Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dexter, "Remains to Be Seen": Wake up to clean up

I'm too swamped this weekend to go very deep into tonight's "Dexter," except to say that I don't think the show functions very well as a straight mystery, and that "Remains to Be Seen" was therefore the weakest of the four episodes I got to see before the season began.

What did everybody else think?


Steven said...

Dexter is a show that requires some sort of serious shake up in setting or format to keep it interesting. Take BSG, when it ended season 2 by jumping a year and then spent several episodes centered on a planet surface. Kapow, what!? Different, neat.

Dexter should take some sort of similar risk. When Weeds did this, it failed, because seasons 4 and 5 are atrocious compared to the very nice first 3 seasons, so I can see why Showtime would be fearful.

My idea would be something along the lines of Dexter decides to attempt to abandon his serial killer identity, and he flees to somewhere like Utah, and makes a new name for himself as something like a baker, where he opens up a bakery in a small Utah town, but the local Mayor would be suspicious of him and start looking into his past, and of course Dexter bottling up his true killer self will lead to some sort of dark calamity. I think his new identity has to be something like a baker or a zookeeper. Baker fits in more with the style of the show, I know zookeeper might present some budgetary concerns but it could work if done right.

Anonymous said...

@Steven: what the audience doesn't know is that Dexter's real name is Dick Whitman.

Maggie said...

How do the books handle the development of Dexter's character over time? I can't imagine he moves to Utah and becomes a baker. But I do think an evolution would be interesting, just something more internalized. We already have the "new" Dexter who is a husband a father, but that is mostly played for comic relief.

What I liked about the seasons so far is how Dexter has chosen to reveal himself to people. Of course, everyone so far who has discovered who he is wound up dead, but what if someone (Quinn, Deb, maybe Agent Lundy?) finds out and we get to see the struggle of that person dealing with the knowledge, and Dexter dealing with the burden of well, of unburdening? Any of these would have motivation to not turn Dexter in - Deb because she loves him, Quinn because (possibly too much like Prado) he approves of Dexter's punishing those who got away, Lundy possibly because he can take on the Harry Morgan role in Dexter's life. The dynamics here could be fascinating, and shoot the series in a new direction.

I also love the idea someone else suggested, that Cody, another child exposed to violence at a young age, begins to demonstrate some of Dexter's homicidal tendencies, and Dexter becomes the Harry Morgan.

Any of these are more interesting to me than Angel and Laguerta, or even Deb and Anton (although Deb's search for Laura Moser has promise.) On a side note, has Jennifer Carpenter lost more weight? She frightens me a little.

Adam said...

I'm getting sick of the whole Let's-put-Dexter-in-a-really-sticky-situation-but-then-make-it-so-that-he-was-never-actually-in-a-really-sticky-situation-to-begin-with formula. It's annoying, it's lazy, and the only way they could have made it worse was by spending AN ENTIRE EPISODE (as opposed to just the first few minutes) on making the he-was-never-actually-in-a-really-sticky-situation part clear. Which they did. Jesus Christ.

Other things I'm hating:

- Angel and Maria. seriously? this soap opera shit needs to stop.
- Harry's ghost. this device is officially lame. time to say goodbye.


Susan said...

I felt cheated at the end. We SAW Dexter put the body part bags into his trunk last week (didn't we?), and this week we're supposed to think that was a delusion, and that he really protected himself by leaving the body at the boxing ring?

I'm also hating LaGuerta-Angel. I know he likes a strong woman, but there's no chemistry there, and I'm really not into the relationship/workplace issues here.

I did like watching Quinn try to make nice with Dexter, I think Lithgow is suitably creepy, and I love having Lundy back, with his quiet way of causing tension and trouble.

Anonymous said...


I thought the same thing, about the audience seeing Dexter put the body bags in his trunk, but I went back and watched the end of last week's episode and the only thing they showed was him putting his bag of tools in the trunk. I liked how they did that, made the viewers just assume that everything else went in along with it.

I also liked how at the end of last week, I remember thinking that the editing of Dexter cleaning up after the Benny Gomez kill was really choppy and weird, but it turns out that that was exactly what his memory of it was like.

JanieJones said...

Maggie-I think in the books, one or two of the kids become or have dark passengers as well. I would not like to see that happen.

This episode wasted so much time that I was bored by the end.
Angel and LaGuerta make my gag reflex go into action. There is zero chemistry and the actor's seem like they are barely keeping a straight face to get through their "love" scenes.

