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post #4801 of 6863 Old 02-19-2012, 04:38 PM
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'The Dexter 2012/2013 Rewatch Project'
Ep.108: 'SHRINK WRAP'
By dad1153, AVSForum.com - Feb. 19, 2012




Plot Summary: The strange suicide of a powerful woman leads Dexter to suspect her psychologist, Emmett Meridian, but he gets a shock when a visit to the suspect opens up dark secrets from Dexter's past. Meanwhile, Debra is falling for her new boyfriend, Rudy Cooper, and the true identity of the Ice Truck Killer is finally revealed (to the viewer). (Source: DexterWiki).

Premiere Dates: 11/19/06 (SHO), 4/6/08 (CBS)
Writer: Lauren Gussis
Director: Tony Goldwyn
AVS Comments: ziltomil got the reaction to the ITK identity's reveal rolling (click link to read more).




Yes, that's Eric Carmen playing in the background. What is it to you?

This episode aired (edited for network TV) on CBS at 10 p.m. on Sunday, 4/6/08. It got a 2.1 in the demo rating, down a tenth of a rating point from the previous week (Source: HOTP Thread/Media Life Magazine).
First (of 12) episodes written by Lauren Gussis, who started season 1 as 'staff writer' (i.e. dialogue/scene writer for a last-minute rewriten and/or new scenes when the original writer isn't available) and has climbed all the way up to supervising producer/writer in Season 6 ('Ricochet Rabbit'). Except for a brief stint in 2006 on NBC's "E-Ring" TV series Lauren has spent her entire TV career working for "Dexter" (lucky gal!).
Second (of four) episodes directed by Tony Goldwyn, who is also the first and only person to guest-star on an episode of "Dexter" he also directed. Goldwyn played the bad guy in the 1990 hit movie "Ghost" and, as this episode's director, Tony doesn't give his Emmett Meridian character more time than necessary even though he's the guest 'big bad' of 'Shrink Wrap.' We only see Dr. Meridian through Dex's predisposed-to-judge POV, which also shows that the doctor is as good a shrink as he's a manipulative cold-hearted bastard. The scenes between Dex and Emmett together at the latter's office are fun because they're both a couple of snakes trying to size each other up. The good doctor's inability to make the leap to believe Dex is a killer (Dexter's primary 'modus operandi' to go undetected) ultimately proving to be his undoing.
Even though the reveal of the Ice Truck Killer's identity was the big selling point of 'Shrink Wrap' (it was the angle Showtime promoted heavily during the week leading up to the episode's premiere) the once-in-a-series'-lifetime stunt of having Dex go to therapy to not only learn about the above-the-law criminal he's stalking, but also to better himself and his relationship with Rita using the shrink's sound advice, practically sells itself. The little act Dex puts for Dr. Meridian when he fakes relief in telling somebody that he is a serial killer (i.e. Dexter taking total and complete control of the 'session' away from Emmett) rings a little hollow though. Showing his true self is something Dexter does with every victim that winds up in his kill room. Heck, unlike other perps Dr. Meridian didn't even get the courtesy of a chance to talk back to Dex in his final moments (probably because it was an office building, but still).
Even at its most dramatic moments "Dexter" has always had a dark comedic streak running right alongside the life-or-death struggles of the protagonist. Gotta say though, between the episode's title (they're all kind-of pun friendly but seriously... 'SHRINK WRAP'?!?!) to the metaphors/dialogue between Dexter and Dr. Meridian (the whole 'befriending one's big bad wolf' schpiel), Deborah and Rudy (plus the Miami Metro cops taunting Deb about her new boyfriend) and even Dexter and Rita ('you can never do anything that would repel me') the puns/metaphors/euphemisms/contrasts/etc. run wild.
That said, when Paul comments about Dexter & Rita 'they don't need a chaperone' and the soundtrack cuts to a hot salsa tune (prelude of coming attractions later in the episode) one can't help but laugh.
As the Craig's List ad correspondence between Dexter and ITK reveal (Barbie: 'Why the cold shoulder?' Ken: 'We'll share over a cold one'), bad puns must have run deep in the Mosier family's gene pool.
Dexter's alias during his Dr. Meridian therapy sessions: Sean Ellis.
Nice tip of the hat to the rainy tropical weather and blackouts that happen in Miami. I'm not from the area but anyone reading this that lives in FL/Miami can chime in and tell us how this episode of "Dexter" showcases the weather. Naturally, after the rain is over and the power is restored, the Miami stock footage doesn't show any signs of debris or leftover damage from the storm.
The therapy sessions with Dr. Meridian offer a great excuse to flash back to Dexter's childhood, including Harry teaching Dex how to sneak around, how to deal with bullies and (during Emmett's 'regression therapy') Dexter's (and our) first glimpse into baby-Dex-in-the-bloody-container-while-her-mother-died repressed memories. Like everything else in this first season this seconds-long early glimpse at an undefined memory will take shape and have a dramatic impact a few episodes down the road.
Harry's 'do you think I want to teach you these kinds of things?' when teenage Dex enjoys being able to sneak around him (during a flashback in therapy) shows that at least Harry had good intentions when he taught Dex these survival tools/techniques to 'avoid getting the electric chair.' Our (i.e. Emyach and mine) theory that Harry is directly responsible for denying Dex a chance to be human by teaching him how to become a proficient serial killer still stands, but statements like the one above only highlight the tragedy that the lives of the series' three main characters (Harry, Deborah and Dex) became by the actions and destiny that brought them all together.
Dexter's 'when I sleep with a woman she sees me for who I am... empty' thoughts when running away from Rita's sexual advances, followed by Emmett's on-the-money comments about Dex's fears of intimacy, set the stage for the regression therapy flashbacks that showed little Dex in the blood bath. So, like Rita tipping her boyfriend about her co-worker's missing immigrant husband setting Dex on the path of Jorge Castillo, Batista's casual mention to Dex in the opening crime scene of two previous suicides of powerful women set Dex on an improbable chase that resulted in both his betterment as a boyfriend/person and the trigger of a long-repressed memory. Glowing red blood in rental truck from S5 = business as usual for "Dexter," no longer a standout 'WTF!' moment.
Hope you enjoyed the glimpses of love-making nudity from Jennifer Carpenter and Julie Benz in 'Shrink Wrap.' As is the case when a TV show becomes popular and its female stars attain clout, we'd see no more nudity from Carpenter after S1 (except for tame below-the-covers shoulder stuff) and only one more sight of a naked Benz in S3 (the episode in which Harrison is conceived) before we never saw more flesh from either female star.
"Dexter" didn't parade its starlets in the buff for show though. The romantic/emotional hook-ups between the Mosier siblings/serial killers (at this point of the story we only know the latter) and their respective ladies are a contrast of one serial killer showing he's human by succumbing to his emotional/sexual needs (prompted by therapy-induced repressed memories) and the other being really good at faking emotion/affection for a person (Deb) that he doesn't see as anything more than a means to an end (getting to Dexter). Throw in Dr. Meridian's sick relationship between him and the powerful women he talked into committing suicide and 'Shrink Wrap' shows three differente faces of male-to-female emotional connection. By virtue of the other two being worse Dex, the serial killer with a growing humanity, ends up being the most 'normal' and 'likable' of the bunch. Yet another (succesful?) attempt by the show to normalize Dexter and make his world likable by making those bad apples around him seem much, much worse.
Why the fades to black, then back to the scene (repeat) during Deb's lovemaking moments with Rudy? Other than censorship to keep us from seeing nudity, it doesn't really look or express anything visually.
It takes three scenes for LaGuerta to get Neil Perry to confess he's not ITK, setting up the big reveal at the end of the episode. Love the way the show uses the method Perry used to pretend to be ITK (breaking into Miami Metro's firewall protection to peek at the ITK and cops' files) to share with the audience some backstory about how Maria and Doakes, once partners, went their separate ways when the former stole the spotlight during a crime scene.
Being tipped that 'Shrink Wrap' would be the episode that would reveal ITK's identity it's possible most people watching guessed Rudy Cooper was ITK based on all the 'body parts' and 'lovely legs' dialogue he uttered (again, a lot of it very 'pun'ny). I wasn't looking at the show with those eyes back then though, and when the camera followed Rudy into that meat locker I remember my jaw dropping to the floor... at the show re-using the same 'Blood Theme' music twice in a row, once for Rudy's 'big reveal' scene and then the closing credits!
When Season 7 of "Dexter" premieres the writers better remember to tell the audience (a) how deep the attachment between Deb and Rudy was (i.e. scenes from this episode), (b) how traumatized/devastated she was at finding out Rudy was ITK and (d) that, by Season 4's 'The Getaway,' Deb knew that Rudy and Dexter were brothers. With these three pieces of the backstory in mind the writers, if they so choose, can ditch the 'Deborah loves Dexter' angle they flirted with this season. Because I don't know you but, if I'm a girl that once dated/slept with a serial killer and then realize my not-related-by-blood-step-brother for whom I have newfound repressed love feelings is a serial killer (just like his brother serial killer I also slept with), then I'm sorry but the bloom is off the romantic feelings. But that's just me.
DEBism of the episode:. Mazuka (after he sees Rudy drop Deborah off at the crime scene): 'Playing Hide The Salami with Mr. Prosthetics?' Deb: 'I don't f*** and tell.' Doakes: 'Since when?' Deb: 'Can we go inside? I'm kind of wet...' (Mazuka and Doakes smile a little) Deb: 'Don't'
DEX's favorite quip: too many to list. Personal favorites: (when grabbing a cookie from his desk drawer while trying to connect the suicides of the three women) 'Nothing like some Little Debbie's and a worthy adversary to clear my head,' (when breaking into Meridian's office to look at his taped sessions) 'I think I've had a breakthrough in therapy' and (after Dex runs away from Rita's sexual advances) 'I can't kill Meridian yet, I need another session.' Again though, every other sentence Dex utters in this episode feels like a clever one-liner to an unseen audience (i.e. us).



(Pics courtesy of this website)
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post #4802 of 6863 Old 02-19-2012, 05:28 PM
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Rudy does a much better job of pretending to be human than Dexter manages. Of course we only see him from an outside perspective, unlike Dexter where we see things from Dex's point of view.

