Dexter: Smokey and the Bandit

Dexter: "Is this what happens to serial killers at the end of their lives?"

In previous seasons, Dexter said more than once that growing old was not in the cards for him, that he would probably get caught or killed instead. But things have changed. Dexter is now thinking that he might very well live to grow old, and he doesn't want to be a nasty old man with a storage locker and no real relationship with Harrison. Maybe it's time to stop killing. Or at any rate, to get rid of his alarmingly full box of slides. Dexter should take them out on the Slice of Life and dump them in the ocean with Kenney's collection of teeth, where they belong.

It's always disillusioning when you revisit something that was wildly important to you when you were young, and it's nothing like what you thought. (And how Most Obvious Symbolism for it to be a serial killer called the "Tooth Fairy," a fictional being from childhood.) The Tooth Fairy was nothing like Dexter. Kenney wanted his son to suffer, like his mother made him suffer when he was a child. Dexter may have just done Kenney a favor by killing him, because Kenney was a miserably unhappy man. Dexter certainly did Kenney's son a favor by dumping those teeth in the ocean.

Things with Deb are playing out much as I expected. Angel and Dexter (great Dexter/Deb scene) are there for her, ready to encourage her and help her succeed. LaGuerta is now an outright enemy because Deb refused to be her puppet. Quinn is acting even worse than I expected, though. Packing up Deb's stuff and leaving it in the garage by the fertilizer? Challenging her in front of the rest of the cops? Lying to people about why they broke up? What does he think this kind of behavior is going to get him, other than tons of trouble?

Deb's choice of a new detective to replace herself was interesting. Mike Anderson looked like a hard core cop, and was smart enough to realize his sexist (or was it age-ist?) mistake pretty quickly. Deb usually hooks up with someone inappropriate during every season of Dexter. Maybe this season, it'll be him. Yes, it's not wise to hook up with a subordinate, but she has impulse control issues.

Speaking of hooking up with subordinates, I am suddenly a lot more interested in Masuka's intern, Ryan (Brea Grant from Heroes), who appears to have chosen a profession perfect for a serial killer groupie. That little glimpse of Dexter's brother Rudy was sort of shocking. How incredibly creepy that she did her nails like Dexter's mother, too. I have no idea where they're going with Ryan, but suddenly there are fascinating possibilities. What if she revisits the Ice Truck Killer case with brand new eyes, and sees something that they all missed? I know there are some women who are so into serial killers that they marry the ones in jail, but I really don't understand people like that.

I expected Brother Sam to be a one-episode character, but instead he's inviting Dexter to baptism beach parties. Brother Sam's story is probably intended to give us a contrast to Gellar and Travis, who just pulled off one of the creepiest things I've ever seen on television: a parade of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with body parts. Yes, they're end of the worlders. I don't understand people like this, either. Geez. Get a life and do something meaningful and/or fun. Hey, an asteroid could hit the planet tomor... never mind.

They may be doing "the meaning of life" this season. This episode felt a little like the Monty Python version, but it was still really good. Gold acting stars for Ronny Cox as Kenney. His performance as the villainous corporate shark Dick Jones in Robocop is one of my favorite evil characters ever, and Cox made Kenney revolting and totally believable as an elderly serial killer who did not improve with age. The producers of Dexter are way too smart to cast an elderly actor for whom the audience would feel the slightest smidgeon of sympathy. Bravo.

Bits and pieces:

-- I love how the "previously on" segments are all starting with Deb saying, "Holy frankenfuck, snakes!" It makes me laugh every time I see it.

-- It's always a bit disconcerting when you can clearly see that the dead body is breathing. Is this happening more often these days, or is it me?

-- I felt so bad for that poor guy that Gellar and Travis took. But there might have been more to it, since this is Dexter. Was Nathan truly an innocent bystander? Why would he have to repent so completely if he was just Joe Blow from down the street?

-- Angel lost his temper when Quinn called him "Mr. LaGuerta," but shortly afterward, he said to Deb, "Take it from Mr. LaGuerta." Angel has a sense of humor about himself. Which is probably why he was comfortable buying the Smokey and the Bandit car, another bit of symbolism of trying to recapture one's youth.

-- I usually like Edward James Olmos in anything, but I'm not feeling him yet. But Colin Hanks is doing a terrific job. His character Travis is so conflicted and upset that that his anxiety is pouring off of him in waves.

-- Those snarky fat jokes they made about Kenney's victim (gym memberships and donuts) bothered me. I know cops are desensitized, but don't murder victims deserve a little respect?

-- Kenney's storage locker was number 42, the answer to everything. How lovely that Dexter killed him in his barco lounger.

-- The shot of the teeth descending into the water was just fascinating, visually unusual and visceral.

-- It was Dexter's 44th slide. Add that to the kills of the Bay Harbor Butcher, and geez louise. Miami ought to be the safest city on earth by now.

