Fantastic 2nd episode of what is shaping up to be a return to form for "Dexter." There are S1 and S2 vibes felt throughout the show, and not just because they're name-dropping or showing off props from those seasons. The only problem is that everything that isn't Dex-Deb related (the Ukranian boss coming over to Miami, Quinn getting close to that stripper, the constant raids of the strip clubs, the bouncer boyfriend of the dead stripper, etc.) feels like the padding that it is. At least now we got an idea of what else besides the Ukranian mob Dexter will be dealing with, and that is an intriguing prospect. Seems fitting that, like S2 (which is heavily hanging over this season), Dex might be about to welcome another femme fatale-type woman like Lila into his life. Some random notes:
-Deb had the best lines of this episode by far, both for the funny but also for the pathos. When she said 'You gave it a name?'
when Dex opens up about his 'dark passenger' I both laughed and then thought 'of course, she's normal, normal people don't name their alternate personality or undesirable part of themselves a name.' Proof again of how masterful a job the writers of "Dexter" did in the early years/episodes of the series to make Dexter's abnormalcy look and seem normal within the warped universe of both the books and the TV series. This reaches a crescendo when both Morgans are alone in the parking lot with Louis in the trunk (more on that below).
-Back-to-back LOL lines from the Morgans: 'I dreaded this moment my whole life... but I never pictured it like this'
(Dex when he gets on all fours and barfs in front of the apartment) and 'F*** me for ruining your evening'
(Deb getting testy with Dex trying to justify his actions).
Nothing tops Mazuka for the line of the episode though (to Dex): 'I was ready to blow you.'
-Deborah points to the slides on Dexter's table and mentions that those are people/victims. Dex then proceeds to rattle the names of three victims from S1 (the choir teacher from the pilot, the married illegal smugglers from 'Love, American Style'/'Return to Sender' and the psychiatrist from 'Shrink Wrap') that were deserving. But none of the people Dexter mentions are on the set of slides Deb discovered. Those slides were taken by Doakes when he stole Dex's first trophy box, which does make an appearance when they arrive from the FBI at Maria LaGuerta's request. The writers knew the slides Dex was mentioning weren't the one's in the apartment but they do show up in the episode and it doesn't feel like their appearance is a stretch but a natural plot point given Maria's private investigation. Nice, tidy and well-thought out writing.
-When Deb is reading Lundy's report on the BHB (another nice, inobtrusive callback) she looks at the picture of Harry and young Deb and Dex (i.e. the new child actors from the season premiere's flashbacks). Could the thought be crossing Deb's mind that, by not turning Dex over, she's just as big an enabler as Harry was of Dexter's condition? Or that the real addict (what Lundy was talking about) in that picture was Harry over the power he had to control Dex? Or that maybe Harry was right to channel Dex's addiction? Harry and Deb: police enablers, one addict. Dexter: victim and perp.
-Was that a DNA shirt (with extra colors thrown in) Mazuka was wearing when he meets Dex at the Miami Metro locker?
-UNINTENTIONAL LAUGH LINE: Deb saying 'remember him?' over Mike Anderson's pic. Again, like last week, the ramifications of Anderson's killing will go on but, as a personal effect on the regular cast, Mike is as good as forgotten.
-The shots of Dex talking with Deb after the police briefing (the one Dex volunteers to go to but Deb shuts him down) shows Miami Metro in the background. It's the first time that I recall where we actually see the surrounding area of the 'Miami Metro' stock footage shots every time we cut back to the squadroom. There's a building next to Miami Metro (when the camera pans camera-left of Miami Metro toward Deb) that is the Miami Herald building:
Now, these shots combined with the shots of Dexter and Deb running out of the apartment building at the start of the episode (the one from the pilot episode, which was shot in Miami) makes me think this is a rare "Dexter" episode in which some new footage was shot on location in Miami. The footage of Dexter racing in a vehicle on the opening minutes of last week's season premiere (when we can clearly see M.C. Hall driving that car with Miami locations in the background) was also too realistic-looking to be faked. My guess is that Hall, Jennifer Carpenter (the only two actors on-camera during these Miami-set scenes) and a skeleton crew shot these. Either that or CG is getting really freaking good at faking inserting Miami footage/locations (like Miami Metro and the Miami Herald building). Check this video (the "Monk" footage at 1:15 in particular) to see how easy it is to swap/make locations seem realistic on a TV budget: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clnozSXyF4k
-There was a scene in an S2 episode, 'That Night, A Forest Grew,' where agent Lundy and Deborah sat in a bench next to the beach. Deb was wearing dark glasses with her eyes visible while she poured her soul to Lundy about her feelings for him, and it was one of my favorite Deb moments in the entire series. In the Miami-set Deb-Dex scene above, Deb is also wearing dark glasses that you can see through her eyes. And, again, it's one of the best Deb scenes I've ever seen. If anything the standout for this season so far is Jennifer Carpenter coming close to achieving parity with M.C. Hall in the acting department.
