Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dexter, "Dirty Harry": The family man

Some quick, belated thoughts on Sunday night's "Dexter" - as well as an explanation for why it's leaving the blog rotation for a while - coming up just as soon as I hear from my landlord...

"Dirty Harry" had a strong beginning, with Dexter forcing his way into the crime scene to see if Deb was okay, and a strong ending, with Dexter stalking Trinity and discovering he's not the only successful serial killer with a wife and kids back home. And that ending promises to create a nice moral dilemma for Dexter, who wants vengeance for his sister (and, to a lesser extent, for Lundy, whom he liked as much as he's capable of liking anyone), but who's also going to want to learn how Trinity has compartmentalized his life for all these years.

In between though, the only part that was engaging at all was Deb's meltdown in the parking lot, with too much time spent on nagging Rita, or the boring supporting characters.

After my review of last week's episode, a reader suggested that I should perhaps give "Dexter" the That's It For Me! treatment, since it had been so long since it seemed like I enjoyed an episode unreservedly. And while I'm not ready to give up on watching it, I think I might be ready to treat it the same way I've been treating "Grey's Anatomy"(*) this year: watching but not blogging, so that I can enjoy the parts I still like and not dwell on the other parts that annoy me.

(*) And in what other way would I ever be able to discuss "Dexter" and "Grey's" in the same sentence? Maybe for a story about shows that rely too much at times on voiceover narration?

And, on the odd occasion when an episode is really strong (like last week's "Rashomon"-style "Grey's"), I'll pop back in and do a blog post. Because at the moment, writing this stuff is as fun for me as I imagine it is for you to read.

What did everybody else think?

60 comments:

OldDarth said...

Loved it! Great ending to the episode which at first seems a shocker but which totally makes sense given the themes this season.

The scene in the parking lot with Deb was awesome. Julie Benz totally owned that scene.

Can't wait for Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow to square off against one another.

Chris Littmann said...

I'm in the same boat, in that I waited a day to watch it. I actually forgot it was on Sunday night. Two years ago, couldn't have seen that happening. But Rita nagging plus the continually brainless Quinn stories stink. The hunt at the end was a lot of fun. More of that please!

Mrglass said...

The episode was good enough, but I'm starting to agree with Alan that all those scenes about the couple's problems of secondary characters are best watched while doing the laundry or writing emails. Who really cares about those people?

And also that the show needs an end date: when Dexter's big revelation to Rita was that... he kept his father's gun, I couldn't help rolling my eyes. Rita or Debra needs to learn about Dexter's 'dark passenger' and fast.

That said, it is amazing how the actress playing Debra has improved over the years. Just a pretty face at the beginning, she can now carry a scene like that by herself. Now if only the writers could find something interesting for Julie Benz to do.

Hal Incandenza said...

Can someone explain the title to me? I mean, I obviously get the reference, but it seems to make zero sense given what happened in the episode...Harry seemed no more sinister in this ep than in any previous episode (though I find it amusing that Harry thinks that Dexter NOW has to kill Trinity--since he went after Deb--as if he hadn't already killed dozens of people before that...)

jasctt said...

Stopped watching after the 2nd season. You should just do the same, AS.

Anonymous said...

Why does Trinity having a family create a moral dilemna? He wouldn't be the first of Dexter's victims who had a wife or kids. In fact, last season Dexter was friends with Miguel's family, but that didn't stop him from killing him.

Jobin said...

The only time I enjoy this show is when it's specifically about Dexter's secret life. Deb was so much better as an instictive cop that was rough around the edges, not some frail woman bouncing between lovers. Rita has been useless since Lila left. I can't stand LaGuerta, and Angel just comes off as so pathetic. Plus I have some sneaking suspicion that Quinn's either going to turn on them or eat a bullet soon. Lundy was the only redeeming secondary character, and he's gone. And my God, enough with Harry in those flashback/conversation scenes.

JamesG said...

I was just going to point out the same thing on the title. There's the obvious reference to his sleuthing, but I expected some revelation about Harry that never materialized. Unless the great sin was the old gun...

I'm sad to see Lundy go, as I really thought he was onto Dexter as a serial killer. After this episode, seeing how badly he mis-profiled Trinity, you have to wonder how good Lundy's instincts really are.

