Monday, December 01, 2008

Dexter, "Go Your Own Way": Somebody messes with me, I'm gonna mess with him

Spoilers for last night's "Dexter" coming up just as soon as I ask the dry cleaner if they can get out cow's blood...

Okay, now this is getting fun.

Overall, I'm still underwhelmed by a lot of this season, but these last few episodes have been really strong. Dexter and Prado's cat and mouse game is the obvious highlight -- their pretense-abandoning argument on the rooftop was one of the show's funniest, most electric scenes to date -- but at last some of the less interesting subplots are getting tied into the main action. Angel's relationship with the vice cop gives Dexter a chance to prevent the creation of yet another homicidal vigilante in Miami's law-enforcement community. Deb's relationship with Anton provides fodder for Miguel to blackmail Dexter with (and push Dexter firmly into Prado Must Die mode), and the Skinner becomes Miguel's tool to take out Dexter once and for all. Even the wedding storyline gave us the delightful spectacle of Masuka in charge of the bachelor party.

Now, we all know that the Skinner isn't going to succeed in killing Dex -- not unless the show is going to change its title to "Miguel" or "Skin-NER!" (said in my best Superintendent Chalmers voice) -- but seeing Dexter at the mercy of another serial killer, and seeing how he gets out of this predicament, should compensate for a lot of the sluggishness we needed to get to this point.

While I still assume that Prado winds up Saran-wrapped to a table, he's proving to be a much more formidable foe than I expected. And Dexter's internal debate about the problems of killing such a high-profile figure -- and one with such a close personal connection to himself -- suggests that we might get a more creative solution in the end

Finally, this late in the season, let me remind you of one of the cardinal parts of this site's No Spoilers policy: no talking about the previews, or anything else you've seen/read/heard about the next episode, or the rest of the season. I just barely changed the channel in time to avoid something I was sure I didn't want to see, given the cliffhanger.

What did everybody else think?

44 comments:

Sonia said...

Oh yeah...last night's Dexter was freakin' GREAT! And the previews didn't give anything away...not that I noticed.

Undercover Asian Man said...

While watching, I kept thinking about all those great teams that should have dominated their era if not for ego. Shaq and Kobe, Cheech and Chong, Dexter and Miguel...

What could have been, what could have been...

Chris Littmann said...

Interesting to see a lot of the thoughts from the comments here confirmed that Prado isn't new to using someone as an instrument of death.

Mrglass said...

I was wondering how much time had passed since the last episode, because the last time we saw Anton, he was agonizing with a large portion of his skin removed.

Shouldn't he stay in a hospital for a few weeks at least instead of fooling around with Deb?

Except this minor distraction, great episode. Any scene with Dexter and Miguel is gold really, and there were plenty.

Anonymous said...

My minor gripe: There is no way a police department would allow an officer to investigate the death of a friend and question the suspect. (Yet La Guerta is doing just that in questioning the bartender about the Ellen the Defense Attorney's death). Even if you could get past that, there is absolutely no way that a police department would allow that officer to investigate the death and question the suspect when that officer is a witness to the crime. La Guerta was present at the bar with Ellen, saw her interact with the bartender, and was probably one of the last people to see her alive besides Miguel and the bartender.

mrsb said...

Holy crap! That was one of the best episodes of Dexter, bar none. I could still do without La Guerta, but at least they've starting tying everything together in a way that makes sense.

The skinner actually works for Prado? Genius! Dexter's been snatched? Holy Crap! Of course he's going to get out of this - without Dexter there would be no "Dexter" - but I can't wait to see how he does it!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more, Alan. The husband and I were saying all through last night's episode, "now we are getting somewhere." The scenes with Dexter and Miguel, were as always, riveting, and Jimmy Smits is doing some really fine work here. And all the subplots that seemed so annoying are finally tying together. Really looking forward to the final two episodes.
Janlew

Mrglass said...

I will add that Dexter, Miguel and the Skinner all probably want to kill the other two.

Lots of mindgames in the last episodes!

renton said...

Showtime sure gets to the previews faster than any other network do they. You barely know an episode is over before they start rolling.

(And does anyone else have choppy audio for the first few seconds of Showtime previews, or is it just me?)

Loved the rooftop exchange and the reveal for what was behind it. Still, don't you think someone in the Miami police or journalism community would notice that the skinner was out of jail already?

Matter-Eater Lad said...

When I watch Dexter, I figure the Miami PD is so busy investigating all of the karmic murders Michael Weston sets into motion they don't have time to handle the investigations we see properly.

When I watch Burn Notice, I figure the Miami PD is so busy investigating all of the murders and other crimes on Dexter that they don't have time to investigate all of the karmic deaths Michael Weston sets in motion.

Bobman said...

I have my finger hovering over the "pause" button on the DVR from about 45 minutes on, and I still sometimes don't catch it. So annoying.

Great episode though. Love Smits flipping out on the roof, loved all the mind games. Really riveting hour.

dez said...

@Matter-Eater Lad: I have a feeling Michael's the only one who could escape Dexter's Saran Wrap! I'm not so sure about Sam, however.

Interesting that they are using elements of the second "Dexter" book for this season (and kind of a bummer because there are things in that book that would be great on-screen and are now rendered redundant by what is being used).

Of course, Dexter will escape, and I imagine his revenge on Miguel will be epic. I don't see how he can neutralize Miguel without killing him, though. Miguel is dangerously crazy, something Dexter should have picked up on but didn't fully appreciate, given Dexter's inability to fully understand the "human" condition. Perhaps Dexter will convince the Skinner to take out Miguel instead? Then Dexter kills the Skinner and voila, closed loop!

mrsb said...

Dexter could always take out Miguel "skinner style" (though it would be going against all of his rituals) and let the real skinner take the blame for everything.

Assuming all the skinner knows about Dexter is that Miguel pointed him to Dexter, he'd be pretty safe getting rid of him in that way. As much as he knows about the case and those killings, I'm sure he could replicate them for Prado. A fitting end for him, I think.

Miguel's going to have to be axed. How many times can Dexter be that close to a serial killer before he gets investigated? I'm doubting the real truth will come out about Miguel.

How will they ever top this in season 3? At times like this, I wish American tv was more similar to the UK - a couple of really good seasons, then out. Leave 'em wanting more and remembering the good times. I just don't want to see Dexter go downhill.

Antid Oto said...

I liked the fact that Miguel didn't really have to lie to the Skinner. Dexter really is the only person who knows exactly what happened to Freebo. (Though of course he doesn't know about the Skinner's money, so I guess it's half a lie.)

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bobman said...

Michael :

While what you said certainly wouldn't be a surprise, there are a lot of times where they give away the resolution to a very suspenseful moment in the previews and it destroys any suspense you may get from watching the scene, or in fact any of the scenes prior because you basically know what's going to transpire. To a lot of people it doesn't matter, but to some of us, certainly me, we like to watch a show without any preconceived notions of where the action is going to go. While this weeks' preview may not have given anything major away, sometimes they do give away major plot points and it's annoying at the very least, and actually ruins the episode in the worst cases.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm sort of baffled by the obsession many of you seem to have about avoiding the coming attractions on this and other shows.

Because too many serialized shows, particularly on cable (see also Battlestar Galactica and The Shield, to name two egregious offenders) get saddled with promos that often give away everything of import that's going to happen in the next episode. We don't talk spoilers here, and the previews have become just as spoiler-y in their own way as an Ask Ausiello column.

belinda said...

Again, great episode here. I only wished they started the season off with a quicker pace than they had, though I suppose we're getting at least part of the payoff in what would seem to be a good end to season 3, if this episode was any indication.

-With Dexter's ease of 'reading' serial killers (that whole respect talk with Deb), I'm speculating perhaps Dexter might get the Skinner on his side. Since Dexter is back in the arms of Harry's code, he's definitely cool minded and intelligent enough not to be skinned, and I cannot wait to see how that all pans out. I also look forward to see how Dexter deals with his anger towards Miguel, and what he'd sought to do with him, once he gets out of the Skinner's grasp. Though like I said last week, it would be most intriguing to see Dexter at the other side of the saran wrap for once, and we are finally getting to see it, if without the literal saran wrap. Especially if Dexter is held captive for at least a while, if only for Dexter to experience what he does on a daily basis.

