still falling apart, and it turns out that the semen on Hannah’s body was George’s.

A lot happens in “Girl Jesus,” but stuff happening has never been Rectify’s forte as much as how it happens. Beyond the scenes relating to Tawney, nothing that happens in the episode is presented interestingly enough to make you care. Until the final scene, that is: Daniel, frustrated and trapped, kicks an open paint can into the beautifully painted pool. As he said earlier, “Who will I be when they put me back together again?” More importantly, who will be the one to do it?

Rating: 7/10

Matt is 22 years old, and lives in Ypsilanti, MI. He goes to school at Eastern Michigan University, where he is double majoring in Journalism and Women’s and Gender Studies. He is a pop culture geek, obsessively consuming music, film, and T.V. Since he was 16, he has wanted to be a cultural critic, and he spends most of his free time listening to music, watching films, researching, and writing. Tumblr: http://memorize-your-lines.tumblr.com/
  • Cathlene Brady

    The best review of this episode on line. A lot of others were full of mistakes.