Sturgeon's Law: "Nothing is always absolutely so."
Sturgeons Revelation: "Ninety percent of everything is crud."
My Thoughts: "A reasoned argument must share some basic common points."
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post #4803 of 6863 Old 02-20-2012, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by zaphod7501 View Post

I've seen the camera tilt effect used for the same purpose numerous times in the past but, for the life of me, I can't remember the names of the shows/movies where it happened.

Over the weekend I watched DIE HARD and at a point had a subtitle commentary on. Never saw this before, but apparently this is a commentary track that appears only in subtitles -- the commentary itself is not able to be heard or accessed, and the sound of the film continues, but you can read commentary. Through this I learned that the camera tilt effect is known as "Dutch angle" and was used in DIE HARD in the final confrontation sequence. From Wikipedia:

"Dutch tilt, Dutch angle, Dutch shot, oblique angle, German angle, canted angle, Batman angle, or jaunty angle (in non-cinematic static photography) are terms used for one of many cinematic techniques often used to portray the psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed. A Dutch angle is achieved by tilting the camera off to the side so that the shot is composed with vertical lines at an angle to the side of the frame.

Dutch angles are frequently used by film directors who have a background in the visual arts, such as Tim Burton (in Edward Scissorhands, and Ed Wood), and Terry Gilliam (in Brazil, The Fisher King, Twelve Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Tideland) to represent madness, disorientation, and/or drug psychosis. In the The Evil Dead trilogy, Sam Raimi used Dutch angles to show that a character had become possessed."
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post #4804 of 6863 Old 02-20-2012, 08:38 AM
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Another thing I thought very enlightening about the DIE HARD subtitle commentary, wherein screenwriter de Souza expanded upon genre and thematic issues, was how closely his description of western and action film genre formulations matched what we see in DEXTER. Another case of where we see the showrunners were possibly modeling DEXTER on well-established modalities, albeit with somewhat unique new macabre/gruesome flavorings.

On westerns and action movies (roughly):

"A hero appears, brings some rogues to justice, and saves the girl. And often the town or institution he serves is not worthy of his services. He is set apart from the community by the very thing that enables him to save it -- or avenge it: his willingness to do what no one else will. Especially if it is violent. From westerns, action movies of the 70s and 80s inherited the tension between American individualism and the ideal of the community."

I had written somewhat cryptically about DEXTER dichotomies, and this is certainly among them -- the tension between Dexter representing the community's interest, while we (and he) assume he would be reviled for what he does in service of those interests. There is a fantasy sequence coming along here soon enough (Dad, you can probably help me out here as to just when), where Dexter pictures himself the object of adoration by the masses, but as we know, this does not represent his actual assumptions.

No, Dexter is consciously at this stage much more the man the good Doctor came to know -- afraid to present himself as he is, though he gains significant ground with the kind of cathartic therapy Doc fleetingly provides. And good on Dex for coming clean with that little bit of tarnish he had been reluctant to broach: "I am a serial killer!" Whew! -- it seemed a great relief to share such a remarkable revelation to a therapist, even though Dexter had his doubts about the quality of treatment the good Doctor was dispensing, Once again Dexter shows exceptional instincts in being able to sift the helpful insights from those he meets, and later discard those he meets.

Here I found it very interesting indeed, as again I had totally forgotten it, that Dexter is not so much interested in disposing of other killers, as he is in identifying those that might loosely fall under the heading "the deserving," and savaging them. For myself, I was not convinced that our Doctor would even be sanctioned by a board of medical review, with all the videotape evidence in hand, let alone be found guilty of negligent homicide or some other such thing, by a jury of his peers.

So now Dexter avenges those that make decisions for themselves, if he thinks there might be reasonable enough blame to attach elsewhere. How about extending liability to the gun manufacturers? These women were all portrayed as strong (we were told this numerous times), but somehow these strong women became drug addicted (we are led to believe with just the one videotape), then lost the will to live. Because someone talked to them? That is a pretty far-reaching net for Dexter, so the showrunners are not shrinking from their portrait of Dexter as capricious, somewhat indiscriminate butcher of men on the merest amorphous pretext.

Yet the mystique plays on, almost as if we buy that Meridian must die. Some thoughts on his name here: meridian could refer to that imaginary line -- in this case crossing the line from punishing those who have actually killed, to someone who has not. Or, Dexter crossing over the line from not being able to reveal himself intimately, to surmounting that challenge. Or even in the archaic definition of "meridian" as meaning high noon (and another western analogy), Dexter confronts both that self-loathing and the Doctor, faces off and leaves the vanquished behind -- rides off with girl.


More later.....
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post #4805 of 6863 Old 02-20-2012, 11:51 AM
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^^^ Don't forget that, when he's eating that Little Debbies snack and aching to find out the common link between the suicided strong women, Dexter is aching and looking forward to the challenge of an opponent that he can take head-on (be it the real ITK or the yet-to-be-fingered culprit behind the suicide of the powerful women). At this juncture Dex is like a junkie or jock actively seeking the high of a fixture, of proving his self worth by flexing his (serial killer) muscles. It's as if the writers reverted back to the 'Pilot' Dexter that's a little less human in 'Shrink Wrap' so that, when he discovers his yearning for humanity by giving in to Rita's advances, Dexter's new human seems more contrast-worthy with the just-revealed unmasking of pretend-human Rudy as the Ice Truck Killer.
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post #4806 of 6863 Old 02-20-2012, 03:55 PM
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^^^I did make note of some more casting of the killer-as-hero, both explicit and embedded in this script. Dexter declares that the REAL KING is out there -- meaning ITK. He has previously said of him that he is brazen and bold, but from what we have been shown, Dexter is far more bold in confronting man-to-man the individual he means to destroy.

Dexter's self-appraisal and elevation of ITK show how out of touch he is when it comes to personal insight and reading of others around him, even though he started out as something of a savant with regard to the killing kind. Yet another dichotomy: for someone who admits to finding categorizing and analyzing very soothing, Dexter pretty blind on categorizing and analyzing humans -- all the more reason to eschew fatal judgments, but here again Dexter not likely to heed what he cannot even see.

Dexter was fairly willing to walk into the unknown here. He met with the Doctor, revealed things, spoke to him as an equal. Placed himself in the therapists hands, not knowing where it would lead. He even walked up to that unidentified, nebulous, nameless fear that inhabits him, and came back for a final reckoning with Doc, bare-handed without the hypo. So that was progress indeed. Caught a little self-esteem through some good Doc time, fertilized that seedling with Rita, came back for another booster session with Doc, and copped some "I'm alright" vibes right through the knife -- or was that some sort of saw?

Then there was the somewhat embedded killer hero worship as LaGuerta mocks Neil Perry: "You're not a killer, you're a coward and a fake." The inference to be drawn could of course be that a killer would not be a coward, but brave enough to kill, and would be genuine in expressing a raw passion -- again the notion of bold, authentic placed before us. This almost subliminal assault on our sensibilities perhaps helps explain why we are still very much riding with Dexter even as he demonstrates he has quite lax standards for killing folks -- little better than the justification his victims use, but hey, seems a nice enough guy, scalawag and all that, got some growing up to do, with some nasty preoccupations to boot, but we all have our eccentricities, right?
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post #4807 of 6863 Old 02-20-2012, 05:40 PM
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Some little interesting morsels surrounding LaGuerta's interrogation of Perry: she is berating him as not glory-worthy, and states that he had to wait until his mother died of a heart attack before he could cut her up. But as I recall, the virtually intact skeleton was exhumed from under the porch, suggesting that he did not cut her up. Also the tactic of bringing a head for shock value would not seem to have much impact if she thought he in fact DID cut up his own Mother's corpse, not to mention all the gruesomeness one might encounter mixing and matching animal body parts for his taxidermy enterprise, though I suppose it could be argued that that is somewhat different.

In any event, one would not think you could count on provoking reaction especially to take the seemingly large career gamble of "signing out" a head from the morgue, then thrusting it in the face of a suspect who has not availed himself of the benefit of attorney at that moment. One would think it compromises the whole case to introduce unilateral (without official sanction) horror tactics such as that, with low expectation of benefit -- sure to lead to tossing out the confession, then comes real problems with her nemesis who already has been back and forth with her over this case.

Another apparent slight misstep was Harry congratulating Dexter on his walking away from the bully, when it was clearly shown that the bully was one the one that walked away -- I guess Dexter metaphorically walked away, as in did not stab him in the back at that moment. A little interesting that Harry counsels that Dexter must take control of himself, however I think we recognize that directly dealing with your tormentors would be one strong way of assuming command and handling yourself, but we get two opposing results depending upon which form of control you interpret needs to be applied -- either walk away, or as in the case of the nurse poisoning Harry, don't tell anyone, just kill her! (also coming from Harry) At any rate something sunk in, as Dexter now exhibits almost super-human self-control with Paul -- another moment where we really admire Dexter and he apparently has Harry to thank for that measure of discipline.

Also interesting was the taunt the early bully used with Dexter -- "Still F-ing your sister, Dexter?" Now that sounds like something akin to foreshadowing to me -- any insult would have made do in the moment, but that is one way of putting the issue in front of Dexter and audience to possibly pay dividends later, even if the specific form of such payoff was unknown at the time it was penned.
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post #4808 of 6863 Old 02-21-2012, 04:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Harry's 'do you think I want to teach you these kinds of things?' when teenage Dex enjoys being able to sneak around him (during a flashback in therapy) shows that at least Harry had good intentions when he taught Dex these survival tools/techniques to 'avoid getting the electric chair.' Our (i.e. Emyach and mine) theory that Harry is directly responsible for denying Dex a chance to be human by teaching him how to become a proficient serial killer still stands, but statements like the one above only highlight the tragedy that the lives of the series' three main characters (Harry, Deborah and Dex) became by the actions and destiny that brought them all together.

Not so sure about the good intentions. The scene brought to mind the relationship between Inspector Clouseau and Kato from the PINK PANTHER movies -- Kato mounts elaborate surprise attacks in the home to keep Clouseau sharp, but here it is apparently training for Dexter to learn how to sneak up on and actually kill people. Dexter seems to be overly excited that he has finally gotten the best of Harry, and Harry acts a bit annoyed -- could be that he does not appreciate the surprise in that moment, so he diminishes Dexter's overexcitement by telling him he should not be having fun, and brings it home with a lecture.

