Dexter: Those Kinds of Things

Dexter: "I have no idea what Hammer time is. Or how it differs from regular time."

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

Actually, I should probably have said "religion" instead of "snakes." Although I think they're heading less toward religion and more toward Dexter trying to understand spirituality in general, since it's something he finds utterly baffling.

As I've said a number of times in past reviews, because of his childhood trauma, Dexter began the series at the emotional age of a toddler. He's grown up gradually during the past few years. Maybe he just hit that late teens stage where we start exploring our beliefs about God and religion, and Dexter is doing it by proxy through Harrison? Does he want to believe, or is this just Dexter's latest attempt at normality camouflage? Maybe he'll come out at the other end of the season comfortable with atheism. We shall see.

Of course, since this is Dexter, we're also seeing the twisted, homicidal side of religious faith. I like Edward James Olmos in anything, and casting the son of Mr. America Wholesome Movie Star as his acolyte was an interesting choice. They appear to be carrying out a religious ritual that involves snake babies and disemboweling unfortunate bystanding fruit vendors. A new challenge for Dexter to unravel that will force him to consider religion in a new way. As he just saw high school in a new way.

Interesting that the focus was on high school, too, which is the time in my own life when I was exploring different religions. I hated high school. I was an honor student as well as an outcast. So was Dexter. Apparently, he was oblivious to the reality of high school because he was too engrossed with his dark passenger. He never noticed that the hottest girl in school made a point of sitting behind him in every class, something that any other hetero guy would immediately pick up on.

In his eternal quest of self-enlightenment and understanding what makes himself tick, Dexter is confronting and rewriting his past. He just rewrote his high school experiences. He played football, danced, got it on with the hottest girl, murdered the most popular guy, and was popular for a change. And he even enjoyed it instead of finding it bewildering or uncomfortable. Little steps.

(Let me pause a moment to complain about that murder. How could the police in Virginia miss the blood under Janet's nails? And how did Dexter get a sample if they did? They'd absolutely check the husband, too. The football, the panther mask, the scoreboard reflections, the "Hammer time" hammer – a bit fluffy and comedic for this show. And the cross and tatt were symbolic overkill, so to speak. Okay, complaint over.)

Dexter's home life appears to have calmed down a bit. No Rita, no Lumen, no Mary Poppins, but we now have Angel's little sister Jamie taking care of Harrison in Dexter's new, secret second apartment while Dexter is off working, killing, or getting laid in his old high school lab. Let's hope Jamie doesn't end up like the other women in Dexter's life.

Miami Metro is much the same, except LaGuerta has blackmailed her way to the rank of Captain, and her ex-husband Angel is now the acting boss. (I'm sure this will all turn out well.) Is LaGuerta out, or will she be dropping by a lot more than Matthews did? Deb and Quinn are still living together, and he's serious about her. Having his proposal interrupted by a mad gunman probably isn't the best of marital omens. I can't quite see Deb saying yes, either.

I'll admit that this premiere didn't blow me away, but Dexter season openers rarely do. Dexter seasons tend to be more like a novel, with the first episode much like an opening chapter that lays the groundwork for what's to come. I'm not sure what I want for this season, other than the big one – for Deb to find out about Dexter. And I want story and character to be more important than scares and gore. And for them to not repeat themselves. Of course, we did get voodoo-related ritual murders before.

Bits and pieces:

-- Time has passed. Dexter bought the apartment next door and expanded his home. And now he can slip out at night unobserved? It must be on the opposite side of the building, not sharing the same walkway, or it wouldn't be much of a secret entrance.

-- The "previously on" pointedly did not show Julie Benz. I wonder why?

-- The opening death was a nice bit of misdirection, and it ended with Dexter in a position mimicking prayer. Three kills in one episode, which is a lot. At some point, I'd really like them to deal with Dexter getting caught. Although under the circumstances, that might be something they want to leave until the end of the series.

-- Dexter blew that first interview for Harrison's preschool, but later came back and talked a nun around. As it often happens, Dexter relates best to people when he tells them something related to the truth.

