Dexter: The British Invasion

Dexter: "The truly tragic thing would be to let his sacrifice go to waste. There's only one way I can think of to honor him. I have to embrace my freedom."

Was I right, or was I right? I'm seldom able to figure out how these things end, but I could see what happened to Doakes coming a couple of episodes ago. At least he died quickly, poor guy. I wonder if Maria will ever be able to get past it? Will she ever truly believe he was the Bay Harbor Butcher?

Apparently, Dexter has concluded that God may actually approve. Sort of like the fiery sword. If you look at the string of coincidences that just gave Dexter a reprieve, it actually looks like Dexter has been touched by divine providence. He even arose from the fire, Lila's apartment fire and the explosion at the cabin, like a phoenix. Dexter needed a miracle, and he got one in Lila. For a moment, when it appeared that the episode had concluded, I thought Lila was going to get away with it. But no. She certainly deserved a more painful death than she got. And she underestimated Dexter over and over again. She fell for his act at the aquarium and would have gone out then if Deb hadn't blown it. Dexter might even have let Lila go if she hadn't victimized "his" children.

I have to admit that I was a bit bothered by the fact that the framework of season two was a lot like season one. Another sociopath who "loved" Dexter and wanted to "play" with him ultimately victimized someone Dexter cared about, and had to be put down. No guilt this time, though. Maybe that was the point. Lila wasn't his brother. And she was a threat to Deb, Rita, and the children as well as pretty much everyone she met. Where else could the season have gone? And not that it wasn't masterfully done, because it was. Maybe I was so blown away by season one that I was expecting too much. Familiarity does breed, well, less shock. The idea of Dexter was so new in season one that everything was a shock. Now it's not.

Symbolically, season one was Dexter's early childhood. He discovered what he had suppressed from the time he was three, and worked through a lot of primal emotions. This second season was his angry adolescence: self-discovery, experimentation with sex, big mistakes, rebellion, growing pains. At the end of this episode, Dexter said he was the master now, no longer Harry's disciple – i.e., now he's emotionally an adult. I wonder what they have in mind for season three?

Bits and pieces:

-- The title of the episode (for me, anyway) signified that we spent all season thinking Doakes and Lundy were going to be Dexter's biggest problems, but it turned out to be Lila.

-- As Dexter was euphorically re-entering his "normal life," they did a small recreation of the credits, complete with music. Very cute. And just like in the credits, he shaved, but still had stubble afterward. Well, Dexter is a contradiction.

-- This week's Most Obvious Symbolism was probably the scene at the aquarium. Lila was obsessed with fire, while Dexter has a close relationship with water; he was about to douse her by putting her in a watery grave.

-- Maria and Deb were connecting again; Maria was experiencing something very similar to what happened to Deb with Rudy last season. The memorial service for Doakes was so sad. He so didn't deserve this. Again, dammit, I liked Doakes.

-- Another unhappy, but at least less traumatic, romantic ending for Deb. *Yawn.*

-- That was some painting of Dexter that Lila did. She painted his true face. Of course, it was also her true face.

-- What did Lila do with Dexter's tools? She couldn't have taken them on the plane. Air France kind of frowns on that.

-- Dexter started a new trophy box. I didn't want Dexter to get a new trophy box. Part of me wants him to actually "recover," like he almost did this season.

Quotes:

Dexter: "I'm only helpful when there's blood."
Deb: "Maybe we'll shoot him."

Dexter: "If they find Doakes locked in a cage, it will seriously undermine my frame job."

Dexter: "Waiting out there in the Everglades are hordes of county sheriffs, search parties, and ravenous reptiles. And in this corner, wearing dark trunks, the mighty Dexter."

Dexter: "Confusion requires fire trucks?"

Vince: "Are you free?"
Dexter: "Vince, you have no idea."

Dexter: "It's strange to have a creation out there, a deeply mutated version of yourself running loose and screwing everything up. I wonder if this is how parents feel."

Deb: "What did you do to make her so pathetically crazy for you? Does your dick dance?"

Deb: "Put out an APB on Lila West, a.k.a. Lila Tourney. Suspected arsonist, five seven, black hair, pale like a fucking corpse."
Cop: "Fucking corpse. Got it."
Throughout the season, Deb often compared Lila to a vampire. Apt comparison.

Deb: "You're a little weird, Dex."
Dexter: "That's not going to change. I'm going to be this way forever."
Deb: "I can live with that."
But I want Dexter to change. I like Dexter. I want him to want to stop killing.

Dexter: "Am I evil? Am I good? I'm done asking those questions. I don't have the answers. Does anyone?" In that last moment, Dexter again looked at the audience.

Even though I wasn't as blown away by the ending as last season, it was still excellent. Four out of four stars,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

2 comments:

Mark Greig said...

Looks like that Paul Kelly fella was right, this show does get better and better every year. This was another great season of television. Michael C. Hall continues to impress and astound. Dexter was more emotional and less centred and controlled this season. His faith in Harry, and by association the almighty Code, was shaken to the core after all those revelation about his foster father came to light.

I felt sorry for Doakes, he didn’t deserve to be blown up by the bunny boiling vampire but I knew he was done for the second he found Dexter’s slides. There was no other alternative. Once Dexter is expose or caught the show is over. So Doakes sadly had to go. But I am glad Dexter was able to avenge him by tracking down Lila in Paris and kill her, even if it felt slightly tacked on.

It wasn’t all perfect. I was disappointed with Lundy. He started out as a great rival for Dexter but quickly became just a love interest for Debra. Their relationship, a reverse Oedipus complex by proxy, was cute/creepy at first but ended up going nowhere since he was simply the Special Guest Star and always destined to leave.

Right, that’s season 2 done with. Fantastic reviews as always, Billie. Time for season 3.

ChrisB said...

Another excellent series. I agree, Billie, that the story's frame was very similar to last year, but the stakes felt higher to me. Maybe it was because I wasn't entirely sure that everyone Dexter loves would survive.

I love your analogy of last year's childhood and this year's adolescence. Adulthood should be interesting to watch.

The scenes at the aquarium, although beautifully shot, took me out of the story. So many series have filmed there, in front of that big tank, that I spent a couple minutes remembering them all and had to re-watch the scene again for the dialogue.

Another great year of reviews, Billie. Thanks.