But of course Harry always had a choice in what he showed Dexter. Any other caring father would have gone the other route -- once tendencies were identified, do your best to provide any kind of treatment that would steer your charge away from the abyss, not toward it. This provides the central conceit of DEXTER, and is about as unrealistic as it gets, but it also is genius -- can't say it would have ever occurred to me to put Harry in that role, but you are right that the interplay of these characters are what provide such a great foundation, as well as the ongoing dialogue with dead Harry -- just fantastic stuff. I'm hoping we will learn more about the real motivations of Harry before the show closes out, but again, not so sure about good intentions -- people will die through Dexter's enhanced stealth, and as we have seen, this killing could be for almost any reason, given Dexter's broad interpretation of "deserving."


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Throw in Dr. Meridian's sick relationship between him and the powerful women he talked into committing suicide and 'Shrink Wrap' shows three different faces of male-to-female emotional connection.

Well, seems like you are convinced that Meridian is a sicko -- for myself, I did not see anything in that videotape evidence that led me to believe he was not a legitimate therapist. There might be good reason to think that when someone tries to manipulate another, in this case playing the Doctor for prescriptions by using the suicide card, that confronting the patient with the reality of that choice might neutralize the threat. In much the same way as a parent tells their kid to go ahead and run away and write a letter when they are set up elsewhere -- just a way of squelching the manipulation, forcing confrontation with the actual reality at hand, then moving toward another more reasoned objective.

Also, no one talks another into suicide -- you could argue diminished capacity here, or unreasonable imbalance of power etc. -- may look somewhat unsavory, but this is far from even Manson's vague culpability in instructing "his girls" to do something "witchy" at a certain house. These are adult people who make their own choices, and the Doctor was not soliciting homicide, or even telling them to go ahead and do it. So this is Dexter basically deciding he wants to kill someone, and this guy touched a tender nerve that forced Dexter from his office, so saw more of Dexter than Dexter could live with, so Doctor, not Dexter, must die.
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post #4809 of 6863 Old 02-21-2012, 06:47 AM
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^^^ I'm speaking as someone that had experience in therapy and being institutionalized many years ago, which will not come as a surprise to a lot of people around here! Seriously though, when you're under the regular care of a mental health professional with whom you're supposed to open up and share your most intimate and deep secrets that not even your family or loved one's know (because that's the only way psychotherapy works) your emotional well-being and very core could be easily manipulated and pushed into doing otherwise unthinkable things by an opportunistic manipulator. Meridian (as shown on the footage Dexter saw) clearly implanted in women that were emotionally naked and vulnerable (because of his prescribing, then withholding, prescription drugs so that the 'strong women' would crumble inside while still projecting their tough exterior by both the tension of their everyday lives and the chemical imbalance from the introduction/withdrawl of the drugs) suicidal thoughts and ideas that any medical professional that takes his Hippocratic Oath seriously would steer their patients away from.

Trust me, I've been there. When you're at your lowest point in life and your defenses are down revealing your true self (the one nobody else in your life knows, including family and loved one's) exposed to a stranger whose job is to analyze/help you heal what ails you enough to want to cease living, you better hope the psychiatrist/psychologist/social worker/guru/etc. that's helping you doesn't have an ulterior motive besides his/her professional call to heal his/her sick patients. That's why the video that Dexter watches in Meridian's office doesn't bother me (except for how bad the actresses they cast as the powerful women come across), it's another 'pulp fiction' exaggerated reality within this particular show's TV reality. But it got through the point clearly to my satisfaction, never mind Dexter's, that the doctor was responsible for his patients' deaths. I like that 'Shrink Wrap' implies that, just like Dexter finding Miami Metro a welcoming cover to practice his true trade, Dr. Meridian was using his therapy sessions and position of authority with specific types of patients (powerful women) to let off the same kind of urges and needs that drive Dexter to kill. Maybe Meridian had been doing it for years or maybe he was just starting, after decades of being a goody two-shoes shrink, this murder-by-suicide-suggestion technique with these three patients and Dex 'just happened' (glowing red blood from S5!) to catch the pattern. Tony Goldwyn has precious few minutes on-screen (all of them virtually through Dex's POV), not enough time to tell about his past but just enough to tell that his character was going to keep doing the same chemical-dependence-followed-by-thoughts-of-suicide technique on future victims. If Dexter didn't get beyond-shadow-of-a-doubt proof that Meridian deserved to die, he at least got enough to satisfy Harry's Code that Dex wasn't cutting up an innoncent man. Still, peculiar that Dex sealed the doctor's mouth with tape and didn't give him a chance to talk and defend himself like he usually does with other people that wind up on his kill room.

Omnipresent in all of Dexter's victims (including formidable foes like Arthur Mitchell and Jordan Chase along with these 'psycho of the week' one-off villains) is that these guys aren't as prepared for their crimes as they think they are (otherwise Dex wouldn't have tracked them down) or have walked/talked the walk/talk of life's hardships like Dexter has. Except for his own brother who knew what he was up against and sought to gain the upper-hand by appealing to Dex's serial killer brotherly bond (which in the end backfired when Rudy underestimated his little brother's love for his step-sister) the psychos Dexter encounters never consider him as formidable an opponent as he turns out. Even Doakes, who got a bad feeling about Dex from the start, didn't know what he had stumbled upon until his 'surprise motherf***er!' short-lived upper-hand moment over Dex. Part of this, of course, is TV land logic that the 'hero' always comes up on top. But also in part is that what it takes to create a Dexter Morgan (the initial trauma, an "understanding" mentor that provides the encouragement and knowledge/skills/personality/upbringing to avoid police detection, the discipline to live the type of secretive life Dex leads) is too far out of left field for most people, normal and criminals, to comprehend or fathom. Even in the Dexter-land universe that "Dexter" takes place in the idea of the things that made Dexter who he is are just unbelievable... until you walk into a church crime scene and you watch the not-blood-related brother you're in love with stab another man to death.
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post #4810 of 6863 Old 02-22-2012, 09:03 AM
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^^^Well, how's this?: I know it will be a shocker to many that I grew up with some few troubles dealing with my parents, and consequently got paraded around to a few mental health care professionals as well. I was ALWAYS very suspicious of their motives to tell you the truth, and I think it is a fairly well established phenomenon that such folks are attracted to the field to find out something about their own mental health challenges. In fact I could swear that in more than a few, did I see something of that cynical glint in their eye, as if they could not wait to hear the dirt.... to make themselves feel better of course.

So I would be, and have been, quite wary and would expect powerful women to be as well. Especially when it comes to entering into long term, or even short term, dalliances with prescription medication. Much could be said on this subject, including that in some cases suicide might very well be the most compassionate thing one could advise -- many would support where Kevorkian was guiding us as to that, with lives in unrelievable torment. This is not to say that a psychiatrist who advises suicide should not be very very suspect, only that it may not be the absolute indication of evil intent.

But here with Meridian we do not even have such advice or recommendation, or any clear direction whatsoever being put forth -- only verbal exploration of the concept, with women who felt their days had reached a point of diminishing returns, so it was on their minds. They talk about it in therapy just as they should, Meridian talks back. Now he is marked by Dexter. Keep in mind that even with Kevorkian, he was only found guilty of a crime when he himself had pushed some plungers causing the death -- it was then that society and a jury of his peers deemed that he had crossed a line.

Don't have that here -- Meridian is a long way from direct intervention, and I think it was intentional on the writer's part to let us arrive at our own judgments about it. I can't properly express how much I admire that -- they really are not shrinking from defining Dexter as someone who executes snap peremptory sentences, executing innocent (not convicted in a court of law) fellow citizens in the process, yet they move forward fully confident we will embrace Dexter and his skewed world view. That is utterly admirable -- the stark portrait AND the confidence in their protagonist. I myself was altogether in his corner when I first watched -- Meridian was a heartless bastard causing needless death with his words.

Now obviously that last interpretation is one perspective laid before us, but the other angle is there too. In fact it might be said that the reason Dexter does not allow Meridian to speak is that the Doctor got to him. Dexter himself was rendered vulnerable and came up against the unspeakable dark demon in his belly. Dexter was exposed and saw the Doctor as the facilitator to unleashing his agonies to run rampant -- diabolical Doctor docent to the wicked den of most-hidden inner Dexter. Therefore he could not be allowed to speak, just as with some mystical monsters and sirens -- you must not allow them to talk to you or seduce you with their song, for it will be your undoing.

In that context, Dexter could be seen as desperately trying to suppress a psychic rupture, and takes a man's life to accomplish this -- a selfish act guided by near hysterical delusional ideations that sent him shattered from the office, not a case of dispassionate application of Harry's "high ideals." But as I say, I think it was intentional that it was left out there to be variously interpreted, according to one's life experience, and that is a beautiful beautiful thing. Also the way our actor/director delivered the part was magnificent. He seemed to exude that same kind of smug self-satisfaction and master-manipulator mien that I saw many a time in those jerks.

A funny thing comes up as I think back on some group sessions as a kid (all part of that early "tell us what's wrong" phase my parents went through): large group, about 30 people, in a large residence gathered around a circle. The order of the day was confrontation and predictably enough it got heated. One aggressive fast-talker from Detroit was giving the verbal dress-down to a taciturn HUGE dude who was not in the mood to participate much. It kept on. Huge guy gets up and mumbles some few things not very loud -- something like: "I can show....mumble mumble mumble...." He got up and went to the kitchen. I guess most just thought he needed a break for water or some such thing, and sort of forgot about him until moments later he emerged with a monster butcher knife ready to plunge it into our loud talker. I was next to the kitchen and saw him come out and he was not easy to stop, but lost some steam after a time (AND AFTER others intervened to help me!). Thankfully he was not interested in stabbing me, so guess what? -- I survived to talk Dexter many many many years later.

Oddly that was not what I thought about as Dexter strode out onto that basketball court to stab his bully. A friend of mine had brought a kitchen knife to school to stab his bully just like that, but got suspended before he could carry it out, as it was going to be pretty much the same deal -- just walk right up holding knife, plunge in stomach. So guess it is fair to say DEXTER is somewhat nostalgic for me in a number of ways.....
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post #4811 of 6863 Old 02-22-2012, 09:03 AM
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It takes three scenes for LaGuerta to get Neil Perry to confess he's not ITK, setting up the big reveal at the end of the episode. Love the way the show uses the method Perry used to pretend to be ITK (breaking into Miami Metro's firewall protection to peek at the ITK and cops' files) to share with the audience some backstory about how Maria and Doakes, once partners, went their separate ways when the former stole the spotlight during a crime scene.

