The Sundance Channel's series Rectify unfurls so slowly that it's audacious. It risks losing viewers by taking its time to allow its central, fascinating character, Daniel Holden, to feel his way around a world from which he was absent for 19 years (he spent that time on Death Row and was let out thanks to new DNA evidence). At one point, he describes time as moving differently for him. It does for the show as well. The medium is perfectly tailored to its protagonist.
This scene above from the episode's third episode, which aired last night, is a perfect example of the show's almost surreal stillness. Its three minutes are wordless, aside from the Cracker song "Low" that Holden listens to on his old Walkman. Faced with the shock of the future, he clings to the past. He's malformed so specifically — he's in many ways the teenager that he was when he went into prison, and yet, was exposed to things in there that most men don't see if they live 100 years (not the least of which was the knowledge that he would soon be executed). I can't think of a better word for Aden Young's performance as Holden than "soulful" — there is so much life and pain in his eyes, as he takes in this altered world with astonishment and terror. There is so much there in Holden's few words that it provokes empathy despite the uncertainty as to whether or not he actually committed the heinous crime of raping and murdering his high school girlfriend. It is this miracle of a performance that makes Rectify what few TV shows are: beautiful.