Julie Benz' Rita was much more interesting when she appeared damaged. Now she appears to be a nagging housewife. Her character is sucking the life out of me every time she is on the screen.

It was amusing to see Quinn try and make nice with Dexter knowing that he saw him take some of the money from the safe and pocket it.

There are possibilities with Lundy back in town and Lithgow as the Trinity killer.

It was a weak episode, imo.

ED said...

Where I hope they are going with the story, is that Lundy and Deb both start to stumble upon Dexter's real identity from different angles, and Dexter is forced to consider his priorities: the code (don't kill innocents) or his life. It seems obvious that with Deb's search for her father's mistress, she is destined to discover that Laura Moser is Dexter's mom, and that the ITK was his brother. I would imagine that info causes Lundy to re-examine the BHB evidence and put 2-and-2 together. (I have no inside info - this is just my logical guess and hope as to where this is going).
I also think that some death in the squad would help shake things up. 1 thing really hurting this show is that there is no real sense of jeopardy regarding the core characters. Let's have Trinity kill off a couple regulars and go from there.

JamesG said...

This is the first episode of Dexter that genuinely annoyed me. I feel like there were maybe 10 minutes of actual development and the rest was wasted, either in boring relationship drama or Dexter just trying to remember what he did. I mean, Dexter looking through the dumpster and talking to imaginary Harry at the pharmacy? Pure filler.

Some things that really bothered me in this episode:

1. I found Dexter's monologue particularly bothersome for some reason. While it occasionally adds to the story in that it reveals his true motivations, last night it was used to advance the plot during the goose chase. This is just lazy writing.

2. Rita has been way too overbearing. Yes, she just had a baby, but this is her third child and she knows what Dexter's "hours" are like. I cringed when she showed up at Dexter's office. I'm glad he at least took a stand.

3. WHEN YOUR CELL PHONE RINGS IN THE MIDDLE OF A MURDER CLEAN UP, DON'T ANSWER! Doesn't Dexter have voice mail? After all the talk of self-preservation, he takes a call from Lundy that keeps him lollygagging around a crime scene. Call him back later Dex!

About the only thing I did like was the stuff with Lithgow. He exels at being creepy and I do want to see where that storyline goes. I'm also curious if there is anything significant with the Vacation Murders. So far this has purely served as a plot device to distract Dexter and cause LaGuerta/Angel friction, but it would be nice if this actually lead to something interesting.

Eldritch said...

"Maggie said...
How do the books handle the development of Dexter's character over time

The books handle things differently. I've become increasingly disappointed in each of the three novels. A fourth just came out in September.

Mild SPOILERS for the novels below:

The first season followed the first novel pretty well. The TV show padded things a bit beyond the Ice Truck Killer to fill the episodes.

One interesting difference was his sister's learning Dexter's a serial killer when he rescued her from his brother. Oddly, the sequels never mention that again.

The second season went off into an original direction. The novel is quite different. The novel's not bad, but there's really no character development for Dexter. He just kills and tries not to get caught. But for the grimophiles, horrible things happen.

In the third novel, Dexter finds he can't kill any more. He's lost his Dark Passenger. He struggles with that while trying to settle into family life. He finds that the Dark Passenger is somehow related to an evil god who possesses people. The mythology/theology lost me. In the end, he recovers his Dark Passenger, which is the "happy" ending. I found the novel disappointing.

One interesting difference between the series and novel is the kids. They're budding serial killers. The boy likes to kill things; his sister likes to watch. She's clearly the brains of the outfit. In the third novel, Dexter begins teaching them the code.

The TV series dropped a hint of this in the first season but has not mentioned it again. I suppose serial killer children is too much even for cable TV.

The fourth novel has just come out. I'm on my library's waiting list.

dez said...

In the books, Deb finds out about Dexter in the first book and uses his "expertise" for help in the second. She appears conflicted, but it's hard to tell since it's all from Dexter's POV. Also in the second book, Astor & Cody both appear to be heading toward serial killerville. I understand the third book adds a supernatural element to the Dark Passenger, but I've also heard it's craptacular and haven't read it myself.

I would LOVE it if Deb finally found out about Dex, as in the books, to see what she would do with the knowledge, and if Dex would kill her to protect himself. I don't think Lundy would let Dex go if he found out; he's too good of a cop for that. Both would be good foils for Dex's code because as far as we know, they are both "innocent" (in Harry's terms).

