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Dexter on SHO - Page 159

post #4741 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by zaphod7501 View Post

Did ITK tap into the stations closed circuit cameras later? (after the remark "you better have a hell of a firewall" from the "Looky Lou" Mr. Perry) I forget. I ran through the early seasons pretty quick after I discovered the show.

No doubt I've certainly been forgetting quite a bit of season one, and DEXTER has always thrown out direction and misdirection cues, but my sense of it is that the comment was intended by the writer only to reveal that their looky-loo guy was something of a too-knowledgeable geeky gearhead, possibly cop wanna-be, who was there for reasons other than being helpful -- check out the operation, police procedure, be around cops, that kind of thing -- hence "looky-loo." The comment seemed to trigger that recognition in Doakes, who walked out, satisfied they were getting nowhere -- that was my interpretation...?
post #4742 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaOvce View Post

Some people with who I watched Dexter with knew he is the ITK from the first scene, others were surprised by the ending of "Shrink Wrap". This situation is not that different from situation regarding certain professors demise last year, the difference is Season 6 arc to realization lasted longer and with that many people watching and discussing this show everywhere it was kinda ruined by speculations, unlike Season 1 twist...

That face is in close contest with the one he make after he hits Paul with a pan, both equally hilarious...

Interesting you mention voice-over that isn't distracting...Lately writers seemed to think their audience is little bit dumb, as the amount of descriptive voice-overs increases in the expense of intelligent imaginative clever ones. That unfortunately brings recently the show down in many eyes, and is partly behind my bigger appreciation for Season 3 than over-hyped Season 4...

Hey, good to see you back, MegaOvce. You seem quite the committed DEXTERphile, and are in the right place -- you might encounter a few more roaming these halls!

I think I did not have any inkling that Rudy was the ITK, so that is pretty startling that others might have known instantly. On the point of last season's "big reveal" about the professor, the show itself (versus viewer speculation per se) pretty clearly tipped that hand, I think. The scene where the waitress never acknowledged a second presence, set up anticipatory scrutiny on subsequent scenes where it became increasingly obvious it was either a direction or misdirection. When they did not double-back on the "twist" with a juicier, truly unforeseen, more diabolically convoluted reveal, then it just made the execution look uninspired and somewhat clumsy.

I don't know, for myself I think it does not so much matter if, for example, I might have been told about Rudy being ITK -- probably not desirable, as you want to extract all the punch you might, but ultimately not make or break either. Execution and smart writing much more important to me. I especially don't care for large sacrifices in verisimilitude/logic/believability to shoehorn in some supposed twist just for the momentary titillation that might provide. Lately it seems the series has been hanging a good deal of effort and energy on the twist at the possible expense of attentiveness to all the other aspects of quality in building story.


Yeah, I had totally forgotten Dexter's wide eyes on the couch -- hilarious! I did remember and have since made note of Dexter's post-Paul-panning face -- classic!

I agree with you about season 3 ranking highly. I think many fans, myself included, had some very specific notions of who Dexter was at this stage, and his pairing with Prado jolted them out of that. But especially given the later (and even much more radical) deviations from who we thought he was, and possibly just after the passage of some time, season 3 has settled into classic DEXTER status for me at least. But time enough to catch up to that, in the mean time I hope to see you here next week talking episode 6! BTW, your English just fine -- your meaning coming through very clearly.
post #4743 of 6855
'The Dexter 2012/2013 Rewatch Project'
Ep.106: 'RETURN TO SENDER'
By dad1153, AVSForum.com - Feb. 5, 2012




Plot Summary: The Ice Truck Killer leaves a surprise dead body for Dexter at one of the crime scenes of Dexter's most recent kill which puts him in the cross hairs of his own Homicide Division of the Miami Metro Police. (Source: IMDB).

Premiere Dates: 11/5/06 (SHO), 3/23/08 (CBS)
Writer: Tim Schlattmann
Director: Tony Goldwyn
AVS Comments: mike_somd chimed with his opinions first (click link to read more).




I had too many 'pastelitos' as Super Bowl snacks. My tummy hurts, hope I don't wet my bed also.