As to Perry needing to break firewall safeguards to access police reports, aren't these a matter of public record? I was told I needed to pay a $5 fee to have one copied, but it apparently was the otherwise internal document generated by the responding officer, so isn't that what Perry was supposedly looking at? Also had a question about the promotion -- there seemed to be some little indication that perhaps Doakes got short shrifted or cheated through the process -- not accredited with an important bust, but I couldn't figure out where that dissatisfaction arose from. In any case if there was any kind of official documentation of LaGuerta's promotion, and the big bust was cited as a tipping factor, or even acknowledged as a pivotal career landmark, Perry could have determined all he needed to know from public records it seems, without leaping to any assumptions of his violating computer security in the process. I don't know -- found that whole sequence a bit confusing....

Also another procedural thing -- are court-ordered supervisors allowed to cut out early, or not show up and the visitation proceeds as if they were there?

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Being tipped that 'Shrink Wrap' would be the episode that would reveal ITK's identity it's possible most people watching guessed Rudy Cooper was ITK based on all the 'body parts' and 'lovely legs' dialogue he uttered (again, a lot of it very 'pun'ny). I wasn't looking at the show with those eyes back then though, and when the camera followed Rudy into that meat locker I remember my jaw dropping to the floor... at the show re-using the same 'Blood Theme' music twice in a row, once for Rudy's 'big reveal' scene and then the closing credits.

Are you saying that prior to first airing there was an indication that the ITK's identity would be revealed? For my part, I did notice that in the early part of the episode Rudy was driving up with Deb and had extraordinarily ghoulish green-tinted coloration to his face in that light -- the only thing I can recall ever tipped the hand, if ever so slightly.

Just after that Laguerta is talking over Dexter's shoulder and seems to be back on the make once more, acting suggestively -- I thought they had put that little plot avenue to bed after only one episode, since we have not seen her acting that way, but then this appears again kind of out of the blue. Be interesting to see when they dropped it, as I don't remember a thing about it, including that it even was ever there in the first place.
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post #4812 of 6863 Old 02-22-2012, 09:39 AM
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^^^ The week leading up to the premiere of 'Shrink Wrap' every Showtime promo for "Dexter" the announcer said 'the identity of the ITK will finally be revealed during this episode.' Showtime actually repeated that promo right before it repeated 'Shrink Wrap' the summer of '07 leading up to Season 2's premiere, which is when I saw the episode for the first time. Home video viewers lucked out I guess, because they didn't see the freight train that everybody that watched this episode on Showtime knew was coming.
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post #4813 of 6863 Old 02-22-2012, 09:51 AM
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"Shrink Wrap" is one of my all-time favorite eps. Tony Goldwyn was good as the shrink (didn't know he had directed this ep though I've noticed his name later as director). I was a bit shocked to find that he played the shrink as he has really matured since Ghost. Almost as much as a change as Anthony Michael Hall from Breakfast Club to The Dead Zone. Geek all growed up.

Jerry. Just remember. Its not a lie . . . if you believe it. GC
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post #4814 of 6863 Old 02-22-2012, 11:09 AM
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Interesting on the give-away about ITK there. The showrunners not inclined to do that type of thing much -- at least with regard to their big big reveal (though it has been said their "Next On" segments show too much). Maybe they should have started promoting when Dexter will learn the professor is dead, right after that restaurant episode from last season, since everyone seemed to guess it anyway. But with the ITK identity, I guess they must have thought they were losing their audience, or needed to pump the numbers a bit.

Agree, daryl zero, SHRINK WRAP a great installment on great early DEXTER, and the good Doc was excellent in this part -- never knew he directed either, so thanks for that supplemental info Dad!
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post #4815 of 6863 Old 02-23-2012, 05:54 AM
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Did anyone get a " Tell us what you think about Dexter" email from Showtime this week?
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post #4816 of 6863 Old 02-23-2012, 05:57 AM
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Not me. Maybe people that registered to log into SHO's website/forum (not me) got it.
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post #4817 of 6863 Old 02-23-2012, 12:42 PM
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^^^OMG! -- Dad, think we could trigger a SYSTEM FAIL if we gave 'em what they seem to have asked for? -- guess it wasn't directly stated, but if they were soliciting opinions, is there an associated email address?
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post #4818 of 6863 Old 02-23-2012, 12:59 PM
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Not me. Maybe people that registered to log into SHO's website/forum (not me) got it.

Yea I think I signed onto the TW Showtime site way back but I never got any mail. It's a Nielsen ratings site

http://home.reelresearch.com/NewSurv...ferName=dexfan
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post #4819 of 6863 Old 02-24-2012, 07:02 AM
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Jennifer Carpenter will be a guest on tonight's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (12:37AM ET/PT, 11:37PM CT) on CBS. Set those DVR's!
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post #4820 of 6863 Old 02-26-2012, 02:45 PM
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'The Dexter 2012/2013 Rewatch Project'
Ep.109: 'FATHER KNOWS BEST'
By dad1153, AVSForum.com - Feb. 26, 2012




Plot Summary: Dexter inherits a house from a man called Joe Driscoll, who claimed to be his biological father. Dexter travels with Rita to pack and clear the house for selling, but Debra and Rudy unexpectedly show up to help them. Dexter investigates the death of Joe in the morgue and with his neighbor. Meanwhile Sergeant Doakes shoots and kills a man and Angel is requested by the Internal Affairs to testify. Paul presses Rita to visit his children. (Source: IMDB).

Premiere Dates: 11/26/06 (SHO), 4/13/08 (CBS)
Writer: Melissa Rosenberg
Director: Adam Davidson
AVS Comments: our good OK friend gwsat was the first to start the reaction chain at what happened the night before (click link to read more).




I have a scar in my body that I got sword-fish fighting. I lost.

