Withstanding the Pull of the Tide
Well after our conversations of the last few weeks, I’m intrigued to hear your thoughts on Hannah now. Will she be replacing Isaac as the central bad-guy this season? Will we be conflating the love/sex interest with the bad guy (something like Lila, but with a less annoying way of talking) so that the killing gets all hot? Just what kind of a showdown is going to brew between the women in Dexter’s life? I think the most interesting possibilities lie here, in fact. Right now Deb is trying to extricate herself from playing backseat to Dexter’s dark passenger. But the tone of the hotel room scene seemed to keep the sibling sexuality in sight this week (“you kept your eyes on me all day”), which leaves me wondering if Deb is going to get jealous of this new interest of desire for Dexter. When we pair that with her growing frustrations about those who ‘fall through the cracks,’ I wonder if Dexter is going to close in on a kill that will show Deb the complexity of wanting someone dead. They’re setting up a narrative in which even the kinds of evidence Dexter has now promised to bring to Deb would be worthless because of Hannah’s immunity (how brazen of her in that conversation, btw!). But if he ends up pulling the trigger, and if Deb supports him in doing so, I’m left wondering just how complex her own motivations will be…and how she’ll deal with that complexity!
That is, of course, if Hannah doesn’t get to Dexter first – is she just naturally attracted to killers, or is she the lead killer herself? And just how is her green thumb going to play into all this?!
I found the play with memory and nostalgia intriguing this week. We often think of Harry is rising from Dexter’s subconscious – but this week we were reminded that his presence in that subconsciousness is, in fact, through Dexter’s memories of him. So as we saw Dex and Deb recollecting their childhood memories with sad application to their contemporary situation – even when she removes the flippers, she can’t catch her hero – we also got to see Hannah’s own strange nostalgia for her days on the road with Wayne. And together all the characters seemed to be trying to take the next steps in their own stories in light of – and certainly not freed from – the decisions of the past.
A few stray thoughts: just why did Dexter need to be there for Hannah’s questioning? Taking notes seemed much like something an intern could do, no? Oh, Dexter and your awkward transitions – sigh. On a more serious note, for now it seems that Maria does not suspect Dexter as the BHB (given her immediate, expressive trust of Deb). But the more Deb hides evidence and gets all macho with Angel, the more she might draw that trail to herself (and really, Dexter wedding-crashed and then danced in a circle with the bride…how has this guy not gotten caught by now?!). Quinn, oh Quinn, are you finally going to meet your end? I’m still trying to figure out how sad I’d be if Quinny bit the bullet – what do you guys think? Can we even enjoy this show without his weird stripey button-down shirts? And just when is someone going to notice that Lewis is dead? Hasn’t anyone filed a missing persons report on that guy yet? That story has to break at some point, no?
So we’re looking for the…Terminator –
Hello and greetings from the eye of the storm! OK, not exactly the eye, but I am writing this as the winds of Sandy whip past my windows in Astoria, Queens. Maybe it is just because I am going a bit stir crazy, or maybe the memory of just how bad last season was still lingers like the aftertaste of bad sauerkraut in my mouth, but I liked this episode despite its shuffling of the deck again. This has often been a problem for Dexter – keeping too many stories in play and letting them circle around each other until they collide or some of them just disappear unsatisfactorily. That might be happening now, with Isaac behind bars promising the long game revenge, but without the prospect of immediate vengeance. But given Quinn’s new entanglements with the Kashka brotherhood, I think that story might just be morphing into something much more encompassing and interesting. And as you so beautifully point out, Natalie, there is so much promise with the Hannah storyline to explore the perennial themes of whether or not Dexter can have a romantic partner, much less a potential partner in crime, added to the brewing sexual tension between Deb and Dex (and yes, the hotel room was definitely loaded with sexual overtones, at least for Deb). I like the many different directions these stories might be headed and right now I don’t feel like the wool is being pulled over my eyes. There basic moves are coherent enough that I am willing to see where they might go.
What I really loved, though, was watching a new side to Deb. She gives a very moving speech to Dex at the end about how she is not cut out for this life: lying, theft, manipulation, much less murder or covering up murder. But there was something astonishingly natural about the way she lied, and stole, and manipulated to protect Dexter, especially with LaGuerta. Even though it was clear what her end game was offering to help with the investigation, I was actually taken aback at how quickly that lie came to her lips and how naturally she brought Maria along. Just like Dexter has struggled to separate the “real Dexter” from his Dark Passenger, I like the idea of Deb struggling with similar issues. Just how long can you protest that you are not the person you consistently find yourself acting like?
I’m totally going to brag a bit about calling Hannah as active part of the killing team – maybe I am just better at reading serial killer vibes than I realized?!
We are in a storm of fuck.
Kathryn and Natalie,
I think I might be a little more worried about the future of this season than either of you are. The writing is getting especially explanatory, starting with last week and going pretty strong this week. The scenes with Hannah seem the worst to me right now. As you pointed out Natalie, the idea of Dexter (a blood spatter (not splatter) expert) would be rushed back to the station to jot down notes about which items belonged to which murders is ridiculous. But their dialogue had moments of extreme “telling not showing.” In a particularly frustrating moment, Hannah said, “Look at us talking blood and gore like we’re on a date sharing first sexual experiences.” No shit, Hannah. It’s almost like the audience might have been able to pick up on that without you saying it outloud. Putting that aside, I am excited to see how that storyline plays out. I do think that Deb is going to get jealous of Hannah. If she Deb finds out that Hannah is a killer, and that turns out to be something that attracts Dexter to Hannah; Deb might really get jealous that the thing that tortures her about Dex is the thing that attracts him to another woman.
However, I am worried that the Deb storyline might be turning too quickly. She gets upset in the parking garage, but she seems to have just accepted this new reality a little too quickly. It doesn’t seem to be in Deb’s character to so quickly cover all these things up for Dexter.
Now, some more things that worry me from a writing standpoint: Harry came back. The two week absence of Harry made his presence in the first scene seem even worse to me. Harry’s presence is like a laugh track on a bad sitcom to me, now. It is something that probably shouldn’t bother me that much, but now, once I see Harry it just makes me assume its bad quality.
Second to Harry’s presence, Dexter’s narration (which has been a vital part of the show since the very beginning) is starting to wear on me. Right after Dexter and Hannah discuss the fact that she murdered the woman at the motel, Dex sees Isaak watching him. Then we hear Dexter narrate: “Isaak. I knew it was only a matter of time until he found me.” No shit, Dexter. I knew it was only a matter of time until you literally just started saying the most basic things that were happening on screen.
Not that this episode was all bad. I am still really intrigued by Isaak’s story. I hope that it doesn’t take a big backseat for a while with him in prison. I thought the recreation/realization that Dexter had of how Isaak bad-assed his way out of the Colombian bar was really well done. I really liked Deb’s elevator scene. Even though her language can get cartoonish at times, I enjoyed her ability to flip out and regain composure in the short ride. That is something that I have done before, and I appreciated how Deb played it.
Also, who is the new detective that replaced Mike Anderson? She seems to get one obligatory line a week now, but we know nothing about her. Is the show really just trying to maintain it’s minority quota?
Well, fucking God bless America,