This episode aired (edited for network TV) on CBS a little after 10 p.m. on Sunday, 3/23/08. It got a 1.7 in the demo rating, down a tenth from the previous week (Source: HOTP Thread/Media Life Magazine).
First script (of 11) written by Tim Schlattmann, a story editor during "Dexter's" first season that remains with the show to this date as producer. His previous credits included stints on, among many shows, "Roseanne" and "Smallville."
First (of four) episodes directed by Tony Goldwyn, a working actor ("Ghost," voice of Disney's "Tarzan," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," etc.) that has a second career as a TV director (too many shows to list). He'll appear on camera in "Dexter's" first season in a couple of episodes as the therapist that Dex crosses paths with. Love the little touches (LaGuerta's reflection on the car window, the trail of the sock in the Castillo home's closet, etc.) that make this a tight and easy-flowing episode.
Dexter being called to his own crime scene seemed pretty startling and surprising back in the day. It's become so routine and common in recent seasons to have Miami Metro visiting Dex's playground that, like the previous week's episode comments from Dex about the indignity of cops trampling on the Ice Truck Killer's handywork, you're almost surprised that this was a big deal back then.
Even though I saw 'Return to Sender' many times I'd totally forgotten about ITK retrieving the body of Valerie Castillo from the Ocean (as proof read my previous episode recap where I asked if her body was found in Season 2 as part of the discovered Bay Harbor Butcher dumping ground). I also forgot that Rudy had carved that happy face (same as the one he left behind the photo of Dexter) on Valerie's blood specimen to clue Dexter about the test ITK was putting him under. Between this, the threat of the Cuban kid's ID (which we as an audience don't really think will pan out but the show and the character really sell that the ID threat is real) and Dex debunking her sisters' copycat serial killer profile (which ties with the all-Deb-related Dexter flashbacks) Dex is really under under the gun in this episode. Watching Dex use his brains and forensics skills to get out of multiple jams is the real fun of this episode.
The scene of Dex injecting Valeirie Castillo with transquilizer wasn't in the previous episode. It was either shot for 'Return to Sender' or it's an unused deleted scene from the previous episode.
Rita mentions that her ex-husband Paul was let out of prison early because of overcrowding. Like Dexter not killing Tucci in 'Let's Give the Boy A Hand' coming back to haunt him in this episode via the resurfaced Valerie Castillo body, Rita's criminals-leaving-prison-early overcrowding dilemma with Paul was established when Dex was haunting the young man he thought was an unraped serial killer in the 'Crocodile' episode. Nice.
Love the way this episode builds on the presence of Rita's ex-husband Paul back into she and her kids' lives, but we don't see him (only hear Paul's voice on the phone). Like ITK (whom we saw last week but not this week, even though his recovery of Valerie Castillo's body is an overwhelming presence throughout the episode) Paul is another unseen ball the show is juggling but, by not revealing, makes the impact of the character's appearance later in the season all the more impactful.
Dexter looks at Astor and Cody at one point, when wondering how Rita would react to finding out he's a serial killer, says 'I wonder if they'll remember me... I'll be breaking their hearts too.' You have no idea Dex.
I haven't found info that the show's writers knew what they were going to do for Season 2, but this episode is full of hints at the hunt for the 'Bay Harbor Butcher' that would be the 2nd season's overriding plot: Bob the fish coming back from his flush, the Ice Truck Killer fishing the body of Valerie Castillo from Dexter's dumping ground (proof that the location wasn't secure and/or unreachable) and Dex throwing all his tools overboard (I'm assuming he fished them back out when the threat of the little kid went away). Also...
... Dex mentions while scouting the junkyard that 'there is no retirement plan for serial killers.' Again, another Season 1 idea that gets a dust-off in Season 6 with the Tooth Fairy plot of 'Smokey and the Bandit.' And don't get me started on the Jesus drawing at the very end tying with S6's religion theme. 'Return to Sender' is a very flash-forwardy/foreshadowy episode.
Little off-topic, but "Dexter" sure got a lot of mileage out of the junkyard location where this and the previous episode take place. A sure sign this early in the show's history of its roots as a relatively low-budget premium cable show that needed to squeeze as much value out of its production money.
Dexter's alias when he orders his M-99 transqualizer is... was (Mazuka cracked it!) the 'wholesome... insconspicious' Dr. Patrick Bateman. That's the name of the lead character in the Bret Easton Ellis' "American Psycho" novel, which was turned into a 2000 movie starring Christian Bale. The movie "American Psycho" is a heavy inspiration, style-wise, on the "Dexter" TV series and on the way Michael C. Hall approached his character (charming psycopath) early in the show's run before he made the role his own. See "American Psycho" if you haven't, great flick.
Guess Dexter got a new alias or found another way to get M-99 transquilizer. I don't recall Dex's access to this tranquilizer ever being an issue on the show ever again.
Besides being a big fat red herring about whether he can ID Dexter as a killer, the little Cuban boy also serves to humanize Maria LaGuerta's character. This is the warmest, most loving and likable her character will be during the entire series.
This episode further establishes (mentioned in passing before) that Doakes and LaGuerta were partners. We also learn of Doakes' undercover ops military background in Desert Storm, which comes back later this season and during Season 2's BHB serial killer hunt.
The Doakes family dinner scene is classic for so many reasons besides being hilarious. Love the idea that a tough mofo like Doakes came from an all-women environment (like me) but it's also a limited view into the private window of a very poker-faced character that reveals very little of himself. We won't see Doakes' family again until Season 2's 'The British Invasion,' when they're the only one's attending his funeral (a throwaway scene that cemented Dex in my mind as a monster). The women in Doakes' life sure make a lasting impression during their brief scene.
Likewise, Devon Graye and Haley King make a lasting impression in their teenage Dexter and teenage Deborah (respectively) flashback scenes. The tragedy that was young Deb's seeking of the attention of a father too busy training his adopted son to be a serial killer (a gold mine if the new seasons of "Dexter" seek to exploit it) is captured in these heartbreaking scenes of neglect. Linking these Deb-disappointed-by-the-men-in-her-life flashbacks to the episode's subplot of Dexter framing Jorge Castillo for Valerie's murder to invalidate Deborah's serial killer profile is masterful storytelling the likes of which latter seasons of the show seem to have forgotten about.
In a Deborah-heavy episode (the flashbacks, her serial killer profile she desperately wants Dex to back, her relating to Doakes' women during their family dinner, etc.) her bathroom scene with LaGuerta is daringly lengthy and a nice change of pace. Speaking of Deb...
... the 'storm gathering' nightmare is a mini-tour de force in which Jennifer Carpenter shines. The 'blood rain' (which is regular water lit-up with a red gel; Dex's foreground bloody hand sells the illusion that the background is really blood), Valerie walking away, Deb ritually dispatching Dexter (the only time Michael C. Hall ever laid on the table of a kill room... yes, it's imaginary!) and saying 'figures' sarcastically when her brother doesn't have any final words. Startling imagery/music, one of the most memorable scenes in the show's history. Fitting if it is, as Dex claims, his first ever dream/nightmare.
In their bathroom scene LaGuerta and Deb both mention that Dex was found in a crime scene by Harry and brought into the Morgan household (per LaGuerta's enquiries since she's clearly thinking of adopting the Cuban boy). Nice foreshadowing of the incoming repressed Dexter dreams of little Dex in the container with her dead mother, which were triggered because the events in this episode made the usually dream-free adult Dex 'dream' again. Gotta love the way all of S1's multiple plots are tied together like a finely-crafted spider web.
So, did Dex fish back all the tools he disposed of when he felt the heat from the Cuban kid's ID? Or did he get all-new gear?
If Season 6's mythology is to be believed, Dex knows the identity of his victims by the order in which their slides are arranged. In this episode Dex identifies three of his past victims (sniper Alex Timmons, arsonist Gene Marshall and black widow Cindy Landon) but the scene makes it seem like he knew the identity of his kills by sight.
Cinematic Nerd Alert: It's a well-known fact that Alfred Hitchcock, when he shot "Psycho," designed the scene where Norman Bates buries a car with human remains as the point in which audience sympathy switched from one protagonist to another. If you're like me, the moment Dex toys with throwing his case with slides into the Ocean you're mentally shouting 'Nooo, don't do it Dexter!' even though we're watching a serial killer covering his tracks. The show has worked to earn our sympathy for Dexter, and it really comes through in this particular "Psycho"-inspired scene... IMHO.
First ever use of my favorite background tune in the show's history, the guitar-heavy and soulful 'Astor's Birthday Party.' The way the end of the song matched the visual of Dexter shutting down his door at the sight of the incoming storm (figuratively and for real) made an impact on me when I first saw this episode in mid-2007.
On-Camera Goofs: it's common now that all shows are in HD, but you can clearly see the actress playing Valerie Castillo breathing during her numerous naked dead body scenes. Also, the little boy that plays the Cuban 'witness' looks directly at the camera (big no-no in the industry) as it begins to move toward Dexter watching from the trailer.
DEBism of the episode: (when Doakes realizes his sisters are at his mother's dinner he has dragged Deb to): 'F***ing family reunion.' Runner-up: (when answering LaGuerta about when Deb got contact lenses in high school) 'What I really needed was tits. I had Winnie the Pooh's in my bra until I was 16.'
DEX's favorite quip: (when deleting his alias name from Mazuka's M-99 computer list) 'It was easy getting to the list once you got past all the porn.' Can't leave out: (Doakes' younger sister to Deb during the family dinner) 'The first words out of my baby brother's mouth was 'got milk motherf***er?'

Unexpected Bonus Feature: The "Dexter Season 1" Blu-ray case lists a bunch of bonus features accessible only through an internet BD Live connection. Not mentioned is that the two commentary tracks from the DVD release are available in the BD without the need for BD Live, one for 'Return to Sender' and another for the last episode. It's the first time I've heard a "Dexter" commentary (only two were ever recorded, both for S1) and it's mostly an ass-kissing cavalcade of complements. It's nice though to hear David Zayas, Erik King, Jennifer Carpenter and Lauren Vélez out of character as themselves. I can almost buy now that Carpenter would want to remain with the show (even if it means working with her now-ex) based on how cozy these actors sound being together.



(Pics courtesy of this website)
post #4744 of 6855
Sometimes the PREVIOUSLY ON segments are revelatory beyond providing heads-up on the themes to be expanded upon in the new outing. Here we had two references which pretty much flew under my radar last episode. Jorge Castillo to Dex: "American, pal, just like you." Dex internal monologue rejoins: "Just like me." Then there was the bookend of "God bless America," as Dexter injects Castillo.

One wonders if this was a self-conscious tip of the hat to AMERICAN PSYCHO as you suggest Dad, but I took it to indicate that the writers were revealing to us that they think of Dexter as a very American phenomenon, perhaps unique by-product of an America awash in violent obsessions and imagery, increasingly disquieted by gradual liberal easing of Biblical retributions, but nevertheless bred out of and still rooted in a long tradition of frontier justice and tolerated vigilantism.

This is a very bold and confident statement regarding their Dexter. I think they very much want us to see him as us -- taking upon himself our apparently abandoned mission of resolute defense of the unprotected and innocent, Dexter will bring to bear the justice of an American original on a landscape bereft of modern heroes, casually tossing political correctness on the ash heap of history as he does so, even if clandestine and unlauded.

We have already seen Dexter rejecting (as insufficient) sentence imposed by the American Justice System, even in having caught, tried and punished the perpetrator. He has executed an unrepentant drunk for apparent homicidal negligence, a life-style choice which imperiled the public. Another victim was a misguided angel of mercy, whose mercies may have been premature. He does spare Jeremy when he thinks there is cause for murder, so whether we think we might agree with all of Dexter's idiosyncratic readings of the facts, he is being positioned as our champion even as he weighs the virtues of executing someone else's torture victim.

So again I marvel at the boldness of this portrait -- there are simply no doubts on display that we will thoroughly embrace Dexter. Perhaps he is not yet exactly OUR SAVIOR, but not for lack of the incredibly audacious attempt to cast him that way.

RETURN TO SENDER immediately raised religion for me. The goldfish funeral perhaps signifying a return of sea life to the big ocean, or dead souls back to God. Just like the Castillo woman, the goldfish does not stay put. Maybe they would both do things differently if granted that second chance among the living, but Dexter tells himself he has no such misgivings.

If this is true, he is a very dangerous and aberrant individual indeed, all the more astonishing that this series intends to and succeeds in aligning us squarely within his ego-house. Surely we consciously do not agree with his path, but also do not want him endangered, or forced to part with his precious tools of trade and fond mementos of missionary work well appointed.

Mortality is again examined as birthdays are seen as a forced celebration of being alive another year. What does it mean to linger here? Has purpose been fulfilled? Dexter may be searching for his mission, but never loses sleep over the choices he makes, at least in this stage of evolution, though the chinks in the armor are starting to show.

Does he fear death? He seems to show terror that Deb might dispatch him as he has done so many others -- he is in night sweats that her ultimate judgment will be final and dismissive.... then onto the Sender for appraisal of the deeds of this Son?

