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Dexter: Popping Cherry

Angel: "What do you think he's trying to tell us?"
Dexter: "That hockey's a violent sport?"

"Popping Cherry" was a pun about the death of Cherry, the latest Ice Truck Killer victim, as well as the loss of virginity.

First times. From a sexual standpoint, how very interesting that the first person Dexter killed was a woman. And that he did it to save Harry, and at Harry's behest. Dexter uses plastic wrap to secure his victims to a table. It most notably covers the top of the chest and the genitals as well as other areas. He did this with his very first human victim. Why does he do this instead of, say, tying them down? To de-sex them? Dexter does find sex mysterious and hard to understand. Plastic wrap also preserves and protects groceries. (I'm not sure where I'm going with that one.) Dexter puts pieces of his victims into Hefty bags, and referred to what he does as "taking out the garbage." No hidden meaning in that one.

Jeremy Downs looked a bit like Dexter did as a teenager, and spurred happy remembrances of first times in Dexter's youth, killing the deer, killing the nurse. Jeremy's first murder, his popped cherry, landed him in prison. Dexter stepped out of character; he followed Jeremy and saved Jeremy's intended victim instead of just letting it happen. Apparently another first for Dexter. He let Jeremy go, too. I think that was a mistake.

Another first: Debra got her very first homicide call, as well as her first lead on the Ice Truck Killer without Dexter's help. And then she went over Maria's head. Oops. I was surprised that Doakes stood up for Debra. He may have done it to protect Maria, though, not to help Debra. Doakes is an arresting character (pun intended), but I'm not all that interested in the subplot about him and Kara's cop brother. Although the way Doakes crashed that christening party was outrageously gutsy. Not many people have that kind of nerve.

I'm a lot more interested in the evolution of Dexter's relationship with Rita than I am with the cop stuff and the murder stuff. It must be the romantic in me. Well, actually, no. I think it's because what intrigues me most about this series is the possibility that there is a human being hiding inside of Dexter. And his humanity tends to show the most when he's with Rita and her kids.

The situation with that jerk drug dealer showing up and taking Rita's car was strange. Most normal men would have at the very least given the drug dealer a hard time, or gotten into a fistfight. Dexter did nothing because Rita asked him to do nothing, and oddly enough, it was the right thing to do. Violence and confrontation would have really upset her. Instead, Dexter was there to pick up her kids and there to meet the social worker, and he eventually got Rita an impounded convertible. And that made Rita happy.

Actually, I sort of wanted Dexter to kill the drug dealer, instead. Isn't that interesting?

Bits and pieces:

— Maria believed that Tony Tucci, the ice rink's night watchman, was the Ice Truck Killer, and started a massive manhunt. Except that Debra discovered that the killer picked up Cherry in an old station wagon, and Tony Tucci didn't own one. And Angel figured out that the ITK had to be a lab rat since he knew how to handle liquid nitrogen. Maria doesn't listen to her people. Her bad.

— Harry died from hardening of the arteries, a year after Dexter took his first victim.

— Dexter doesn't understand sex jokes. He also doesn't pretend to understand sex jokes.

— Scenes like the one where Dexter took out Astor's splinter that ended with him hugging her and talking about heartbreak just seem to imply (to me, anyway) that Dexter really isn't a sociopath. Too much genuine emotion.

— Rita works at the front desk of a fancy hotel.

— Lots of shots of caged birds. I could probably assign some sort of meaning to that, but I honestly don't know what. The lemon tree must have meant something, too. Maybe my symbolism detector is on the fritz.


Debra: "How are you holding up?"
Dexter: "I'm managing." (to himself) "No, I'm not. Keeping my face pinched in sorrow for two hours straight is a real chore."

Rita: "I can't help it. I kill things."
Dexter: "Must be awful."

Dexter: "I knew he'd be back. It feels like Christmas morning. Look at that. A miracle on ice."

Dexter: "I can't make it without you."
Harry: "Yes, you can. If you feel like you're slipping, lean on your sister. She'll keep you connected."

Dexter: "Jeremy didn't murder that boy four years ago. He was taking out the garbage. Just like I do."

Dexter: "Score one for the little wooden boy."
Pinocchio reference. Pinocchio's defining characteristic was that he wanted to be a real boy. Does that mean that Dexter wants to be a real boy?

Three stars,

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


  1. Well. I'm massively late to the Dexter party - just started watching it on Netflix now that I've run out of Breaking Bad to watch. As always, I'm enjoying your great reviews as a companion to each episode.

    Two points to make in this episode.

    1) Angels bucking bronco joke. Really not funny. We're talking rape here, people. Angel has always seemed like a decent guy so far but he plummeted in my estimation there.

    2) iI I were Rita, my paedophile alarms would be clanging. We the audience know that Dexter is not a paedophile, but come on, this guy has rated her for months, is happy not having sex, and spends a lot of time playing with the kids? Alarm bells would be ringing, no?

    Thanks for the great reviews!

  2. Both points I was going to make about this episode were made by Beth Currie. The bronco joke went too far for my taste.

    I do like watching Dexter with Rita and the kids, but I think it's because as a member of the audience we know he is safe. If I were Rita, I would be wondering why he doesn't want to have sex with me, but is very comfortable touching my children. We rarely see Dexter just talking to the kids; he wrestles with Cody and he dances with Astor.

    But, the highlight of this episode for me was the street girls calling Maria Debra's pimp. It made me laugh, probably because it was so spot on.

  3. It's Rita who is not ready, not Dex. Have you'all been watching the show?

  4. Very curious about the "wooden boy" comment. First: that it's a boy, a child, which ties into the sense of innocence that I still get from Dexter. But also the fact that it is a Pinocchio reference, who is all about learning how to love and be a good person in order to be a "real boy." Is Dexter learning to love from Rita and her children? I think so. He saved Jermey's intended victim. He's changing.

    I almost expected Dexter to take on Jermey as an apprentice of sorts. Do for him what Harry did. Maybe that'll come later on in the season. Either way, I agree that it wasn't a smart decision. I also noticed an interesting parallel between Harry telling Dexter that the only time he killed someone was to save a life and Dexter's first victim. He killed her in order to save Harry's life. It served a purpose.

    That wig looked horrible on Michael Hall. I laughed out loud when the alligator scared Dexter, and when Maria was called Debra's pimp. I really don't like Maria, though. I haven't found any redeeming qualities for her. I'm also liking Debra less, mostly because she just came off as very immature in this episode. How old is she supposed to be?


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