The Moth Chase

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

Kind of beautiful too

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Dear Natalie,

Argh! Who is supposed to wait a whole week to see Dexter, hunter, avenger, wild man track down his prey?! This episode ran at the breakneck speed one might expect for a finale, but something tells me next week will match it. Perhaps the thing that was most striking to me is how far Lumen has come.Not only are she and Dex walking around town, holding hands, sharing flirty, tender moments and soft kisses on the water front, but she is out in daylight by herself. I don’t think I had really noticed just how physically confined Lumen was until I watched her in the open. It was surprising to me even to see her outside with Dex checking out the potential spy vans in the neighborhood. And when Emily calls her (as she is admiring her romantic gift from Dex – a knife!) there is no doubt in our minds that she will take the bait. What makes it so obvious, though, is not just the plot necessity, but the new confidence she has since killing Alex Tildon. In that cathartic combination of killing her tormentor and reawakening her sexuality, she is no longer a victim. She has a new sense of agency and purpose and is no longer hiding out in a darkened apartment all day. I am not sure this counts as having “dealt” with her trauma, but she is in a totally different place emotionally and psychically. Which was marked very strongly for me in the moment when, while Jordan is bludgeoning Emily to death, she crawls, not to the door for another escape attempt, but to her purse, to claim her knife. Watching her reclaim her agency and her sense of self-defense is incredibly empowering. Part of the terror of the barrel girls’ situation was the complete powerlessness they felt. I am not sure Lumen will end up having a lot of power in what happens next, but even a glimmer of hope that she knows she can fight back might count for something.

Of course, this whole plot is only getting darker and darker, for all the reasons we talked about last week. Even as Lumen and Dex fall into their Bonnie and Clyde romance, we are pulled into their world with less and less inhibition. Jordan Chase is becoming a more horrible monster with every moment and worthy of every possible shred of vengeance they feel, and we in turn feel with him (I have to admit, I wasn’t sure he had the killing in him. I always thought he was just a provocateur. Watching him embrace the physicality of his anger and demented psyche was terrifying). How are we not supposed to nurture that dark place in us as we watch Dexter spring from his crouch in the dark to begin his hunt?

It is not helping that Deb continues to be our proxy. She is growing enamored of her vigilante theory, romanticizing the love she imagines between No. 13 and her necessary helper. All of this seems to me for one of two purposes, or maybe both: 1) to help us embrace our own love of Dex and Lumen. This is a new kind of killing, more fully justified, more emotionally understandable. 2) to set up her own revelation of Dex and Lumen. I am fairly confident that number 2 will happen in the finale. It just seems like that is where all things are pointing. I don’t think she will necessarily figure out Dex’s whole past, but I think she will discover him in the act of killing Jordan and realize that he is her vigilante. And either her big speeches about understanding their motives will hold… or she will be repulsed by the reality of what she sees. If the latter, than maybe we too are going to be called up short in our embrace of Dex’s darkness.

I am very torn on how I think things will end for Lumen. Part of me thinks she has to die. That Jordan will kill her and Dex will kill Jordan in turn. But it seems a bit repetitive to have Dex lose another lover to his nemesis. Then again, I can’t really see her surviving and then just flying home to Minnesota. Do you have any predictions?

Before I go too far down that path, what about Liddy? Did it all seem a bit fast to have him taken out so quickly? His death is going to serve a larger purpose when his body is discovered, and that will mark the very first time that Dex has ever left a body behind like that. Perhaps nothing marks his attachment to Lumen more strongly than that – in response to her frenzied message he breaks the number one rule of the code: don’t get caught. I am glad that Dex overheard the conversation with Quinn and knows that he is having cold feet, at least. I still worry that things will end badly for Quinn. I am not really sure how he can stay in the picture either, once all is said and done.

I just read that Dexter has signed on for season 6, so all my insistence that this is moving toward a more complete finale is for naught. Which means that when Deb walks in on Dexter mid-kill, we might just see the curtain fall, leaving the fallout for next season, when once again the rules of the game will be changed. If I am right about that, it makes me wonder how I’ll feel about next season. I don’t know if I want Dex to be an understandable killer. If the darkness in him is not palpable, it might be too much for me to bear.

I can’t wait to hear what you thought and to hear any predictions for the finale next week. Will Dex be caught by Deb? Killing whom?

Kathryn

——————

Dear Kathryn,

I have to start with this morning’s revelation that the series had been renewed for a 6th season.  I’m intrigued that they kept that secret all this time.  It’s been a new experience – watching this season unfold not knowing if there would be another.  The Showtime rep noted in an interview that the renewal was a no-brainer.  Last week’s episode was the highest ranked for the show ever!  And so the late reveal that we’ll have another feels intentional.  And I think it’s worked.  Anything has felt possible this season – we’ve even wondered if Dex himself will get offed.  But even with this reveal, to be honest, anything *still* feels possible to me. It’s all just so gloriously up in the air!