So was the child witness hallucinating in his hours of dehydration and abandonment, or in verity do we have the ultimate martyr taking upon himself the sins of mankind?
post #4745 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

•Even though I saw 'Return to Sender' many times I'd totally forgotten about ITK retrieving the body of Valerie Castillo from the Ocean (as proof read my previous episode recap where I asked if her body was found in Season 2 as part of the discovered Bay Harbor Butcher dumping ground). I also forgot that Rudy had carved that happy face (same as the one he left behind the photo of Dexter) on Valerie's blood specimen to clue Dexter about the test ITK was putting him under. Between this, the threat of the Cuban kid's ID (which we as an audience don't really think will pan out but the show and the character really sell that the ID threat is real) and Dex debunking her sisters' copycat serial killer profile (which ties with the all-Deb-related Dexter flashbacks) Dex is really under under the gun in this episode. Watching Dex use his brains and forensics skills to get out of multiple jams is the real fun of this episode.

I too absolutely forgot about that body retrieval as well. Just goes to show I suppose that when the writing and execution are otherwise this great, it is easier to suppress and/or discharge from memory the really hard to believe bits. But just to think about this for a moment: we are supposed to accept that Dexter's stalker had a way to identify the open ocean Dexter was dumping into, enough to find that spot again and bring the body back up? How is this?

It is shown that Dexter dumped the body in broad daylight, so let us assume that he could see vacant ocean on all sides without anyone being close or even able to see him with optical aid like a telescope. So must have been a planted GPS device. His stalker would have to be monitoring it at all times during the boat trip (or recording position against time) to detect when Dexter had made a stop -- this might be the most likely dump site, though Dexter could have been dumping parts all along the way. I am guessing this would probably put the stalker to within a few hundred yards of the dump site, but if it is so far out to sea that no land can be seen, wouldn't the ocean be alot deeper than the stated 100'?

Anyway, let us say that through great planning the stalker knows about where the bodies are. Now he needs a boat at least ocean worthy enough to match Dexter's, plus he would require scuba gear and some pretty advanced skills. From there he has to backtrack duplicate everything Dexter did -- haul the body from boat to car, break into the junk yard, walk past the kid, this time in daylight I guess, and plant the body again, yet kid never mentions the second guy redepositing the body? Plus without knowing who might be alerted to the missing Castillos, going back there hauling a body is a pretty dicey proposition anyway.

And I'm just naturally assuming that the wrap job Dexter did would have been permeable to sea water, so there is that whole set of conditions -- rinsing the body free of salt water, drying the hair, removing sea water from every orifice, including nasal passages one would think. And of course I have no idea if skin puckers or wrinkles after death with exposure to water, or for that matter dries out to look normal again when exposed to dry air. But I do believe we were supposed to think there was no evidence of it having been underwater in the ocean.

I am thinking with all these obstacles, it is much much easier to get Dexter's attention almost any other way. Curiously too, we later learn that cause of death here was exsanguination, so no blood either on scene (unless Dexter slipped up), or in the body, yet Dexter is called to this scene for blood detail, whereas he was not needed at the previous ITK scenes due to no blood being present.

In any case, Dexter is shown ultimately casting light on the murder anyway, in refute of Deb's theory. And here again these interludes which supposedly show Dexter's forensics prowess/acumen, are some of the weakest elements the writing. Dexter is shown transferring blood from slide to knife via tape? How is that going to happen? The dried blood sticks to the tape and that is about it. We are shown Dexter applying the blood-flake tape to knife, but the blood will remain on the tape as long as it is in dried form -- no transfer to the knife possible. It would have made much more sense to flake the blood off of the slide onto the wet knife, let the blood dry, then have Masuka sample it, or if Dexter is handling the whole enterprise, why even bother to transfer any blood at all? -- he could just say it was there.

Also when Dexter does grant insight on the theory of whether this is a copycat of the ITK, he conjectures quite a bit that is not seemingly in evidence. He says that if this killer was emulating ITK, the "new" unsub would want to control the precise moment of death, to savor his first kill. I don't recall that it was ever established that the ITK needed to or wanted to control the precise moment of death. Don't recall much exposition at all about the actual death, more about the blood drainage and body presentation, but where does the notion arise that this is a first kill? If someone is copycatting, I suppose they need the example of the ITK to replicate, so maybe this copycatting is relatively recent, but nothing necessarily suggests this possibly first copycat is this killer's first kill, which is presumably what raises the whole savoring of exact moment of death, etc. At any rate, according to Dexter, the victim bled out very very quickly, so the exact moment of death IS pretty immediate and pinpointed in time, thereby derailing the whole theory it would seem.

Another thing that I've been thinking of is why is Dexter cutting up the bodies? I had thought it was for easier transportability of the parts, but there seemed to be the suggestion with his reaction to truncating his dismemberment activities (so to speak), he was compromising safety precautions as if there was some other added security value to parts versus whole body. He isn't dumping the head and hands elsewhere is he? Even if he were, those bodies become identifiable at that locale, so that just makes two areas he needs to worry about....
post #4746 of 6855
^^^ I agree, Dexter was kidding himself if he really thought all the evidence he had planted/manufactured pointing Jorge Castillo as the likely murderer of his wife would have been enough to counter the Cuban kid's ID. It's as if Dex was banking on his reputation as 'an American' forensics experts with a great track record being good-enough to trample of the witness identification of a Cuban immigrant kid that couldn't speak English. Dexter was point at many stages of handling the incriminatory evidence against Castillo, which would have been (along with the kid's ID) plenty to at least make him a likely suspect and suspended from his Miami Metro duties. This 'frame someone else with enough evidence to make it a test of reputations' sub-plot in 'Return to Sender' would return in Season 2 when Dex was setting up Doakes as the Bay Harbor Butcher with planted evidence so that, when it went to trial, it would be Dexter's word versus the discredited-and-framed-with-planted-by-Dex-incriminatory-evidence Doakes' wild claims. It's as if in this episode they're doing a warm-up for an idea fully exploited as life-or-death-for-Dexter key plot point of S2.

And correct me if I'm wrong Emyach, but you don't seem as bothered by the 'planet Dexter' impossibility of Rudy fishing Valerie Castillo's body from the Ocean, cleaning her up (assuming any salt water got into her skin/lungs) and setting up the crime scene for Miami Metro (and Dexter) to find as you were with Season 5's 'abandoned warehouse from another world' or Season 6's 'paramedics that kill patients to sell for parts.' To me this Valerie Castillo resurfaced body is as big an improbability as the one's that bothered you. But, like me (assuming here), the shock of the moment Dexter sees the body and realizes ITK was watching him is so overwhelming that it washes over the improbabilities of the logistics that go into how ITK recovered Valerie's body. Plus, since there are no weak sub-plots to distract, the attention is held on the huge obstacles Dexter is up against. In layman's terms, I buy the improbabilities of the body being back on Dexter's crime scene because the drama/shock of the moment/writing is so strong I want to keep watching to see where this train is taking me to. Makes me think if you, Emyach, are showing your dissatisfaction with the direction/writing the show took in latter seasons by analyzing-to-death improbable/implausible scenes with a less-forgiving eye than you had in the first season when similarly-improbable plot elements were also present but don't seem to bother you as much. Would the 'warehouse from another planet' be more tolerable if you were more invested in Lumen, or less distracted by the reveal that Dex is chasing after a gang of rapists/sadists?

I was ready to say it was the 'new car smell' of Dexter's first season, but that scent has long disappeared and the Valerie Castillo body twist still blew me away last weekend as it did when I first saw 'Return to Sender' in 2007.
post #4747 of 6855
^^^Well, for myself, I've got to think the kid's ID is very very weak. Suppose he comes up with a picture that looks like the Travis mural (was that another borrow from this sequence of season 1?) -- what does that mean? I saw an episode of THE FIRST 48 last night. Pretty tragic -- three kids witness double homicide of parents. They knew the man, they said. From other tips, cops included a photo of the likely perp with five others in photo line-up. The oldest kid identified every one of the pics. Prior to that, the cop on the other side of the glass had said the courts would likely not allow any such ID to be used, it was just for confirmation of direction really....did not pan out, obviously, even for that.

The fact that they did not press the Cuban kid beyond his coming to Jesus, was fairly accurate I think -- not much value, but worth a shot. I think it would have been so unlikely to consider Dexter as suspect, I give it even odds that people would not recognize him even if drawn from life, or they would joke with him about it, then clear him. That part seems pretty realistic to me. But yes, that body appearing back at the trailer was problematic THIS VIEWING. I think upon first viewing I was enthralled with the quality of entertainment I was getting -- didn't even consider how improbable it was. It was a shock that Dexter was being challenged this way. I was totally in his corner by this stage, and have had enough till-death-do-not-reveal secrets of my own, that I was impaled by this threat to his enterprise.

But specifically about the body being there: could it happen? I think possible, remotely possible, with enough time and planning, but the main point I was making is that Rudy would have been so put off by the hurdles posed, he would have gone almost any other route to shake Dexter up. And then there is the thing of Dexter extemporizing in the moment and leaving the one body intact, making the bottom-of-the-ocean finding of the last bag Dexter dropped (to line it back up at the last site), alot easier. So that might be the hardest to swallow -- that it all played out just that way when Rudy was so prepared (as he must have been) to pull this off.