One thing I noticed for the first time was Trinity manipulating the dead body to form a T on the floor. I want to go back and see if he did something like this with the other two.

Finally, and perhaps I'm being a bit naive here, but is it really that big of a deal that Dexter kept his old apartment? I can see Rita being annoyed that he lied, but both she and Deb act like this is some divorce-worthy action. Is that justified, or are they overreacting?

Dea Dale said...

amazing end...

it came out like abit of shocking, but i totally loved it.. played well too, like you can really feel it to your bones..

awesome, really real;y nice and wonderfully played...

two thumbs up!!

sk180 said...

Hey Alan and posters,

I thought this episode re-ignited some of the spark this season has lacked.But I am suprised by the reaction critics are having to Dexter lately. That it isn't worth even a look anymore(Alan I know your not stating this or Mo Ryan), but I have to disagree.

I think it all started around season 3. The pace of the first two seasons were phenomenal (something the last few scenes this episode had in abundance). Then season 3 had a simmering pace throughout that year and it only really paid off when Miguel learned Dexters secret and also when he was diposed off by Dexters hand.

I admit at the time I was frustrated with the initial episodes. But in hindsight I really admired that season as much as the first two. I mean season 2 did have that annoying Lilah character.

Rita's role now I think, despite the lack of excitement factor, has reached a natural place. Dexter's family life needs to start unraveling. In fact, I won't be suprised if a certain person is killed and Dexter would have even greater familial responsibility then before. It would tip him over the edge.

Any way I am in agreement that this show is under serious threat of going stale. The supporting players have never really done it for me. Angel & Masuka are entertaining. But the female characters have been given poor material. Deb just lives out one disasterous relationship after another (which is why that breakdown scene was so good in the first place). Laguerta is the same and Rita has the kid or love making scenes Michael C. Hall makes this series captivating in his portrayal. I can even put with his voice-overs.Stick with this show to the end. I think next year will be the last year and it will end in a storm. What I want to know is will Dexter be able to walk away unharmed?

Dea Dale said...

amazing end...

it came out like abit of shocking, but i totally loved it.. played well too, like you can really feel it to your bones..

awesome, really real;y nice and wonderfully played...

two thumbs up!!

april said...

Oh, no! If you stop recapping, I'll have to actually watch the episodes. I record and kind of fast forward through the boring stuff. I also think that Dexter and Grey's have unnecessary ghosts in common.

LoopyChew said...

Jennifer Carpenter rocked the parking lot scene like nobody's business. I don't think I've ever heard the croaking-style crying coming from a female TV character before--usually it's the more aesthetically-pleasing weeping. The more coarse croaking sound fits Debra perfectly, and manages to capture exactly how much she's breaking down. Rest in peace, Lundy. Hope your evil twin brother at Rossum has a longer tenure, unlikely as that seems.

However, while I agree that thematically the final scene revelation makes perfect sense, I'm not sold on the actual, real-life particulars of it. We'll see what the plan is in upcoming episodes, though, and if they can convince me (much like they haven't with LaGuerta/Angel), so much the better.

Also, will someone please kill Quinn off already.

Alan, I know you've been kinda lukewarm about the show post-S2, and I thank you for taking us this far in terms of blogging it. Guess I have so much Mad Men reading to do I won't have time for Dexter post-mortems anyway. :-)

Anonymous said...

Supporting characters have never been a strong point in this show, and the interesting ones are mostly dead. (Save Masuka...)

That said, I thought this episode was the most engaging one in awhile. Was Rita still a nagging shrew? Yes, though for once she also had a point...and how funny is it that this episode aired before Sunday's Mad Men? Rita is no Betty Draper, but it was interesting to see her call him out and have a point for once. Though the funny thing is the fact that Dexter really isn't nearly as good a liar as Don Draper; Dexter just manages to surround himself by people that don't notice how bad he sometimes is at lying.

Which brings me to Deb:

For a character who has been so annoying in the past, I genuinely felt bad for her. Dexter cares as much as he can for her feelings, but what can he do when she's losing it? She's bought into all the lies and images Dexter has created, and she's arguably hurt the most. Its a sick irony, really.