This episode aired (edited for network TV) on CBS at 10:40 p.m. (delayed start by a sporting event earlier in the day) on Sunday, 4/13/08. It got 6.39 million viewers (Source: HOTP Thread/Fredfa... Hi Fred! ).
Second (of 11) episodes written by Melissa Rosenberg.
Only episode of "Dexter" directed by journeyman TV director Adam Davidson. Before doing this one-off directing gig with the show Davidson worked on 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Criminal Minds'; after "Dexter" Adam worked on 'Lie To Me,' 'Big Love,' 'Parenthood,' 'Community' and many other shows.
The long-awaited face-to-face meeting between Dexter and the Ice Truck Killer finally takes place. This being "Dexter" though (and a Melissa Rosenberg-penned script to boot) it's a different beast than I think anyone expected, especially those of us that didn't know who Rudy was (and knowing who he really is only adds to the pathos of this episode on repeat viewing). The 'A' story of this episode is so rich and full of twisted stuff ('cable guy') that the Doakes-shoots-an-unarmed-man and Paul-wants-more-time-with-Rita's-kids 'B' stories feel like filler. In the end even these secondary plots serve vital fuctions setting up stuff for the rest of the series, making this another standout episode.
Second consecutive episode in which Jennifer Carpenter and Julie Benz show plenty of flesh. Again, feast on these moments/scenes as they become scarce and rare in latter seasons when we get more manly ass shots (Lundy, Quinn...) than leading lady nudity. At least in 'Father Knows Best' the opening shower scene serves the purpose of showing the scar in Dex's torso that plays a pivotal importance in the flashbacks to little Dexter's hospital scenes.
The shooting of the unarmed Haitian man by Doakes pays off in a latter episode. Seeing it here though (especially the scene where Doakes shares with LaGuerta what the death squadrons led by the man he shot did to Haitian people) it strikes me that "Dexter" is attempting to show that the burning desire for justice is as strong within Doakes as the need for Dexter to kill deserving bad guys (emphasis on 'kill'). The difference is that Dex is methodical, calculating and patient about the way he achieves his goals, while Doakes' 'bull in a china shop' persona/methods (why couldn't Doakes calmly ask Batista to turn the car around and follow the Haitian guy? Unless Doakes' intention all along was to kill the Haitian guy) gets him in trouble. BTW...
... did I get it right that LaGuerta used her influence and the US Government's Armed Forces (!) arranged for the shooting troubles for Doakes to go away with Internal Affairs? The evidence of the bullet pattern from Dexter's report and Batista's testimony should have been devastating for Doakes' claim of self defense. Looks like the 'Dex gets lucky' magic that has saved Dexter's bacon in latter seasons was working strongly this season on Doakes' behalf.
Nice acting moments for David Zayas (the most underused regular cast member, IMHO) as he struggles to do the right thing and honor his father's dying wish for him to be an honest man (punctuated by the cold 'who gives a s***' reality of the IA cop interrupting Batista's heartfelt monologue to switch the tape) by ratting out Doakes. I'd forgotten, since Doakes has been out of the picture for four seasons now, how the regulars interacted with and bounced off of Doakes' personality during regular scenes (like Angel sharing with Doakes his single indiscretion in his marriage right before the shooting).
Paul's near-rape of Rita (which I'd forgotten about and scared me half-to-death thinking he was going to do it) seals his fate. We didn't know how (most assumed it'd be a simple kill room ritual) but we were sure Dex would take care of Paul.
'Father Knows Best' (the name of a popular 50's sitcom with the prototypical perfect father, stay-at-home happy mother and perfect obedient children with meaningless problems) is the first sizable and permanent chink in Dexter's view of Harry Morgan as a perfect surrogate father when Dex finds out he was lied to about his biological father not dying in an accident when he was little. But Dexter, unlike us, doesn't know that his real father's death has been set up by Rudy Cooper/Brian Moser so he can watch how his little brother will react to the news. It's a f***ed-up episode with a name as ironic as it is (in the darkest hue of black humor) hilarious, but it's also Brian trying to pierce Dexter's view of his perfect surrogate father in an ongoing attempt to get Dex to come over to his side.
As the flashbacks make clear though, the big irony of 'Father Know Best' is that Harry was probably right in keeping Dex's biological father a secret from his son. Remember, Dex's killer urges didn't show up until he was older (per the flashbacks in the 'Pilot' episode) but Harry was already preparing young Dexter for a life of hiding out his true self (the upcoming 'monster inside you' flashback) so it made sense for what he had planned for Dex's future for Harry to lie to him about his real father being alive. The fact Harry honored Dexter's childhood wish to thank the man who donated blood for his operation (i.e. the 'Thank You' card Dexter found among Driscoll's stuff) goes a long way to redeem Harry from the lie that he told Dexter (which Rudy cleverly tried to use to drive a wedge between Dexter's Harry memories and Brian's upcoming attempt to seduce Dex to come over to his side).
It's a little over-the-top in symbolim, but with this episode all of Dexter's immediate relatives (Laura Moser being killed/cut to pieces in the container, Harry Morgan finding little Dex in said container along with Brian and Joseph Driscoll donating blood for young Dex to be operated) are connected to him by blood in significant ways other than just biological/DNA make-up. Even the 'Thank You' card that litte Dexter makes (a giant drop with a happy face) drives home the point loudly, which at first seems to disturb Harry a little when he sees the card.
This is the first episode in the series in which we, as an audience, know more about what's happening in Dexter's world than the lead protagonist since we now share the secret of ITK's true identity that Dexter doesn't know about. As Rudy watches and sees how Dexter reacts to the events surrounding his real father's death so are we, aware that at this point Rudy has the upper hand over the serial killer we've hung out with for eight episodes. Up until this point in the series we knew what Dexter knew; his confusion was our confusion, and his view of the world was all within the realm of what he knew. I almost wish that for 'Father Knows Best' we had switched protagonits' POV so we could see AND HEAR what Brian Moser was thinking as he met his brother (his emotional 'Dexter!' at the door and hug when Brian finally met his brother face-to-face was surprisingly touching, a moment of real humanity in an otherwise devoid-of-true-feelings murderer) and saw Dexter's reaction in the little macabre playground he had set just to observe his lil' bro's behavior. Brian's goodbye to Dexter ('truthfully, I think it was the best way to get to know you') resonates throughout the season's remaining episodes.
Unlike Rudy deep-sea diving to recover a body and set it up as a Dexter crime scene for Miami Metro to discover, you can see how (through hours of methodical, boring planning) Brian could find out about Joe Driscoll (legal wills are filed with the court), kill him and set it up so Dexter would show up. But Rudy couldn't have planned for Rita and Deb showing up (see below). So, when Dex tells Rita when they're headed back to Miami he's happy they're alone again, he's expressing how Brian must have felt when he and Dex went for their bowling/ash dumping moment. It's the closest to the true Dexter (still pretending since to Dex Rudy's just Deb's latest boyfriend), other than the hilarious rope-cutting and garbage-disposing Moser sibling clean-up job, that Rudy gets to see during the whole weekend.
I'm really bad with names of songs. Can someone share the name of the song that Rudy puts on the record player that we hear while the gang half-performs (Rudy and Deb rockin' it) and half-cleans out Joe Driscoll's stuff?
This early in the series' run it's still-vulnerable Deborah that emotes and expresses all the rage and confusion at Harry's lies (when she intercepts Mazuka's call to Dex with the results) that Dexter cannot bring himself to experience. Even at the end, when he's reading his 'Thank You' card to Joe Driscoll, Dex's view of Harry is a little tarnished but not destroyed. To Deborah though, Harry lying to Dex about his father is as if Harry lied to her and she takes it personally.
It's interesting that both times Dex learned about Joseph Driscoll (when the notice about the inheritance came in the mail and when Mazuka called Dex with the results of the blood test) Deb was there to intercept both. If Dexter had received these mail/DNA results on his own without Deb, would he have shared the info with his foster sister? I don't think so, which makes Rudy's plans of watching how Dexter reacts to seeing his real father's things a little confusing (was Rudy just going to show up as Deb's boyfriend, or watch from a distance?)
We learn Dexter's blood type: AB negative.
ATTENTION CHINESE SPEAKING/READING AVS MEMBERS: Can anyone translate or read what the characters in the shirt Dexter wears when he talks to Deborah about the test results of Joe Driscoll means? There's no way a show like this would leave up to chance what's on Dexter's shirt, but I have no idea what it is. Any suggestions?
Rita immediately notices Joe Driscoll's Narcotics Anonymous chips, the result of years spent with a drug/alcohol-addicted abusive husband. This experience will come into play early in Season 2 when Dex confesses to Rita about an 'addiction' that sets the ball rolling with certain characters Dexter will meet that season.
Another carry-over from 'Father Knows Best' into Season 2: Dexter picks up bowling with his Miami Metro colleagues (in uniforms very similar to the one's Dexter's father is seen wearing in the pictures the find in his house), as close a sign that a little bit of Joe Driscoll exists within Dexter as the show ever got.
I'd totally forgotten the scene where Dexter examines the body of Joe Driscoll at the morgue, which on this repeat viewing stood out as a masterful moment (the less said about Dex's after hours return visit the better... that looked amateurish and very S5-S6 stupid). At this point in the series Dexter still wasn't as emotional and 'evolved' as later in the series. During his first moments examining the body, and later when Dex tells Rita/Deb/Rudy that Joe may have died from an unseen-by-the-coroner puncture wound, Dex is cold and unemotional when talking about his father as just another mystery to crack or thing to check out (what Rita perceived earlier in the episode as detachment). The moment a repressed image of little Dex seeing Driscoll's elbow tattoo pops into his head though (and later when he's spreading the ashes on the bowling alley's front porch and looking at the card) Dex acts a little more emotional and solemn, even when he's stealing blood from Joe's body for his DNA/blood test. It's another highlight-reel demo worthy moment from Michael C. Hall's portrayal of Dexter as an emotionles vessel gradually becoming filled with real human feelings.
Notice how, the first time we hear Credence Clearwater Revival's 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain?,' it's very difused and echoey as we hear it through the hazy Dexter memory of himself as a little kid watching Joe Driscoll driving. When we hear the song again (during Dex's 'I once had a father...' monologue while Rudy pays a return visit to the old lady) it's clear, just as Dex's renewed perception of the stranger he never knew as his real father with all the implications that revelation carry. Great use of both a song and diffused sound as a marking point of a character's emotional state.
Does anyone else feel guilty that they're happy to see Rudy pay a return visit to the old neighbor to clear the last remaining connection between him and Joe Driscoll's death? Since we know how Brian will end up in a few episodes I felt kind-of sorry to see the old woman killed for a secret that will become meaningless. But she was kind-of annoying though, and I admit that the few times Dexter blew her off I was laughing out loud. When I mentioned in my summary of 107 that we in the audience were cheering the future deaths of many people at the happiness of Dex finding out ITK was still out there it was the old neighbor in 'Father Knows Best' that I had in mind.
The container with Joe Driscoll's ashes says he was cremated on Dec. 1st of 2006. 'Father Knows Best' aired on Nov. 26 of '06. Had the first season of "Dexter" aired a week later this episode would have fit perfectly the chronology of the show (what we're watching JUST HAPPENED). As it is, when it originally aired, 'Father Knows Best' happened in the not-too-distant future.
DEBism of the episode: (to Dex after she finds out the test results from Mazuka): 'Joe Driscoll was your bio dad.' I distinctly remember hearing Jennifer Carpenter utter the words 'bio dad' and instantly falling in love with her character even more than I already was. The way JC spits out those words... freaking adorable, but also kind-of sad.
DEX's favorite quip: (to Cody after he sees Dexter's scar when he gets out of the shower) 'Sword fight. I won.'



(Pics courtesy of this website)
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post #4821 of 6863 Old 02-26-2012, 09:20 PM
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Can't find a video of it but according to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0866567/soundtrack the dancing music is Slowride by Foghat.

Jerry. Just remember. Its not a lie . . . if you believe it. GC
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post #4822 of 6863 Old 02-29-2012, 10:41 AM
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The shooting of the unarmed Haitian man by Doakes pays off in a latter episode. Seeing it here though (especially the scene where Doakes shares with LaGuerta what the death squadrons led by the man he shot did to Haitian people) it strikes me that "Dexter" is attempting to show that the burning desire for justice is as strong within Doakes as the need for Dexter to kill deserving bad guys (emphasis on 'kill'). The difference is that Dex is methodical, calculating and patient about the way he achieves his goals, while Doakes' 'bull in a china shop' persona/methods (why couldn't Doakes calmly ask Batista to turn the car around and follow the Haitian guy? Unless Doakes' intention all along was to kill the Haitian guy) gets him in trouble. BTW...
... did I get it right that LaGuerta used her influence and the US Government's Armed Forces (!) arranged for the shooting troubles for Doakes to go away with Internal Affairs? The evidence of the bullet pattern from Dexter's report and Batista's testimony should have been devastating for Doakes' claim of self defense. Looks like the 'Dex gets lucky' magic that has saved Dexter's bacon in latter seasons was working strongly this season on Doakes' behalf.

Yes, I think they were trying to draw some parallels here with Doakes going after that guy -- perhaps some unintended comparisons as well. If we read between the lines of Doakes' confessional moments with LaGuerta, we are supposed to identify his shooting victim as deserving of death, but just as with Dexter, the justification leaves something to be desired. Dexter has just killed a man for what he deemed to be inappropriate and/or insensitive verbal counsel. Here it is intimated that Doakes' target may have been a Tonton Macoutes, who Doakes says did such things as forced fathers to rape daughters. I don't know how such "forcing" might be accomplished, but force seems incompatible with the act, so here we have represented rationale that seems very suspect. It does sound thoroughly evil however, so that explanation might have convinced LaGuerta to contact certain Federal agencies, and thereby we have more rewards and credit earned for injudicious unilateral omnipotent "street-justice" assassination, provided some few words can be assembled to condone the act(s). This show turning out to be a pretty safe haven for all manner of poorly supported death-dealing vigilantism.

This is one of the most fascinating things to me about DEXTER -- the way in which it seamlessly, through narrative flow and brilliant exploitation of all the supporting arts/techniques, apparently disrupts our ordinary critical thinking. I think upon first watch some years ago, I was fully prepared to accept that our Dr. Meridian of SHRINK WRAP might have been guilty of some pretty heinous manipulation that was causing needless innocent death, so perhaps could be accorded some Dexter-style karmic recompense without ensuing tearful despondency, but I see upon rewatch that that course was not necessarily at all supported by just the facts at hand. I had allowed my world view to be skewed by Dexter's perceptions, which considering that he is such an extreme representation, is nothing short of a towering achievement. It does make me very worried about the jury pool however -- I hope I never have to face a jury of my peers who would conclude that saying some insensitive things to people would mark a man as worthy of death, or that connecting some random pedestrian with a hazy memory on the basis of a flash sighting, renders him somehow qualified for summary instant death by firing squad of one (BTW, not sure we were supposed to conclude he was unarmed, just that Batista tellingly never saw a gun).