To me the real flaw in the writing, an omission without explanation, is the kid witnessing Rudy bringing the body back -- one would think Dexter would be all over getting an advance look at his tormentor through the eyes of this kid and police artist, but it never is mentioned that anyone has thought, oh yeah, the kid would have seen Rudy too.

Anyway, you are essentially quite correct, sir! -- I forgive much when the writing is this juicy -- all those elements swirling around, the menace, the character building, this character of Dexter being like nothing I'd ever seen -- in case you could not tell, I am still fascinated and trying to figure him out, and what he means to people, even after some bad seasons. But you said it all in your synopsis -- this is fine fine TV no matter how you dice it up. Here I do forgive sacrifice of plausibility for drama, because the level of drama is so high.

Now we have quite another thing with the warehouse from another planet. Not unlikely, not improbable, but literally as if the writers built in their clue to us, that this is not our Earth. That is one main thing wrong with it. PLUS the even much bigger objection that this was just what we found at the end of a practically totally pointless circuitous tour through never-happens-land -- Lumen tried to kill a guy she mistakenly identified, then this average girl STILL wants to press the murdering with another go at someone she has never seen, when we don't quite believe she should be turned murderous in the first place. She seduces the guy into car and instead of killing him on the road, tossing body out, she wants to pull into a well-lit warehouse THAT IS OBVIOUSLY FUNCTIONING and where there should be many many witnesses, goes up onto the dock, but there is no one there!!!! and she shoots him, then calls Dexter, then all the police are assembled for a "possible homicide" because a hooker HEARD A GUNSHOT!!!!???? They all get there, but wait on the Detectives AND forensics personnel WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IF THERE IS A BODY THERE OR IF A SHOOTER IS STILL ONSCENE!!!!!

That whole episode was so bad in so many compound, ridiculous, idiotic ways, it boggles the mind how far the series plummeted, but again I say, you are right -- I DO forgive early Dexter quite a bit for being so sweetly good. Some of the best TV ever, no doubt.
post #4748 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emyach View Post

Sometimes the PREVIOUSLY ON segments are revelatory beyond providing heads-up on the themes to be expanded upon in the new outing. Here we had two references which pretty much flew under my radar last episode. Jorge Castillo to Dex: "American, pal, just like you." Dex internal monologue rejoins: "Just like me." Then there was the bookend of "God bless America," as Dexter injects Castillo.

...I took it to indicate that the writers were revealing to us that they think of Dexter as a very American phenomenon, perhaps unique by-product of an America awash in violent obsessions and imagery, increasingly disquieted by gradual liberal easing of Biblical retributions, but nevertheless bred out of and still rooted in a long tradition of frontier justice and tolerated vigilantism.

Never made the connection. Thanks, now these 'American' lines of dialogue that previously didn't resonate with me take on a whole new meaning.

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RETURN TO SENDER immediately raised religion for me.

So far the whole first season is coming across as religious but not the show-off kind that you can put on a poster and advertise as such. Unlike the surface-deep treatment of religion in Season 6 (except for Brother Sam's total committment to his faith, one of the few things in this season the writers got right) I feel the writers/producers/directors of this first season of "Dexter" treating the subject matter with such zeal and effort they reveal something about their own morality within the process. And it's a short step from morality to religion (even though the former doesn't need the latter to fuction) when your lead character is a sympathetic serial killer. Heck, it doesn't get more Old Testament than Dexter's 'eye for an eye' brand of vigilante justice on those criminals he targets, even if its not for retribution but to fit Harry's Code functions (don't get caught, target only deserving bad guys, etc.).

Yes, the writers were adapting a book that had spelled out character backstories and motives. But, when you're dealing with characters as morally grey and complex as Brian Moser or Dexter and Harry Morgan (plus Deborah too, but her character's best days were ahead) whose actions results in the taking of human lives (the ultimate crime/sin/socially-acceptable form of punishment), the "Dexter" crew was knee-deep in religious territory when they agreed to work on the show back in '06. That the remaining/new writers not aboard the show on S1 (including current showrunner Scott Buck, who came onboard during the 2nd season) chose to put religion on a poster and in their character's mouths while they talked, but not in their hearts or the soul of the stories they were telling, automatically makes S1 much more religous than the last one. No wonder Scott Buck went back to the well of S1 (for which he was not present), saw religion (like I'm seeing it now that I'm rewatching it) and tried to copy it. Too bad he, like many a hypocritical preacher/religious zealot, didn't bother to look beyond the surface and explore the core of the morality that gave the stories the show explored in S1 their unintended-but-identifiable religious undertones.
post #4749 of 6855
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Originally Posted by MegaOvce View Post

Interesting you mention voice-over that isn't distracting...Lately writers seemed to think their audience is little bit dumb, as the amount of descriptive voice-overs increases in the expense of intelligent imaginative clever ones. That unfortunately brings recently the show down in many eyes, and is partly behind my bigger appreciation for Season 3 than over-hyped Season 4...

Thanks for the comments MegaOvce (and for setting me right about Mrs. Batista's 2nd appearance). I'm going by memory here (even though I own the Blu-rays) but I recall Seasons 3 and 4 being about even and not as good as the first two seasons. But then S4's finale, "The Getaway" (a Melissa Rosenberg co-written script), has those unforgettable last couple of minutes that I'm convinced color everybody's perception of the whole fourth season being as good as the first two. We'll cross that mountain when we get to it, but I too anticipate liking S3 a lot more than how I remember it (pretty lame and underwhelming until 'About Last Night,' another Rosenberg-penned episode, which seemed to me as good as anything from the first two seasons). We'll see.
post #4750 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

First (of four) episodes directed by Tony Goldwyn, a working actor ("Ghost," voice of Disney's "Tarzan," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," etc.) that has a second career as a TV director (too many shows to list). He'll appear on camera in "Dexter's" first season in a couple of episodes as the therapist that Dex crosses paths with. Love the little touches (LaGuerta's reflection on the car window, the trail of the sock in the Castillo home's closet, etc.) that make this a tight and easy-flowing episode.

Appeared in one episode exactly, and one that isn't far away... Good director, his episodes are classics, but name these from the first two seasons that aren't...

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Dexter being called to his own crime scene seemed pretty startling and surprising back in the day. It's become so routine and common in recent seasons to have Miami Metro visiting Dex's playground that, like the previous week's episode comments from Dex about the indignity of cops trampling on the Ice Truck Killer's handywork, you're almost surprised that this was a big deal back then.
I haven't found info that the show's writers knew what they were going to do for Season 2, but this episode is full of hints at the hunt for the 'Bay Harbor Butcher' that would be the 2nd season's overriding plot: Bob the fish coming back from his flush, the Ice Truck Killer fishing the body of Valerie Castillo from Dexter's dumping ground (proof that the location wasn't secure and/or unreachable) and Dex throwing all his tools overboard (I'm assuming he fished them back out when the threat of the little kid went away).

This episode is Season 2 in a nutshell...
Regarding the tools, the first thing scuba divers found on graveyard was the meat chopper, so Dexter had to bought new tools (not for the last time)...

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Even though I saw 'Return to Sender' many times I'd totally forgotten about ITK retrieving the body of Valerie Castillo from the Ocean (as proof read my previous episode recap where I asked if her body was found in Season 2 as part of the discovered Bay Harbor Butcher dumping ground). I also forgot that Rudy had carved that happy face (same as the one he left behind the photo of Dexter) on Valerie's blood specimen to clue Dexter about the test ITK was putting him under. Between this, the threat of the Cuban kid's ID (which we as an audience don't really think will pan out but the show and the character really sell that the ID threat is real) and Dex debunking her sisters' copycat serial killer profile (which ties with the all-Deb-related Dexter flashbacks) Dex is really under under the gun in this episode. Watching Dex use his brains and forensics skills to get out of multiple jams is the real fun of this episode.

Regarding Brian retrieving the body from 100 feet without Dexter noticing he's been watched, then finding the right bag etc., we have to take suspension of disbelief, nothing too uncommon with this show, but the actual shock and well made execution is making this very easy...That's unfortunately not very true lately with this show, as Emaych described...

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Besides being a big fat red herring about whether he can ID Dexter as a killer, the little Cuban boy also serves to humanize Maria LaGuerta's character. This is the warmest, most loving and likable her character will be during the entire series.

I guess she showed her better side in Season 3, still the writers and producers could think of Miguel being successful with killing her considering her later development...