While I really wondering where they're going with the Angel-LaGuerta (yawn) thing and wondering why the hell that reporter keeps popping up...I think the current dilemma is interesting enough to keep me interested.

Hoosier Paul said...

This twist was spoiled for me months and months ago, when I read a news blurb on Lithgow joining the cast of Dexter, and it said something about how he "plays a man who has been a successful serial killer for decades while still having a normal family life."

Seems like a weird thing to put in a casting announcement when the show doesn't reveal it until seven (?) episodes in.

Bobman said...

The scene in the parking lot with Deb was awesome. Julie Benz totally owned that scene.

I may be misreading this, but Deb is played by Jennifer Carpenter, not Julie Benz (who plays Rita).

Anyway, I thought Jennifer Carpenter did an AMAZING job with her "breakdown" in the parking lot - as someone earlier mentioned, she didn't do the standard weepy girl act but actually was believably hysterical. It was a pretty fearless way to go with it. In general I've thought she has been a pretty poor actress but she's definitely stepped it up and I give her props for that scene.

That said, I really wish the writers would stop having her just bounce between men like a moron.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Why does Trinity having a family create a moral dilemna? He wouldn't be the first of Dexter's victims who had a wife or kids. In fact, last season Dexter was friends with Miguel's family, but that didn't stop him from killing him.

It's not that Dexter won't kill people who have kids. It's that Dexter will now want to learn from Trinity, which will prevent him from getting the swift vengeance he was seeking. He'll be choosing personal desires over family/friends.

christy said...

Oh good, I'm glad you posted at least once more on Dexter, and I'm really glad that Alan and the commenters liked Deb's breakdown scene as much as I did. I was a little worried people would find it to be too much. But I totally agree with LoopyChew about the way Deb was crying. That deep, guttural, can't-catch-your-breath crying made so much sense for Deb's character and the situation she's in. And she performed it so viscerally that she had me on the verge of crying too, more as a reaction to her intensity than emotional empathy. And Dexter muttering "you're not broken, I am." So great. Loved it.

I've always really liked Jennifer Carpenter as Deb, and she's been through a lot. It felt very natural for it to finally catch up to her. She's the only character that I think has really interesting possible future story lines, unless they manage to bring Rita back to the dark place she started in. And I feel like at this point I'll be following Jennifer Carpenter to her next project the way I followed Michael C. Hall from SFU to Dexter.

Trinity having a family. Makes so much sense now that it's hard to believe I didn't see it coming. Trinity's victims were avatars for some of his family members. Dexter's family issues. The cop that murdered her family.

One thing I find a bit of a stretch is that Trinity used such a precisely repeating pattern for 30 years and there was only one law enforcement person in the country that even believed it was the same guy. That actually seems less plausible than no one noticing, because you'd think once one guy explained to someone else, it would seem so obvious. Whereas it could be believed that because law enforcement can kind of be notoriously insular, at least on TV, the different cities' cops wouldn't talk to each other or to the feds about it, and it'd get missed completely. Especially because the middle murder is so convincing as a suicide. Anyway.

The Harry ghost is indeed getting to be a little much, and it's starting to bug me how similar that convention is to the one from Six Feet Under. It's a testament to Michael C. Hall's talent that David and Dexter are such completely different people, given that they kind of have a surprising number of similarities in their life circumstances.

dez said...

I liked the reveal that Trinity has a family because I would have hated it if Dexter was able to dispatch him so quickly (and I don't think he'd be able to sneak up on Trinity the way he does with others, but with this show this season, who knows?). Now we can have some cat & mouse action while Dexter sizes Trinity up.

I'm still hoping Lundy had a file on Dex that Deb discovers. Wishful thinking, I'm sure, but it would beat to hell all the secondary plots going on right now (save Deb's meltdown, which was excellent).

Regarding the apartment: Rita especially should have some concern, given that Dexter never seemed to be wholeheartedly into getting married in the first place. She & Deb could have handled the news better, sure, but it seems like Dex has one foot out the door of his marriage and he hasn't been married all that long. Rita's past track record ain't so great, either, so no wonder she's freaked out.