JamesG said...

Great episode. The scene with the skinner on the roof had me wondering when Miguel contacted him about taking out Dexter. My guess would be in that "no camera" interrogation from an episode or two ago. If that's the case, it means that Miguel was planning on killing Dexter long before any of this double crossing began. This makes Prado an even more menacing and manipulative figure in my eyes.

I'm really looking forward to next week's episode to see how Dexter reacts to a serial killer when the tables are turned. Seems so rich with possibilities, as we could see anything from Dexter totally engulfed in fear to totally relaxed and connected.

Finally, I'd venture that Miguel's demise has to feature LaGuerta in some capacity. She's obviously suspicious of him at this point and definitely seems motivated enough to do something about it.

Jeff said...

Miguel still doesn't know the truth about his brother's murder. Can't wait to see if he will find out. I wonder if we will ever find out anything concrete about what exactly Oscar was doing at Freebo's the night he got killed.

Anonymous said...

What a great episode. This season took a while to really get going, but now it's living up to my high expectations. I especially liked the scene on the roof. Michael C. Hall and Jimmy Smits are both amazing actors.

Did anyone else have flashbacks of Bobby Simone on NYPD Blue during the scene in the donut shop when Miguel answered Dexter with a "Yeah, huh"? I sure did!

Anonymous said...

Fun fact: the cop outside of Barbara's hospital room was played by Jeff Lindsay, the author of the Dexter books.

Anonymous said...

I was in the same camp as Alan that thought the show had really lost its' mojp during the first 4 or 5 weeks of the season. I felt the premise of Dexter could not be stretched over that many seasons and it looked like I was right.

I gotta give the show props though for pullin things together though. The 2nd half of the season has been as good as season 1 and 2. Smits is on fire. My prediction is Pradi ends up killin Rita. Dexter is not gonna escape this battle with everything fine. Also it seems like the actor that plays Rita is gettin a lot of film work.

And I can not help myself but as good as this Dexter episode was Brotherhood was even better.

Hyde said...

This shouldn't be regarded as a spoiler since I'm just speculating, but the fact that Miguel is played by such a well known actor, who is presumably only signed for one season a la Glenn Close in The Shield, would also tend to suggest that the final episode would have to include a Saran Wrap scene. It's hard to see how both men could emerge 2 weeks later alive, and the show ain't named Miguel.

Perhaps Dexter can somehow talk King into turning on Miguel? That would resemble the "how to off Doakes" dilemma that Dexter managed to avoid in Season 2.

I have some of the same quibbles about the first half of the season as everyone else, and you'll never convince me that Jennifer Carpenter can act, but what I do like is the way that both Dexter and the viewers are learning about Miguel at the same time. Early on, he seemed to be just an oddball, but now he's clearly a monster--a Dexter with real power.

Hyde said...

One other thing: where does Quinn tie into all this? Is he a dirty cop or not? I can't imagine the show is so inept as to have made all that internal affairs talk a red herring, but there are only 2 episodes left and this thread has not only not been advanced for a few weeks, but Quinn is actually more sympathetic now than before.

Anonymous said...

Loved the ring-for-cow's-blood switch. After all, Prado told Dexter he had something that would incriminate him. Now he does.

Dexter can't just make Prado disappear, like he does most of his victims. As he said in this episode, Prado's too important. People would never stop investigating the case.

To put a final end to it, Dexter has to either reveal Prado's guilt when he kills him (making it look like he died while committing a crime, so the cops will write him off), or else make his death look like it happened at the hands of another, so they don't go looking for another suspect. Perhaps both. But a body has to remain, with no mystery attached.

My guess is that he makes it look like the Skinner killed him. (Or that he actually convinces the Skinner to kill him.) And, of course, he makes the Skinner disappear.

As for what happens first between Dexter and the Skinner: I'd wager that the whole issue of "respect" comes into play in the next episode...

But I'm curious to know if Dex loses a little skin first in the process.

erin said...

Whew! Love it! I've enjoyed the show thus far, and I know people thought Smits played Miguel too broadly before, but I'd like to think as a sociopath, Miguel was playing a role just like Dexter, so he's the grieving brother, the loving wife, the doting friend, the heroic DA. But with all of them, he's a little TOO much. He's expansive, over the top. And I thought Smits did great at playing that (although I could be reading too much into it). I didn't think you could force a Miguel/Dexter friendship in 1 or 2 episodes, so the pacing didn't bother me. And I think the plotting now and the chemistry of Dex and Miguel is stronger and more interesting than Dex and Lila or Dex and Doakes last season.

And as for Deb, Jen Carpenter doesn't seem to be getting much love in this forum, but I think she's fantastic. As Jeff has said in his Television Without Pity recaps, she's like a real person. She's flawed and annoying and ridiculous sometimes, but I love her salty mouth and her daddy issues and the way she screws up--it makes her incredibly real. And I think she has great chemistry with her counterparts, whether it's Anton (and I love those two together) or Special Agent Lundy last season, or Dexter as her brother. Maybe she's not really acting, but I think she makes hay with the role she's been given. I just get a kick out of her.

killerlu said...

I had been more on the disappointed side than satisfied side until the last couple of episodes. Took a while getting where the writers wanted to get us, but now the buildup has more than satisfied me.
This may be the geek in me talking but...does anyone else feel Dexter is like the superhero and Miguel the supervillian? As in Miguel found out Dexter's secret identity and now is becoming his arch foe. Miguel is the green Goblin to dexter's Spider-man.
I know, i know. A clumsy analogy but that's all I got.
Seriously though, next season the writers need to STOP having the cast interact so closely with people that are murderers and not know it.

DonBoy said...

One of the advantages of certain alternative methods of Dexter-viewing is the lack of previews. I hear.

I loved that the donut shop scene confirms the bit from a couple of weeks about the wedding -- that's the "Donut Guy" that Dexter sees every day and thus wants at his wedding, even though he doesn't know the guy's name.

ivan said...

Until the end of this episode, I found myself thinking that the most elegant inversion might be for the tables to turn -- for Miguel himself to get the jump on Dexter, and the next episode to end with Dexter himself saran-wrapped to a table after getting sedated and captured.

But this seems to be a little cleaner and more hands-off, even though -- as someone else noted -- it sets us up nicely for Dexter to make it appear that the Skinner killed Miguel. On the other hand, I'd like to think that if we can anticipate that, they have something a little bit more surprising planned.

Either way, you're totally right: the ratcheting tension of these final few episodes is doing a lot to redeem a season that often seemed to wander without any apparent end-game.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I can't wait to see how Dexter gets out of this one!

Just when I thought that this particular series couldn't get any more contrived...

Cameron Hughes said...

I love the idea that Dexter is a man of no (or at least repressed) emotion, while Miguel is all emotion. His outburst on the ceiling, his excitement and energy after the first kill and the impulse kill of Ellen.

Nate said...

I want Jimmy Smits to be a villain on LOST!! Imagine, if he played Widmore, not that the actor who plays Widmore is bad but after watching him on Dexter he would be kick ass on that show.

Susan said...

"Loved the ring-for-cow's-blood switch. After all, Prado told Dexter he had something that would incriminate him. Now he does."

Actually, I wondered about the wisdom of Dexter taking the ring. It reminded me of Doakes taking the blood slides from Dexter's apartment - once they were in his posession, it was his word against Dexter's about where they came from. Sure, Prado's fingerprint is on the ring, but couldn't that have come from a handshake or something?

Also, I wondered about Prado's mentioning his brother Oscar's rough times with drugs and such. Wasn't Oscar portrayed as a hero, a fighter for youth, and the story of why he was in Freebo's apartment was to confront him about selling to kids? Or did I miss something?

dez said...

It reminded me of Doakes taking the blood slides from Dexter's apartment - once they were in his posession, it was his word against Dexter's about where they came from. Sure, Prado's fingerprint is on the ring, but couldn't that have come from a handshake or something?


Possibly, except the ring was missing from her hand and her house; LaGuerta also commented on the missing ring, so the police would assume the killer has it. It will incriminate Prado no matter where Dexter plants it (I'm guessing he won't be the one to "find" it, either).

We haven't found out exactly what Oscar was doing with Freebo, but I think it's fair to assume he was doing Miguel's dirty work, given that the knife Dexter used to kill Oscar was Oscar's. "Why would Oscar need that big of a knife to confront Freebo?" could be a legitimate question the press would ask if they found out about it.

James said...

My guess is that LaGuerta figures out that Prado killed Ellen. Then Dexter kills Prado while everyone would assume Prado is on the run because the police figured out that he killed Ellen...

Anonymous said...

Cameron Hughes said...

I love the idea that Dexter is a man of no (or at least repressed) emotion, while Miguel is all emotion.

And the director did a great job of displaying that contrast during the confrontation scene on the rooftop. Look at it again, and notice that Prado is constantly moving, gesturing, the camera circling wildly from his perspective, while Dexter remains the calm eye of the storm.

erin said...

And I also have to note their difference in styles when it comes to murder (man, I can't believe I just wrote that)--Dexter would NEVER drive in a big black SUV with Halogen lights right near the house. He'd never be so sloppy. But that's the point--Miguel can't help himself, which is why eventually he'll go down. He doesn't have that cool head to protect him (and I don't think he ever will, even if he survives Dex's saran-wrapped fate). I do love their interplay--i'm sorry Smits won't (likely) be back next year.

dez said...

It's too bad Prado can't just get away and come back in the final season to torment Dexter, although I would be pleasantly surprised if the writers let Prado survive this season.

Jill said...

Thanks for pointing out the "fire and ice" aspect to the Dexter/Miguel dichotomy this season, erin.

By the way, folks -- and this is not a spoiler, since it's the last shot of the episode BEFORE the promo...the car in whose trunk Dexter seems to be is, I think, Quinn's. It looks like a gray Cadillac to me.

Not sure of the episode, but there is an ep from earlier this season in which Deb comments on Quinn's caddy. In the 11/16 episode, Deb gets into Quinn's car when he tells her about the cop who died and it's clear that his Caddy is gray.

So the question is: Is Dexter being "kidnapped" by his cop "friends" for his bachelor party, or is Quinn with Miquel somehow?

Anonymous said...

You might be on to something.

However, I just took a look at that previous episode 8. And as Deb & Quinn they are tackling the suspect on the lawn, they run past a silver car, and you can briefly see its rear. IF that's Quinn's car, it's not the same one seen that Dexter gets thrown into in the last episode(unless they're cheating). I freeze-framed it, and the tail lights are different. But it might not be his car.

Either way, though, the car Dexter gets thrown into could still be another car owned by one of his friends. Hooding, cuffing and tossing someone into a trunk seems an extreme way to escort the guest of honor to a bachelor party, but given the company he keeps, we can't rule it out.

You might have caught them in mid-surprise here. Sunday, we'll know for sure.

dez said...

That would certainly be a relief (plus I want to see what Masuoka's party is like)! And it still leaves time for Dexter to have a confrontation with the Skinner.

Is it Sunday yet? :-)

Anonymous said...

Agree with everyone...best episode this season. I'd be disapppointed if the kidnapping was just a tease and it's really a bachelor party. Although if the skinner really kidnapped dex, couldn't dex just say that freebo's dead and was killed by miguel as revenge for oscar, and explain the confrontation on the roof had to do with the fact that dex witnessed freebo's murder? Aklso,did anyone think dex knew he was being watched on the roof? he loooked up and said thank you.

Anonymous said...

The "thank you" was to Miguel, for making it clear he can't be reasoned with, and that killing him was the only possible option. Dexter now feels free to eliminate him without remorse.