The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

My Bad

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Hello Dexter Morgan! And goodbye Dexter, too, in some ways. For those of you who have been around for the full year of Moth Chasing, you might remember how much Natalie and I loved season 4 of Dexter. After the jaw-dropping finale, we both wondered where the show could go from here and more specifically, just how dark it would get. How close to the edge of Dexter’s insanity would it walk? How close to the edge of blowing his cover? Last night’s season premier is certainly not conclusive in either regard, but I’d say Dexter has farther to fall before he hits bottom. But oh how I’ve missed the one liners, the silent pauses, the high pitched cue music. How I’ve missed Dexter and his carefully crafted facade of human emotion. If Dexter has always been about the violence of everyday life and the pressure to conform and the power of society to conform us, then this season promises to dive deeper and give us more of what makes it great.

There is no way not to start with the chilling scene where last season left off: little Harrison soaked in blood at his mother’s death scene. I am sort of glad that they didn’t go too far playing up the parallels between this and Dexter’s own childhood trauma. Still, it was an intense scene and I found Dexter’s shock and confusion very moving. I know we were supposed to notice all the ways he wasn’t able to connect on the normal human level (and his attempt at breaking the news to the kids and in-laws was almost too bad to be believable), but I kept thinking how very normal his shock might be. Trauma undoes the self in ways that are unpredictable and I loved that Dexter showed us that the socially acceptable ways of showing grief are not the only ways. True, bludgeoning a stranger to death in a dilapidated restroom is not a method of grieving I’d recommend, but it was a potent reminder that Dexter teaches us more about real human emotion than most of the other “normal” people. I kind of thought we might have gotten ride of Harry’s ghost, but we learned something new about him in Dexter’s imaginings: he only shows up when Dexter is expressing real human emotion, when he is connected in someway to the emotions he is feeling. And that is kind of cool.

The fact that the season promises to probe closer to the root of Dexter’s secret life also seems very cool. I can’t imagine what will happen on the show if Dexter gets caught by the people he knows and loves, but watching the net close around him is a pretty bold move. I can’t imagine another villain as compelling as Trinity, but if Dexter becomes his own worse enemy that could be equally as intense. Maybe it is unfair to say this so early, but I also hope that the season develops another hook that extends slightly beyond the “will Dexter get caught arc” – I mean, how long can they drag out “who knows Kyle Butler?” What I want to know is what the season will really be about, once this hook has reeled us in.

Whatever it is about, I hope there is lots more Deb. She continues to delight, intrigue, and compel. and any scene she is in is great for me. Less so some of the other supporting characters, but sticking to my guns from last season I will admit to being one of the few folks on the blog-o-sphere who is rooting for Maria and Angel. Here’s hoping they get their honeymoon after all.
Posted by Kathryn.

Natalie will join the conversation next week.

Written by themothchase

September 27, 2010 at 8:40 pm

One Response

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  1. I’m so very glad that this show (and your reviews) are back. I also thought that Dexter’s lack of emotion was a “human” response to trauma, although the extremity would, logically, raise some eyebrows.

    In many ways this was an extreme version of season one’s Dexter, his responses purely automated, although without enough motivation to even fake emotion. He’s built his humanity on his relationships with others and, in losing what was (arguably) the most important one, he doesn’t know how to act. I particularly liked the eulogy as a means of relating to Rita even though she’s gone.


    September 28, 2010 at 8:21 am

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