'The Dexter 2012/2013 Rewatch Project'Ep.104: 'LET'S GIVE THE BOY A HAND'
By dad1153, AVSForum.com
- Jan. 22, 2012Plot Summary: The Ice Truck Killer's recent crime scenes send a secret message to Dexter, leading him to think about the past. LaGuerta's investigation changes course. Doakes continues to have run-ins with Carlos Guerrero and his associates. (Source: DexterWikia)
Premiere Dates: 10/22/06 (SHO), 3/09/08 (CBS)
Writer: Drew Z. Greenberg
Director: Robert Lieberman
AVS Comments: our good ol' friend from Oklahoma gwsat commented first back in '06 (scroll down after clicking to see other reactions the morning after the show aired).• • • • • • • • • • • •
I got my Amanda Snack Cakes ready. Let's get this 'soccer' started. •
This episode aired (edited for network TV) on CBS at 10 p.m. on Sunday, 3/09/98. It got around 6-6.5 million viewers and a 1.9 in the demo, down a tenth from the previous week (Source: HOTP Thread/Media Life Magazine
First Season 1 episode (of two) directed by veteran TV director Robert Lieberman, who has directed episodes for many TV series for five decades ("Gabriel's Fire," "Stephen King's Dead Zone," "Haven," etc.) and one theatrical feature, 1993's "Fire in the Sky."•
First script (of two) written by Drew Z. Greenberg, a show producer during the show's first season. His previous work included shows like "The OC," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Smallville." Since leaving "Dexter" Greenberg has worked on shows like "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," "Caprica" and "Warehouse 13."•
We didn't talk much about him for the past three episodes but veteran TV actor Rudolf Martin
's contribution to the "Dexter" canon should be mentioned since this is his last guest appearance. With minimal screen time Martin turned drug kingpin Carlos Guerrero into a perceived
force of nature and real threat to Doakes and other Miami Metro cops. And, this early in "Dexter's" existence, seeing Guerrero be taken down so suddenly and out-of-nowhere (with Doakes being used as an unwilling pawn by his fellow cops to bust Guerrero, the same way Dex would use Doakes to frame someone else as the Bay Harbor Butcher
) felt like a genuine surprise for a 'B' storyline that could have been a season-long story arc. Compared, for example, with the 'Santeria Murders' storyline from Season 5, the Guerrero storyline of S1 is tight, lean and dropped as soon as all the dramatic worth is squeezed from it.•
When Doeakes says 'I'm going to end up dead. It's just a matter of when'
a little shiver went up my spine. Doakes is talking about the threat from Guerrero's men, but we know better.
But were the Miami Metro cops planning all along to bust Guerrero in the act of threatening Doakes' life? Or did these rogue cops switch to that plan after Doakes told the brother of the cop's wife he was having an affair with that she was going to divorce her husband? I'm not sure.•
This doesn't need mentioning but, for the record, Julie Benz looks hot (not in an Angelina Jolie way, but more like a mother/wife/girlfriend giving her 'boo' a present) in her Lara Croft/Tomb Raider outfit. The only way Rita would look hotter if she were cosplaying would be if she dressed as Cammy from the "Street Fighter" series... ahem! •
Except for Dex actually saying it at the end in VO (and then it's just one line) this episode does a great job of showing us the dualities of how all the characters besides Dexter (except for Matthews) lead lives of quiet desperation. To the extent that today we still regard Batista (separated and with a teenage kid that's been mentioned but not seen) and LaGuerta (a selfish political animal that is moved by Tucci's mother's kindness, a trait shown on the S6 finale when Maria was nice to Deborah after the cop Travis killed was found) as human beings despte how two-dimensional they've been portrayed since the fourth season, the roots for us perceiving them as people with lives outside their work takes shape here. Even Deborah, who spends most of the episode in a little glass cubicle watching security tapes (when she's desperate to be on-scene and hands-on), has her moment of glory thanks to her brother's tip after an entire episode where she's basically a human punchline.•
The running gag of Batista not knowing what shape of a diamond pendant to give to his wife for their anniversary (four-leave clover? butterfly? Per Dex, an 'Ox'
) starts kind-of lame and unfunny. It establishes how much of a rapport Batista has with his Morgan sibling co-workers though. The resolution to the gag, with a lonely Batista living the heart-key shaped pendant on the lamp of her sleeping daughter's bedside, hits hard.•
