We now have only one episode left in this excellent 5 episode first season. Next week’s season finale will undoubtedly show more of Paulie, Georgia’s tense conflicts play out, which we started to see in episode 4’s “Drip, Drip.”
“Drip, Drip” can refer to Baptism, it can refer to this episode’s much featured coffee maker, or it can refer to Ted Jr’s drinking. But “Drip, Drip” is also the sound of something that starts harmlessly, but slowly builds, and can eventually annoy you so much it can make you, well, bash your head in, as did Daniel’s cellmate. That is exactly how the tension caused by Daniels presence in Paulie has been slowly building up.
Daniel is no longer hiding within himself. In this episode, he is all over the town, on a dreamlike (but real, I suspect) quest with ‘Goat Man’ (how very David Lynch-esque!), visiting his late father’s business, getting booted from school grounds, and getting baptized, and, he hoped, closer to Tawny. He then again visits the family business at the episode’s conclusion.
Ted’s annoyance that Daniel took the miniature mechanic figurine was one of the funniest moments of the series thus far. This showed how subtle events, seemingly harmless, can build up in the same ‘Drip, Drip,’ fashion. First he takes the figurine, then there is no coffee, he is stressing over the businesses’ finances, he has to deal with Tawny’s ‘project’ of converting Daniel, and then he has to put up 5000 flyers. When he discovers Daniel outside the business that night, he’s pretty much had all he can take…especially since he has to make more coffee!
Since Daniel has been, relatively, laying low, he hasn’t been tested in many situations ‘on the outside.’ And, probably because of this, Daniel’s efforts to adjust have appeared to be going well as he slowly seemed to improve. In part since the series is entitled “Rectify,” it was hard not to be optimistic about Daniel’s progress. And I credit the writers for cleverly leading us in this direction. But now we see how easily he can be upset when his mother and sister confront him about the baptism, and how his connection with Tawny was not just about forming a deep friendship, but was mainly driven by his emotions, resembling something more like an adolescent ‘girl crush.’
“Maybe there is a God,” states Daniel, after being baptized. That is the instant where Tawny realizes that Daniel is very vulnerable, and was willing to play along with converting his religion in order to be closer to Tawney.
This series has 3 sections: past (the murder of Hanna), present (Daniel’s adjustment), and future (how the town will react and what will happen to the charges against Daniel). The story stays in the present, but jumps around as it references the past and hints at future conflicts. The longer we see Daniel navigating throughout the town without incident, the more the tension builds. The future looms like a dark cloud over Paulie, Georgia; we know things aren’t going to stay quiet forever.
At the same time the town’s anxiety is reaching a near-boiling point, we start to wonder about Daniel himself; whether there is still enough good in him, as Tawny thought, or if his 19 years served were just too long for him to make a successful transition back to normal life. Or, if Daniel had a dark side even before he went to prison. In any case, based on this episode’s conclusion, I must wonder if maybe Daniel’s progress is actually headed in the wrong direction.
Can’t wait until next week.