The slow burn to tide you over until the fall season
JohAnnA SChnelleR whAT i’M wATChing
Daniel Holden (Aden Young) was 18 when he was sentenced to death for murdering his girlfriend. (He says he’s innocent.) Nineteen years later, he’s been freed on a technicality. Now he’s back home, trying to figure out how to live. His religious sister-inlaw Tawney (Adelaide Clemens) invites him to a church festival. As they wander the lawn, she urges him to be baptized – cleansed and born anew. “Maybe,” he says. She hugs him. He grips her tightly, then more tightly. She freezes – is this sexual? Just as she realizes it’s not, he breaks away. “I’m sorry,” he says. “It’s okay,” she assures him. “Everyone needs to be held.”
“It does something to you, not to be touched in any positive way for so long,” he explains. “You begin to vacillate between being repelled by touch and seeking it out in any form, even the most negative.”
“Maybe just keep trying with others,” she says, kindly.
Those searching for a series to tide them over between TV seasons should give this a try. But be warned: it’s a slow burn. Daniel was singled out as strange even as a teenager, and his two decades in a windowless white box have not made him less so.
Stick with it, though, and you’ll be rewarded with scenes of unusual delicacy. Episode two, for example, is a sad meditation on shame and loneliness. Pretty soon you’ll be seeing the wonders and weirdness of the world through Daniel’s eyes – even in the shelves of a Wal-Mart. Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseur who zeroes in on pop-culture moments. She appears Monday through Thursday.
Aden Young in a scene from the drama series Rectify. Those searching for a series to tide them over between TV seasons should give this a try, writes Schneller.