In any case, the haphazard manner in which Doakes' extemporaneous execution of that guy came together as absolute serendipity from a passing encounter, underscores just how reckless and self-righteous, with grand sense of invulnerability, the Doakes character is. This exposure of his less than admirable traits, an apparent laying of some groundwork for our later acceptance of Dexter's plans to destroy Doakes with a frame-up for which he may be otherwise undeserving. One might even cast Doakes as having murdered an "innocent" here -- a person that Doakes may have judged culpable of great evil, but not convicted of any crime that we yet know of -- so that Dexter now may have the self-license to even kill Doakes in turn, let alone just frame him. Certainly Dexter knew after this that Doakes was fully capable of murder on a whim (or with some suspicion), so we might have a preemptive self-defense angle as well, inasmuch as Doakes certainly suspects Dexter generally now, and very specifically later. Interesting though that with Jeremy, Dexter gave him a pass because the guy Jeremy killed was "deserving", so if that were to factor in here, Doakes might be expected to get a pass as well, but there come to be some few more strikes against Doakes, at least in Dexter's mind. I've actually totally forgotten if this killing of the Haitian comes into play at all in Dexter's considerations....

All for now...altogether a very tight solid solid solid installment -- a grand tapestry of interwoven themes and threads with different projected points of fruition, but all coalescing in a riveting, taut, portrait of fascinating characters against the accessible mileau of the police procedural. Small wonder I quickly came to love this show (and see that loyalty dwindle in later seasons....)
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post #4823 of 6863 Old 02-29-2012, 10:41 AM
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Quick question: how do we suppose Harry knew the blood type of Dexter's bio-dad? I don't even know my own type, so for that to occur to Harry as they tell him of Dexter's type and the existing blood shortage, seems a stretch....
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post #4824 of 6863 Old 02-29-2012, 11:04 AM
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^^^ Does that mean that Brian/Rudy is A-B negative too?

When the doctor tells Harry young Dexter's blood type it makes sense that Harry would go looking for the only biological relative of Dex he knows of (because of the legal documents from the first flashback where the adoption is official, or Harry just helped himself to use police resources) that could provide blood. This also highlights, subtly (and totally unknown to new viewers), that Harry made no attempt to contact or keep in touch with the other Laura Moser kid that was in the blood-soaked container that Harry didn't bother picking up.
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post #4825 of 6863 Old 02-29-2012, 06:08 PM
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^^^You know, you are absolutely right about that -- I was thinking the way Harry took off on a mission that the implication was that he must have already somehow inexplicably known Driscoll's blood type, but as you suggest, he may just have been going for research using either the adoption form (don't know why that might contain such information, but admittedly do not know if it would be there), OR through using police resources, if such information could be found that way. I also did not consider that Harry might just have called Driscoll, said that Dexter was in trouble, and asked "what is your blood type?" -- that might have happened too!

I knew there was a reason I rely upon your informed observations -- in fact, you are getting so thorough, you have with this last installment, illuminated almost every facet that I might have thought of....well, I might yet post one or two more little tidbits....
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'The Dexter 2012/2013 Rewatch Project'
Ep.110: 'SEEING RED'
By dad1153, AVSForum.com - Mar. 4, 2012




Plot Summary: Dexter, sent to investigate a blood-soaked crime scene, is gripped by a suppressed memory. Meanwhile, Rita is charged with assaulting Paul and could lose the children in a custody battle. Angel investigates a hunch regarding the Ice Truck Killer. (Source: DexterWiki).

Premiere Dates: 12/3/06 (SHO), 4/27/08 (CBS)
Writer: Kevin Maynard
Director: Michael Cuesta
AVS Comments: klouseau (who back then had yet to see the first two episodes of the season but was nevertheless hooked) reacted first to 'Seing Red' (click link to read more).




I know a lawyer, Theo Huxtable. We wears weird-colored sweaters to court, but other than that he's the best.