The only thing I found interesting about Quinn was his bed scene with the reporter. Seems like more shows are moving toward that sort of soft-core depiction of that particular act (seen it on Hung, Californication, and now this show, and that's just recently) than the more traditional way (as seen on CYE in "Denise Handicapped" - you see some movement under the sheet and then Larry pops his head out). Not sure if it's a more liberating way of showing a woman's enjoyment or more prurience on the part of the showmakers, but there ya go.

christy said...

Oh, about the apartment. I think the lie makes it much more suspicious than just keeping the apartment in itself. If one were to find out their partner was keeping a secret apartment, I think most people would be pretty worried that meant an affair or worse.

Deb's reaction made sense to me for two reasons. One is that Deb reacts pretty strongly to most things, and the other is that Deb has shown to be pretty invested in Dexter's success as a family man. She was the one who cursed him out when he said he wasn't sure what he was going to do when Rita got pregnant. I think it's because she looks to him to provide some of that family stability she thought they all had before Harry died.

Anonymous said...

So, who shot Deb and Lundy?

That's all I can think about. It appears not to be Trinity for he appears angered when he discovers the information while watching the news. Deb's boyfriend seems genuinely surprised at the information. Finally, the suspects for the Vacation Murders is entirely suspicious. One is dead and the other is high off some heavy drug.

I don't know where they're going at with this.

mrsb said...

Anyone else hoping that Rita ends up being one of Trinity's next victims? Good lord, she's annoying!

I think that Lundy being killed was just a horrible mistake. He was indeed a "worthy adversary". At least an interesting character.

And really, all the crap about Dexter not having feelings and being a total psychopath? Please. He's obviously attached to Deb, to Rita and the kids. He obviously feels anger at someone who would hurt Deb or his inner voice (played by his father's "ghost") would not be wanting revenge.

I just don't buy the "wooden boy" thing anymore.

Anonymous said...

Also,

1. Alan can you keep posting at least so some of us can discuss the show? ;)

2. If Dexter wasn't born a serial killer, which he wasn't, he was forced to become one by the absurd situation he found himself in and his father who trained him to become one. There's no reason why he can't become "normal". I don't understand why people have a problem with this.

Captain T said...

I'm really enjoying this season, after being really disappointed in season 3. I'm surprised Alan has maintained such a strong distaste for it now, while still continuing to enjoy shows like HIMYM which to me has taken a sharp nose-dive into unwatchable this season. I guess to each his own.

Anyway, I agree with most of the criticisms i.e. anytime Laguerta and Angel are discussing their relationship I find myself checking my emails and I really dislike Rita, and am rooting for dexter to desert her.

But those are just very small parts of this show. I didn't like every character on the Sopranos ro the Wire either, but as with this show, the main characters/storyline make it more than worthwhile to watch every week.

How can you not be intrigued by an Evil Lithgow character? He plays those so well. And Michael C. Hall just nails Dexter week in and week out.

Also, one other thing that used to bother me, but doesn't anymore. The "ghost" of Harry. It's not a ghost, it's not supposed to be a ghost. It's just a tool the writers use to visualize the internal dialog going on in Dexter's head. Dexter is a pretty solitary character, without that device we would just have a lot of silent scenes with Dexter driving or dumping bodies from his boat. I much prefer this method of conveying Dexter's thought processes rather than having him have some contrived conversation with his victims where he explains all his motivations, Scooby-Doo Villain style.

LoopyChew said...

Anon@11:39...

It appears not to be Trinity for he appears angered when he discovers the information while watching the news.

I thought it was more about how his ritual was disturbed. Like Dexter, he kills people for release. In this case he was doing the killing to cover his tracks, and like any routine that gets interrupted, you feel unsettled by it.

Cree said...

Glad you're giving up blogging about it. I was tired of the negative posts every week, but I couldn't make myself stop reading what you wrote. I kept thinking that something would click and you would go back to enjoying it.

I still love this show and I'll just have to enjoy it with out your great insight from here on.

Hatfield said...

I'm sad you won't be blogging it anymore, because after last night I'm definitely all in. The parts you mention were indeed the best, but what I found most promising were the bits of near honesty around the edges. Yeah, he just showed Rita the gun, but for a second he looked like he was tired of the secret. And telling Deb that he's broken, in a moment of empathy that's pretty rare for him, felt like a huge step toward her finding out. I really think the show has to go there to maintain beyond this year, so here's hoping.

