You Can’t Change What You Think Overnight
Oh my goodness, Lewis is dead! Well, I guess you were right, K – he really was just being a douche because he’s a douche…not for any grander reason. I have to say, that’s a bit of a disappointment. For all that effort, I wanted to see a bigger reason why. I suppose they’re trying to show us something about how obsessive even the non-psychopath can be…but as with previous seasons, when they’ve been at their best, in fact, this show makes me wonder just how much we can come to understand Dexter’s condition before we enter some dangerous territory ourselves…
…which is precisely where Deb now finds herself! I appreciate that they are maintaining her ambivalence on this question – equally devastated that her brother is a killer and that the other killer got away. As she puts it so succinctly (and strangely, for Deb, with no cuss words), “Everything’s changed; nothing’s the same,” and yet she still does love her brother. At first I worried that she was going to be completely convinced, accepting him now in the vein of the “this is who I am” that he kept repeating. And I’m not sure how it will feel if, while she doesn’t change her mind overnight, she does change it by the end of the season (or, worse, in the next few episodes). Any thoughts?
While the scenes between Dex and Deb were quite lovely in terms of them exploring the new frontiers of their relationship, I wonder if either of you had a little discomfort with them too like I did. It felt like too many tropes of coming out stories were used – honestly, it reminded me of the process through which Kurt and his dad were going in the early seasons of Glee – love but not acceptance countered with an emphatic naming of this being who I am, countered with understanding but not acceptance, and so on… And so the trope resonates with us because we’ve rooted for so many characters on tv shows who’ve gone through this coming out. But the trope in this context is pretty terrifying – I want Kurt’s dad to accept him for who he is because I believe same sex desire is as legitimate and worthy of celebration as different sexed desire; but when it comes to vigilante killing…well, I think I’d rather Deb stay ambivalent.
Just what empathy are we developing in our own imaginations when we empathize with Dex? What vigilante violence does he ask us to condone, and convince us to condone via that empathy? When this show is at its best I find myself asking questions like this – should I even be watching it? Not, what is the morality of the show, but rather what is the morality of even watching the show? When faced with a killer, do I really want to ‘get it’?
I think this is what makes Dexter’s new love interest so compelling – once upon a time she did ‘get it.’ And guilty though she seems to be about that time in her youth, it seems still to be a part of her. The chemistry in their scene was subtle and lovely enough – a promise of something to which we can return, rather than a hammer over the head with bells and whistles like they can often do in situations like this. So inasmuch as Dexter’s various romantic partners have offered him insight to another aspect of his humanity, what does young Hannah have to offer? What was that strange look he gave his data collection kit right before he swabbed her mouth? And how will these two find each other again?
Curious to hear your thoughts on Maria, on the Ukrainians, and on Quinn and his stripper with a dream…
It’s not cheating if you pay for it,
While there are moments that the “coming out” trope seems a little overplayed here, I am really excited that the moral questions they are asking this season seem like the right questions to be asked. It’s been a while since the moral questions have felt relevant on Dexter. I am trying to refrain from making statements about the “State of Dexter” each week because I’d rather sit back and enjoy/judge this season as a whole, but each week I feel like ESPN’s NFL experts trying to explain the absolute truths about something that might not really be evident from one week’s performance. So, this will be quick, I thought this was a great episode (that had notable weaknesses). Hopefully, I don’t get my hopes too high only to be dashed like Louis’ grey matter onto the Slice of Life.
I really did like this episode, a lot. There were great moments of dialogue between Dexter and Deb, Dexter and Bad Guy McRussian Face, Deb and LaGuerta (LaGuerta had meaningful lines that weren’t about how sassy she is as a Latin American woman!), and Dexter and Deb again. Obviously the major theme of this episode (and what should always be a theme on Dexter) is really examining the basic morality of Dexter as a serial killer. Using Deb to explore the morality from a different angle was refreshing even if the concept is pretty straightforward. The cinemagraphic choices were good as well (even though they could be a little forced).