Quotes:

Dexter: "They say old age is like a second childhood. There are primary colors, tricycles, and ball chasing."

Kenney: "So what's a young guy like you doing around Coral Island? Or do you get off hanging out with corpses?"

Kenney: "If I was any more in the rough, I'd need a fucking machete."
Dexter: (to himself) "This is like being trapped in a toxic cloud. That cheats."

Dexter: "Teen Ass, Nipple Parade, and Spanked. Can this really be the man who inspired me to keep a scrapbook?"
Even funnier was that Dexter obediently went to the news stand and bought them.

Three out of four broken specimen slides,

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

11 comments:

Emma said...

I'm trying to like this religion angle they're pushing for. I really am. But I'm just not feeling it. The horsemen stuff is gruesomely promising, but up to now Edward James Olmos and Babyface Hanks haven't done a thing for me. I find myself checking Facebook during their scenes, which is certainly not a good sign. Other than that, I've liked this season and absolutely LOVED Deb. Is it me or is her pottymouth getting more hilarious/disgusting with every episode? Love love love it.

Your Modest Guru said...

Absolutely loved this episode.

Ronny Cox is classic and he plays probably one of my favorite of Dexter's victims here. Such a degenerate little punk. When he pulled the gun on Dexter I thought he was gonna say "You just fucked with the wrong guy!"

Deb's role as lieutenant is a good element for her character. This would be the most dire time to reveal that her brother is a vigilante serial killer.

I hope nothing bad happens to Brother Sam. Mos Def is always so damn likable.

They are doing kind of the same thing with Alpha and Omega that they did with Trinity. Showing more than telling. I like that.

So far the season's top episode. Literally.

emily said...

Not loving the religious angle either (I feel like we've seen every possible variation on this very old theme), so I was glad to see it toned back a little in this episode. I'm just waiting for Edward James Olmos to sell me on caring about this plot.

But, IMO, the best material of the season so far had to be the last few minutes of the episode. The horses. The bodies. Dex upending his slides. Shit's gettin' real now...

ra1nm4n said...

Yeah, loved the episode, especially the stuff about Dexter's childhood legend "The Tooth Fairy".
Travis and Prof. Gellar are certainly upto something but I just don't get it.
Maybe because I am not Christian.
Can anyone please tell what is the significance of fruits, snakes and horseriders ????????

Paul Kelly said...

Not only did the dead prostitute breathe, she also moved her foot. I re-watched it half a dozen times, and was outraged every time. I mean, how hard is it to play dead? You hold your breathe and you don't move. Even I can do that. Look! See?

I also loved the four horsemen finale. In every season of Dexter there's a moment when the show springs to life. That moment, for me, was it.

I'm totally okay about Dexter's semi-religious musings. I doubt they'll go anywhere, but it makes total sense the subject would come up at some point. What he does is so morally questionable, it was surely just a matter of time.

Gus Brunetti said...

I like the season so far, but it hasn't wowed me yet. Though I'm certain it will.

Billie, not only was the storage unit's number 42, but we also have another connection to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Mos Def, who plays Brother Sam, was Ford Prefect in the most recent movie adaptation. He's a really fine actor, which is surprising, considering he's originally a rapper.

ra1nm4n, I could be wrong, but those two are probably trying to bring forth the Apocalypse by staging the signs to it as described in the Book of Revelations.

I feel bad for Quinn, but he's really puching to be the bad guy there. I loved how Masuka's intern toyed with him. However creepy she is, she is very likeable.

It's just the title that's lost to me.

emily said...

"I'm totally okay about Dexter's semi-religious musings. I doubt they'll go anywhere, but it makes total sense the subject would come up at some point. What he does is so morally questionable, it was surely just a matter of time."

I actually agree with this completely.

My problem is that, in the course forty minutes, we had religiously-motivated baddies, a convict-turned-preacher, a religious preschool (nun and all), AND Dexter's monologue about religion with the high school alum killer...and that was just the first episode. Add to that the season promos (bloody angel wings, "Your Own Personal Jesus", etc) and it feels like they've skipped right past nuance to thematic bludgeoning. I think they have plenty of room to back off and still maintain the religious tone of the season, and I'm glad they've toned it down.

Anonymous said...

I liked this a lot and I now sort of wish that Dexter could kill Quinn, he´s being such a douchebag. And I´m liking Maria less because you can tell that she is just waiting for Deb to slip up. I hope not because I love Deb.
And you´re right, Colin Hanks is doing an amazing job. He is obeying Gellar but he is very conflicted about it.

Josie Kafka said...

There was a number 23 floating around somewhere, too.

Anonymous said...

Yea, I saw the large prostitute breathe and move as well. I guess it is hard to hold your breath for scenes without moving something. This wasn't the first time during the Dexter episodes that bodies have shown they weren't really dead.

Anonymous said...

Just watched this overseas and almost lost my shit about the prostitute. Lost a little hope for the show after that.