At the beginning of the episode, we see a flashback of around the time Daniel was released from prison. Amantha (Abigail Spencer) speaks with her mother, Janet (J Smith-Cameron), about Daniel before his prison stint. Amantha attempts to convince her mother to stop living in the past. After the flashback, Amantha interrupts Janet and informs her Jon Stern (Luke Kirby) will be arriving in a few minutes. Before Jon arrives, Janet apologizes to Amantha for dropping out of life, during Daniel’s arrest and prison stay. She also tells her daughter that she is her hero. After the intro scene, we see that Daniel (Aden Young) has resumed his normal activities. During the workday, he stops to call Chloe (Caitlin FitzGerald). He leaves a message offering to help her pack or unpack, before Julian (Hunter Burke) interrupts and asks to speak with Daniel in his office.
Daniel is surprised to learn Julian is giving him a 15 cent raise. Julian also asks Daniel how he feels about him as a boss. He admits he doesn’t think about it much. Back in Paulie, Ted Jr. (Clayne Crawford) receives a visit from Sheriff Daggett (JD Evermore). Ted learns he will need to go to AA meetings and anger management classes to get his shooting charges dropped. He doesn’t argue. Their conversation turns to Daniel’s dad, Lester. Daggett admits to knowing the man and insists he was a good person. Then, their conversation turns to Daniel. Before the Sheriff can leave, he is asked whether or not he still believes Daniel is guilty. He admits he is pretty sure Daniel is innocent now, but also reiterates that he was wrong in the past. After the conversation, Jon Stern explains the situation to Amantha and Janet. Stern is adamant that the sheriff’s department made serious errors.
He also blames Roland for leading the investigation towards Daniel being guilty. Stern lets them know he is planning to meet with Daniel, so he can tell him what to expect. Meanwhile, Daniel arrives at Chloe’s place only to discover she has already left. Peyton (Joshua Mikel) speaks with Daniel momentarily. Daniel is given a painting and a book. He is told to call Chloe after he finishes with the book. Daniel learns Peyton will be moving into the flat now that Chloe has moved out. Daniel comments that the windows remind him of a box with no windows. Peyton invites Daniel to come visit anytime. Daniel thanks Peyton for his kindness. Amantha walks Stern to his vehicle, while discussing his future. Amantha tries to convince him to remain with the non-profit, since he is one of the good guys. Daniel calls Amantha from Chloe’s flat. They briefly chat about Chloe. Daniel admits there is a downside to getting attached to people.
After jokes about Amantha’s car troubles, Daniel thanks his sister for all of her letters. He insists they were special, since he was the only one allowed to read them. Amantha tells Daniel that Stern is on his way. She also confirms things are changing in Paulie and the truth may come out. Daniel quickly changes the subject to music. Next, Daniel takes the bus. A young boy notices his painting and Daniel gives him a big smile. He returns home and joins the other men for a session. This time, Daniel speaks about his job and contemplates whether it is the best he can hope for. Pickle (John Marshall Jones) insists it is good that Daniel is beginning to have expectations again. After the session ends, Daniel returns to his room and begins reading Chloe’s book. In the morning, Janet cuddles up to Ted Sr. (Bruce McKinnon). He offers to go with her, but she refuses. Instead, Jared (Jake Austin Walker) enters and agrees to take his mother to her destination.
During this time, Daniel meets with his shrink. He quickly learns that it sometimes takes years of therapy to obtain the results that are desired. Daniel changes the subject and tells the shrink about the day of Kerwin’s (Johnny Ray Gill) execution. He admits he wanted to be strong for Kerwin, but the reality was the exact opposite. Back in Paulie, Jared and Janet arrive at the Dean house. Jared remains outside and speaks with Bobby Dean (Linds Edwards), while Janet visits Hanna’s room. Judy (Robin Mullins) speaks with Janet and confirms she no long feels Daniel is guilty. However, she admits she did think his execution would make things easier for her. Janet tells the woman understands. Then, Judy confesses she may never be able to change Hanna’s room. Janet sympathizes with her and tells her there is no reason to do so. Stern meets with Daniel and tells him about the request made to the GBI to reopen the case.
