Dexter: Shrink Wrap

Dexter: "I can't kill Meridian yet. I need another therapy session."

Oh, my. How I loved this episode.

Dexter's sessions with misogynist killer shrink Emmett Meridian were just wonderful. Dexter kept taking control of the conversation, and Meridian kept taking it back and calling him on it; it was like verbal chess. Meridian was so perceptive and such a good shrink that Dexter couldn't help opening up to him, and actually achieved some serious insights into himself. The scene where Dexter confessed that he was a serial killer was priceless.

In truth, Dexter really does need therapy. Too bad that it's not a choice for him. Especially considering the flashbacks Dexter experienced when Meridian told him to think back to when he was powerless. There was a toddler sitting in a pool of blood, crying. That had to be Dexter himself. What the hell happened to Dexter?

His "breakthrough in therapy" allowed Dexter to finally let go with Rita. He let her see his need and he even made involuntary noises when they made love, which I am guessing was way out of character for him since he never loses control of any aspect of his life. And it worked. Rita felt that they connected, and told him he was sweet. I'm so into this show at this point that I felt happy for Dexter. I wonder if Dexter actually loves Rita?

Big revelation. I should have realized sooner that Rudy was the Ice Truck Killer; he's a lab rat who works with prosthetics, after all. At least I tumbled to it way before the end, when Rudy answered Dexter's personal ad; when Rudy was in bed with Debra and talking about her arms and legs, I thought, omigod, he's the one. I like Debra so much that I actually wanted to be wrong. Can we assume, since she's a main character and Dexter's sister, that Rudy is just using Debra to get close to Dexter and that she won't end up one of his victims? At the very least, dating the Ice Truck Killer will be terrible for her blossoming self-confidence. How will she ever be able to trust her own instincts again?

This was a terrific episode. Clever, funny, well-written, beautifully acted, and it took the story to a whole new place. This was the episode that made me want to write about this show.

Bits and pieces:

-- The title was perfect: Dexter wrapped the shrink in shrink wrap. Tony Goldwyn directed as well as guest-starred as Dr. Meridian. Fabulous job on both counts, Mr. Goldwyn.

-- Dexter went behind the sofa when he told Meridian the truth about himself, putting a barrier back up because he was about to make Meridian his victim.

-- We had a general "empowered women" theme: Meridian's unfortunate victims, as well as Rita, Maria, and Debra. If you think about it, they were all empowered with the wrongest of guys, though. And all fakes. Paul, Neil Perry, Meridian, Rudy.

-- I really loved the way Rita seduced Dexter again. Julie Benz does such a great job with this part. Rita could be a one-note character, an eternal victim, but instead, she's a complex, interesting, sweet woman. We can see why Dexter cares so much about her.

-- Paul apologized in a sideways sort of way, but still managed to get a dig into everything he said to Dexter. He sabotaged Dexter's date with Rita, too. Foolish man. I really wish Dexter would kill him.

-- Neil Perry knew about how Maria got promoted ahead of Doakes. Doakes was pretty cool about it. He could have been resentful.

-- After a couple of episodes as a human being, Maria was hitting on Dexter again. Ick. At least she found a way to expose Neil Perry. Her gambit with the head was clever. Ick.

-- Speaking of severed heads, I just love that Dexter attached Rudy's doll head to his keychain.

-- The flashback of teenage Dexter ambushing Harry in the kitchen reminded me of Clouseau and Kato. Just fun father-son stuff, huh?

-- Rudy created prosthetics for Tony Tucci, and he was the one who cut Tony up in the first place. That was just super creepy.

Quotes:

Angel: "Why do bloodstains always look like crustaceans to you?"
Dexter: "I like seafood."
Angel: "Rorschach would say you have a hard time relating to others."
Angel saw dancing clowns; that fits his personality. (I saw bunnies.) At the end of the episode, Rudy was wearing a tee shirt that had what looked like an inkblot on it.

Dexter: "The three suicide sisters shared the same therapist, Dr. Emmett Meridian. He must be terrible at his job."

Maria: "Just covering my bases, Neil. We both want the same thing."
Neil: "Uh... ten minutes alone with Angelina?"

Scott Solomon: "How 'bout you? Finding him helpful?"
Dexter: "I'm a sociopath. There's not much he can do for me."
Scott Solomon: "Cute and funny. Let me guess. Taken?"

Dexter: "You're a mean one, Mister Shrink. Create their drug addiction, pull them off, and fill their addled heads with noble thoughts of suicide? I think I've had a breakthrough in therapy."

Dexter: "This is ridiculous. I could be killing him right now."

Rita: "You're sweet."
Dexter: "I am?"
Dexter the serial killer is sweet in bed. How about that.

Dexter: "I'm a serial killer. Ahhh, God. Whoah, ho, ha. That feels so amazing to say out loud."
Meridian: "Well, you must be letting go because I've never heard you make a joke before."
Dexter: "I'm not joking. I kill people. Whoo. There it is again."

Dexter: "I watched your home movies. It's amazing stuff. Drugs, guns, and a crazy psychiatrist. No wonder you're so well versed in control issues. You've got quite the god complex."

Five out of four stars,

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

9 comments:

Rena said...

Five out of four stars? I completely agree, this episode was awesome. How many episodes have you given five stars before?

Rena said...

I've been rereading your reviews (and rewatching Dexter as I read) to help make this month go faster. I can't wait for season 5... Anyways, after noting the 5 stars you gave this episode I decided to quickly run through your ratings for the past four seasons. If I'm not mistaken, you've never rated Dexter lower than 3 stars. That is quite an accomplishment for a show. It's my favorite show, and I couldn't agree more with your assessment. :)

Billie Doux said...

Thanks, Rena. I didn't rate the pilot episode, but they don't count. Yes, I'm really, really looking forward to next season, too. In ... counting ... only 23 days.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this episode is true gold. Like you say, it´s like verbal chess and I just love how this episode plays out and how Dexter comes to terms with himself and how he lets go with Rita.

ChrisB said...

I am stunned. Simply stunned. This episode was beyond amazing. It's not often that I am that surprised by a reveal. I literally gasped. Unlike you, I did not see it coming. I was getting an uneasy feeling about Rudy, but had not gone to the ITK place at all. Well done!

Your lead quote was, by far, my favorite of the series so far. I laughed out loud. Dexter in therapy was a fascinating concept and, although I didn't think it would, it worked from a story telling concept.

Billie Doux said...

Chris, I was waiting for you hit this one. It's still one of my favorite Dexter episodes. And the rest of the season is terrific.

Maaian said...

Yep, just watching Dexter now (never too late!) and this was the one that hooked me

Anonymous said...

I work overseas and Dexter has not yet made it here. They are still showing "Dead Like Me", and "Pushing Daises", and what's worse, they dub the voices in the local language. That said I finally discovered this series and downloaded them, and I am hooked. The writing, and the acting is incredible. Fortunately, I can OD on the series while I catch up. This episode was just brilliant, I thought Rudy was too good to be true, can't wait to see how this gets resolved. Dexter and Rudy, two chess grandmasters in combat.

Matias Salvo said...

The song that Debra sings at the mirror is Eric Camen´s "Make me loose Control" and its funny because it is about a girl named Jennifer, just like the actress that plays Debra.