Monday, November 03, 2008

Dexter, "Si Se Puede": Partners in crime

Spoilers for last night's "Dexter" coming up just as soon as I find the perfect Key lime pie...

Bay Harbor Butcher.

These are three words that needed to be uttered in this episode, possibly more than once. How can Prado be smart enough to figure out that Dexter is capable of being a vigilante killer and yet not connect the dots to the vigilante killer operating out of Dexter's office a few months ago? How can Angel and Deb talk about the possibility of Ramon Prado being a serial killer without once invoking the name of Sgt. Doakes?

I can give the writers a pass (for now) on the Prado front, depending on what exactly this guy's motivations really are. If, as I've guessed in the past, Prado was using his brother Oscar for similar purposes, then maybe he knows exactly what Dexter really is, and has all along, and is somehow confident he can avoid suffering the same fate as Doakes. But if that turns out not to be the case, then Prado's an idiot, and he deserves the Saran Wrapped fate I think we all assume is coming to him by the end of this season.

The Ramon subplot's a little trickier. I can understand Angel being paranoid about going after a fellow cop (and the brother of an influential DA), but for him to be in disbelief about Deb's theory, so soon after they were told one of their own was a prolific serial killer? At the very least, they should have had Quinn, as the newbie, bring Doakes' name up to suggest that maybe our veterans have a blind spot about this kind of thing.

Whatever the reason, it was distracting, and in the middle of one of the season's more uneven episodes.

On the plus side, Michael C. Hall and Margo Martindale were perfect in their scenes together at the hospital. Dexter's relationship with Camilla, which we've seen going all the way back to the pilot, is yet another sign that our protagonist isn't the emotionless robot he so often claims to be. I'm curious to see if Dexter ponders putting Camilla out of her misery, or if his own experience with the nurse who tried to euthanize Harry would keep him from going there.

On the minus side, all the ancillary stories -- Laguerta with the defense lawyer, Deb with the terrible actress from IAD, Angel trying to date the vice cop -- felt as uninteresting as usual, even when the plots in some way (like Laguerta's) tie in with the main Dexter story.

And I feel like I missed a couple of steps in the Dexter/Prado relationship. Dexter went from freaked out to, if not comfortable with, then at least resigned to the knowledge that Prado knows his secret. And the scene where Prado was alone with the Aryan was confusing. Had this guy been threatening Prado's family for a while? (In which case, that's one hell of a coincidence that Dexter would select this guy as an example for Miguel.) Or had the threats only begun once Miguel started working on this plot to have the killer transferred to the courthouse?

Kind of a muddled episode that typified what's been to me, unfortunately, a muddled season.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

OK, did I misread a situation/completely mishear something in the episode? When Prado gives the guy the key, he says something about no more threats against his family. Did I miss where this guy was picked because he was a threat to the Prado family? I had extra pause when the guy told Dexter he had him mixed up with someone else. Maybe I'm reading something into a nothing situation.

I will say the courthouse scene was the first real tension I'd felt on the show in some time.

JZA said...

My first thought is that Prado invented the threats to his family as a way to earn the trust of the prisoner. Had Prado just handed him the key and walked out, Galt might have assumed it was some sort of a trap.

Susan said...

I'm with you on most of your take on this (and the last few) episode, Alan, but I disagree on one subplot - I really enjoy the Angel subplot about trying to date the vice cop. We've been through a lot with Angel, seeing him try to save his marriage, then get separated, etc. It makes me happy to see him interested in someone, and I think this woman is an interesting character who I'd like to see more of.

But yeah, I don't care much at all about the Internal Affairs cop, the Chickie Hynes lawyer, or even Rita working for Sil. (Except that that last one ties Dexter in even deeper with the Prado family.)

Anonymous said...

@jeremy--I thought the same thing, that it was just a ploy Prado was using to get the prisoner to trust him.

Like Alan, I also was distracted by the spectre of Doakes. Really bad of the writers to miss that. I did enjoy most of the interactions between Dexter and Prado, though. I'm kind of hoping Prado escapes Dexter's saran-wrapping and meets a different fate, perhaps becoming a victim of the Skinner (unless he *is* the Skinner, in which case, he's all Dexter's!).

@susan, I also enjoy the Angel subplot and hope it goes somewhere positive for him. He's my favorite secondary character and I wish he got more airtime (preferably interacting with Dexter--they had some good stuff between them in the past).

