Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
This might just have been one of the creepiest episodes this season. I’m not sure what was scarier: the tortuous power Trinity had over his victim as she trembled on the ledge, watching Dexter bungle his way through multiple scenes of suburban camaraderie, or the disintegration of American masculinity when Dexter confronts Andy in his garage while wearing that terrifying scarecrow mask. Really, didn’t all these scenes belong together?
We first see Dexter offering one of his classic descriptions of contemporary American life: the pool party as some sad evolutionary hang-over of Ice Age communal hunts, where the “lone wolves” are left to fend for themselves and more likely to die. Dexter feels hemmed in by these neighborly shenanigans and we need not suffer anti-social tendencies to feel their suffocating power. We cut from the pool party scene – leaving Dex alone on the side of the pool having misread the social cues once again – to Trinity with the victim we watched him stalk last episode. Given that the last time we saw Trinity was during his own little neighborly act as he susses out his quarry’s house, this deadly conclusion is a pretty blatant scene of revenge of the lone wolf on the sweet little communal pack.
Maybe this is always what Dexter is about, but this season is ratcheting up the stakes in the battle between suburban dream and loner fantasy. The real showdown is obviously going to come between Trinity’s complete isolationist model and Dexter’s blending in subterfuge, but we saw the battle waged on several more minor fronts this episode. Andy’s despairing, helpless rage as his years of playing by the rules leaves him wifeless, jobless, soon-to-be homeless, and with an angry, distant son. Even Debra and Lundy’s rekindling sparks are more around their similarity as loners – single-minded pursuers on the edge of social integration – than pure sexual attraction.
Speaking of Deb and her father figure – as creepy as that relationship can be and as much as she is clearly projecting her own angsty relationships with her dad onto Lundy – I kind of want them to get back together. Maybe precisely because Lundy makes Deb more assertive, more independent, more fully sure of herself than anyone else she has been with. And it is precisely because they recognize in each other their devotion to their work in a way that is clearly potentially dangerous and also sort of enthralling.
So, Natalie is on vacation this week and I am in total need of respondents – who else am I writing this for? If you have thoughts about the episode, responding to my ramblings or totally unrelated, leave a comment or send an email to email@example.com and I’ll compile a post with whatever worthy tidbits I receive. Make sure to specify if you want me to use your name in the post.
it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood –