Everything is in my control
Kathryn and Natalie,
So, this episode seems to be stretching out a little bit and setting up the stage for all the major storylines of the season (which makes sense as we are now finishing the first third of this season). We are getting deeper with Isaac and the Russians (who seem to prefer speaking English to each other for some reason). We have Hannah show up at Dexter’s lab (FYI: the connection of Dexter’s Laboratory and Dexter has finally been created on the internet). This is one of the moments that feels like the show really stretching just to get its pieces in place for future episodes. I’m not sure I buy into Hannah’s motivations to go talk to Dexter. Speaking of moving pieces, let’s just get Harrison out of here for “a few weeks.”
Also, we have the Dexter/Deb love story line reappearing in a different way. Mostly through specific marriage imagery. Deb’s dream/nightmare of being in a pool of blood (which was actually a great way for her to visualize her trauma of pondering Rita’s death) had Dexter asking, “Will you be mine?” (also to note: both of them were wearing wedding rings). There was a somewhat awkward phrasing of lines that led both character’s to say “I do.” And, there was also some language in their conversations that was obviously relationship based and maybe skewed specifically toward marriage. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this imagery.
And while I have some reservations about how well the writer’s can handle this storyline in the future, this was by far the most intriguing of the storylines. My main concern is that Deb just becomes flat in that she can’t decide what to think about Dexter and her whole season is just spent trying to sort that out while Dexter keeps killing people that she wants dead. Hopefully, all the other moving parts will shake that narrative up before it becomes stale.
And, it seems like it will have to be shaken up. Because, even though Dexter says otherwise, not everything is in his control. He couldn’t control Speltzer catching him in the RV. He can’t control that Isaac knows who he is and that he knows about Viktor’s death. He couldn’t control Trinity from killing Rita, and he can’t control that someone already has found one of his blood slides. While Isaac and LaGuerta provide the most immediate threat to Dexter and his freedom, looking back at Rita’s death through Deb’s eyes is more fascinating. If Dexter hadn’t chased Trinity, Rita would be alive. If Dexter had killed Trinity sooner, Rita would be alive. Dexter swears he won’t make a mistake like that again, but the whole point is that he didn’t see that it could be a mistake. What makes Dexter human is that he is too self-centered to realize that his actions can cause his own problems.
And that brings up the huge question from the end of the episode. Is it a basic human desire to see an evil person suffer? Deb felt glad that Speltzer was dead. Is that wrong? He obviously deserved punishment. Was this justice, though? Was it the right way to do it? Why does Dexter get to decide the punishment as opposed to the Miami justice system? If Deb can believe that her feeling glad is something that is naturally human, maybe she can understand Dexter. Maybe she could love him. What do you think is in store the potential Mr. and Mrs. Morgan?
Sorry I didn’t talk at all about the side storylines like Isaac having a strong personal connection to Viktor and giving us a Bryan Adamsesque line about it: “Everything I do is for you.” I’m looking forward to your thoughts!
You mean more to me than pizza,
Bryan, I’m with you on continuing to be most captivated by the marital imagery between Dex and Deb, and I would add to that the sexual tension as well, which felt palpable as the two sat talking in the car, breathing heavily, finding their desire aligned for a moment in Spelter’s death.
The season hadn’t tapped back into Deb’s non-sibling love for her brother yet, and I suppose I thought they’d abandoned that awkward plot – but I thought it worked last night, and even wondered if the writers had some forethought when they laid that groundwork last season (which I’m sorry to say surprised me when I thought it). We wondered last week about the ‘coming out’ language around Deb and Dex’s negotiations of their new relationship, and I thought we were going that direction again when Deb rattled on about Dexter’s need to repress his desires, desires, desires (that word got used a strange amount for something that seems more like compulsion, urge, violent impulse…).
So as Deb tries to figure out Dexter’s taboo practices, his need to live outside of the normative legal and moral systems, she’s trying to figure out her own experience of the ultimate taboo, incest – her own desire to love outside of normative legal and moral systems. While Dexter pushes her to empathy by showing how awful the people he kills are, I wonder if, in the end, her empathy will arise more in her own realization of her own messed-up-ness too.
Whenever this happens, I think we can plan on it being awkward and difficult to watch, because I think they’re moving Dex in a direction that might bring this sexual storyline to something significant. He’s always connected with women who understand him and can empathize with him (even if they don’t quite know what they’re really empathizing with). Maybe this is going to happen with the blonde girl – or maybe she’s just there to stir up a little jealously and bring Debra’s feelings out into the open. But as Deb accepts Dex more and more, and he professes his love for her – realizes it’s the most abiding love he’s known – yeah, I don’t know what will happen, but it does feel like with this show anything’s possible.
I found the parallels to Victor and Isaac here quite interesting. When Isaac and Dexter had their bonding moment over their complete lack of interest in watching the strippers last week (or was it the week before?), I did wonder if our big mob boss was gay – so I’m glad for the confirmation, rather than a drag out. The connection between the turned around family photographs in the fall guy’s house and in Victor’s was a nice touch – Angel is so sure that there is one reason for hiding from one’s family, but Isaac and Victor remind us that there can be multiple motivations for doing so…and I think this connects with Deb and Dex as well, as they figure out just how to love each other honestly, with acceptance.
Isaac is shaping up for me as the bad guy, but he’s no Trinity or ITK and I’m left wondering if that’s because his killing just makes sense. He’s a mob boss; killing’s what they do. No matter how cold-blooded, his killing isn’t about compulsion or pathology or psychosis. It’s about business. And so I do hope that the show is going somewhere interesting with this – should we be re-interpreting television characters like mob bosses and gang leaders and other forms of killers who make more sense within a criminal structure as Dexters with their own code?
Wondering if we’ll ever see Jaime again now that Lewis is dead and Harrison has been shipped off?
Hey Bryan and Natalie,
Sorry to enter the conversation so late. I don’t have a lot to add to your fantastic reflections – just a few thoughts on the same themes that intrigued you both. Deb and Dex’s nuptial imagery was very intriguing and, like you Natalie, I was amazed at the self-restraint of the writers. Usually everything is foregrounded and over-explained, but we didn’t even get a flashback to Deb’s incestuous feelings on the “previously on.” The imagery of marriage wasn’t exactly subtle, but what it was supposed to mean was, and that felt like a huge leap for the show in terms of ambiguity, both moral and visual. There must be some connection to Deb’s incestuous feelings last season (and really, how is she supposed to forget that she was just admitting she was in love with Dex when she discovered he was a serial killer). But it is also interesting to think about if and how marriage symbolizes a new level of entanglement for Deb, a kind of emotional and spiritual complicity in who he is and what he does. That was clearly the theme of last night: what does it mean, morally, for Deb to accept and even appreciate what Dex does. How does the idea of being married to Dex enhance this struggle? I worried last season that the show was pressing Deb’s erotic feelings for Dex in preparation for discovering the truth; that somehow it would be easier for her to accept him if she was in love with him and didn’t just have a siblings love for him. I am not sure where the show is headed, but I think exploring what kinds of loves allow what kinds of intimacy is part of it and I am intrigue!
I also loved your point, Natalie, about Isaac being a different, more normal and even blase, kind of killer. It would be awesome if the show was going to draw a parallel between mob killing and creepy serial killing and make us question our easy acceptance of one and queesiness about the other. If nothing else, I am curious how creepy they will have to make Isaac eventually to enlist our sympathies (and Deb’s sympathies?) when Dex finally kills him.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I look forward to jumping in sooner next week!
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