Anonymous said...

I respectfully have to disagree. This episode really worked for me. It was the first time I've really been interested in all of the subplots and I thought the main plot was really riveting. You do bring up a lot of good points, but I assume that if Miguel suspects Dexter was the Bay Harbor Butcher he's keeping that to himself so as not to freak Dexter out. And I also assume that the threats to Prado's family started once he issued the subpoena. The show would definitely be smart to address these things (and the Doakes issue) but they weren't enough to distract me from what I thought was otherwise a great episode.

Anonymous said...

The Prado line to Galt was certainly an act, as others have noted. Galt should still probably have been suspicious of Dexter, but their interaction began and ended rather quickly.

Given the speed with which Prado has gone from mildly odd to homicidally mad, it would seem that either we're supposed to think that either now Prado knows exactly who Dexter is (The Butcher) or that he is blinded by what he _thinks_ Dexter is (a like-minded soul). I'm hoping it is the former, and that the (obvious) Butcher connection shows up down the line -- certainly if Prado ever stumbles onto Dexter's ritual. But really, an over-zealous prosecutor willing to pursue vigilantism should be a big fan of the Butcher's. I realize not all of Dexter's victims were clearly identified criminals, but still, a high percentage were, right?


Anonymous said...

Miguel had to give Galt a reason why he was giving him the key and letting him go. Otherwise he would have been too suspicious about "why is this guy giving me the key?" So he made up the parts about threats about his family.

Anonymous said...

At best an uneven season, but still enjoyable. I find Prado almost as annoying as I found Doakes, so I'm glad he knows about Dexter. There's no way Dexter's going to let this unstable whack job survive the season.

ALW said...

I also felt that there should have been mention of the Bay Harbor Butcher and/or Doakes. I'm surprised the writes went around that.

I disagree about Angel though. I like his story line and hope that there are some happy times coming his way.

Antid Oto said...

Yeah, the non-mention of the Bay Harbor Butcher was really weird. If nothing else, I expected Dexter to wonder whether Prado suspected him. Dexter is usually so canny about his self-preservation, and was shown having long discussions with his imaginary Dad about just that. It never even occurs to him that Prado might connect him to the Butcher? What?

I've never been much interested in any of the characters other than Dexter. (I was even rooting for Debra to die in the first season because her weird facial twitching drove me nuts--and it continues to.) This season I couldn't possibly care less about Quinn, Rita, her fetus, Laguerta, Masuka, or Debra's informant. Is there a reason for all of these people to be around? I'd be happy if this season were 100% Jimmy Smits/Michael C. Hall. The rest? Feh.

Alan Sepinwall said...

My first thought is that Prado invented the threats to his family as a way to earn the trust of the prisoner. Had Prado just handed him the key and walked out, Galt might have assumed it was some sort of a trap.

This makes sense, I think. I just don't think it was conveyed well when Prado was walking Dexter through the whole plan.

Ed Howard said...

I feel like I must have been watching another show. This was one of the season's best eps so far. And in general I've liked the rest of this season too, other than the usual complaints about extraneous subplots, but even those have bothered me less this year than in the past, especially since some of them tie back into the main threads either directly or thematically. The stuff with Laguerta, in particular, seems to be leading directly towards some revelations about Miguel down the line. I want to hear what that defense lawyer has to say. This episode was definitely a climax for the season, and Dexter's internal conflict between individualism and the desire for a kindred spirit was handled beautifully. The odd, tense relationship between him and Miguel just gets better with every episode, and Smits has been great. Miguel's dialogue with the prisoner could've used some explanation, but I quickly wrote it off to him making something up.

Anonymous said...

One other thing distracted me a little during this ep, and that was Dexter talking about how he'd never had a partner before, which, while true, is his own fault since he killed Biney in Season 1 :-D

KoryL said...

Okay, perhaps I am missing something, but how is Miguel Prado destined to be in a room of saran wrap? Don't Miguel and Dexter really seem to be kindred spirits, with the caveat of Miguel being somewhat of a hot head and rash. Also, Dexter's code and his less emotional approach seemed to be rubbing off on Miguel by the end of this episode. Now, I clearly think there are revelations ahead for Miguel, but at this point doesn't Dexter really have a "true" friend?