Spoilers for "Dexter" episode two coming up just as soon as I repeat "I will not kill my sister, I will not kill my sister, I will not kill my sister"...
It took them one season plus one episode, but the "Dexter" writers finally put Michael C. Hall in a funeral home. Apparently, they think nobody's going to mistake Dexter Morgan for David Fisher anymore.
Episode two, "Waiting to Exhale," has Dexter dealing with blowback from his actions on multiple fronts. At work, ace FBI profiler Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine, continuing a late career renaissance on cable) is in town to track down "The Bay Harbor Butcher," the lurid nickname the media's hung on Dexter. At home, Dexter has to deal with the guilt -- if, in fact, he's capable of feeling that -- for setting in motion a chain of events that led to the death of Rita's ex-husband Paul. On his "night job" (or whatever you want to call it), Little Chino is still roaming free, and now has his gang buddies helping guard his giant body. And inside Dexter's own twisted psyche, the ghost of Rudy/Brian/The Ice Truck Killer sets up camp. (It's another "Six Feet Under" device, but again, this show and this character are so different that it's not distracting.)
Lundy's arrival gets more play in the coming weeks, and Dexter making peace with killing his brother was just this side of obligatory. (The writers needed to address it, but beyond that, I'm not interested in Rudy's effect on Dexter, though he's still haunting Deb, who's so far gone she's pulling guns on little kids.) Dexter finally taking out Little Chino after several clumsy failures was welcome -- if for no other reason than Hall's delivery of "I'm not so much doing it to you as I'm doing it for me." -- but what I really want to focus on this week is Paul's death and Rita's reaction to it.
Never mind that Paul was an abusive, manipulative SOB who so thoroughly battered Rita over the years that she had no sex drive when Dexter met her. He was her kids' father, and as we saw at the funeral, they loved the SOB -- and now he's gone, in part because of Dexter.
It's been really interesting to watch Dexter and Rita draw out aspects of their partners believed to be dormant or just plain gone. Rita's a sexual creature again, and someone capable of asserting herself. Dexter may pretend like Rita is just his beard, part of the easy cover identity that will keep people from suspecting him of hinky behavior, but he obviously has real affection for her and her kids. You can see him at that funeral recognizing what he did to this family (though in the long run, they're probably all better off without Paul), even if he refuses to cop to any remorse. Rita, meanwhile, confronts Dexter with far more strength and savvy than she would have been able to show when we first met her, and I like that she automatically makes the leap to Dexter being a heroin addict. After all, why on earth would she suspect something as outlandish as her boyfriend being the Bay Harbor Butcher, and why wouldn't she guess that he had a similar problem to the other love of her life?
Dexter admitting to an addiction (albeit not the one Rita thinks he has) is going to lead to a lot of fun in the coming weeks, so I'll turn it over to you. What did everybody else think?