But here’s my hunch – we’ve made such hay of the crime scene shoe-prints in the past couple of episodes, that I have to wonder if Quinn is going to get fingered for Liddy’s death…that blood dripping slowly onto his own boot felt ominous.  And to be certain, every type of piece of evidence they’ve been using to track Jordan is the same type of evidence that can link Quinn and Liddy – phone records, secret meetings, even the equipment signed out by Liddy in Quinn’s name…these are all surely coming back to get Quinn, my new favourite lover-boy of the show.

Which leads me to part two of my prediction – my deepest hope for the season is that its greatest drama moment will hang on Deb.  Every episode she amazes me more – and I’ve felt for a while now that these narratives could dip into corny and annoying, but they are always held in their awesomeness by the amazing acting skills of the stars.  Deb is the best of the best here.  And if there’s going to be any compromise or potential cheese in the story’s ending, I think her acting can pull it off.  So we know she still feels for (loves?) Quinn (and seriously, why is it that the most romantic thing a man can say to a woman is that she’s like a guy and she’s made him a better person?  Last I checked, being tough and holding people accountable wasn’t only a male trait!  And while I hope that I help my husband be the best he can be, I sure hope he loves me for me, and not just what I can turn him into.  I’m blaming the awkwardness of the Jack Nicholson/Helen Hunt love affair in As Good As It Gets for this annoying trajectory in film and tv…but I digress…).  She loves Quinn, but her doubts with him lie in some odd romantic vision she has of the vigilante’s trusting lover…i.e. Dexter.  I’m thinking that some versions of the truth about Dex and Quinn will get revealed to Deb next week, and she’ll have to choose who to believe.  And if that happens, I can’t say for sure which one it will be.

Lumen, in the end, provides a great alibi for Dex – if Deb discovers Lumen is the 13th girl, and that Dex has been helping her track Jordan et al, Dex can simply claim love as his motivator, and Deb, buying it, might let them off the hook somehow.  Their case would be unique, and without Liddy’ evidence (and Quinn’s corroboration), there would be nothing to point to the fact that Dex is the number one vigilante of Miami.  And like I said, if it comes to to such dependence on Deb’s acting, I think we’ll buy it.  The neat tie-ups won’t bother us because we’ll see that what the story was always about was the relationships (but not in that same annoying way as with Lost, but rather, with some real gravitas).

I don’t think Lumen will die – Dex made the explicit link between Lumen and Rita in this episode.  Much as he is so much more relaxed with Lumen (really – we’ve never seen him be so flirty and comfortable with bodily touch!), he himself made the link between them that they are both women he loves (“Is this the only kind of love I’ll find? The kind that ends in blood?”).  We had our sacrifices last season – Christine and Rita both paid for the sins of the men in their lives.  I think this season will be all about the redemption.  Lumen will stick around, and her and Dex will negotiate the next phase of him coming to humanity.  Death, redemption – what will next season hold?  The constitution of new humanity.  The consummation of repaired selves.  Life in genuine community.  This theologian is giddy with the audacity of such theological troping!

Jordan Chase, oof.  I’m not sure what it says about me, but I think his slaughter of Emily bothered me less than his declaration, “I’ve never had to do anything before!”  Chilling! And Jonny Lee Miller is rocking it – he did things with his face in that scene that almost looked animated, they were so contorted, yet controlled.  So I’m left wondering to what extent he’ll unravel now he’s had to take blood on his own hands.  In a strange way, Emily joins the ranks of Christine and Rita – another woman sacrificed in service of a warped relationship to a guy.  The stories of the barrel girls are tragic – but it’s these women who live so close to the killers who get me the most.  And it’s that getting that makes me almost certain Lumen won’t die – and makes me certain that if she does, I’ll be pretty pissed.  While the possibility that she can vindicate the deaths of all the others by killing JC doesn’t quite sit right with me, the possibility that she can in some way redeem them by living into the gift of the life she was given (and which was taken them) sits a little better. It’s difficult for me to imagine a season ending with the bad guy on trial and put behind bars…but maybe that’s what we need.  And more importantly, that might be what Dexter and Lumen need – it might be the only thing that makes it possible for them to enter the next season intact.

That was more prediction than analysis – I couldn’t help myself! I am so excited for Sunday!!!

xoxo,
Natalie

Written by themothchase

December 6, 2010 at 10:39 am

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