As for last night--yeah, I get it, a tired serial killer is a sloppy serial killer. Move on to Trinity and forget the other b.s. I also hope Dex does NOT get ahold of Trinity. I'd like to see Lundy get his man and have Trinity available for future cameo appearances so Dexter can learn things from him.

Please please please let Angel & LaGuerta break up soon...soooo boring!!

dez said...

LOL, Eldritch is a faster typist than I :-)

But...there are references to Deb's knowledge of Dex's pastime in the second novel. I agree that Lindsay doesn't delve into it much, but again, that could be because we're getting it from Dex's viewpoint.

belinda said...

I agree that Deb should find out, and be the one (I thought about Rita before, but I think she would be a wreck, so not a good candidate) the find out this season. I haven't read the books, but it seems like in the tv show, they could show us what Deb goes through after the fact, which would be very interesting, especially if the books (because of the POV) couldn't. I'm excited just reading about it (should this happen).

It's only episode 2, so, fingers crossed?

Anonymous said...

The scenes with Rita are becoming unbearable. It's his office hours that caused him to have the accident, not the fact that he's up all night with a baby (where is she) while working full time (she's now a stay at home mom) and still he has to be the one to go the the stupid pharmacy?

I'd like to see the budding serial killer kids, but doubt any tv exec will let that happen.

More Lithgow, less Dexter.

Anonymous said...

For the haters of the third book, the fourth book is back to being more like the 2nd book.

The kids get more training time
The relationship with Deb's knowledge is explored
Deb's boyfriend from the book teams up with Dexter to go to Cuba
The Killer of the book is killed by someone other than Dexter

Anonymous said...

I felt like in the first episode it's implied that there's going to be major drama with Dexter and the new neighborhood. To be more specific, it almost seems implied that Detxer's wife might cheat on him with the neighbor. This could potentially change the game of the show by Dexter killing his wife but being stuck with the 2 kids. I doubt they'll go there but it would be an interesting switch up.

I liked this episode but can't disagree with the complaints.

Eldritch said...

dez said...
But...there are references to Deb's knowledge of Dex's pastime in the second novel. I agree that Lindsay doesn't delve into it much, but again, that could be because we're getting it from Dex's viewpoint

Thanks. I guess I'd forgotten that. I think we both agree that Deb's knowing her brother's a serial killer isn't made a big deal....which seem pretty strange to me.

Deb's a police detective and her brother's a killer. There should be major family repercussions about that. She should be agonizing whether to arrest him. But the author chose not to delve into that.

But I see above that Anonymous tells us that in the new book which has just been published, that the author finally goes into it.

I'm glad to hear that the new fourth book is better than the third. It was terrible. The author doesn't seem to have had any good ideas since the first book.

Nick said...

I think the idea of the kids having a dark passenger is incredibly stupid and hope they never go that route. Sure, Astor and Cody were exposed to some domestic violence when they were young but that is NOTHING compared to watching their mother be cut up into bits and pieces by a chainsaw like Dexter was exposed to.

Secondly, I say we wait to see how this season plays out before suggesting a major shake up to the show as I believe it has a lot of potential. What if the Trinity Killer's third target is Rita? That would make for an interesting cat and mouse game with Dexter and Lithgow with a little bit of Lundy on the side. Also the whole possibility of Deb finding out Dexter's true relation to Rudy could make for some great television as well. Who knows, by the end of the season both Rita and Deb might find out Dex's secret. I say we give it a bit more time before we start judging the season.

Garron said...

I listened to the bS report with you and I agree, and end date needs to be set. The show also doesn't seem to capitalize on the awesome potential that John Lithgow could bring to the show.

The entire episode in which stages were set, and the only dilemma was Dexter trying to remember something...seemed almost entourage-esque on the "we don't have ideas, let's think of something and drag it for an entire episode" level.

Anonymous said...

I'm new to reading these Dexter reviews, so forgive me for trying to catch up a bit. Is the general consensus that there's really only one good actor/ character (Dexter) on the show? Deb's 'I f*ckin' love you' line was laugh out loud bad. Angel has been a joke from the very start. The cop-boss who was on Oz seemed a way better actor on that show. The black cop from earlier seasons was a major source of frustration & unintentional laughs. Rita is the only one who gets a partial pass and that's only because I remember what she looked like dressed as Lara Croft. Don't get me wrong - I'm DVRing and watching the show (I think the premise is great), but I find that ~90% of the characters and actors are pretty bad. Every character seems to be a caricature of a stereotype.

deepdarksea said...

Doakes is the name of the "black cop".