Dexter: The Dark Defender

Maria: "Should I call the Superfriends for help?"
Dexter: "No, I got it covered."

Dexter. Keeping Florida safe from armadillos.

Is Dexter indeed a twisted sort of superhero? He's right that the comparison to comic book superheroes is dead on: tragic beginnings, secret identities, and so on. Dexter is indeed larger than life, and he does save the innocent. He's even kind to strangers, including young mothers who can't find their wallets. He just enjoys the killing way too much.

But Dexter is also not the person he was supposed to be. If it hadn't been for what happened in the cargo container, Dexter probably would have been a normal guy. (I have no idea what would have happened to Brian; he may have been born a sociopath.) I was a bit shocked that Dexter told Lila the truth about his mother's death, which was a big step for him. When he attacked Jiminez in the bar, Dexter was just seething with emotion. It was an honest to goodness crime of passion accompanied by an emotional meltdown, a first for Dexter. Can Dexter "recover"? Really?

My feelings toward Lila pretty much ran the gamut in just one episode. She was actually a good sponsor in many ways. She tried to get Dexter to talk about his past, to confront his demons. She tried frantically to keep him from "using", and held him, like a mother holds a crying child. But suggesting that he confront his mother's killer? That was an extremely dangerous thing to do (if it hadn't been Dexter, of course, but she can't know that.) And she was trying to seduce him, too. Away from Rita.

I was starting to think that maybe Lila wasn't a complete outlaw, maybe she was just quirky... but then she told Dexter about burning down her ex's house and accidentally incinerating him. That rang huge, huge alarm bells. Either she was sincere and she really is just a quirky woman who made a fatal mistake, or she is big, big trouble. The difference between Lila and Rita is extreme. Dexter will always be a stranger to Rita, but he can be half of himself with Lila. I wonder if Dexter will relax so much with Lila that he'll tell her something he shouldn't?

Some big revelations about Dexter's mother, Laura. She was Harry's informant and his lover. Wow. That explained a lot, while it also raised more questions. (Like why Harry adopted Dexter but not Brian.) If we didn't already know who Dexter's biological father was, I'd be wondering. Although I can't see Harry as the sort of guy who would get an informant pregnant and leave her to raise a child alone. Maybe Harry thought he was Dexter's father, but found out later, after the cargo container and the adoption, that he wasn't?

They left us with a freakout cliffhanger. Did Dexter just get caught by Lundy's surveillance? I think the "old" Dexter would have noticed the new camera, would have been paranoid enough to look for it, especially since he knew the task force was checking on marinas. Did overdosing on emotion make Dexter careless? Will the little green algae turn out to be Dexter's Kryptonite?

Bits and pieces:

-- The audio tape was dated September 28, 1973, just five days before Laura was killed. Harry told her to hold out a little longer. Wrong.

-- Angel described himself to Lila as Dexter's best friend. That was sweet.

-- Gabriel was writing a children's book called The Ice Princess. That seemed like a way too contrived coincidence.

-- Maria and Doakes really care about each other; she was very worried about him not being affected by killing yet another person in the line of duty. We finally learned that they were lovers once. Not a surprise.

-- Tony Amendola (Jimenez) usually plays bad guys, but I always see him as the good, heroic Braytak on Stargate: SG-1. Jimenez, your days are numbered. Dexter is certain to take you out.

-- In the tape scene, baby Dexter was noticeably older than in season one. They grow fast at that age. That tape scene was sort of amazing. Dad, Mom, and two Dexters. Which symbolized the division in Dexter: the innocent child with his mother, and the troubled adult, with Harry.

-- More symbolism. The painting in the motel room that Lila changed from conventional kitsch into something resembling Dexter's blood spatter.

-- Rita's mother Gail thinks Dexter is an addict and will hurt Rita the way Paul did. It's funny, but Dexter is both worse than Paul, and much, much better. Gail has decided to stay in Miami (omigod, no) and plans to live with Rita (omigod, no).

-- Lundy's wife died of cancer two years ago. Coincidentally, Deb's and Dexter's mother died of cancer, too. This was also a pointed comparison of Deb's and Lundy's age difference.

-- Lundy stops and eats lunch every day at 1:00. He keeps different areas of his life compartmentalized in order to deal with what he does.

Quotes:

Dexter: "Want a real glimpse of human nature? Stand in the way of someone's mocha latte."

Deb: "Ahhh. Sweet Mary mother of fuck, that's good."
Dexter: "I think you might have broken a commandment somewhere in there."

Deb: "He's killing people, Dex. If Dad taught us one thing, it's the value of human life."
Dexter: (to himself) "Yeah, but I think we had different homework assignments."

Dexter: "I never really got the whole superhero thing, but lately it does seem we have a lot in common. Tragic beginnings, secret identities, part human part mutant... (looking at Doakes) arch enemies..."

Gabriel: "My meth lab's in the sock drawer."

Gail: "I know what you are."
Dexter: "Confused?"

Dexter: "Thought I'd, you know, take the minivan out on the open road."
Deb: "Who are you?"
Dexter: "The good news is, you've got the place to yourself if you want to tie up Gabriel again."
Deb: "Yeah, that one never gets old."

Three stars,

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

1 comment:

ChrisB said...

I'm not sure how I feel about Lila yet. I agree that her story set alarm bells jangling loudly; yet, watching them together in the room had a lovely intimacy to it that I've never seen Dexter and Rita share.

I didn't like Lila's less than subtle way of trying to break up Dexter and Lila. Not great sponsor behavior, I would guess.