The second season of “Rectify,” the Sundance Channel drama about a death-row inmate working his way back into small-town society, premieres tonight. (The first six-episode season is available on Netflix.) Here’s what critics are saying:
Reviews of “Rectify,” Season 2:
Todd VanDerWerff, A.V. Club
Simultaneously one of TV’s most depressing and most life affirming. At its best, it reawakens viewers to the wonders all around them, while simultaneously putting its characters — led by a former death-row inmate released from prison after new DNA evidence vacated his sentence — through the emotional wringer. It’s a quiet, deliberate show, but it contains multitudes and a willingness to go for broke with religious symbolism or Southern gothic overtones, right smack dab in the middle of stories about normal people going about their lives.
Elisabeth Donnelly, Flavorwire
Moment by moment, it felt like “Rectify” was showing you just what it’s like to be a person in this very strange world. It’s a show that’s unafraid to take pleasure in the glory of a sunrise, light streaming through windows — light denied to Daniel for 20 years — or the importance of figuring out how to use your sexuality in a way that’s healthy and productive in a world that often twists it into something cruel. It is also, above all, a show concerned with kindness, in a way that’s quite radical — to see strangers in the community treat Daniel with respect, amid so many people who think he’s a monster, will bring a tear to your eye.
Brian Lowry, Variety
“Rectify” is such a wispy construct, where events unfold so languidly, it’s a puzzle why the hours fly by and prove consistently compelling. Much of it has to do with the casting — which is dead-on from top to bottom, and indeed, gives the supporting players more work through the early stages of season two. Whatever the reasons, this SundanceTV drama, anchored by Aden Young’s out-of-body calm in the lead role, was one of 2013’s most pleasant surprises, and continues in that vein in this new 10-episode run.
Ben Travers, Indiewire
McKinnon crafted something truly original a year ago, and he appears to have done it again a year later. His characters are defined, but never predictable. His story deliberately paced, but never slow. In Season 1, he examined the construct of time through a character who had the idea taken away from him. Now, he appears to have mastered it.
Tim Goodman, Hollywood Reporter
Ray McKinnon was able to generate a lot of sparks out of a smoldering coal of a story, getting all of the supporting characters involved even when Young’s performance as Daniel was so riveting you didn’t want the camera to cut away from him. In many ways, however, six episodes wasn’t enough. In the second season, “Rectify” is up to 10 episodes, which seems more fitting and should allow for an expansion of its small world.
Allison Keene, Collider
One of the most magical things about “Rectify” though is the way it chooses to go about its storytelling. The series is just as relaxed and haunting as it was originally, spending a lot of time on everyday beauty (and horror). McKinnon’s scripts are pitch-perfect when it comes to the rhythms and cadences of small-town Southern life, and the natural way the interactions among the family members happen (and even among the townsfolk) resonates deeply and emotionally.
Alan Sepinwall, HitFix
This isn’t a show I would necessarily want seven seasons of, but I’m grateful to have it back for now. There is nothing else on television quite like it, and for those who have the patience to sit through Daniel’s still, slow journey, the emotional rewards are enormous.
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
Is it possible that ten episodes is too many for “Rectify”? There are times over the first three where I felt a bit of wheel-spinning, although I think that can be attributed to the fact that this may be a show better spread out than binged. It’s a show that takes its time to get from point A to point B, and realizes that the journey, however slow it may be for all of us, is the most important part.
Tim Molly, the Wrap
“Rectify” is the rare show that may actually seem more slow and reflective than real life. We’re forced to stop, watch closely, and examine our prejudices and expectations — including our expectation that something dramatic will happen every few seconds. Few shows are so grounded. And, if you have a little patience, few shows are so worth watching.
Jeff Jensen, Entertainment Weekly
Can there be meaningful forgiveness and redemption without justice and atonement? The answers are locked inside the cell of Daniel’s head. Now, we wait for the jailbreak. May “Rectify” continue producing arresting drama along the way.
Maureen Ryan, Huffington Post
“Rectify” doesn’t push for any one answer, and it’s truthful about how difficult it can be to rebuild a shattered life and a broken family. But this wonderful, resonant show clearly has a deep belief in the power of redemption and connection.
If you don’t believe me, see for yourself. Please.