Only the Rita character is given two different dualities to counter her 'goodie two shoes' personality. In addition to the Tomb Raider outfit/BJ on Dexter she also steals her neighbor's dog to give to a loving family, then mentions it's the latter action that gave her the strength to do the former.•
The little music cue that Daniel Licht uses when Dexter goes to talk to/returns from the neighbor with the barking dog is a little bit of aural fun. It almost (but not quite) makes you forget the visual blooper of seeing filmmaking equipment (electrical wires, lighting rods, etc.) visible on the front window glass when Dex walks toward the neighbor's house.•
The idea of Rudy/ITK flipping through Dexter's photo album to set-up the clues to guide Dex to Tucci but also to fill-in his own knowledge of how his little brother was raised is a creative masterstroke. I can totally picture Chris Camargo sitting on Dexter's desk looking at those pic, making snide remarks, etc. When a TV show has memorable characters/situations/writing repeat viewings are fun when you can picture a character doing the stuff you can't see him do. Camargo left such an impression later in the season (there is a reason Rudy was brought back in S6's "Nebraska," where we again see Chris actually inhabit the physical space of Dex's apartment we only saw in the S1 finale) that, retroactively, it's fun and easy to picture Rudy doing the stuff "Dexter" doesn't show us him doing but that we know the character did.•
Dexter's remark about ITK showing to Dex the ugly truth behind the Hallmark pretend-normal pose on the pictures, followed by flashback scenes in which Dexter and Harry take turns not wanting to be photographed but pretending for the camera, will touch a nerve with anyone (i.e. everybody) that's pretended to be happy and forced a smile when being photographed against their wishes. It actually made me realize what a bastard I've been to people in my life that just wanted to snap a picture with me in it.•Trifecta:
First "Dexter" episode with flashbacks to Dexter as a child, as a teenager and a young adult (that damn wig again!) along with regular present-day Dex. Also first time we see Deborah as a little girl; previously we'd only seen Jennifer Carpenter in a wig pretending to be an older teen Deb.•Hilarious historical clue:
during the first picture-taking flashback in the beach little Dex says 'damn' and, when reprimended by his foster mother, he says that his sister says that all the time. This scene establishes in the "Dexter" canon that Deborah has been swearing (starting with the rather-benign 'damn') since she was a very little girl, even though lil' Deb herself doesn't swear in this flashback •
In a couple of shots in this and previous episodes we see a folded American flag in a glass case (like the one given to families of military personnel that dies in the line of duty) atop the furniture behind LaGuerta's desk. A subtle visual clue to the character's patriotism?•
Dexter's little VO speech about Halloween being a time of the year where everyone does what he's forced to do every day, plus the 'I'm neither man or beast, I'm something new entirely... I'm Dexter'
speech at the end, are two of the most memorable bits of writing in the show's history. He only wrote two episodes, but writer Drew Z. Greenberg sure left his mark on the show.•
The same way Season 4's 'Hungry Man' is the "Dexter" episode that has come to symbolize Thanksgiving for me, 'Let's Give the Boy a Hand' is the "Dexter" episode that to me has come to symbolize Halloween.•
Harry's flashback advice to Dexter about not being a bully because cops like him remember bullies ('a bully is a felon waiting to happen'
) has enough truth behind it to qualify as universal wisdom. It's good advice for normal people, not just serial-killers-in-training.•
Dexter's memory of watching for hours as a kid how trash compactors packed and buried garbage in the now-built over landfill is a little disturbing. It's also screamingly funny.•
The last shot of the episode, where Dex blows the burning picture and looks directly at the camera, would be recreated in the S5 finale 'The Big One.' The echo-ish 'Boo' when the picture cuts to black recalls the final shot/ending of "The Usual Suspects."•DEBism of the episode:
(as a little girl in the beach flashback when lil' Dex doesn't want to have his picture taken): 'Pretend you're burning ants.' •DEX's favorite quip:
(Rita has the honor this time as she seduces Dexter dressed as Lara Croft) 'I'm a dognapper now, and a tomb raider. There's all sorts of things I can do.' Runner-up:
(thinking of the ITK outloud, which Batista interprets as another Doakes putdown) 'He's mocking me!' (Pics courtesy of this website)