After skipping a week (CBS showed a made-for-TV movie the previous week) this episode aired (REALLY edited for network TV) on CBS on Sunday, 4/27/08. It got a 2.0 in the demo rating, up from the previously-shown-on-CBS episode (Source: HOTP Thread/Media Life Magazine).
Only "Dexter" episode written by Kevin R. Maynard, who is also credited as a 'staff writer' (i.e. polished/added words to someone else's teleplay) on three other Season 1 "Dexter" episodes. His previous work included scripts for "Hercules: The Legendary Journey" and "Xena: Warrior Princess." Since leaving the show Kevin has worked mostly on reality TV ("Addicted To Beauty," "Dress My Nest," "Jessica Simpson: The Price of Beauty," etc) except for a single script/episode in 2008 for "Army Wives."
Fifth of six Season 1 episodes directed by Michael Cuesta, who also directed the "Dexter" Pilot and the upcoming S1 finale.
After ten episodes of build-up 'Seeing Red' finally sheds a clear light into what made Dexter Morgan the 'damaged' kid that Harry saw fit to mold into a vigilante serial killer. Despite its subject matter "Dexter" had kept its violent imagery/gore suggestive and subtle up until 'Seeing Red.' For the big reveal of Dex's childhood trauma though, the producers cash-in their chips of goodwill with the audience and set the gruesome/gore meter off the charts. It's a story/character-driven decision that to this day works in making us not question why Dexter is they way he is. This, along with the show's trademark humor (Dexter's face after striking Paul = LOL! ) make 'Seeing Red' one of the best and most memorable "Dexter" episodes of all time. Dex casually mentioning that 'five women gave their life, their blood, for this moment' right before he re-enters room 108 actually made the hair of the back of my neck stand.
I didn't watch the CBS version of "Dexter" (why have a Big Mac when you can taste Filet Mignon? ) but I made it a point to catch 'Seeing Red' because I was curious how they could show it on network TV without totally butchering it. From memory: the network censors cut Dex's first and last trips to room 108 down to a few frames/seconds, obscured/difused out-of-focus/zoomed-out the background as much as they could during the Mazuka/Doakes/Deb scenes looking for clues, took out the close-ups of the needle in Paul's vein and cut out the Rudy-visits-Dex-to-get-his-phone-back subplot (but kept the Deb-Dex confrontation in the blood test room, which shows less of the 'fake blood' background than when Rudy was there). Other cuts (the deposition of Rita scene) were just to get the original running time (56 min.) down to 42 mins. I was surprised that, despite CBS' butchering it, the essence of 'Seeing Red' still came through.
I'd totally forgotten how much Batista figures into this episode (VIP backstage passes to see Neil Diamond perform 'Kentucky Woman'... ohh Angel! ). He spots the former prostitute with the prosthetic painted nails (like, you know, Dex's 'magic blood' in S5) and gets Mazuka to point him to Rudy Cooper, who then tries to kill him. If Batista hadn't spotted the painted-nail prosthetics woman, would Miami Metro even had gotten on to Rudy? BTW, the recently-divorced woman that Batista was dancing with before he spotted the prosthetic-arm ex-hooker, are we to assume that was 'the right one' for Angel and that it got away because his cop instincts took over? Angel really hit it off with this woman, unlike Mazuka who seems to hit it off with every hot woman in Miami on practically every episode he's in... how the hell...?
The official definition of Acrotomophilia for those curious how/why Mazuka would know about these things.
When Batista hands over his card to Rudy it shows his first name as 'Angelo,' which doesn't make sense because 'Angel' is spelled the same in both English and Spanish. Are Batista's parents Italian? Or is this another 'Angel gets s*** on' joke that whoever printed his cards botched Batista's first name with an extra 'o'? I don't know, but seeing 'Angelo' on the card made me LOL.
Right after Batista survives Rudy's stabbing (though we didn't know that back then; the episode ends without us knowing if Angel is dead or alive) he shows up with flowers for Deborah at Miami Metro, reconciles and sets-up the next two episodes' plot. Now, is this 'Plan B' for Rudy because he didn't kill Batista? Was Rudy going to kidnap/use Batista's remains to stage another crime scene or fancy clue for Dexter to read? Or did Brian just want to kill Batista because he was onto his scent? Regardless, when the killing of Angel fell through Rudy's next step was to kiss and make-up with Deb. If Batista hadn't started snooping, would Rudy have kept on teasing Dex with more crime scenes and stuff (and for how long)? Did Brian move into 'Plan B' with Deborah because he knew that the heat was onto him now that Batista survived the stabbing? Just a 'what if' speculative scenario.
It's not just the blood-soaked hotel room (which we don't see until Dexter steps into it for the first time) but Dexter's reaction to it that gives the first scene its power. We're used to our 'hero' being in control and the rock-solid center of calm when faced with the most gruesome stuff. When Dex gets his panic attack/repressed memories/nausea it hits us harder than his Miami Metro colleagues, who have no traumas/memories attached to the still-gruesome-but-they're-used-to-it crime scene.
Sgt. Doakes' 'something finally got to you... I guess you're human after all' comments to Dex after the latter staggers out of the hotel totally shaken is a rare moment of begrudging respect for a colleague. The weaker Dexter seems the more Doakes respects him, which is the flip-side to Dexter's earlier 'room full of cops' comment about Doakes being the only one that senses something is wrong with pretend-normal everyday Dexter.
Dexter also loses control of his emotions when he strikes Paul with the frying pan (an incident whose consequences lead all the way up to the end of Season 2*). Is the shaking from the blood-soaked room impairing his judgement when he acted on emotion/provocation? Dexter can and does something about Paul because he's good at it and something that is within his control, unlike his repressed memories still haunting him.
Is this why Dexter goes back to room 108 after framing Paul, to get control back over the repressed demons he partially unleashed by letting them fully come out in the end? Despite being very emotional and traumatizing to see himself as a blood-soaked baby ('He scares me, I want him to go away'), Dex's return to room 108 at the end of the episode is the most rational and cold calculation he makes: get this torrent of memories to all come out at once so he can deal with them and not be prone to more errors of judgement like striking Rita's husband on a whim. Even at his weakest Dexter is the strongest, smartest and most cold-hearted calculating person in the room. Not necessarily because he wants to because he has to to stay free/alive, per the training Harry drilled into young Dexter's psyche.
Second episode in a row in which Paul Bennett is clonked in the head (after last week Rita took a swing at him).
Dex's throwaway comment to Rita on the phone (after she's taken for questioning by authorities for hitting Paul) that he's familiar with how the criminal justice system works (so he can keep getting the guilty one's that get away free on his kill room table) is hilarious.
Was Paul's case against Rita as iron-clad and ominous as they made it seem in this episode? I don't think so, and you'd think the courts (who are almost always biased in favor of fit mothers) would be more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to a working mother without a criminal record when she says she was almost raped than an ex-convict (even one that the system wants to favor as an exemplary case of a parolee going straight) for custody of their children. But, the same way the show expects us to buy Dex's trauma as an excuse for his behavior (more below), the legal threat Paul's accusations hangs over Rita are believable-enough (at least for the duration of the episode) for us to buy that Dex (already tense and traumatized from room 108) had to do to Paul what he does. Our reward is the scene of glowing, truly happy Rita cheering her ex going back to prison (Julie Benz has never looked prettier) but, to the show's credit, this action by Dex would come back to haunt him and Rita's family all through next season.
Yes, that's Theo Huxtable himself Malcolm-Jamal Warner as the lawyer that Dex knows (how exactly?) helping Rita out. Unlike other child actors that fell off the face of the Earth (or flat on their face) after their hit show went away, Malcom's been pretty busy and has gotten steady work in the years since "The Cosby Show" went off the air.
Keep track of the number of times the show uses a glowing red light on Dex's face even when he's not in the blood-soaked hotel room (like the first time Sgt. Doakes and Deb open the door). Particularly when Dex is in Paul's room and finds/stages evidence (and he says Paul's gun could lead to a 'family slaughter'), the red light becomes a visual symbol/metaphor for the unleased uncomfort (not the memories until the very end) from that room sticking with Dexter as he goes about his daily chores.
Right after Dex checks out Paul's room (and has another violent flash of reprthe little kid) we see him returning to his apartment and docking his Slice of Life boat right next to the complex (clearly shot in Miami). This moment is played in silence (except background BGM) but it feels like we should be hearing a Dexter voice-over that the producers decided not to use. The scene still works as a transition moment but it feels kind-of odd.
I don't know about you but I love the back-and-forth between LaGuerta and Capt. Matthews, both in their dialogue exchanges and the departmental decisions they make (like LaGuerta re-opening the Ice Truck Killer case without giving Matthews the heads-up). These two know each other's hot buttons and they keep pushing them, often and hard, just to piss each other off. I always wondered why the hatred these two felt for each other never translated into a sexual relationship. 'Seeing Red's' reveal that Matthews sees Maria as just another 'spic detective' presents a nasty racist side to his character though, one that the producers/writers of "Dexter" have managed to tone-down over the next five seasons in which the LaGuerta-Matthews' feuds seem personal and not race related.
Second S1 episode without Harry Morgan flashbacks, which weren't needed since this episode was all about Rudy working overtime to get Dexter to remember stuff.
The 'bromance' between Dexter and Rudy is sad for Deb (more below) but it allows the show's dark humor to shine through: Dex sharing with Rudy beers and steaks (meat knife), Rudy not getting 'wood' when talking to Deborah about her brother's 'bloodbath' (which turns her 'horny'), Doakes' 'turn that s*** off' to Devo coming up on the 108 FM station that the ITK set up in room 108, etc.
Love it when Rudy asks Dexter while the latter is testing tools for blood-splatter patterns if he had tried testing an electric saw, which Dex was unaware of (because the repressed memory of his trauma is so deep he doesn't even acknowledge the existence of electric chainsaws?) but Rudy knew about and wanted to trigger the memory on his younger bro. It almost goes without saying that Rudy deliberately left his cellphone in Dexter's apartment so he would have an excuse to go visit him at Miami Metro.
Now that we know how the whole thing ends it's hilarious to look back at the consuming jealousy Deborah has at how close Dexter and Rudy bonded during this episode. But, back when this originally aired and we knew Rudy was ITK but didn't know how things would end (unless you had read the book), in 'Seeing Red' we were watching a clueless Dex (whose meter for other folks like him with 'dark passengers' wasn't obviously turned on when Rudy was around) be manipulated and played with like a puppy to Rudy's whim. And in the process of letting Rudy close to him (but not enough to truly see him) Dex was pushing Deborah away, whom we knew loved her foster brother unconditionally. It pained us to see Deb suffering because Dex was letting someone dangerous get close to him. At no point are we concerned for the innocents that Rudy or Dexter might kill (or have killed in the case of the ITK victims whose blood is prominently featured as a visual metaphor for Dexter's root trauma), just that Dex is in danger from Rudy and we're worried because Dex doesn't kno who he's dealing with. The "Dexter" writers/producers are toying with viewer's emotions by putting characters we know at the mercy of someone (Rudy) we know is bad for both the Morgan siblings. It's done for drama, but it doesn't work unless the audience is 100% invested in the characters they're watching (which we were) being played against each other by a bad guy they don't know about (but we do). It's Hitchcockian-type storytelling at its finest.
The two scenes in 'Seeing Red' when Dex doesn't confide in his sister (first on the elevator, then in Dex's blood splatter test room) are the root for the distancing between brother-sister that fuels Season 5's eventual 'Deb likes Dex more than a brother' storyline. Compared with how its handled this season (the heart-to-heart between Dex and Deb on the splatter room really felt touching and genuine) the work the writers did in 2011 feels weak and amateurish, IMO.
This 'Dexter' rewatch has made me marvel at how its skilled writing/directing/acting have made me overlook leaps of logic that I normally apply to other movies/TV shows. 'Seeing Red' is a perfect example of this because it's asking us, point-blank and without trickery (though more details emerged over the next few episodes/seasons), to accept that a little baby named Dexter Morgan was traumatized so badly by what he saw/felt as a child (which we're shown enough of to 'get it') that he had no way to be repaired, brought back to 'normal' and was condemned to become a monster. We debate whether Harry was wrong at turning a moldeable kid/teenager into a serial killer when, with proper treatment/love/upbringing, he could have been made whole and/or different. But through six seasons of "Dexter" the core trauma that we saw him experience as a baby (the chainsaw dismemberment of her mother in front of him AND his brother, which we didn't know yet) has remained so convincingly revealed/unfolded/shown (over the series' first ten episodes... show a serial killer being good at what he does, then show the root cause of his killer instinct) and followed-through that we still don't question that Dexter HAS to kill because it's built within his inner-circuitry from what he experienced. If you accept the show's central idea of Dex's trauma being overwhelming of his life though, then every convict or law breaker that's ever been convicted can give you sob stories (my dad abused me, my uncle molested me, my friends forced me to rob that liquor store, I was bullied in school, etc.) that explain his/her criminal life. "Dexter" presents a fictitious universe in which many unbelievable elements (Harry being the cop that found Dexter, his teaching him from an early age to hide his emotions, Brian growing up to become an equally-expert serial killer parallel to Dexter without both knowing each other, etc.) had to come together to create this extraordinary character. It amazes me that, even when acknowledging the trickery and fakery of the foundations of the "Dexter" franchise, I can't help but be won over by it even as I see the root trauma of Dexter's 'born in blood' lifestyle as an extreme case of an excuse to do crimes that he (and Harry) should know better than to rely on to overlook how wrong what they did/do is/was.
In latter seasons the character of Laura Moser (Dexter's mother) would be written/acted in such a way that made it clear she was no saint or smart person. For the purpose of Season 1 and this episode specifically though, she's a recollection in Dexter's mind of a kind person that (maybe she did, maybe she didn't in reality) had her young son's interests in mind when she told her baby boy his mother loved him very much and to close his eyes right before she was cut into pieces. Even for the purpose of establishing the central trauma that made Dexter the damaged person he was/is, in 'Seeing Red' we're still witnessing the disjointed/repressed memory of a child because of present-day shock/trauma (the recreation in room 108 of something that triggers a repressed memory). The full picture won't emerge until 'Born Free' (Brian fills in some of the missing pieces) and throughout Seasons 2 and 3.
I find it interesting that 'Seeing Red,' an important entry in the "Dexter" canon, was done by a writer that has no other significant entries on any other TV show. Either Kevin Maynard had just one great script within him and this is it or, as he used to do to other scripts, the other writers from "Dexter" rewrote Kevin's 'Seeing Red' script and made it the masterpiece that director Michael Cuesta filmed.
DEBism of the episode: (to Dex after he mentions Mazuka wants her to go have drinks with him): 'I told him I have a yeast infection.' (Dex's 'it's a bit of an overshare' comeback is also pretty funny)
DEX's favorite quip: (in bed with Rita thinking about Deb trying to get him to open up) 'Harry taught me that: secrecy, self-reliance and a well-stocked cupboard of Hefty Bags.' Non-verbal quip: Dex wiping Paul's blood from Rita's kitchen floor with his sock after 'taking out the trash.'



(Pics courtesy of this website)


*: Seriously, if Dexter hadn't stricken Paul he wouldn't have had to dispose of him so quickly he leaves a shoe behind. A shoe that Paul tells Rita about, which she uses to confront Dexter after Paul is killed in prison. Dex, on the spot, confesses to framing Paul and mentions 'an addiction' that makes Rita send him to a group support that is where Dex meets Lila. Lila gets involved in Dex's life and eventually kills Sgt. Doakes so that he doesn't implicate Dexter into the Bay Harbor Butcher search that Dex was framing Doakes for. Bottom line: if Dexter doesn't strike Paul with the frying pan then Doakes would have still lived at the end of S2 because Dex would have never met Lila, who wouldn't have stolen GPS data from Dexter's car to find the cabin where Dexter kept Doakes imprisoned. Not that this is how the writers of the show would have gone if the Lila character hadn't existed, but a plausible 'imagine if' play-along scenario.
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post #4827 of 6863 Old 03-06-2012, 04:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

... in 'Seeing Red' we were watching a clueless Dex (whose meter for other folks like him with 'dark passengers' wasn't obviously turned on when Rudy was around) be manipulated and played with like a puppy to Rudy's whim. And in the process of letting Rudy close to him (but not enough to truly see him) Dex was pushing Deborah away, whom we knew loved her foster brother unconditionally. It pained us to see Deb suffering because Dex was letting someone dangerous get close to him. At no point are we concerned for the innocents that Rudy or Dexter might kill (or have killed in the case of the ITK victims whose blood is prominently featured as a visual metaphor for Dexter's root trauma), just that Dex is in danger from Rudy and we're worried because Dex doesn't kno who he's dealing with. The "Dexter" writers/producers are toying with viewer's emotions by putting characters we know at the mercy of someone (Rudy) we know is bad for both the Morgan siblings. It's done for drama, but it doesn't work unless the audience is 100% invested in the characters they're watching (which we were) being played against each other by a bad guy they don't know about (but we do). It's Hitchcockian-type storytelling at its finest.