-Anyone getting a "Hulk" vibe from the way Dex is being pressured by Dex to be normal ('so how does it feel?'
), but once the beast within Dex is unleashed ('black blood'
) it can't be controlled? Like the S5 final episode where Dex snaps and breaks the plate after Lumen breaks up with him, I'm getting serious "Hulk" vibes from "Dexter." There was also that remark Wayne Randall made about 'Batman and Robin' right before he took care off his final victim.
-Notice that, right after Deb serves spaguetti to Dex, they both twirl and eat the spaguetti the same way. Cute.
-Seems that the more important Harrison is to the show's plot (the case during most of S5-S6) the least interesting "Dexter" becomes. In these past two episodes we had little to no Harrison importance to the main plot (Deb's 'we'll go visit Harrison' remark was just the set-up for Dex to find out Louis didn't take Dex's threats seriously) and the show has improved dramatically. Just sayin'.
-The scenes when Dex tries, really tries to open up to Deb and she can only muster her natural reactions to what she's hearing ('you're a sick ****, Dexter, Jesus Christ'
) to me are an unintentional endorsement of psychiatry (when a neutral listener helps a person understand themselves better without the judgements that a non-impartial person will inevitably bring to the discussion) as the only rational way to deal with someone as irrational as a serial murderer. But every person, every situation and every trauma are different. For the dramatic purpose of this show/episode the love between Dex and Deb was such that her intervention efforts actually got through to Dex and made him guilty-enough to not go through with killing Louis (which, as we know from previous show history, will come back to bite Dex in the rear big time). I actually yelled outloud 'OMG, he's calling her!'
when the phone started ringing and sleepy Deb woke up. I don't think I've ever been so happy and pumped-up by Dexter not going through with a kill in the show's history, which is saying something because Louis is such an unlikable douche I wouldn't mind seeing him get his comeuppance.
-Is Harry a ghost or Dex's coscience making-up what Dex thinks Harry would say if he were there? Because in this episode both Morgans question whether Harry was right about what he did to Dex, and that in a show like this has to be considered a huge development. Both Dexter in Deb's bed wishing Harry had tried differently with him instead of fostering his serial killing, then Deb seeing that she got through to Dex by making him see that not killing proves he's in control, are already among the series' best moments. And we're only in episode 2 of the next-to-last season.
-As a big fan of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" I couldn't help but notice the "Maria" robot big-ass model (camera-right from where Louis left his laptop). Not sure if the others toys/characters are real or not, anyone know? I could swear I've seen some of them in the S2 episode 'The Dark Avenger' when Dex was walking around the comic book shop where a crime took place.
-SIGN YOU'RE WATCHING A SHOW WITH A CABLE BUDGET: the garage of the bouncer working on his bike that gets a visit from Ray Stevenson's Ukranian boss looks an awful lot like the garage Trinity was working on when designing the coffin (the one Dexter hides in when the feds came storming into Arthur Mitchell's house). I can't help but also notice that even though we're told there are multiple strip clubs owned by the Ukranian mob we keep going to the same one over and over again. They build that strip club set and damn it, they're going to milk it for all its worth.
-Notice that the end of the episode ties neatly with what Deb told Dex she didn't want to see happen to him (while they were eating spaghetti): 'I don't want to se you go to prison, or worse.'
With Randall's suicide-by-truck Dex witnessed the end result of both.
-The director of this episode, Steve Shill (an Emmy winner for directing S4's "The Getaway") returns to directing "Dexter" episodes after not directing any the year before while he worked on other shows ("V," "Missing," "Damages"). We sure missed him last year.
Special touch: playing 'House' (i.e. the sad, slow piano tune) just as Wayne Randall threw himself in front of the truck. Most shows would play a loud music cue or something to make this scene shocking or loud, but here the sad piano tune makes a perfect counterbalance to what we just saw. More Steve Shill directed episodes, please!
Gotta go, this show is back in such a big way the extenporaneous stuff that used to stand out which was front and center (and is currently rightly in the background) doesn't bother me. But will it bother Emyach? Edited by dad1153 - 10/7/12 at 11:55pm