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

... the 'storm gathering' nightmare is a mini-tour de force in which Jennifer Carpenter shines. The 'blood rain' (which is regular water lit-up with a red gel; Dex's foreground bloody hand sells the illusion that the background is really blood), Valerie walking away, Deb ritually dispatching Dexter (the only time Michael C. Hall ever laid on the table of a kill room... yes, it's imaginary!) and saying 'figures' sarcastically when her brother doesn't have any final words. Startling imagery/music, one of the most memorable scenes in the show's history. Fitting if it is, as Dex claims, his first ever dream/nightmare.

Great iconic scene, shame they gave up on dream sequences after Season 3...

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

First ever use of my favorite background tune in the show's history, the guitar-heavy and soulful 'Astor's Birthday Party.' The way the end of the song matched the visual of Dexter shutting down his door at the sight of the incoming storm (figuratively and for real) made an impact on me when I first saw this episode in mid-2007.

Great tune indeed, but we can say that about the whole soundtrack(s).

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Thanks for the comments MegaOvce (and for setting me right about Mrs. Batista's 2nd appearance). I'm going by memory here (even though I own the Blu-rays) but I recall Seasons 3 and 4 being about even and not as good as the first two seasons. But then S4's finale, "The Getaway" (a Melissa Rosenberg co-written script), has those unforgettable last couple of minutes that I'm convinced color everybody's perception of the whole fourth season being as good as the first two. We'll cross that mountain when we get to it, but I too anticipate liking S3 a lot more than how I remember it (pretty lame and underwhelming until 'About Last Night,' another Rosenberg-penned episode, which seemed to me as good as anything from the first two seasons). We'll see.

I see a few problems that may sunk Season 3 in many eyes...
Season 3 pacing is clearly incredibly slow and dull after the thrill rolercoaster ride of Season 2, but the writing(as voicovers and dialogue) quality itself is almost as good as in Season 2, and surpasses with these qualities the overrated Season 4, not to mention Dexter character is less distant from what made him captivating firstly back in 2006 in Season 3...
It also suffers from Season 2 finale that left too little to build on...
But I think it was this season that came closest to style of storytelling as we seen in the first season, we didn't know who the villain is and it has for a most part a kill of the week style episodes that were basically the first part of Season 1...

I clearly see a pattern that each pair of the seasons follows, when the even numbered season is more exciting than previous odd numbered season, but has a bit weaker writing, when the odd numbered season maintains the quality level of writing of its even numbered predecessor, but is just more slower...
post #4751 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaOvce View Post

[Goldwyn]Appeared in one episode exactly, and one that isn't far away...

That's what I meant: Tony's one on-camera episode is a couple of episodes away, not that he is on-camera in a couple of "Dexter" episodes. English is my second language too, and boy does it show!

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I clearly see a pattern that each pair of the seasons follows, when the even numbered season is more exciting than previous odd numbered season, but has a bit weaker writing, when the odd numbered season maintains the quality level of writing of its even numbered predecessor, but is just more slower...

Have you seen Season 6? Because, if you have, it throws a monkey wrench into your 'even numbered seasons are more exciting/faster' theory, IMHO.
post #4752 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Have you seen Season 6? Because, if you have, it throws a monkey wrench into your 'even numbered seasons are more exciting/faster' theory, IMHO.

Yeah I've seen it... I IMHO think Season 6 is a little bit more exciting than Season 5...

Maybe there's another theory, pair theory...
First pair is great (S1+S2)
Second pair is good (S3+S4)
Third pair is bad (S5+S6)
post #4753 of 6855
I think some of you take Dexter a little too seriously.

I think Dexter will regain it's focus when they write the ending to the show.
post #4754 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Wanderer View Post

I think some of you take Dexter a little too seriously.

HA! Well, it has been said certainly. I think for myself, that I do not take Dexter OR DEXTER too seriously. I am willing to invest some time giving it serious examination, if that distinction seems clear.

DEXTER offers the opportunity to explore all kinds of issues: how to best construct TV drama (whether inclusion of non-credible elements serves or dismantles that drama), what part acting, writing, music, etc., play in making TV great, all those type issues surrounding the mechanics of what we are watching, being that it has been soooo good and soooo bad, but of course in much broader context, there is the entire panoply of social issues raised -- how DEXTER plays to the American public on an expansive range of large social issues: crime in America, personal responsibility, sense of justice, concepts of right and wrong action, how we feel about violence and murder and retribution (and those involved), moralities of parental influence and child rearing, what makes a hero....the list of perspectives for serious discussion is endless, while never of necessity taking the show itself very seriously -- all those issues remain quite potent with or without the show, it is simply that this show is a uniquely fascinating cauldron for the nexus of such concepts....though folks will reach their own conclusions on just how obsessive the examination can get, no doubt...

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Originally Posted by Lone Wanderer View Post

I think Dexter will regain it's focus when they write the ending to the show.

One can certainly hope! They did not bring much focus, in my estimation, to last season where they gave us some significant movement toward resolutions anticipated from the start -- Deb's shocking discovery now mired in the worst of DEXTER's run -- a season replete with "unfocused" crapola like her being made Lieutenant....but I do hope you are right about the ultimate wind-down -- my hope, though tentative, could be reinforced significantly by some strong writing in aftermath of our last cliff-hanger....
post #4755 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaOvce View Post

Regarding Brian retrieving the body from 100 feet without Dexter noticing he's been watched, then finding the right bag etc., we have to take suspension of disbelief, nothing too uncommon with this show, but the actual shock and well made execution is making this very easy...That's unfortunately not very true lately with this show, as Emaych described...

Well, suspension of disbelief I think can apply to isolated presentations like the body reappearance -- there it crops up in incredibly dramatic fashion, our jaws drop in the moment, but we are in the tide of powerful dramatic flow and buoyed by otherwise very perceptively observed conditions.

It is quite another thing to string together whole sequences of happenings which don't remotely resemble our experiencing of the world -- again that warehouse sequence -- human motivations absent or running counter to understanding, police procedure wildly divergent from what we know -- the fact of the matter is that no one who arrived at that site on that night belonged there -- and those that did belong there, viz. factory workers, were impossibly absent!

A little hard to see how anything could take place there when no one could be placed there, except those that were not there. The drama disintegrates, we are no longer even able to suspend disbelief, there is nothing to invest in....

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Originally Posted by MegaOvce View Post

Great iconic scene, shame they gave up on dream sequences after Season 3...

Of course I would contend that notably the Rankin kill is a "dreamlike" sequence (that having taken place well beyond season 3), but perhaps the semantics of what that interlude might be considered to be, is what is at issue here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaOvce View Post

I see a few problems that may sunk Season 3 in many eyes...
Season 3 pacing is clearly incredibly slow and dull after the thrill rolercoaster ride of Season 2, but the writing(as voicovers and dialogue) quality itself is almost as good as in Season 2, and surpasses with these qualities the overrated Season 4, not to mention Dexter character is less distant from what made him captivating firstly back in 2006 in Season 3...
It also suffers from Season 2 finale that left too little to build on...
But I think it was this season that came closest to style of storytelling as we seen in the first season, we didn't know who the villain is and it has for a most part a kill of the week style episodes that were basically the first part of Season 1...

Again, I'm looking forward to that rewatching. I hadn't thought of pacing being the issue, more the premise of Dexter's unlikely pairing with another, and perhaps people were put off with Smits and/or his approach as well, but it certainly will be interesting to give another look to, as many folks felt DEXTER took a dramatic dive with the third season.
post #4756 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Never made the connection. Thanks, now these 'American' lines of dialogue that previously didn't resonate with me take on a whole new meaning.

Yeah, did not previously consider that they were rendering Dexter as something of a modern contemplation of the mythology of the American cowboy -- steadfast personal code of conduct never in doubt, willing to accept extraordinary risk in pushing the boundaries of an unexplored frontier, strong silent champion of the unprotected, but never quite willing to don the mantle of Sherriff, but all those things seem to apply.

What was much more astonishing to me however, was the incendiary, even outrageous, likening of Dexter to Christ -- that absolutely had bypassed conscious recognition previously, as it was masterfully "buried" in a somewhat plausible unfolding of events, but the meaning is now fairly explicit to me.

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Likewise, Devon Graye and Haley King make a lasting impression in their teenage Dexter and teenage Deborah (respectively) flashback scenes. The tragedy that was young Deb's seeking of the attention of a father too busy training his adopted son to be a serial killer (a gold mine if the new seasons of "Dexter" seek to exploit it) is captured in these heartbreaking scenes of neglect. Linking these Deb-disappointed-by-the-men-in-her-life flashbacks to the episode's subplot of Dexter framing Jorge Castillo for Valerie's murder to invalidate Deborah's serial killer profile is masterful storytelling the likes of which latter seasons of the show seem to have forgotten about.

