The Moth Chase

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

And the darkness did not overcome it

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Dear Natalie

I am picking up where you left off last week – or rather where you began – with the biblical/Christian imagery surrounding Lumen Pierce and her christological name. This week we learn that a major motif of the Lumen story is going to be whether or not she will surrender herself to the darkness of revenge killing. So her name “piercing light” is taking on a more literal metaphorical meaning – can she be the one to piece the darkness that threatens to engulf her and that travels in Dexter’s soul? Given that Dexter continues to muse about the possible psychological aftershocks of Harrison’s own recent trauma, the theme extends even more broadly: how does trauma affect us and how can its most negative effects be overcome? or can they?

So far, I think Julia Stiles and the writers are doing a good job trying to give us a realistic picture of a woman badly shaken by horrific trauma. It is hard to convey shattered trust and unhinged mental stability without resorting to the worst stereotypes. I like that they are giving us physical, material clues: the bed she made in the closet (though they had to offer the typical Dexter monologue to explain it), her shaking hands, the slow-motion close up of what appeared to be the most aggressive airport pat down ever (though, something about the montage of supposedly leering male faces didn’t quite work for me – it verged on the comic a bit too much), the frantic paper trail she is trying to create in her hotel room. Harry is right – she does seem on the verge of crazy. But she could also just be a nice, attractive girl on the street. Her blood lust also seems coherent to me. In watching Boyd’s death she has an image of what it would mean to live in a world where her assailants no longer exist, can no longer threaten her. Even though Dexter knows that this is not how killing works, he also gets her temptation. Can we just pause for a moment, however, and ponder why neither one of them even suggests the idea that she seek professional psychiatric help? Why is it so obvious to her that she can never tell anyone? Likewise with Harrison. If Dexter is worried about his little boy, why not keep up the counseling? (I, for one, am all for it, but I don’t think the scratching means anything. Babies scratch on purpose and on accident all the time. Or as super Irish nanny says, some babies even bite on purpose and they turn out just fine). It is an interesting assumption built into the show that psychiatry/psychology does no good. And really, since Harry never even seemed to consider the idea of getting Dexter professional help, why would Dexter think of it for Lumen? He has lived a life of secrets and lies with his Dark Passenger and even though he wants something else for Lumen, he is at a loss to help her get it. Which means I think we are going to see some tandem killing of some kind.

This is also something new and interesting in the Lumen/Dexter plot: the way that Dexter can appear as the savior he sometimes like to think of himself. Remember the motto from season 1: Dexter takes out the trash. He doesn’t just kill, he kills awful, terrible, wicked, brutal people. But no one knows. No one can thank him. No one understands why or how their lives are somehow safer because of his nefarious work. With Lumen he has a chance to be known as the hero, and that is clearly very appealing, even if it does mean she wants to play Robin to his Batman. Unlike Miguel, Lumen is motivated by trauma and a darkness she cannot control. Whether, like her name, she can pierce that darkness seems to be the question of the season.

Once again, I have spent the whole time on this main plot and left little time for anything else. I think that is because I am less intrigued by the “anything else,” but in the interest of fairness, here are a few roundup observations on non-Dexter/Lumen plots:

–Angel and Maria might need a marriage counselor soon. Why in the world wouldn’t she tell him about her sting operation? And why in the world would he assume she went from disliking someone to starting a full fledged affair with him in a matter of days?

–I would like to know more about Masuka’s spiritual crisis. Really.

–Quinn is turning out to be pretty creepy. Maybe it is his goofy grin. What do you want to bet we are going to see more criminal behavior on his part before it is all said and done?

–ROBOCOP! Dexter better watch out…

–Is there a connection between the Santa Muerta murders and Boyd’s gang? If not, how will these stories ever intersect? They will, won’t they?

I can’t wait to see what you thought next week!

Written by themothchase

October 25, 2010 at 6:37 pm

One Response

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  1. I actually think the whole “Harrison is traumatized” thing is a fake-out, it’s just not plausible that a child that young could be impacted by a single event. What I think is actually going on is Dex deflecting blame for the ongoing damage he’s doing to his son. Luminol and fingerprint analysis aren’t the most appropriate activities for a baby, particularly when they’re part of Daddy’s kill-ritual. Dexter is, in many ways, doing to Harrison what Harry did to him.


    October 26, 2010 at 8:46 am

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