RIP Lundy, but cheers to an angrier but conflicted Dexter. With any luck, the show will win you back sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

Could the shooter be a woman from Lundy's past? Deb was shot just once while Lundy rec'd two bullets....a woman scorned???

Bobman said...

And really, all the crap about Dexter not having feelings and being a total psychopath? Please. He's obviously attached to Deb, to Rita and the kids. He obviously feels anger at someone who would hurt Deb or his inner voice (played by his father's "ghost") would not be wanting revenge.

I think one of the things that has been evident from the very first season of Dexter is that Dexter has completely deluded himself into thinking he's a feelingless monster. His marriage to Rita and fathering of the kids and whatnot have made it more apparent, even to him, that his view of himself is wrong, but I think the viewer has ALWAYS seen it as a lame justification to himself for the way he is.

Adam said...

This twist was spoiled for me months and months ago, when I read a news blurb on Lithgow joining the cast of Dexter, and it said something about how he "plays a man who has been a successful serial killer for decades while still having a normal family life."

Seems like a weird thing to put in a casting announcement when the show doesn't reveal it until seven (?) episodes in.


This. So much. In fact, after last week's episode I posted elsewhere online saying, "I thought the Trinity Killer was supposed to be a family man? What the heck?" And alas, this week, here we are.

rl said...

the thing that bothered me the most is how oblivious Trinity's family must be. i'm not going to sit here and watch the episode again, but let's ballpark it at something like six cities he's done Trinity killings in.

since the kids look to be about 17 and 15 or so, say he's been married maybe 20 years, and he's been operating as a serial killer for about seven years beyond that if memory serves. so this family moves to an entirely new city every 4.5 years (give or take), and no one in the family, at some point, says "oh hey isn't it weird that we move after all these people die in rapid succession in pretty much the same way?"

lundy's map had a lot of midwestern cities that, unlike miami, aren't exactly teeming dens of unsolved murders. you'd think around the third hammer-killing, the wife would bring something up.

i can suspend disbelief for some shows (lost, etc.) but this is absurd even by the standards of dexter's already-absurd universe.

Anonymous said...

I obviously don't know, but I get the feeling that Trinity travels but his family may not. I believe Lundy mentioned he had never repeated the pattern in the same city.
Just grasping at straws...

mrsb said...

@Bobman

I definitely agree that they've been heading towards making Dexter more "normal" since the fist show. However, that's just not how it works in real life and it bugs me to no end.

Either he's a psychopath with no feelings, or he's not.

Why didn't Harry get the boy some intense therapy after what he went through as a child? Maybe if he'd have gotten him help instead of training him to be a killer none of this would have happened. Because if he's got those connections and feelings, he didn't have to turn out this way.

I know you have to suspend your disbelief with shows to a certain point, this issue is a real thorn in my side for this show.

Mrglass said...

Is Trinity planning (or dreaming) to kill his daughter, push his wife to commit suicide, then get himself killed - leaving his son alive?

Anonymous said...

rl: Why do you think they had to move with the whole family? Trinity might have just been going on road trips. His cycle only takes a couple of weeks as far as I could tell.

D.

Anonymous said...

If you live in even a moderately sized city its not like every murder is front page news. I certainly couldn't tell you if someone was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in my city in the past week.

Also, since there was never a connection made by the FBI that all these murders were connected, then how can we expect Trinity's wife and kids to make that connection?

Anonymous said...

The Dirty Harry title is a reference to the Clint Eastwood character of the 70s.... a man who took the law in his own hands, which iconically held his 357 Magnum.

I thought this was a great episode. I understand where the Rita/Dexter storyline is going, but I am tired of Rita nagging Dexter. We have the benefit of hindsight, and there is something to be said for women who instinctively "know" when they are being lied to, but ENOUGH ALREADY!

I enjoy the Dexter voice overs, they do add some much needed comic relief, but they have been over used lately.

The scenes with Harry are also been over used this season...

All the talk about the show needing an end date seem to be more frequent because the show has become stagnant and needs a shot in the arm. The Jimmy Smits mistake last season was disastrous.

The show worked because the premise was completely unique. Lately, it is just more of the same on a week to week basis. That being said, last week was a pleasant surprise. Here's to hoping that they can continue that momentum.

KarenX said...

MRglass said:

Is Trinity planning (or dreaming) to kill his daughter, push his wife to commit suicide, then get himself killed - leaving his son alive?

***

I had that exact thought myself, but then realized the third victim is a father of two. He'd probably make his son kill him with a hammer and just end it all for good. Could be how the whole thing started in the first place; Trinity's mother probably killed herself and left her children at the mercy of their father; a sister maybe killed herself; an argument with the father in which the father started name-calling Trinity the son for being weak, and voila! Trinity is left with a template and some demons to exorcise for the rest of his life.

belinda said...

Love the Trinity reveal - I guess I haven't been following up with Dexter news, so that came as a complete surprise to me. Hopefully this intrigue can go the way of the first two seasons and not the way of Miguel (which started off interesting, then got boring and ended up really dull).

I wonder if taking Doakes away in season 2 (which was a great season, so maybe not) was a mistake, since it kind of led to a real dullness to anyone/anything happening in the office (save Masuka). I still don't get why Quinn is even a character. He (and the reporter) are even duller than Angel and LaGuerta, if that's possible. And still strange - could Doakes really have been the only police officer ever who was suspicious of Dexter?

I watched Dexter after watching Mad Men, so it was kind of funny to see how they handled Betty's confrontation with Don and his shoebox/drawer compared to Rita's confrontation with Dexter and his chest/apartment.

Anonymous said...

Tough crowd here! I caught onto this great blog only recently so it will be sad to see the opportunity to comment here gone, but I still think it's VASTLY superior to Grey's. Simple things like Dex not knowing to go to the hospital first and wanted to analyze the crime scene reveal how complex this guy really is. He's changing this year.....becoming more human and what's so bad if the show helps find more redemption for him?

Anonymous said...

I'd have to check agan to be sure, but I believe the cities marked on Lundy's map were San Francisco, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and so forth -- not a lot of small towns in the mix.

dez said...

He's changing this year.....becoming more human and what's so bad if the show helps find more redemption for him?

He's a killer. A serial killer. Who enjoys killing. Who *needs* to kill. He's also not showing much remorse for killing. Not sure how "human" that makes him.

jayne said...

Argh...can't stand Rita. What a pill. I think I barfed a little in my mouth when she was singing baby version of Karma Chameleon last week.

I'm ready to smack sanctimonious Harry with a dead fish too. I want to clap my hands over my ears and say lalalalalala I'm not listening!

Angel and the Lieutenant...yawn...Quinn...who cares. I've never liked Quinn.

Really sad about Lundy. That was a good character. I've generally liked Deb. She gets an awful lot of tragedy though. And this was a good episode for her. I thought her discomfort with being alone in the room with baby Harrison was comical.

John Lithgow is outstanding as Trinity. And I'm very curious about Trinity's rituals. He's acting out a story of some kind, complete with things that have to happen to him (as in egging on that drunk bar patron to beat him up the week before). It's highly intriguing. I found the hammer scene pretty hard to watch, had to look away. But the surprise of a family and normal life was a great twist.

LOL my word verification is "sharfem" and I want to add "bots" to the end of that.

Craig Ranapia said...

(*) And in what other way would I ever be able to discuss "Dexter" and "Grey's" in the same sentence? Maybe for a story about shows that rely too much at times on voiceover narration?

How about a think-piece on shows that start off as enjoyable brain candy, then start taking themselves waaay too seriously and stopped being enjoyable?

And please don't think I'm knocking brain candy -- I'd want to slit my wrists if every show on the box was as dark and intense as Mad Men or BSG.

Burn Notice and Chuck are two of my favourite shows. Never going to set the world on fire, but they know what works and do it superlatively well. I also think after their first seasons, the creative teams sat down and took a hard look at what did and didn't work, and did something about it. I don't really think the same is happening on Grey's or Dexter.

Gloria said...

I'm a little mystified by everyone attributing the greatness of Jennifer Carpenter's scene to how it fits so well with Deb's character.

How about how it fits so well with ANYONE who has gone through so much? It was real and amazing not because it's what Deb's like; it's what how any normal person would have reacted. Normal people -- whether they're "in touch" with their feelings or not like Deb is -- cry like that when they're broken.