-- Masuka is now teaching part time. Like Dexter, Masuka was a bit more mature this time and picked the smartest intern. Funny how he ended up with the hottie instead.

-- Someone got photos of Deb's heroic actions in the nightclub. I wonder if Deb is going to be dealing with some unexpected celebrity? Maybe she'll end up with a commendation and wind up running the squad room at Miami Metro instead of Angel.

-- Dexter graduated from Shepard High in 1991. What about Deb? She just doesn't look a couple of years younger than Dexter; she looks significantly younger than Dexter, and always has. Maybe it's best if they just don't address it.

-- The balloons at the high school reunion looked like they had snakes wrapped around them.

-- In this season's hair report, I love what Deb did with hers.

Quotes:

Deb: "Seriously?"
Dexter: "What?"
Deb: "A set of rules to follow so you don't get in trouble? Sounds like something I might teach a puppy."

Dexter: "High school. A small world onto itself, combining all of the warmest elements of a federal work camp with those of a third world poultry farm. It's a miracle I graduated without killing anyone."

Alan: "Man, I never saw anyone dissect a fetal pig as fast as you. You're, like, the first student ever to ask for seconds."
Dexter: "That was a great learning experience."

Deb: "Holy frankenfuck! Snakes!"
This might be my favorite Deb-ism ever.

Dexter: "Fast reflexes. I hate jocks."

So three out of four... completely inappropriate engagement rings. I bet you thought I was gonna say Florida water snakes, huh?

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

8 comments:

Morgan India said...

Am I the only one who likes Deb and Quinn together?

It's good to have Colin Hanks back on the television again. I've missed him since Roswell.

Paul Kelly said...

Yeah, it's odd that. I often find myself nonplussed for the first few episodes, and then half way through, it turns into the greatest show ever. Here's hoping for another great season.

Oh, and Morgan. Yes, you are. Unless you're talking Quinn from Glee. Then I may be onboard.

Gus Brunetti said...

The suff the serial killers were reciting are from Revelations, if I'm not mistaken.

I really like your toddler-to-teenager perspective, Billie. Really interesting and it explains a lot.

Morgan, I think Quinn is the man for Deb as well.

I thought Jamie was Batista's new girlfriend until late in that restaurant scene. She's going to pair up with somebody in the series, I guess.

Heather said...

Yeah, it was a bit underwhelming. I think part of that come from being really excited about the episode and expecting a bit more bang. I enjoyed the misdirection at the beginning as well as all the symbolism. So far, I think Dexter will handle the fairly controversial topic of religion well.

I'm also glad to see Colin Hanks post-Roswell. I also saw him in the Good Guys but that really isn't my kind of show.

The reunion was fun, but somehow felt very misplaced to me. I would have like to see more flashbacks of Dex's time in high school.

As far as Quinn & Deb, I like their relationship okay. I like that it makes Quinn reluctant to chase Dexter. I get the feeling that when/if Deb and Quinn have problems, Quinn will angrily go after Dex.

MischievousNinja said...

I thought Quinn was going to die when the random gunman came in firing. would have been better if the gunman had been the missing Fuentes brother.

Good opener, very amusing in parts. I'm starting to lose interest in anything the supporting characters are involved in. The divorce of Angel and LaGuerta is further proof that they are rather irrelevant.

Patryk said...

I guess Adama and Colin Hanks want to start the apocalypse somehow by producing the needed omens.

Billie, I think they won't have Debra finding out before the final season and Showtime will keep renewing the show. So they will be putting it off further and further away.

Anonymous said...

I liked it a lot but it seems odd to me how Quinn stopped harassing Dexter suddenly.

Henrik Bennetter said...

I found this to be a solid, engrossing, season opener with subtle and not so subtle backstory to what the characters have been up to lately.
I too was however very irritated about the blood under the fingernails-thing. Usually, unfortunately, in most murder cases the spouse is the prime suspect.
Why this was overlooked by the police is just plain stupid.
They could have found something better than that.
Anyway, a very good foundation to build on and I'm looking forward to taking on religion - it could use the Dexter-perspective.