Another thing here in flashback was that Deb very pointedly declared that she was NOT Dexter's sister. She was at the time making emotional note of the fact that it was grievously unfair for Harry to heap all the attention on Dexter, but also sets out in stark relief that Deb very much had the sense that they were unrelated male and female growing up in the same household. Can't be sure this might have been raising awareness on possibilities to come, but does cast an interesting light on it.
post #4757 of 6855
Friendly Exes, Part II - Are M.C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter reconciling? (http://wonderwall.msn.com/tv/pic-exe...-1666088.story)
post #4758 of 6855
Did anyone catch the "20/20 on TLC" broadcast last night?
It featured a couple of stories about real-life douchebag murderers who claimed to have been inspired by Dexter.
I tried to watch, but quickly realized it was a B.S. tactic to beat their raps.
post #4759 of 6855
Caught the stories when they broke (on the news/internet) but didn't see the "20/20" treatment. Did they use clips from "Dexter" to back up the criminals' claims? Did "20/20" interview anybody from the show or Showtime to get their side of the story? Basically was it biased toward giving validity to these punks' claims, or not?
post #4760 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Friendly Exes, Part II - Are M.C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter reconciling? (http://wonderwall.msn.com/tv/pic-exe...-1666088.story)

At the risk of contaminating the "Dexter ReWatch Thread" with current 'Dexter' related comments, and I do apologize for this thoughtless digression, I find this story of lovey-dovey divorced BFF's at odds with the rumors of serious tension on the set after the breakup of the afore-mentioned lovebirds' marriage. That's all. I'm sorry for the intrusion.

We now return you to the previously scheduled ReWatch Project, now in progress.
post #4761 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Caught the stories when they broke (on the news/internet) but didn't see the "20/20" treatment. Did they use clips from "Dexter" to back up the criminals' claims? Did "20/20" interview anybody from the show or Showtime to get their side of the story? Basically was it biased toward giving validity to these punks' claims, or not?

Sorry, but I didn't sit all the way thru it when I realized it was just a legal tactic.
post #4762 of 6855
'The Dexter 2012/2013 Rewatch Project'
Ep.107: 'CIRCLE OF FRIENDS'
By dad1153, AVSForum.com - Feb. 12, 2012




Plot Summary: The Ice Truck Killer is supposedly identified, but Dexter is skeptical. Meanwhile, Rita must deal with the return of her menacing, recently paroled ex-husband. (Source: DexterWiki).

Premiere Dates: 11/12/06 (SHO), 3/30/08 (CBS)
Writer: Daniel Cerone
Director: Steve Shill
AVS Comments: mayest not only started us off but his was post #200 (click link to read more).




When I was young I broke my Humpty Dumpty toy into pieces, but never bothered to collect human body parts to put the doll back together. I'm weird that way.

