Do What You Gotta Do
Dear Kathryn and Bryan,
Well that’s the first time that has happened on a kill table! My hunch is that you, Bryan, are not going to like this turn in the Dexter-Hannah story…so I’m eager to hear your thoughts – because I really did! In fact, in the midst of a pretty boring episode – in my opinion – the building heat between these two as they stalked each other was the only thing that kept me engaged…if for no other reason than it’s been a long time since we’ve had a character who is truly ambiguous. And so I’m enjoying Ms. McKay’s oscillations between childlike innocent and femme fatale ways. Did she or didn’t she? I just don’t know!
For the most part now, we see Dexter killing people who we know he should – at least, according to his own code – kill. But it did feel like he took Hannah to the table just a little too soon. The blood spatter on the dug-up victim’s dress is certainly convincing, but even without a good defense I find myself with some plausible doubt. In the end, I wonder if more that Lila, more than Lumen, if Hannah is much more like Dexter – marked by trauma, but living something like normalcy – than any other character we’ve yet met. Maybe she’s a killer – I’m not saying she’s not. But either way, her messed-up-ness seems to be more on the interesting, morally complex side like Dexter’s than all the clean, obvious kills he most often engages these days.
But most of all she leaves me wondering if Dexter would need to kill less if he just got laid more?? Sex and violence are clearly strangely intertwined for Hannah…but are they for Dexter too? He’s been talking so much about desire this season, and his killing has become more and more connected with his sexuality in the past few seasons…maybe if he focused on getting his other urges met, the killing ones wouldn’t be so pronounced.
Or, at least, that’s one of the directions I saw the episode going – was it just me, or did it seem like everyone was feeling the pressure to get a date? Angel so much so that he’s going to open a restaurant instead (add that scene to the list of awkward Angel-Jaime scenes that don’t make much sense!).
And much as I love Deb (and the sweet heat between her and Sal!), she was definitely too forthcoming for a first date – who tells a guy, “I really need to get a life; that’s why I’m going out with you…” or “I’m obsessive in relationships” before the first round of drinks is finished? Is Sal safe, or is that oral fixation tapping us in to something more sinister?
As I thought I would be, I’m a little bored by the Nadia, Isaac, etc., storyline – did you all realize that Nadia was, like, enslaved at the strip club with them holding her passport, ready to ship her to Dubai at any moment?? I thought she was just a stripper with a heart of gold stereotype?? Once again, the show is having a tough time picking it’s main focus as it redirects back and forth between Isaac and Hannah as Dexter’s central nemesis – obviously I’m up for Hannah taking centre stage, but I’m intrigued to hear one of you argue for Isaac!
And while I’m on the topic of lingering questions that bugged me in this episode, is it just me or, if you suspected someone was a killer and had just harvested a fresh batch of poison, wouldn’t you follow them into the kitchen as they stirred up your coffee for you? Just saying – that strikes me as killer-stalker safety tactic #1.
Are men who retire really usually dead in 5 years?
It’s a fact, look it up –
Natalie and Kathryn,
I actually didn’t hate the Dexter-Hannah relationship development. I am worried that it could lead to some pretty well-traveled road in the Dexter tries to find out if he can be close to a woman in a traditional sense while maintaining his killing ways. While this is a new approach (Lila and Lumen both knew about Dexter’s killing, but neither were hunted by Dexter at the beginning), it doesn’t feel very fresh. Part of that might be because some of the awkward, flirty moments between Dexter and Hannah seemed really trite. When Dexter wiped the smudge of dirt from Hannah’s face, and she responded, “Occupational hazard; I can get pretty dirty.” it felt more like a bad sitcom line (Get it? Cause she could mean dirty like sex or actually just dirt!). Obviously, there is a third layer here of “dirty” meaning that she kills people, but there felt like some stupid posturing to make sure that we were aware that there was sexual tension.
However, this storyline and the last 10 minutes of the episode were the only moments that were exciting in this episode to me. We will just have to wait to see if the Hannah storyline remains interesting or not, but I can tell you that Batista’s restaurant storyline is in no way interesting to me. The overall theme of the episode seemed to be about what level a person should follow their impulsiveness and to what level one should use caution. Isaak spells it out to the Colombian criminal who threatens to attack him: the impulsiveness to kill Isaak might feel good in the moment as revenge, but it would cause greater problems for the Colombian cartel because the Russians apparently have the upperhand (get it? cause Isaak broke the other guys hand? ba-doom-ching!). For Batista, it’s the restaurant versus staying a cop. This somehow immediately convinces Debra to not be a workaholic loser. Do you really think that Deb wouldn’t have needed a little more time to process the idea before just calling the guy? I guess that’s the impulsiveness. For Quinn, he is having to pay the price for his impulsiveness of accepting bribes when he was in the drug unit. (And yes, Natalie some of the details of how much control the club has over the dancers has been vague.) And most obviously, Hannah has had to figure out the balance between the impulsiveness that she followed with Wayne Randall and the measured “normal” life of being a horticulturist.