Jill said...

What Gloria said. After watching that Scene of Deb's meltdown, all I could think of is "Where the heck did she pull THAT from? You can't ACT that, you have to live it." Amazing, amazing work by JC.

Mike F said...

Surprised to hear there is any confusion about Trinity's past/present.

He is re-enacting the traumatic/awful events of his childhood. He's maintained a normal family life separately. Its not hard to imagine him taking a "business trip" and carrying out his ritualistic killings in any city.

There's absolutely zero reason to suspect that he's planning to murder his own family. Quite the opposite, in fact.

As to who shot Deb/Lundy, the narrative has set us up to believe that Trinity pulled the trigger. But there's no reason the show wouldn't have simply shown Trinity doing just that if that's what was really happening. Because there's no other logical guesses, there's no reason for the show to have told the story this way...unless it is somebody else. So I'd be very very surprised if the identity of the shooter wasn't a surprise.

The most logical guess is Quinn, because he's really the only character that doesn't add any value to the plot otherwise. If it is Trinity that shot them, then I have no idea why they would play footsie with us like this.

As for the show in general, I think the good stuff outweighs the bad. It hasn't reached the heights of the first two seasons since they killed off Doakes, but I still enjoy the show.

JanieJones said...

I thought JC did an excellent job in the parking lot scene. Finally, Deb has let down her guard and feels hopeless. I could relate to that in a certain level.
Quinn and the reporter, I hope this is going somewhere (bad) so it might give the weaker links of the series, redemption.
I like Julie Benz (I thought she did a good job on Buffy and Angel) but has been weak throughout the series. Rita needs more composition to her character for viewers to absorb and empathize. I felt nothing for her as she was discovering that her husband is a superb liar.
Lithgow, I think or hypothesize, is going to make viewers take a second look at this season when it is done. His character is intriguing, sick and twisted. He seems to suffer from some type of "mother" complex. Perhaps, in his youth, he was mistreated by mother and father. It could be interesting, psychologically speaking.
I was not surprised to find that he has what it is that appears to be seemingly a loving wife and kids. He does not fit the "lone wolf" comparison.
Also, it was obvious that Dex was hiding more than Harry's gun in the trunk. If I had been Rita, I would have made him empty out the contents.
I'm sorry that Carradine is gone so early. Lundy had layers and intrigue of his own. It would have been nice to explore his desires, issues and wants.

Fran said...

Alan, I will miss your posts about this and I will miss the smart commenters. I agree w/ the opinion that HIMYM is unwatchable.

Anonymous said...

.....but that's just it....he might be a killer, who has no remorse, but we still sort of root for him, right -- since he kills murderers who get away. I think the show is trying to say ANYONE can be saved and for Dex it took a lot of social engineering of a different type than you'd expect (indulgence of the pathological trait)......but it had to be a for an aim. He loves Deb because she's an anchor that he's always known, but his love for his family is something very different a bit more real and I think that's where he's becoming a bit more human. If he ends up not be able to stomach killing.....that might be almost more amazing to see than him getting caught be someone we know.

Anonymous said...

Again.....Why stop posting on a show that gets this many good responses weekly?!

Susan said...

Alan, I am sorry too that you're not posting on Dexter, if only to give a space here for some discussion. The show does pale to seasons 1 and 2, I agree, but the main character is compelling in his arc toward humanity. The relationship b/t Dexter and Deb continues to engage. And this year I'm curious what will happen with Quinn. They are playing him slightly unbalanced - off and on with the reporter, for example.

This week's show was good as others have noted for Jennifer Carpenter's parking lot scene. I'm not a bit Rita fan either this season, but liked the idea of Dexter's personal life closing in on his 'dark friend' with Rita and Deb calling him out on keeping secrets. One of them finding out about his past/present nature remains a source of tension. And Lithgow remains sufficiently creepy, especially his easy way of acting normal (e.g., with the security guard on the tour).

The writing isn't as sharp. Trinity's killing of the coffee shoppe guy wasn't a surprise. Anton was dispatched pretty quickly (though here's the bonus - with Lundy and Anton out of the picture, it's unlikely that Deb's love life will remain a focus of the show - for once). And the final car chase ending in the suburbs rated a 5 on the surprise scale.