This episode aired (edited for network TV) on CBS a little after 10 p.m. on Sunday, 3/30/08. It got a 2.2 in the demo rating, up five tenths from the previous week (Source: HOTP Thread/Media Life Magazine).
Second script (of six) written by Daniel Cerone.
First (of eight) episodes directed by Steve Shill, whose direction for Season 4's "The Getaway" won the show (and himself) an Emmy Award for Best Direction in a Drama Series, one of four Emmy's "Dexter" has won through the years. His previous work prior to (and during) "Dexter" included stints on "Law & Order: SVU/CI," "Deadwood," "The Tudors" and "The Wire" (among many others).
In the back of my mind I was drearing this episode because it deals with pretend-serial killer Neil Perry (Sam Witwer) instead of the real-deal Ice Truck Killer. Imagine my surprise when this episode built, from very jokey and comedic beginnings (super-wacky music by Daniel Licht, Dex play-pretend stabbing someone at a crime scene, crooked camera angles, etc), to a very serious and dramatic tone that ends on an exclamation point of utter joy (for Dexter and audience alike). This episode is like a perfectly-executed upward trajectory missile launch.
All the balls the show kept juggling for the previous six episodes (Neil Perry showing up as a witness in 'Love American Style,' Jeremy Downs' fate when Dex let him live in 'Crocodile,' Rudy Cooper getting closer to Deb than two episodes prior and Rita's ex-hubby Paul showing up after being mentioned/heard on the phone in 'Return to Sender') pay up in this episode. Seven episodes in and all of the show's cards (except for the reveal of ITK's identity) are on the table.
For a stabbed-to-death high school yearbook editor that corpse sure looked to me like it was breathing a lot.
Unlike newer seasons where Dex always seems to be a step ahead of Miami Metro, here the police (through Doakes and fellow police officers) get to Jeremy Downs before Dexter snatches him because Doakes actually went with Dex's hunches at the previous crime scene. And Batista/Deborah's hunch about parking tickets that led them to Neil Perry was boiler-plate effective police work. It's been so long since I've seen Miami Metro work as anything other than Dexter's playground I'm kind-of shocked to see it.
Rita is still driving the low-rider convertible Dexter got for her when she tries to pick her kids from school. It's an odd sight.
Mark Pellegrino (the poor man's Paul Bettany) makes an impression as Rita's ex-husband Paul. While its obvious he cares for his kids it's obvious Paul's also an oportunistic bully. The first two times Rita alone has to deal with Paul gaining the affection of their children (by him getting behind her back with gifts) you truly get a sense of the sensible, gentle woman Rita was that couldn't muster the courage to confront her abusive husband...
... which is no problem for Dexter. His 2nd meeting with Paul, when Dex barely blinks at an incoming punch (I like that Dex does react a little bit, instead of a non-reaction which would have come across as too-cool), puts the bully back in his place. Then, after talking with her boyfriend, Rita musters enough courage to lay down the law to Paul (who at this point in the show seems like he could go either way). Not a single scene in this episode between Paul, Rita and Dexter is wasted. They all serve to show Paul being a problem (Rita not standing up to Paul), Dexter correcting the problem (advice to his girlfriend and taking a stand) and then Rita putting her foot down.
Astor made a quick 180 degree turnaround on how she felt toward her father. Last episode she was wetting her bed at the thought of him coming back and didn't want Paul on her birthday party. The very next episode Astor seems perfectly fine with her dad. Did Paul buy Astor a Sony PSP or something to bribe her?
Even though it's a Paul-centric episode during the first half-hour 'Circle of Friends' still has time to build on the Rita-Dexter relationship. Their mutal feet-massage on the couch and Dex saying 'only you can make those words cute' after Rita calls Paul a 'f***ing bastard' are simple, lovely moments of intimacy. They make such a cute couple.
During the feet-massage couch scene Dexter uses the term 'darkness' (no passenger yet though) to refer to the personalities inside the troubled guys that Rita has met. Then Dex confesses (not really!) to what type of person he is and Rita dismisses it. Dex will have a similar non-confession confession with Jeremy Downs later in the episode (more below).
Neil Perry's mobile home looks like twisted homages (with an ironic/comedic bent) to Norman Bates' room/hotel office in "Psycho" (complete with dead mother's corpse under the "house") and to Buffalo Bill's lair in "Silence of the Lambs." Even not knowing if Perry is the ITK or not, the music makes scenes in this location look/feel like a big joke.
Dex mentions to Deborah when the latter wants the former at Neil Perry's place that it's his day off. Later in the episode (when it's clear it's a new day since Paul shows up at Rita's for breakfast) Dex mentions again that it's his day off. Just how many days off has Dexter taken? Or are we to assume that this entire episode takes place in the span of a day or two?
What do you know, Dex risks been seen with Jeremy Downs twice (in the park and at the police station) even though the kid could at least finger Dexter of stalking/nearly killing him. For a low-profile, stay-under-the-radar type of serial killer in this episode Dex almost gets caught... twice!
If Doakes had discovered that the civilian he ran over in the park on his way to aprehend Jeremy Downs was Dexter, what would he have done? Technically Dex could have been charged as soliciting prostitution services from Jeremy (though both could have denied it since it never got that far). It also means Doakes could have gotten the (wrong) impression that Dexter is into young boys, which maybe in his cop mind would have explained why Dexter behaved in a way he found suspicious.
Doakes' reliable chestnut to Dexter when the latter's theories are proven right again, 'Im watching you,' elicits a 'whatever' backward hand wave from Dex.
Even though he's the least-used of the regular cast members, when Geoff Pierson's Capt. Matthews is in the squad room his presence is always felt even though he's mostly sitting quietly in the background. Matthews screwing over LaGuerta by taking credit with the media for Perry's arrest (which actually backfires on him) plants the seeds of mistrust that result in the termination of Tom's career in Season 6 at the hands of ambitious-to-a-fault Maria.
Very unconventional interview LaGuerta conducts with Perry when both of them exchange pleasantries while smoking. Very odd, and probably part of the director's attempt to make Perry seem like a plausible (if disappointing) Ice Truck Killer.
The scene where Dexter talks to Jeremy Downs in the (camera-less) interrogation room is the centerpiece of this episode and a masterpiece whose elements had been set-up throughout the season up to now. By casting young actors that look very similar (Devon Grey as teenage Dexter during the flashbacks and Mark L. Young as Jeremy Downs) Dexter is, figuratively and somewhat for real, talking to himself when he was a young man with murderous impulses (i.e. where teenage Dex would have ended up without Harry's 'help'). Doakes' white partner (who even has an earlier scene in this episode talking to Dexter to establish his presence) that comes in and yells/threatens Jeremy when Dex leaves is like the anti-Harry, a cop who doesn't give a s*** about Jeremy and doesn't see/recognize any good within him. And Dexter's 'I'm empty... pretend...' speech to Jeremy (the equivalent of Ernest Hemingway's 'all men lead lives of quiet desperation' for lonely serial killers) is the core tenant of the series that we've been watching, here at its most emotionally naked and exposed before the breakdown with Lumen at the end of S5's 'The Big One.' And, unlike Rita earlier in the episode, Jeremy doesn't see it at first but then he sees (and feels it) enough to know he'd rather be dead than continue 'living his life inside his head.'
'Circle of Friends' is the first episode in "Dexter" history without Harry flashbacks (James Remar appears briefly on-camera in the photos that ITK fondled that Dexter is looking at). Then again, no flashbacks are needed bacause that Jeremy Downs interrogation scene is like a present-day flashback (Jeremy: teenage Dex; Dexter: Harry; angry white cop: the world that doesn't understand Dexter's needs, etc.) of Dexter's emotional chickens coming home to roost. Jeremy was Miguel/Lila/Lumen/Deb (starting in Season 7) all rolled into one, long before we were even aware of how meaningful it was for Dexter to expose his true self to complete strangers.
The interrogation scene between Jeremy Downs and Dexter, to me, answers the matter of why Dex gets involved in the lives of characters he'd be better off killing instead of befriending (Miguel in S3, Lumen in S5, Arthur Mitchell in S4, Lila in S2, etc.). It's clear Dex is alone and wants someone to share the burdens of his lonely serial killer life with (what else is 'I'm empty... pretend... maybe one day those feelings will be real' if not a cry for help by an anguished loner?) but can't because of Harry's Code. When Dexter sees Jeremy Downs going down the path he (Dex) could have gone but without a Harry Morgan to guide him, Dexter FEELS sorry for Jeremy, and wants to know why he killed the HS kid because he (Dex) CARES. 'Feeling' and 'caring' are not normal emotions of the psychopathic personality, thus Dex's need to get involved with people that could potentially (and in the case of Trinity, devastatingly) hurt Dex's life. Dexter Morgan, like Bill Bixby's Dr. David Banner character in "The Incredible Hulk" TV series, can't help but care for strangers that stumble (Miguel, Lumen) or could help him understand (Trinity) his secret. Dex would be better off stalking bad guys and executing them, the same way Dr. Banner could stop 'Hulking Out' if he stopped getting involved in the businesses of mobsters, crazy scientists, white trash dirtbags, etc. Both TV characters though, by virtue of the TV world they exist in, can't help but get involved even if it often means doing harm to themselves. That's what being not a Harry Morgan creation but 'an entirely new being... I'm Dexter' means, and why Dexter remains compelling 72 episodes into its run even if the show the character appears on is more miss than hit these days.
Dexter's voice-over when he leaves Jeremy behind with the angry cop is a (very short and brief) return to the 'exposition for dummies' explanation of what we had just seen. A little clumsy, but it happens fast-enough and it's not done as often as in latter seasons that you forgive it, especially since the 'I had someone to talk to, Harry my foster father' schpiel is also there to get then-new "Dexter" viewers up to speed (especially in this flashback-free episode).
I was waiting for when this season we'd hear the uber-classic Dexter tune 'House.' It debuts in 'Circle of Friends' not once (during the aforementioned 'Dexter interviews Jeremy' scene) but at the very end. Both times the music enhances and gives extra power to what already are pretty dramatic moments.
Gotta say though, Jeremy killing himself by smashing his head against the corner of a bed in prison smacks of a last-moment "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" leap of dramatic license. Steve Shill directs the hell out of the moment though, especially the slow-motion guards running past Dex and toward Jeremy's cell. It looks beautiful, but how convenient that Jeremy's dead and Dexter's secret is once again safe.
When Perry looks at Dex and says 'who the f*** are you?' the camera on both characters is crooked. When Dex hears Neil's question the camera centers itself (reflecting Dex's world righting itself at knowing Perry isn't ITK), peppy music kicks in, Dex smiles and we cut to black. We as audience members are literally cheering with joy that the real ITK will kill and hurt many more innocents because Dexter is happy. The show at this point has the audience 100% on Dexter's side, not only for the reveal at the end (nobody wanted the mysterious character that had intrigued us for seven episodes to be a white trash loser like Neil Perry) but also because we see Dex's renewed happiness as a reward of-sorts for Dex trying to do right by Jeremy Downs (even if it was too late).
I can honestly say know, rewatching Chris Camargo as Rudy Cooper, that the guy's charm is what kept me from thinking of him as the Ice Truck Killer. Seen from Deborah's eyes (the character we identify with most after Dexter) Rudy is good-looking, a gentleman, doing good deeds plus a doctor. No wonder she barely-waited to say yes when he asked her out for dinner, or he kissed her mid-conversation in the parking lot (Jennifer's beautiful).
Deb mentions to Rudy that her mother (Harry's wife) passed away from cancer when she was 16. Rudy's description of her mother's death (a car accident) doesn't match what we know happened to Laura Mosler (coming soon) except for the bit about her being in parts that couldn't be put back together again because the pieces weren't around. That's not only true but a big fat pointer that the guy is ITK, along with his 'Humpty Dumpty' conceptualization.
Rudy mentions to Deb casually that he attended the University of Paris-Sorbonne to study the 'human form.' Paris is where Lila escaped at the end of Season 2's 'The British Invasion,' and where Dexter got to her. Was the French location a recall back to this episode where Rudy mentions (though no proof is offered, maybe Bryan's just making s*** up) that he studied in Paris?
DEBism of the episode: (to Rudy when they're out drinking/eating) 'How did you become Captain Hook?'. Batista actually had the clever foul-language line of the episode with his 'hitting the motherf***ing load' comments at Neil Perry's place.
DEX's favorite quip: (when realizing Jeremy Downs has killed again) 'My random act of kindness was misguided. If I'd followed my instincts this boy's high school yearbook would still have an editor.' Runner-up: (to Rita's ex Paul the first time they meet) 'Dexter Morgan... I can't think of anything clever to say'



(Pics courtesy of this website)
post #4763 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

I can honestly say know, rewatching Chris Camargo as Rudy Cooper, that the guy's charm is what kept me from thinking of him as the Ice Truck Killer. Seen from Deborah's eyes (the character we identify with most after Dexter) Rudy is good-looking, a gentleman, doing good deeds plus a doctor. No wonder she barely-waited to say yes when he asked her out for dinner, or he kissed her mid-conversation in the parking lot (Jennifer's beautiful).
Deb mentions to Rudy that her mother (Harry's wife) passed away from cancer when she was 16. Rudy's description of her mother's death (a car accident) doesn't match what we know happened to Laura Mosler (coming soon) except for the bit about her being in parts that couldn't be put back together again because the pieces weren't around. That's not only true but a big fat pointer that the guy is ITK, along with his 'Humpty Dumpty' conceptualization.

I don't know. Upon rewatching, I just don't see any clues yet that Rudy is the ITK. We don't yet know he is lying about his mother and have not seen him pop a lozenge.

I think they were doing a pretty good job of keeping the secret at this point. Much better than the dead Olmos last season.
post #4764 of 6855
^^^ The show was just better written/directed/organized (acting is about even) back in 2006 than it was in 2011 though. The 'new car smell' is long gone, but on this rewatch I'm finding the first season compelling, thrillng, mesmerizing... everything about the show I fell in love is still there. The show's new writers/directors could have staged/directed the whole Gellar thing a lot better, and it still wouldn't have amounted to more than a 2nd rate "The Sixth Sense" knockoff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

At the risk of contaminating the "Dexter ReWatch Thread" with current 'Dexter' related comments, and I do apologize for this thoughtless digression, I find this story of lovey-dovey divorced BFF's at odds with the rumors of serious tension on the set after the breakup of the afore-mentioned lovebirds' marriage. That's all. I'm sorry for the intrusion.

We now return you to the previously scheduled ReWatch Project, now in progress.

It's all Dexter-related baby. Yours, mine... everybody's thoughts on "Dexter" (new, old and the unknown) are welcomed here.
post #4765 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

...I do apologize for this thoughtless digression, I find this story of lovey-dovey divorced BFF's at odds with the rumors of serious tension on the set after the breakup of the afore-mentioned lovebirds' marriage. That's all. I'm sorry for the intrusion.

