Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dexter: Man goes in the cage, cage goes in the plastic sheeting...

Spoilers for "Dexter" coming up just as soon as I sign up for a SCUBA class...

I'm going to be briefer than I would otherwise like. I got to see this episode on a getaway Friday as I was packing for a weekend trip, and I wanted to finish writing something before the vacation began, so you're going to have to carry the conversation on this one for a week. I've got faith.

After being concerned about a lot of the contrivances in last week's episode, there weren't many moments here that had me asking, "Why would he do that?" Just when I was starting to worry that Lundy was acting willfully ignorant in his conversation with Laguerta about the stakeout logs, for instance, he went and acknowledged that she was probably right, but that her being right was of no use to him with tainted evidence.

Harry's return to prominence continued with the revelation of how/why he really died. (Though am I losing my memory, or did season one feature a flashback or two of Harry near the end of his life looking far more sickly -- maybe even bedridden -- than he appeared when he found Dexter cutting up that body?) I was never clear on when exactly Dexter's active serial killing career began relative to when Harry died, and Dexter's recognition that Harry supported The Code on paper but not in reality was a very important insight into both men.

(Dexter realizing that he inadvertently stole Deb's childhood by forcing Harry to spend so much time channeling Dexter's violent energy was another interesting one, and one that played into Deb's abandonment issues with Lundy.)

I enjoyed the cat and mouse game in the cabin between Dexter and Doakes, and how being exposed to the true face of Dexter -- even hidden behind opaque plastic sheeting -- shattered Doakes. If a hard man with blood on his hands like Doakes would react that way, how badly would Deb and Rita and the kids be hurt by discovering Dexter's true face? And how good a job do the writers do of making me want to root for the serial killer to get away with it, even if it means sacrificing an honest cop in the process?

If there was one part of the episode that frustrated me, it was the continued presence of Lila, who appears to be framing Angel as part of some convoluted plot to get revenge on Dexter and/or win him back. As Dexter's new emotional guru, a woman with some dark impulses but a relatively pure motivation, Lila was interesting. As a nutbar manipulator who resorts to arson, assault and now drug-aided mindgames to get her way, I'm tired of her. I hate this kind of character whenever it pops up on a show I like, and post-breakup Lila has been no exception to that.

That's it for me. Talk amongst yourselves. What did everybody else think?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lundy would have taken Laguerta's stakeout logs a bit more seriously, I think. The authorities are required to disclose any potentially exculpatory evidence to a defendant, and the logs are certainly that, despite the credibility issues they raise for Laguerta, their author.

Anonymous said...

Though am I losing my memory, or did season one feature a flashback or two of Harry near the end of his life looking far more sickly -- maybe even bedridden -- than he appeared when he found Dexter cutting up that body?)

That was when he was being poisoned by the nurse when he was in the hospital. After Dexter killed the nurse, he mentioned in VO that his father lived another year.

BigTed said...

It seems unlikely that Harry would have killed himself just because he caught Dexter in the act. If it actually wasn't a heart problem, wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that he was murdered, maybe because of a case he was working on. (And Dexter's search for the killer would make a good story arc for next season.)

The continued presence of annoying Lila probably is related to the Showtime credo: No matter how good or bad a program is, there needs to be somebody around who'll show her boobs.

Chris Littmann said...

That was when he was being poisoned by the nurse when he was in the hospital. After Dexter killed the nurse, he mentioned in VO that his father lived another year.

In addition, he did mention that was his first kill. Because he was awfully sloppy and clumsy.

SJ said...

I have to say...wonderful acting from Michael C. Hall and Erik King (Doakes). Though I usually find the Doakes character annoying, it was very interesting to watch him interact with the real Dexter. And when he said "just go away" it was kind of haunting.

Anonymous said...

We had a winter storm and our power was off the entire night! Is there anywhere I can catch Dexter online? I'm desperate not to miss an episode!

Bobman said...

We had a winter storm and our power was off the entire night! Is there anywhere I can catch Dexter online? I'm desperate not to miss an episode!

Showtime reruns the episode at least 4 or 5 times during the week, check your listings. They also have it on OnDemand if you have that.

Anonymous said...

I'm with bigted -- I don't completely trust the captain...he seems very shady to me. I don't think he told Dexter the truth. And I don't think Harry would just leave Dexter and Debbie like that -- it doesn't seem to fit his character.

I am also disappointed about where they are taking Lila, but it seems like she'll get a super sized eyeful next week -- can't wait for that! I wonder if she'll accept Dexter when she understands what he really is. Do you think they'll end this season with Dexter have to kill someone who "gets" him...again?

Homertojeebus said...

I like naked Lila, but there's no reason she has to be this annoying.
I'm really curious to see how they get out of the Doakes conundrum. I think Doakes will get off, perhaps with Dexter's help, but be unable to convince anyone about Dexter. He'll be off the force and pursuing Dexter on his own.

Jill said...
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Tim said...

I believe that was the first time Harry actually saw what Dexter does to his victims, hence the repulsion.

Anonymous said...

Jill...many of us don't watch the previews, PLEASE don't mention something that is show only in the previews for next week's ep.

Scott said...
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christy said...

