Monday, November 26, 2007

"She is obviously a vampire. A gross. English. Titty. Vampire.": Dexter 2.8 & 2.9

Dexter's world is falling apart; his back is up against the wall; he is surrounded by people that would destroy him if they only knew the truth; his mask is getting heavy; and this is damn compelling TV. The last two episodes of Dexter (entitled "Morning Comes" and "Resistance is Futile" respectively), have methodically created a suspenseful and equally paranoia-driven stage for all of these elements to play out. There are still pieces of the show that aren't quite flowing together, but everything is seeming to serve the larger story arc which is key. Hall has been turning in some of his most consistent work since the show began, elevating the playing field for everyone else involved. Even though having Dexter himself become the hunted so early on in a show that could have a fairly long run may seem like they are overplaying their hand; this is all coming off exceptionally well, as the show is constantly challenging expectations and going in directions one would not initially anticipate.

With these past two episodes we have seen Dexter finally realize that Lila is, ya know, crazy. While she clearly does understand him better than anyone else, she is selfish and impulsive. Those traits mirrored in Dexter have only backfired upon him. The Code of Harry, while perhaps predicated upon something he now perceives to be less than genuine, DOES work best for him. Structure with a dash of chaos has always been his world. Match this realization with Dexter being attacked by the man who killed his mother (and he let go because of her) outside of a bowling alley, which he later finds out was all a set up by Lila...and our hero has had just about enough.

Clearly though, a woman who is willing to burn down her own apartment, as well as put the man that she loves in a life-threatening situation simply to make him stay with her isn't just going to go away. While we get a fittingly eerie threat sequence from Dexter to Lila at the end of "Morning Comes" (she DID steal Rita's key from him and break into her house) she doesn't really seem to get the point. But, really, that's to be expected. Now she seems to be banging Batista in order to get back at Dexter. Despite the threats, though, I don't really fear for her life. This show is so interesting in that way. Because of the nature of the program, you have to assume that almost anybody can be killed off by Dexter simply because they pose a problem to him. However, we seldom go down that road. You always kind of expect it in the back of your mind, but it hardly ever happens. And that's a good thing. The Code of Harry, and all that.

Speaking of which: Sgt. James Doakes. You silly son of a bitch. They have finally pulled the trigger on this rivalry and, I must admit, it is working out better than I expected--even though it is mostly peripheral in the end. Doakes may not simply be killed off and forgotten, sure, but it's not as if he is going to turn Dexter in and save the day. However, having him find Dexter's blood samples and later catch him in the act of dumping the body of the man who murdered his mother was largely exciting and even mildly suspenseful. The whole idea of keeping who Lundy and the feds saw as their chief suspect a secret for most of "Resistance is Futile" WAS pretty lame, I have to say. Who DIDN'T see that coming as soon as Doakes got on the plane to Haiti? Oh yeah, Doakes went to Haiti to hook up with some old Black Ops buddy to, apparently, get the blood samples he stole from Dexter analyzed. Since the blood samples are now in the fed's possession and Doakes is the chief suspect in the Bay harbor Butcher case...not sure what the point of that was, but I guess we'll see. Anyway, for most of the episode, we are to believe that Dexter is about to be found out, only to have it revealed that he is being tailed and investigated to protect him from Doakes. Okay, fine.

So we have Lila acting the damn fool, and playing with serious fire; we have the FBI and Lundy hot on the trail of the Bay Harbor Butcher, realizing that he is in fact in the department and (they think) Sgt. Doakes; we have Dexter and Doakes coming to what we thought was going to be a final confrontation (this built up through out both episodes); we have Debra and Lundy finally screwing and being really oddly matched and creepy (with a equally gross Lundy ass shot in the last episode!); and we have Rita finally coming around to admitting that she still has feelings for Dexter. Only two of these stories are really working on any consistent basis, but they are all wonderfully serving the season's central story. When Doakes and Dexter finally faced off on the docks, I thought my much maligned Sergeant was a goner, but Dex only choked him out! Now he has him prisoner in some cabin in a really odd turn of events. Not sure why he would do this, except it being the writers who want to further allow Doakes to fuck with Dexter's head. Which, I don't like, because Dexter is so much smarter than he is. But, whatever, I already admitted that it's working better than I thought it would.

There are only three episodes left in a really well done season of television. Dexter has accomplished the weird task of stepping out of its established mythos while still being able to stay true to the general structure and theme of the show. Next week is apparently bringing disturbing revelations to Dex about Harry from--you guessed it--Doakes. So, we'll see how this little battle of wits goes for Doakes. Nice knowing ya!

1 comment:

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