The problem with all of these storylines is that they only seem to be there to have an effect on Dexter. Deb needs to be around Sal Price so we can see him as a threat to Dexter and to reinvigorate the tension between Dex and Deb. Quinn is only there to get Isaak out of jail so that Isaak can hunt down Dexter. And the story that is getting the most annoying (maybe because it should be the most interesting) is the LaGuerta/Bay Harbor Butcher case. I feel like the point of it is just to remind us what has happened the last six seasons. I feel like each episode we get a Dexter history lesson (do you remember that girl with the weird name? Yes, Lumen. Yeah, she and Dexter were together (keep that in mind because it might be important for later). Also, Debra knew that there were two killers, do you remember that? Cause it was only the whole point of the end of the fifth season.) At some point we will probably have to be reminded of the terrible third season and Jimmy Smits being killed because he and LaGuerta had a thing. Also, there was that woman in the season that was really good friends with LaGuerta. Smits killed her. Maybe I do need a history lesson on that season. But, I don’t want it.
I just want a plant, something planty,
Ok, I have to jump in for one second – Bryan, you are so right on the annoying facial smudge moment! Seriously, I think I saw that weird smudge on her chin in the “Next week on Dexter” last week and I thought, “ugh, please, please don’t have Dexter wipe that off her face!!” It didn’t even look like real dirt. It looked like eyeshadow applied with a blush brush. I could hardly pay attention to that scene because I was so dreading the moment when Dexter leaned in to wipe it away (seriously, who does that!?). Yeah, totally annoying – I’m with you.
Ok, over to you K –
Fair points all around on the dirt smudge cliche. What confused me most of all was that Dex has been making these flirty moves and clearly been a bit intoxicated by Hannah’s beauty/allure, but hasn’t mentioned once in his (always over-expository) voice overs feeling attracted to her. He jumps into the “I’m here to ask you out” routine as though he’s never thought of it before, but if that is the case, what the hell is he doing performing the most cliched of come-on moves? It seemed obvious this week (but also in earlier weeks when he drops the q-tip, etc.) that there is some kind of heat between them, so why play so dumb? Unless the writers are aware that they are treading on well-trod ground bringing in another blond partner for Dex’s bed and kill table.
Though I like your suggestion, Natalie, that maybe Hannah will finally be the woman to help Dex realize that other kinds of desires could potentially alleviate his desire to kill. This could link up nicely with Deb’s own sexual desires/confusions and how erotic attraction clarifies or complicates other kinds of instincts. I agree that Hannah seems the most like Dexter – fighting impulses to go over the edge and trying to maintain some kind of normal (and nice read, Bryan, on the impulse vs. control theme of the episode). If Lila was all about destructive addictions and had to be killed because she was dangerous, and Lumen was fundamentally not a killer and had to be let go because she was healed, maybe Hannah is a real contender to be a serious partner for Dex, someone with whom he could work on self-control. But my prediction: he will get genuinely close to Hannah and then have to kill her, feeling for the first time serious remorse about the kind of work he does.
You are so right, Bryan, that this show is taking us through a “Dexter’s greatest hits” round-up, tying together different seasons through LaGuerta’s theories. But since Deb is so good at reminding Dex of the timeline of his various escapades, when is one of them going to bring up that Deb had the two vigilante killers in a room, under gun point, and let them go! She felt real sympathy and even compassion toward these killers (who were driven by love!) to the point that she went against her own training and impulses to help them escape. Now that she knows that those vigilantes were Dex and Lumen, how is she not partially culpable in that chain of events? Why hasn’t it even dawned on her (or on Dex) that she has already identified with Dexter, already seen his point of view, at least partially, and made peace with it? If you are going to rehearse history, people, be complete!
I agree Bryan that I do not want to spend much time watching Angel become a bar tender, but I would kind of love to go to his bar.
Thank the sweet fucking baby Jesus,