That wasn't his first kill. Just the first (only) time Harry witnessed the reality of what Dexter does to his victims. And I think the fact that Harry so strongly pushed Dexter into that particular kill, out of anger and frustration (in contrast to the cool rationality of the "code"), and probably also how hopeful Dex seemed that it would make Harry happy...

Just like Dex realizing he "killed" Harry, Harry realized that all of Dexter's victims were also his own.

Thanks for the reminder about the nurse. I only watched the first season once through, and knew the whole nurse poisoning thing was close to the time of Harry's death, but I couldn't remember the details.

Will Ransom said...

If Harry did kill himself, based on his guilt and horror over what he had helped Dexter become, then it seems kind of strange that he wouldn't try to stop Dexter somehow before he did it. After Harry's death, there wouldn't be anything stopping Dex from going on to, well, kill forty six more people. And since Harry didn't (in theory) kill himself until three days later, it's not like that thought wouldn't have occurred to him. He didn't just walk back into the house and shoot himself, he planned out the suicide (again, in theory) for days, going so far as to ask Matthews to watch over Dex and Deb. Either Harry didn't actually commit suicide, or he didn't really think things through very far.

I'm kind of torn about which one I'd prefer. The one possibility would cast Harry in a somewhat unrealistic light; the other alternative is a "my father died of heart disease, no wait it turns out he committed suicide, NO WAIT IT TURNS OUT HE WAS MURDERED! Dun dun dun!" kind of plot twist that runs a real risk of being too corny for this show.

I have the utmost trust in the writers and the actors, so I'm willing to wait and see how it goes, but I hope it's at least something they address.

Jill said...

Sorry about that, folks. I just figured everyone watched till the end. An honest, if misguided, mistake.

Anonymous said...
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Alan Sepinwall said...

So I come back from a long weekend to find two cardinal rules being violated: 1)No talking about stuff in the previews (though, admittedly, that's one I occasionally slip on myself, as the promo departments at every channel are going out of their way to spoil things), and 2)No insulting people through vulgarity and overuse of exclamation points.

Jill made a mistake, which she apologized for. So let's all just calm down and be nice, okay?

dez said...

1)No talking about stuff in the previews (though, admittedly, that's one I occasionally slip on myself, as the promo departments at every channel are going out of their way to spoil things),

I've made that mistake here before, too. Previews are frequently misleading, though (the The Sopranos being an egregious offender).

Not sure how Dexter is going to escape and leave Doakes alive. I think LaGuerta, at least, would believe Doakes' story, though it might take a while.

Lila's beginning to annoy me, too. Her actions now seem like one long contrivance to give Dexter a "Code" reason to kill her. Bleah.

Chris said...

It seems odd to me but... Doakes seems to treat the "real" Dexter with a lot more respect. He seems to talk to him without that nasty condescending overtone that Doakes seems to always use.

I am also not sure of any previews, but I don't think Lila is going to frame Angel for rape. I think that Lila has her own addiction... control. She just needs to be able to control people, no matter what. Drugging herself is akin to her burning down her own apartment. She needs attention, she needs control. Since Dexter is out of the picture for now, she is going to control Angel until she can get her rocks off again with Dexter.

Jill said...

I noticed that more respectful tone too, Chris. I think part of it is that Doakes knows that pissing Dexter off is not a great idea at this point, but I also think that by the end of Sunday's episode, Doakes is starting to put the pieces together given what he knows about Harry -- and just maybe thinking that Dexter is a sad, sad case; perhaps one who can be salvaged. Or else he's just trying to get his ass out of there. Doakes does have experience (as we saw with the guy he knew from Special Ops) in trying to "talk criminals off the ledge", as it were.

cms said...

I can't imagine what they are going to do with Doakes. He's either got to die or be framed, which means we'll go through a drawn-out capital murder legal case. I don't see how they could sell Doakes being free and trying to convince people it's Dex without anyone believing him. I wouldn't buy it.

But, I've thought writers wrote themselves into a corner before, so let's see what they do. Eric King was FABULOUS in this episode, most especially by his reaction to the murder happening before his eyes (figuratively). He really seemed dejected, like there is a big difference between knowing something and experiencing it firsthand.

Love, love Dexter. Did they finish all the episodes before the strike? Does anyone know?

Ron Paul said...

Where is Undercover Asian Man ???
I need a fix...

Jill said...

cms: I read that all episodes were in the can before the writer's strike. (That's not a spoiler, is it?)

You know, Dexter keeps thinking that if he is discovered, it's capital murder. If there are any lawyers here, how likely is it that a defense attorney would plead insanity? If I recall, an insanity defense requires that the perpetrator not be aware that what he is doing is wrong. Dexter wrestles with this, particularly the more he finds out about Harry, but he always ends up justifying it because of "the code." If there is a track record documented somewhere of Harry's obsession with bad guys who got off on a techicality, would that give Dexter's inevitable account of having been "trained" by Harry some credence?

A Clean Cop said...

Ok folks I hate to say it but this blog is going WAY downhill:

1) What happened to Secret Asian Man? His summaries were the highlight of every entry and his deep analysis is sorely missed.

2) Numerous users are posting spoilers now? COME ON use a little common sense before you post?

3) YES, murdering 46 different people in Florida (of all places) WILL qualify for capital murder. Pick up a newspaper once in a while, it will help you understand how the world works.