Daniel confirms that many people have tried to help him, but he was unreceptive and didn’t feel worthy of their assistance. He confesses he finally felt he was no longer a waste last night. He confirms to Stern that he wants to see the investigation through to the end. Then, we see a flashback of Daniel and Kerwin in prison. Together, they go on an imaginary ride through New York City with Kerwin behind the wheel. After the flashback ends, Melvin (John Boyd West) arrives at the tire shop just as it closes. He buys tires and is also coerced into helping the family pack their belongings. Tawney (Adelaide Clemens) also arrives and beings a cake along. The last two to join the group are Amantha and Billy (Nathan Darrow). Next, DA Sondra Person (Sharon Conley) gives a press conference and tells the press about her request to the GBI. As she explains the evidence and reasoning behind her decision, we see all of the past characters watching the news.
George Melton’s father hears the news and storms out of the local restaurant. Roland Foulkes (Michael O’Neill) watches from his bed. Chris Nelms watches from home, until he daughter interrupts. He shuts off the television and stops her from watching. Trey Willis (Sean Bridgers) is clearly not happy with the arrangement. After the press conference ends, the Sheriff visits Trey. Trey begins revealing more about Nelms. Trey insists Nelms told him he had to kill Hanna, because she wouldn’t stay quiet. He also reveals Hanna bit his right hand and this is why Chris kept his right hand in his pocket the next day at the police station. Trey curses and complains about the authorities playing God, as Daggett drives away. Later, Daniel heads to a local restaurant with Pickle, Tyrus (Markice Moore) and Nate (Charles Halford).
They celebrate Pickle’s new job, before Daniel gets a call from Janet. He insists he’ll call her back later. Meanwhile, Janet and everyone else shares dinner at her place. She receives a call from Daniel and steps aside. Janet tells Daniel she believes their luck is about to change, before Ted Jr. asks to speak with Daniel. Daniel is told about one of his father’s old belongings. Daniel admits he will have little use for it, but Teddy agrees to store it at Janet’s anyway. They both apologize, before Tawney speaks with Daniel. She tells him she has been praying for him. Tawney admits she is looking forward to her life for once.
As for Daniel, he confesses he is cautiously optimistic. Then, Daniel tells his mother about his day out with Pickle and the boys. Afterwards, Daniel is shown relaxing on his bed. He imagines himself out in a field with Chloe and her baby. The episode ends after Daniel picks up the baby and holds it for a little while.
I previously believed that Rectify’s finale would fail to disclose the identity of the true killer. While the episode did lean towards Chris being the culprit, nothing was definite. Nonetheless, it wasn’t a disappointment in the least. The episode managed to wrap almost everything up. Daniel and Teddy tried to make things right between one another, while the tire shop was sold. Janet and Ted Sr. seem ready to move from Paulie and begin new lives elsewhere.
Most involved have come to the conclusion that Daniel was most likely innocent of the murder. One would hope the GBI would come to the same conclusion, but we can only speculate. Nonetheless, the episode hit all of the right notes. Daniel’s conversations with Amantha, Ted and Tawney were all very emotional. Daniel seemed to finally confront his past and begin looking to the future. If the ending is meant to be a precursor, we can only imagine Daniel reconnecting with Chloe in the future.
All in all, Rectify’s ending was very satisfying. While it could’ve delved deeper into the case, I suppose the show was never really about that. It was more about Daniel and his evolution from death row prisoner to partially normal on the outside. By all accounts, Daniel achieved that goal or is at least headed in the right direction. I will definitely miss old Daniel Holden. The finale deserves a 9.5 out of 10. Catch up with previous recaps of Rectify now!