Well said, well said. Could not have said it better myself, in fact. Absolutely correct about our lack of concern for the innocents, which already litter the landscape of Moser personal pasts, and will only post more imposing tolls from hereon. We don't favor Rudy here, as his kills are presented without benefit of the authoritative warrant of code, but to my interpretation many of Dexter's victims were sufficiently unvetted to reveal him more or less morally equivalent.

In hunting down Jeremy he declared he was in search of those who thought they had beat the system. That itself introduces the notion of retribution for possibly arrogant delusion, sans any other consideration, such as potential for future violence, so looks quite a bit like execution for holding certain attitudes which Dexter does not appreciate. And in Jeremy's case, he has already served penalty for his deeds, so again, holding a certain attitude seems to be the persuasive factor. In the case of Paul, he does something possibly more cruel -- doles out a life sentence, or if it results in Paul's death, murder by proxy, because he doesn't like what Paul does or who Paul is. But we don't either, so apparently we don't care, and happily root for Dexter and his scythe of affected ersatz moral superiority.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

This 'Dexter' rewatch has made me marvel at how its skilled writing/directing/acting have made me overlook leaps of logic that I normally apply to other movies/TV shows. 'Seeing Red' is a perfect example of this because it's asking us, point-blank and without trickery (though more details emerged over the next few episodes/seasons), to accept that a little baby named Dexter Morgan was traumatized so badly by what he saw/felt as a child (which we're shown enough of to 'get it') that he had no way to be repaired, brought back to 'normal' and was condemned to become a monster. We debate whether Harry was wrong at turning a moldeable kid/teenager into a serial killer when, with proper treatment/love/upbringing, he could have been made whole and/or different. But through six seasons of "Dexter" the core trauma that we saw him experience as a baby (the chainsaw dismemberment of her mother in front of him AND his brother, which we didn't know yet) has remained so convincingly revealed/unfolded/shown (over the series' first ten episodes... show a serial killer being good at what he does, then show the root cause of his killer instinct) and followed-through that we still don't question that Dexter HAS to kill because it's built within his inner-circuitry from what he experienced....It amazes me that, even when acknowledging the trickery and fakery of the foundations of the "Dexter" franchise, I can't help but be won over by it even as I see the root trauma of Dexter's 'born in blood' lifestyle as an extreme case of an excuse to do crimes that he (and Harry) should know better than to rely on to overlook how wrong what they did/do is/was.

You may be suggesting that the show itself asks us to go along with the premise of Dexter becoming killer through early trauma. I'm not so sure about that. Harry may think this is what explains Dexter. On the other hand, he may not really believe it -- it may be actually closer to some half-baked imagining that gives him self-license to shape Dexter into an aberrant individual. I think I have previously accepted that Harry really did believe it, but where is his intervention toward curbing that beast within, which he may think arose through the possibly condemning fate?

We only see Harry compounding public jeopardy by embracing the monster and honing the skills of the trade to ensure Dexter may foresee an unlimited vista of bodies massing in our futures. This to my mind points to some other, possibly quite sinister, motivation on Harry's part, not simply the recognition of horrendous seminal trauma which must be dealt with directly to mitigate the corrupting effects -- a recognition which presumably would have led toward restoring the mental health of his charge, not to mention helping preserve public safety, if he really held that conviction. Instead Harry inexplicably pursues the alternate path.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

After ten episodes of build-up 'Seeing Red' finally sheds a clear light into what made Dexter Morgan the 'damaged' kid that Harry saw fit to mold into a vigilante serial killer.

Your wording just above is pretty close to how I would put it. We have had this discussion before, but "the show" really has only put forth that Harry wants Dexter to accept himself, impulse to kill fully intact. Personally I find the concept of being made serial killer "born in blood" somewhat absurd, but that is not necessarily what I'm looking at here -- if the show was directing us toward it, I guess I would have to accept that they felt we would fall for that, but I'm trying to stay strictly with what we can verify, and that seems to be that yes, we understand Harry has urged to Dexter to accept his impulses, sharpen their implementation, and proceed full force into the world of the living to make his converts to death. Interestingly, I had thought Harry was more responsible for Dexter coming to the "born in blood" notion, but as we see, Harry is not even around when Dexter rediscovers the early events lurking deep within his psyche, so Harry not directly making the connection for Dexter -- that bridge may be established later (not sure when we first hear the "born in blood" notion, but I'll be looking for it).

I think it is not well understood what leads a person in the real world to this path, but I'm fairly certain that there are no cases of serial killers following the progression depicted here. I just can't connect why witnessing the horrendous butchering of your mother would then lead you to want to relive, or replicate that experience... but as you point out Dad, the EXTRAORDINARY happenstance of Rudy also becoming killer highly intrigued with blood issues, may mean you are right -- the show itself IS trying to get us to accept this is what explains at least THESE serial killer impulses. Maybe I just don't want to accept that this silly notion is the central conceit which forms the core of everything this show is built on, even though I would and have accepted that characters within the show believe such things.

I did take note in this installment that the quote you provided: 'Harry taught me that: secrecy, self-reliance and a well-stocked cupboard of Hefty Bags,' gives us our first "evidence" that Harry may have actually gone so far as to provide Dexter very specific protocols for body disposal and such. Of course this might have been Dexter's little joke to himself without representing actual instruction coming from Harry, but still reveals that Dexter pictures Harry as intimately involved in the process of cutting down humans from this Earth and getting rid of their memory.


All for now....
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post #4828 of 6863 Old 03-06-2012, 04:32 AM
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I did take note in this installment that the quote you provided: 'Harry taught me that: secrecy, self-reliance and a well-stocked cupboard of Hefty Bags,' gives us our first "evidence" that Harry may have actually gone so far as to provide Dexter very specific protocols for body disposal and such. Of course this might have been Dexter's little joke to himself without representing actual instruction coming from Harry, but still reveals that Dexter pictures Harry as intimately involved in the process of cutting down humans from this Earth and getting rid of their memory.

Watch Season 2's #209, 'There's Something About Harry' (if you don't want to wait for it when it comes up in the Rewatch) and you'll have your answer, including the Hefty Bags comment. Hint: like 'Seeing Red,' a repressed memory from Dexter's past surfaces up (he must have a lot of these bottled-up inside) that both changes him and his perspective about his mentor.
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post #4829 of 6863 Old 03-06-2012, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

The two scenes in 'Seeing Red' when Dex doesn't confide in his sister (first on the elevator, then in Dex's blood splatter test room) are the root for the distancing between brother-sister that fuels Season 5's eventual 'Deb likes Dex more than a brother' storyline.

What stood out to me was the scene with Doakes:

Deb: Why is everyone's first move to call Dexter?

Doakes: What'd the freak do this time, boil your goldfish?

Deb: No, it's just...it's Rudy. we had our first fight. Tiff. I don't know. Whatever you want to call it.

Doakes: I thought we were talking about your brother.

Deb: We were.

Scene ends with Deb looking directly at Doakes as if he should know they were talking about her brother, Dexter. Of course she was talking about them both, since the lament she expresses (without being very explicit) is due to Rudy chumming up to Dexter and vice-versa, in effect squeezing her out of her first really sincere-feeling relationship in favor of someone apparently more attractive, i.e., Dexter. We know what she is saying, at least on the surface, but what struck me was the oddly framed exchange.

She starts out seeming a little irked that Doakes wants to consult Dexter, annoyed that people lately are sidestepping her input in favor of Dexter's, but somewhere along the way we find the exchange interposing Dexter with her boyfriend -- they are talking about Dexter, being mad about Dexter and attention he is getting which should be hers, but then she says the irritation is at her boyfriend. She is mad at both for becoming involved with one another, we know this, but Doakes does not.

So it seems there is another level at work here: it remains unexplained, and we and Doakes are left to disentangle or leave just as she fused them, her feelings about her boyfriend and Dexter. Are they interchangeable? Did she forget she was talking about one, not the other? Are we seeing a deliberate (on the part of the writers) Freudian reveal of Deb's suppressed desire?

I don't know, this struck me as just odd enough that I think I find it is yet another fairly opaque and/or far-field oblique foreshadowing of romantic stirrings for Dexter. So far we have the "sex suit" reference of Dexter, the "are you still sleeping with your sister?" insult of Dexter's early bully, now we have this unusual conversational merging of Deb's boyfriend with her brother, and how her feelings of the moment for both are pretty much the same (lending itself to our identifying one with the other).

If this is part of the long-range strategy woven into the script, it just goes to show exactly what you have said, Dad -- the writing here is light years more sophisticated and layered than recent seasons, even though it was just last season where this apparently infinitely nuanced, deeply submerged enticement started to pay dividends. And I just thought of another possible layer here -- the goldfish reference harks back to Dexter flushing the goldfish from his situation with Rita. Was this a way to subliminally surface that Dexter's connection to Rita shares something with his connection to his sister? That he might be expected to perform similar rituals with regard to his girlfriend and Deb? In other words, that the scene portrays interchanging/confusion going both ways?

What do you think?
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post #4830 of 6863 Old 03-06-2012, 12:11 PM
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I think... I'll have a Big Mac and Coke for lunch, BRB.

Seriously, I think you're reading too much into it and the fact Doakes and Deb are in a blood-splashed hotel room is just a juxtaposition of these cops' mundane private lives (to most folks, not to us the TV viewing audience) unfolding with the backdrop of a horrendous crime behind them. Typical TV cop show scene, bit with a twist. Since Dexter and Rudy are brothers (though Deb wouldn't find out until Season 4) and both serial killers, the fact she's mixing them both in her mind as one is both prophetic (that she'd one day have feelings for one brother comparable to the one's she had for the other brother) and a sign of things to come (i.e. the fallout of Deb seeing her brother is a serial killer at the end of Season 6). If the writers don't drop the ball and have Deborah deal with the fallout of the trauma of her Season 1 self dealing with her newfound truth about Dexter... it would be a phoenix-like rising of the ashes of the past couple of seasons of "Dexter" back to the show's prime era. Yes, I can dream of present-day "Dexter" being as good as it once was.
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