Dexter recap: One Big Wacky Family

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August 1, 2013 by Susan Miller

C'mon Masukas!  We're counting on you to make this interesting!

C’mon Masukas! We’re counting on you to make this interesting!

Susan: Is that really the end of the Brain Surgeon storyline? Seems a little anticlimactic.

Steven: It can’t be!  Right?  What if all of these murders are actually just botched attempts by Vogel to create artificial serial killers?  That’s my new pet theory, and I’m kind of annoyed with myself that I’m only thinking of it now.  Is that TOO farfetched?

Also, how creepy was happy-sad Deb?

Susan: Okay, what?  You think Vogel is turning her patients into serial killers?  That’s an interesting theory.  Why would she want to do that?  I think the Vogel story line is there just to prove to us that her techniques for “fixing” her patients aren’t actually doing any good.  She’s not getting to the root of the problem.  Then again, that seemed pretty obvious three episodes ago, so I really hope there’s something more to it than that.

As for the Brain Surgeon/Melon-Baller… I don’t think the guy they killed was him.  What was his name, anyway?  How have I already forgotten?  Yikes.  I think there will be more threats to Vogel/Deb/Dexter to come.

Happy-sad Deb was weird and confusing.  Now that she’s no longer drinking and using, she seems even more comatose.  It’s like Vogel put her in a trance.  Also, what was up with Dexter’s anger dissipating immediately?  He went to work angry, and then 5 minutes later he answered her phone call like it was nothing and wanted to protect her again?  What?  Did I black out and miss half of the episode?

What do you think about this new neighbor love interest for Dexter?  Will they get serious just in time for Hannah to come back?  Will Hannah kill her?  Will that finally make Jamie suspicious?

Steven: I don’t think anything will make Jamie suspicious at this point.  Well, maybe if she walked in on the dead neighbor lady and standing over her body, trying to figure out what to do, was Dexter, Deb, AND Quinn.  Then she would be very suspicious indeed.

Jamie: What are you doing here?
Dexter: I can explain everything…
Jamie: Not you.  Quinn, what the hell are you doing with Deb?
Quinn: But it’s the only way my character can be interesting!  What do you want me to do, get an adult-child plot line that’s sure to go absolutely no where?

What were we talking about??  Oh right–the guy they killed (TGTK). I don’t think TGTK was the Melon-Baller either.  For one, he’s dead.  So that would kind of put the brakes on the rest of the season.  For two, he seemed kind of dumb.  I had a better time believing in the cannibal, who was proactive and chatty and working in a mall, a place where you have to be at least half-deranged to work.  But TGTK?  The lone bundler?  He didn’t strike me as the type to do something calculating or complex.  I mean, his TV system is pretty involved, but it’s not brain surgery!

So is Lil’ Masuka going to turn into some true drama, or will it end with a heart-warming “I didn’t trust you EITHER when we first met”?

Susan: Plus, he was drinking Pepsi, the caffeine choice of dum-dums.  So clearly, not our guy.

I’m excited for the Lil’ Masuka story line because it’s Becky and because it’s the only thing that is remotely mysterious right now.  She could be all sorts of bad news!  Hooray!  I really loved the scene between Masuka and Deb, even though Deb tried her darndest to steal Masuka’s genuine emotional spotlight for her weird, messed up, overwrought family drama.  Masuka was so good in that scene that it made me really sad for his character and for C.S. Lee as an actor.  Why was he so underused this whole time?  I had no idea he could do more than talk skeevy and laugh creepy.  The show wasted all that time on Quinn and Jamie and LaGuerta when it could’ve been mining a really interesting and emotionally rich competition between Masuka and Dexter.  A show where Dexter had to fight battles in his personal, extracurricular and work life would have been much more interesting.  Why didn’t they do that after Rita died?  Argh!  So many missed opportunities.

Anyway, I’m excited to see what Deb digs up on little Miss Masuka.  I’m also cautiously excited about Captain Matthews being brought back into the fold.  What do you think is the end game with that plot between Matthews and Quinn and the well to-do family with the screwed up kid?

Steven: Every time you write C.S. Lee I read “C.S. Lewis,” but that aside, I couldn’t agree with you more!  I’ve been wondering recently what this show would be like if it had appeared on Fox or even on FX or AMC.  Would Quinn have even existed?  I mean, if Showtime hadn’t allowed for full on nudity strip joint scenes and every-other-episode sex scenes, would Quinn have had any narrative driving force??  Who would Deb be if she was only allowed to curse every 30 seconds (or whatever the rules are).  Would she be more eloquent?  Maybe not.  But probably more rounded.  As one of the biggest proponents of the show, it is unsettling to wonder how much more the show could’ve been if there had been more restrictions.  Even Angela has gotten less screen time than Quinn, and I can’t help but think it has to do with his physical traits more than his acting or the inherent intrigue of his character.

My biggest claim to support this argument is Masuka.  Who has been more sexualized in his dialogue and attitudes than Masuka?  And yet, how many times have we seen C.S. Lee au natural?  It bothers me when I realize that even an intellectual show like Dexter has so much in common with beer commercials.  I hope that Masuka is some sort of meta-commentary, like, “Hey, my character talks about it all the time…but we are consciously not showing you MY sex life.”  I want to think it’s meta because of how they approach other moral and spiritual matters…but that is probably giving them too much credit.

I hope Miss Masuka gives us something plot-full and worth contemplating.  I am so nervous Dexter is going to let me down.  There’s just so much importance on endings.  We will see finally if they’ve had something important to say all along, or if there was always just a man behind a curtain making it up as he went along.