I am a little worried that Deb will change her mind over-week as opposed to overnight because of the episode in the terrifying maze (one of the better vignettes of a serial killer’s methods in a long time on the show). I hope the Dexter/Deb dynamic doesn’t turn into Dexter constantly proving that the murder he just committed was OK and Deb just going insane from her confusion about what to do. Do you think they could find some kind of non-cheesy balance between Dexter’s hunting skills and Deb’s detective skills? I don’t want to see Dexter and Deb become buddy cops or anything, but that dynamic could be interesting, right?
I am actually really excited about our new bad guy this season. Even though they hammer home some of the stereotypes and also force his opulence through imagery as blatant as caviar and champagne.
I really found Count Vladimir Gorbachev Lenin to be quite terrifying while he was talking to Nadia. He is definitely feeling effectively creepy like The Ice Truck Killer and Trinity did as opposed to the other “bad guys.” And, maybe its just because I have thing about pointy objects in eyeballs, but his threat to Louis made me cringe. Also, I am guessing his eyeball murder tendency come into play later in the season.
On the other hand, I’m not very excited about the new love interest, Hannah. It seems like they are reaching for a way to get Hannah involved in Dexter’s life. On one outing with Batista, Dexter happens to run into the season’s major villain and his new love interest. That’s a busy hour. Maybe it will work out well, but that scene felt like it could drift into some of the more shitty parts of storytelling that the show is prone to in recent seasons.
This is getting long, but a couple questions:
Is Louis’ blood on the Slice of Life going to be a problem for Dexter later?
Is there any chance that Nadia makes it out OK? 1) When has anything ever gone well for the Miami Metro Homicide Department in the ways of romantic companionship? 2) Quinn saying, “I’m not going to let anything happen to you.” is essentially a death sentence, right?
A couple other random thoughts:
That gym seemed insane to me. The music, the amount of people, everything about it seemed like all the things I hate about exercise.
Also, it’s the Sparkle Motion Mom from Donnie Darko!
You do this for a living?
Thanks to both of you for getting us started this week. I agree that the moral questions about Dex’s Dark Passenger were raised in a new way, or at least as strongly as they have been since the first season and maybe the end of the fifth season.It was interesting to me that after several seasons where the “taking out the trash” metaphor has dropped out of play, Dexter raised it again with Deb – it was as though he was reverting to the earliest pep talks Harry used to give him. Deb’s rejoinder was also fascinating: “but what about the blood slides?” And this is really the moral catch isn’t it? There are many forms of entertainment where we watch the “good guy” kill the “bad guy” and we are just expected to approve of it (at least emotionally, in the moment of viewing). But Dexter keeps trophies from his kills. Everything about him should set off our alarm bells: here is a psycho who taunts and tortures his victims before killing them, who drives around with a kill kit and a go-bag in the trunk of his car. Isn’t the whole point that if Dex didn’t kill other killers, he’d be just like them, stalking young women in back allies (and really, given his mama-trauma wouldn’t he have picked women victims too?)? At the very end of season 1, Dexter has a fantasy of the town of Miami throwing him a parade to thank him for his good work, and then of course ruefully admits that he isn’t the kind of hero anyone will ever thank. I remember thinking this was a fascinating commentary on the way so many of our fantasy superheros (the Batman, Spiderman, even Superman to some degree) all come from screwed up backgrounds and are people we both kind of want to be, and people we would shun if we ever really met them. I’m not sure the show can fully explore these moral questions, though, so long as they want people to keep watching. But maybe if the show really is on a count-down clock it will take on this moral paradox and finally end because really, in the end, we just can’t keep watching.
I am with Bryan – good riddance Lewis! Mostly because this show always struggles to maintain focus and less is definitely more for these writers. I thought Dexter’s commentary about clearing the decks and getting one of the monkeys off his back was a sly way of telling us the writers know they need to pare things down. We still have our Russian mafia (who now know Dexter’s name and are coming for him), Deb and Dex’s conflicted relationship, whatever is going to happen with Hannah (I wondered if something was going off in Dex’s “lizard brain” when he got close to her – maybe she was more involved in those youthful killings than she lets on?), and Maria’s investigation into the Bay Harbor Butcher (did anyone else see how Deb’s speech to Maria about not just sitting by if she knows there is a killer on the loose might come back to bite her in the ass when it comes to Dexter?), plus undoubtedly some other kills along the way. That seems like more than enough to keep us, Dex, and all of Miami metro busy.
I have the worst luck with interns,