Not at all, not at all, good brother. The DEXTER thread is in renaissance and lately models inclusiveness and broad horizons -- intolerance seems to be on hiatus just recently, so welcome!

Also I'm so glad to see your ability to instantly home in on the news bits was not in the least impaired (I think there had been some concern), and of course your input is always valued, so good to see you back!
post #4766 of 6855
Dichotomous Dexter. Why be of a mind on a subject when you can be of two? Two minds better than one?

Perhaps it is all rooted in the seminal separation from blood brother in blood-bath aftermath. Dexter has suppressed memory of those most traumatizing events, but possibly supplanted the symmetrical sibling with internal counter-counsel. We may think ourselves solidly coherent as individuals, representing resolved perspectives on personal issues long contemplated, but I think our actual truth is closer to the Dexter paradigm -- we are beings whose existence lies defined in divides.

We are born and die alone, but do we simply become a bland amalgam of all the others we have met along the way? Is there core identity which defines us, or are we always just malleable adapters to the caprice of chaotic fortune -- the lump-sculpted putty of random destiny? Dexter claims to want to account for only himself, yet craves understanding of others and understanding of himself by others. Dexter thinks he does not harbor passions, or indeed feel anything, yet cannot escape convictions so deep that he puts his life on the line for them. He can't help but be the hero, but does not know why, rather instead would consciously identify with a "circle of friends" who are the antithesis of heroic.

With CIRCLE OF FRIENDS Dexter explores his identifications with other serial killers -- about fifty at any one time operating in the US, according to FBI, we are told. Is Dexter of their ilk, or something other? He thinks they deserve to die by his hand. Should he die by his own hand as well? Is he working to preserve his ongoing enterprise or bring about its demise?

Dexter proceeds down a prison corridor to confront Jeremy: "I prided myself on being the outsider, but now feel the need to connect to someone." The eternal unresolved dilemma: ourselves/others self/society selfishness/sacrifice. He saw himself in Jeremy, but doled out fortune cookie advice. He failed him, but resolves that Jeremy deserves better, and Dexter will be there for him. Then Dexter sees Jeremy has killed himself. He HAD heard Dexter's advice after all -- and acted upon it. Dexter had told him to kill the deserving, and he had killed himself.

So Jeremy deserved Dexter's best attentions, but also deserved death. And Dexter saw himself in Jeremy, so deserves his own best effort and perhaps that is to kill himself? But not just now -- many more seasons of sweet TV to go before we know what destiny bodes for Dexter. The impulse to live and the impulse to die -- they are fused in us as they are in Dexter, but here is a character all about life and death in your face on a daily basis... and got to say, I find the portrait fascinating.
post #4767 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

•Unlike newer seasons where Dex always seems to be a step ahead of Miami Metro, here the police (through Doakes and fellow police officers) get to Jeremy Downs before Dexter snatches him because Doakes actually went with Dex's hunches at the previous crime scene. And Batista/Deborah's hunch about parking tickets that led them to Neil Perry was boiler-plate effective police work. It's been so long since I've seen Miami Metro work as anything other than Dexter's playground I'm kind-of shocked to see it.

You know I had totally forgotten about the reemergence of Jeremy. I had been thinking of all the seeming contradictions with his character -- that Dexter identified him as someone who was a master at killing, therefore would kill again, yet abandoned that thought (and him) when he thought he had discovered the kid Jeremy murdered deserved it -- those two portraits were not seemingly compatible. I was prepared to conclude that it was some little untidiness in the writing and said this:

"Just another wrinkle to consider: Jeremy might well have been telling the truth about being raped, while a willing participant in whatever sexual situation took place. As he was a minor at the time, even as a consenting party, legally speaking he was nevertheless raped, depending upon the specific act I suppose. Perhaps it may have been a situation where he was willing enough to go along with some experimentation, but later decided (possibly upon extraneous suggestion that he had been taken advantage of or raped), that it was a violation -- a violation that required retribution. This would fill some of the gaps -- perhaps Jeremy was establishing a pattern of being seduced, only to justify killing, much in the manner of Aileen Wuornos."

That would explain both the early kill and the ongoing urge to kill again. I expected that I was doing the writers job for them -- supplying details which fit, but which were left dangling by the writers. But here we have perfect evidence how much better this season was than the ones that followed -- this HAD been thought out. We did have a fully fleshed-out character after all. And this season is a beautifully crafted study of characters in supremely observed nuance and tangible air of reality. So, so in contrast to what the show became around season five.

Much more to say -- I'll continue through the week, but must turn in just now.....
post #4768 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by zaphod7501 View Post

I don't know. Upon rewatching, I just don't see any clues yet that Rudy is the ITK. We don't yet know he is lying about his mother and have not seen him pop a lozenge.

I think they were doing a pretty good job of keeping the secret at this point. Much better than the dead Olmos last season.

Absolutely. No intimation whatsoever of Rudy -- kind of like what I was saying about considering Dexter as suspect for the Castillos -- what connection could anyone possibly concoct between Dexter and the pair, or here between Rudy and Tucci? Even in the face of a sketch that might have looked exactly like Dexter, or here if someone theorized Rudy could be ITK -- how is that going to make any sense to anyone? -- both are simply not in the mix of suspicion -- so much so it would take catching them in the act to be persuasive, one would think.

In fact, here with Rudy, it must be remembered that he is in the picture because his victim who was not expected to live (presumably), or even be transported to hospital, then comes to be fitted by Rudy himself for prosthetics, and thereby meets the crew. It is one of the more striking phenomenal unrealistic turns of fate, because it seems Rudy is playing out something planned, yet he could not have.

Good to see you back zaphod7501!
post #4769 of 6855
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

When Perry looks at Dex and says 'who the f*** are you?' the camera on both characters is crooked. When Dex hears Neil's question the camera centers itself (reflecting Dex's world righting itself at knowing Perry isn't ITK), peppy music kicks in, Dex smiles and we cut to black. We as audience members are literally cheering with joy that the real ITK will kill and hurt many more innocents because Dexter is happy. The show at this point has the audience 100% on Dexter's side, not only for the reveal at the end (nobody wanted the mysterious character that had intrigued us for seven episodes to be a white trash loser like Neil Perry) but also because we see Dex's renewed happiness as a reward of-sorts for Dex trying to do right by Jeremy Downs (even if it was too late).

Very astute of you. Yes, the show has worked some major magic to manipulate the way we image things, which I think is its central intrigue for me -- not to mention a singular towering achievement -- for a TV vehicle to so successfully skew our perceptions off of expected trajectories, is nothing short of mind-blowing.

I think we do buy into the ITK as mystical God concept, at least somewhat. Dexter imparts that he felt as a Spanish explorer landing on the shore of a new world: no blood in the victims, no spatter, no stain. He has sanctified the ITK's arena of torture as an almost holy shrine that it is a violation to tread through. He had said about the ITK that his new friend does not place value on blending in, that he wants Dexter to see who he is and what he does, that everything about him is brazen and authentic -- then Dexter asks himself: "what does that make me?" He even goes on to lament that he (Dexter) might be a just collection of learned behaviors, and if he is simply in fact just bits and pieces of Harry, maybe his new friend (the ITK) is right, Dexter is a fraud.

Dexter disparages the hoarder-style environs and corrupted techniques of the taxidermist, and is aghast at the notion that the master might be shamefully on the run, or even more tragically lives in a double-wide. In these imaginings, Dexter is quite deluded of course. There is nothing brazen or bold about the ITK -- he is a pathetic coward who skulks in shadow and preys on the very most vulnerable in our society, when they are no threat to fight back, just like so many other serial killers. The most "courageous" thing he might be said to have done thus far is to have intimidated Tucci into a ruse, then immobilized this compliant victim, who is just trying to make a living and avoid death, and later inflicts horrendous suffering -- again on a helpless, defenseless, tethered victim.

The ITK operates under complete cloak of nocturnal furtive doings -- despicable acts hidden from view, shamefully executed, inflicted upon the very most helpless among us.

There is nothing particularly noteworthy or admirable in the blood-drainage techniques -- the person is dead, so the major tightrope walk has already been brought to the ground, and certain physics prevail on blood drainage -- what might be truly awesome is preserving life while delicately and skillfully cutting out a cancer, or any other thing, even the most minor, that actual surgeons do. But here in DEXTER, with some scripted lines of much respect and major kudos from a lead that we somehow inexplicably identify with, we are exactly as you suggest Dad, riding right along with some utterly sick conceptions.

Now as viewer, I find I am at the feet of the writing masters who brought this about, much like Dexter holds ITK in almost religious reverence. These writers have taken the available elements and twisted ordinary perceptions, our typical sympathies and sentiments, and turned them inside out. A TV show that can succeed at that, and largely without our noticing, and especially not noticing HOW this was accomplished, does not come along every day.
post #4770 of 6855
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.
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