Still. The show is a fun watch - now more for Dexter's redemption (?) than for killing and cops.

Refidnas said...

I've had mixed feelings about the show since the third season, and the addition of John Lithgow is probably the main reason I haven't stopped watching this season. The problem with the show is that when you take Dexter (the character) out of the mix, Dexter (the show) is pretty much just a below-average cop drama. While I admire the writers for having had the courage to kill Doakes, I wish they'd had the extra courage to kill the show after the second season. Then again, it probably wasn't up to the writers.

mrsb said...

@Mike F

I think not showing Trinity as the shooter was supposed to make us (and the cops on the show) question whether it was the Vacation shooter guy.

Trinity wanted Lundy out of the way, so he couldn't stop him from his rituals, but he couldn't make him a part of them. He just needed him out of the way.

By doing it in the fashion of the vacation shooter, he made sure no one would think twice about it being someone else - they'd go right after the other guy - and hard, because he shot a cop.

Mike said...

I think this episode was just another case of "Dexter" being "Dexter." It's a shame, such a fun show being so incredibly hot and cold. I didn't dislike this episode--as I don't usually "dislike" any of them--but the narration, the so, so lame side-characters (except Deb)--sigh... Dexter the character just hasn't had any real change in a too long. The compartmentalizing theme is kind of interesting but, again, narration and Harry (which is just a different kind of narration). Nothing's really happening here.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised at the disbelief that Trinity, a family man, could get away with all these killings and not tip off his family. BTK did precisely the same thing for decades with no one the wiser. And those were all in one city!

Best acting ever from Jennifer Carpenter. I've never much liked her work, but boy, this was something.

Any scene with Rita is painfully annoying.

Sex scene with Quinn and the reporter was creepy and weirdly out of place. I've never been so turned off by sex in my life. If this storyline goes nowhere, I'm going to be irritated.

KeepingAwake said...

This was the first episode of the season that had me wondering how they can continue to surprise us. Dexter's infatuation with a new serial killer is getting old, as it's happened before.

But Jennifer Carpenter had me blubbering away on my couch this week. Kudos to her. (And to have her powerful performances on the same night as the huge Mad Men performances was really something. Emmy reel night all around!)

I'm fine with Rita nagging Dexter. She should have been nagging him about his mysterious disappearnces, outright lies and half-truths long before now, so it's more realisitc that she'd notice her husband is a bit out there. I sincerely hope this will lead to Rita learning Dexter's secret, but am not holding my breath, That seems like a final season confrontation.

It would have been interesting to keep Lundy around longer.

KeepingAwake said...

mrsb, that's the entire point. Dexter's never been the wooden boy. He's just beginning to realize it, but it's been obvious to viewers for the entire series' run. It's really the core of the show, isn't it? That our self-perception is often far removed from our actual self?

It's these sorts of questions that make Dexter intriguing, relatable and someone we can root for.

erin said...

At first I was worried when I heard that Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter got married (I know!) I thought it might make their interactions as on-screen brother and sister just...creepy. But nothing appears to have changed on screen, and I think they have great acting chemistry together. When I really understood the Deb character, I really appreciated what Carpenter did with her. Deb's a spazz, often out of control, a workaholic with Daddy issues and terrible taste in men. She has terrible judgement and is absolutely un- (not?) perceptive. So while it may seem tiresome that she appears to bounce between boyfriends, this seems absolutely true to her character. She's a mess. That breakdown scene was well-earned. Bravo, JC!

I actually thought this episode was terrific, the best of the season, and I actually find it fascinating how they continue to explore Dexter's character. He's really curious how Trinity does it all...and can he do it too?

That being said, while i find rita annoying, i was really glad she found out about the apartment (when she got the call from the landlord, i said out loud "oh, s***.") She's been too dim for too long, and I want Dexter to be squeezed. I want him to figure out how to make everything work, and i'm not sure how he's going to. I feel like there's more at stake than there was in S3...i want Dexter to be frantic.

But I'd rather have Deb find out that Dexter is a killer. SOMEONE should know to freshen it up, and i think she's perfect. It would be a well-earned development.

They roped me back in, damn them!

Difference Maker said...

The female characters on this show are really annoying. Basing this on Season 1