Rectify Series Finale Recap

Rectify Series Finale Recap: The Trickier Cousin of Hope — Who Got Closure?

Sundance’s Rectify came to a fitting, final close late Wednesday night, capping its four-season run with 110 minutes of what it has done best.

I am in no position to recount the entire, extended series finale, but I did want to offer the fine drama’s fans a place to weigh in on how it all ended, and the show’s legacy as a whole. There were, however, a few scenes I did want to single out, for affecting me in specific ways.

* I loved the cold open, how it segued from a “flashback” to the day Daniel was to come home — with Janet remembering how he “was” (and still is, Amantha reminds!) — to the present day. And then the heart-to-heart that followed between mother and daughter, especially when Janet marveled that Amantha often feels to be a source of disappointment. “You’re my hero, young lady,” Janet countered — to which Amantha could barely react, other than to correct her on the age thing. Shortly thereafter, Amantha had a wonderful final scene with Jon, where you could really feel their long journey — their battle — about to take a turn, if not come to an end.

* Daniel’s journey over the course of several, very different scenes, opposite different people, allowed Aden Young a final chance to explore his rich character’s many complex feelings. Whether discovering that Chloe, who loves to leave but hates to pack, had already up and gone, to questioning the benefit of highly tempered expectations when hanging with the guys at the house. You can see Daniel’s brain spinning, thinking and rethinking, as Avery offers “predictable” platitudes, to which Daniel can only nod with a quiet “Sure.” There was also a final shrink session, where Daniel chose to remember Kerwin’s last day before execution — and how it seemed to represent those on death row as a whole. That was underscored by a flashback to a prison cell conversation between the two, in which they imagined and mimed a leisurely drive through New York City.

* With the tire shop drama well explored in recent weeks, closing day was less about selling a last set of tires to Melvin than the family — Amantha included — gathering around the TV to watch the press conference they once could only dream of, in which the GBI announced that the Hannah Dean murder case was being reopened, and that if sufficient conflicting evidence turned up, Daniel’s conviction would be set aside once and for all, and he would become a truly free man. (Perhaps to that end, Trey later points out to Sheriff Daggett that Chris Nelms hid his hand in his pocket when called into the cop shop all those years ago, having had it bitten by Hannah when raping her.)

* With Daniel sequestered in Nashville, it was almost a shame that his final scenes with loved ones were over the phone, and yet Abigail Spencer, Clayne Crawford, J. Smith-Cameron and Adelaide Clemens each managed to wring from each and every one of those talk-tos so much emotion and resonance, plumbed from four years of evolving relationships. “I hope your life is filled with wonder,” indeed.

When the end rectify-finale-chloe-babyfinally rolled around, we saw Daniel alone and reclined on his bed. And then we cut to a beautiful, sunlit field, where he is walking… toward Chloe, who is holding a baby. With no words, and only a modest score, Daniel smiles oh-so-warmly at Chloe, and then beholds the baby, the three of them forming quite an idyllic portrait. Was it but his dream? A “cautiously optimistic” expectation? Dare, a hope? Or were we getting an actual look ahead, at life after Daniel is fully exonerated? (A post mortem interview out there may reveal what is what; I myself honestly am content not being sure.) Whatever the case, we have never seen him beaming so blissfully.

What did you think of the series finale, and Rectify as a whole?


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19 Comments
  1. Ricky23 says:

    I found the show by accident following Abigail Spencer from Suits and I am oh so glad I did. From the beautifully written words that each and everyone of an exceptionally talented cast were fortunate to utter each week to the beautiful score that resonated in each scene, we the Rectify fans owe Ray McKinnon and Aden Young in particular a big thanks for making the show what it is.

    So glad that Sundance allowed us to appreciate the finale for an extra 50 mins to allow Daniel to finally start to live and have some hope that he might actually have a life. And while it’s nice to have hope I choose to believe that he and Chloe along with the baby will make a life for themselves in the future when Daniel has been exonerated and they can all go to Paulie .I liked that Tawney and Teddy are on good terms and especially loved the fact that Teddy got a chance to talk with Daniel so that they could both move on and maybe in the future become actual brothers. Would have loved if Jon and Amantha had made a go of it but that would have been too much so I can forgive them for that. Also loved the scene with Hanna’s mother and Janet – also perfectly written.

    Bravo to all involved in front of and behind the camera!!! Can’t wait to see what is in store for them all next!! Thank you Matt for reviewing it – I think you got the essence of what the show was!!