Susan: Do you mean to say that you might find the ending problematic?  How very grad student of you. 🙂

Looking back, it appears that Dexter‘s writers made a lot of questionable choices.  It seems like they had a really solid two seasons in them, but whiffed on the end of season 2 and then struggled to get back on track.  Season 3 was kind of a mess, saved only by the terrific performances of Jimmy Smits and Michael C. Hall.  Season 4 was saved by John Lithgow and that whopper of a twist in the season finale.  Season 5 took time to let Dexter grieve, and I really enjoyed the story line with Lumen, even if the rest of it got kind of messy.  That was the season that Quinn was on to Dexter, right?  That was another good, tension filled arc that was swept under the rug when it got too complicated.  The main problem with this season is that Dexter isn’t in trouble.  We’re supposed to just spend all our time worrying about Deb, and Deb isn’t the name of the show.  I feel like so far, they’ve just been setting up a Deb spin-off show.  When do we get back around to following our main character?  When does the noose begin to tighten?

Steven: Oh no, not “problematic”!!  Has my well of original thought finally run dry?  Next thing you know, I’ll be brandishing antiquated psychological theories to explain character actions!

Season four was amazing.  After this season is over and some time has passed to appreciate/ridicule how the series ended, I think I’ll most want to go back and watch that season.  It was just so perfectly cinematic (as opposed to problematic).  I know that the show is about Dexter, but I feel as if the perfect ending has already happened, and it was not the demise of Dexter but the…well, I won’t spoil season four either.  There was just so much irony and poetic justice to that season’s conclusion, and I fear the series won’t be able to top it.

Throughout season four we never really had a firm grasp on the situation.  Like Dexter, we didn’t know who Trinity was or what John Lithgow’s character was really all about.  We felt pulled in the competing directions of addiction and recovery, of being a husband who protects the family and a vigilante who protects society (supposedly).  Dexter was restless and confused and wonderfully interesting because of it.

Do you think there are even any stakes left?  In season four, Dexter lost two people.  Is there anything equivalent left?

Susan: I thought what we had left was his final judgment.  He would either die or get caught and publicly outed for his vigilante crimes.  Unfortunately, the show seems dedicated to letting Dexter off the hook.  They want to make him into a victim instead of a monster.  The opening scene of this episode was kind of disgusting.  Vogel was laying into Deb for trying to kill Dexter instead of acknowledging Dexter’s role in her decision.  It was all Deb’s fault that they almost died and they would only be safe once Deb learned to forgive Dexter for who he is.  What?  Seriously?  That’s the advice of a psychological professional?  It will make me feel super icky if Dexter walks off into the sunset at the end of this series, with Hannah and Harrison in tow, one happy dysfunctional family.

It kind of reminds me of the finale of Big Love.  Bill Henrickson put his wives and children and friends through hell and back and in the end he (spoiler alert!) gets to play martyr?  Disgusting.

Steven: “That’s the advice of a psychological professional?”  I think that would be your reaction to an awful lot of what goes on in actual therapy sessions.  (Remember Dr. Melfi?)  Hopefully, disgusting is what they’re going for…

I do think that the show will end with final judgment, but I think you’re leaving out one option:
(a) he walks off into the sunset (society lets him off the hook)
(b) he dies or gets caught (society judges him)
OR
(c) he commits suicide (he judges himself)

This latter option would actually bring a lot of elements together.  He would be judged finally, he would put his addiction to rest, and he would still adhere to Harry’s code.  “Don’t get caught,” Dexter could think to himself just before pushing himself off the rooftop of the Transcorp Building–the place where Harrison almost became a human shish kabob/sacrifice.

As for Big Love: never has there been a show that made monogamy look more attractive!

Are the writers going to give Deb a satisfying ending?  Can they even at this point?  I mean, other than spending the rest of her life in prison, I don’t think she’s going to be able to be happy.

Susan: I think they think she’s happy now.  Will she just remain as a PI at Elway?  The show seems to be trying to paint it in a positive light, and all the people from Miami Metro seem to think it’s a good decision.  My guess is that she stays at Elway and learns how to track down criminals who go free on a technicality, just like Dexter was trained to do.  Only this time she’ll do it semi-legally and without killing anyone.  Oh, and she’ll marry Quinn.  What do you think would be a satisfying end for her?

Steven: The Afterword to Crime and Punishment comes to mind.  I don’t know that I would like a conscience-less Deb, nor wish her to be very happy.  Wouldn’t that just fly in the face of this show’s entire premise: that justice is necessary.  If Dexter is punished but Deb is not, then what’s the point?  What will the message have been?  “Murder is evil…usually or in large doses.”  I guess I’m feeling a bit like Jesse Pinkman in that awful NA-ish meeting.  “So no matter what I do, hooray for me because I’m a great guy? It’s all good? No matter how many dogs I kill, I just do an inventory and accept?”  If nothing any of the characters does has consequences, then what’s the point of any of it?

Although, I guess if she marries Quinn, that will be a sort of life sentence…Have we figured out if he’s related to someone famous?

Susan: I think it has to be the eye candy factor, right?  They just figure he’ll be useful eventually?  I’m still kind of rooting for him, for no apparent reason.  It might be kind of funny/sad if we close out the series with him as Lieutenant.  That would prove the writers understand how incompetent Miami Metro really is.

We’re getting negative again, folks. Might be time to take a week off.  We’ll see you in two weeks, when the show will be THE BEST THING EVER.  Keep the faith.

 

 

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