  2. I remember when the pilot was first released. At the time it was just another show on my list of, ‘this could be interesting’ shows. I can’t really remember what I expected it to be, but it certainly wasn’t what I found. I was entranced from the first episode, lost in the slow, thoughtful, beautiful meditation on what life truly was. Normally I’m the type of person who watches everything on double speed, but I could never bring myself to do that with Rectify.The slow contemplative nature of the show was part of its beauty, and speeding it up would have ruined the effect.
    And now its over. And I feel almost lost somehow, and yet strangely full. Which I guess is kind of the point.

  3. B says:

    What touched me most about this show was the small moments of humanity. That’s what hooked me in the first episode and continued to the last. I appreciated the turn toward real hope in the finale. Everything wasn’t perfectly resolved, but there was hope for new life. An amazing show that never got the attention it deserved. I hope over time more people will discover it. It is so worth the journey.

  4. MMD says:

    One of the best shows that I have ever watched. Now it’s time to rewatch the entire series over the holidays at a leisurely pace to enjoy every morsel and emotion of this exceedingly excellent show.

  5. I was pretty disappointed in the finale. I just feel that after the emotional rollercoaster we went through over 4 seasons, that they could have had a 2 hour finale that should have did a semi fast forward in time to show us Daniel being cleared of all charges… the reunion with family… and a little more transition into the world.

    • B says:

      Bruce: I wanted that kind of closure too, but I think it still worked showing everyone and everything turning the corner, so to speak. For this show, really, something so neatly packaged would have seemed too… pretty. I think what they did is about as ‘happy ending’ as it could be. Daniel had hope for the future, which is a huge thing after the life he had.

  6. TexMike says:

    This show had the best overall cast that I can ever recall.

  7. Joey Padron says:

    Happy you did a recap of Rectify’s series finale. I’ve been watching the show since it first started, it’s amazing show. I wish more people watch and know about the show. The finale episode was great. Everyone in the cast did great in the episode. It was good to see Kerwin again. Good ending with Daniel at the end.

  8. N!loofar says:

    It was perfect❤️‍

  9. Charlene Ofstedahl says:

    It has been one of my favorite shows from the very beginning and I loved the finale. Everyone in the show has been wonderful. Thanks to all of them.

  10. xtjmac510x says:

    Oh, so this is what a good series finale looks like. Sorry, but after so many shows in the past 5-8 years absolutely biffing it in the series finale, I was shocked when I watched Rectify’s finale and was not only blown away by how good it was, but was left 99% satisfied with how everything turned out (admittedly I would’ve liked everything tied up in a neat little bow, but I think the show is almost better that it didn’t)

  11. Paul says:

    Just a stunning show and fully satisfying finale. Truly the best show not enough people watched.

  12. Jackie Shepherd says:

    Rectify had to be the best TV series I have ever seen. All the actors were amazing. I am saddened that it has ended. I was mesmerized with Daniel and deserves every award there is for his outstanding performance. My personal conclusion on the final airing is that Daniel gets completely exonerated and since he was wrongly convicted receives millions of dollars from the government and he has a wonderful life with Cloe and has his own children. I think he would help Amantha start a great new life and reunites throughout the yr with all his family. I think Teddy and Tawney will reunite and have many children. That is how I imagine the ending.

  13. Nina says:

    This incredible cast deserves all the credit as well as the writer who opened our eyes to the gut wrenching results of Daniel’s conviction. We journeyed thru the nightmares that all of the family members endured. A+ story telling, wish there was one more season!

  14. xomylifexo says:

    I watch a lot of television, and I can honestly say that Rectify is the best series I have ever seen. Really consistently wonderful all the way through. So intriguing and human and completely honest – never shying away from the hard stuff or the complexity. Amazingly cast and the score was wonderful. The only show that never had a dip in quality- was truly spectacular all the way through.

  15. JudyVee says:

    Very moved by this series, one of the best, if not the best, I’ve ever watched. I will carry these characters around with me for some time. Thank you to all involved for creating all this beauty.

  16. Jo Ann Keeney says:

    I really liked this. I found myself wanting Daniel to be happy. I wish the ending would have been more clear, creating him father and husband to Chloe. It really could have a sequel.

  17. Carlinda Wilkerson says:

    I just loved this show, I had watched about a month after I watched The Fall. I watched all 4 seasons in less than a week. And regret not showing down, nothing can top this TV show