Dexter recap: Lem!

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August 29, 2013 by Susan Miller

Harrison.  You have the power to end this.  Please help us.

Harrison. You have the power to end this. Please help us.

Steven: Before we begin our official recap of last night’s episode of Dexter, I’d like to take a moment to give a shout out to whomever is writing Harrison’s dialogue. This person clearly has spent a great deal of time with children. Case-in-point, this weekend my two-year-old niece came to visit. The first thing she said to me was, “Uncle Steven, I’m speaking in complete sentences now.” And then later she drew a few incriminating pictures that could’ve been used as evidence against me had I not been able to think on my feet and distract the nearby U.S. Marshall. And so when I say that the character of Harrison is realistic, you now know that I’m speaking from experience.

How lame was Deb this week? I feel like if all her character wanted was to get some ice cream, the writers would conspire against her, making sure Dexter got there first and ate the scoop. Also, is this Elway guy just going to be an obstacle in the plot now?

Susan: The Harrison scenes are Excruciating.  Capital E for Emphasis.  I can’t believe they aged Harrison enough to get him to talk just so they could fail so completely at giving him dialogue.  Also, I hate that they brought Lem back to my TV just to make him play the dumbest US Marshall ever.  I’m beginning to think the writers of this show have a real vendetta against law enforcement.  How can everyone be so dumb?  How has Miami not all killed each other by now?  With these people keeping the peace, Miami should have descended into total anarchy.

Thanks for coming back to TV, Lem!  I've missed you so.

Thanks for coming back to TV, Lem! I’ve missed you so.

As for your question, they have completely ruined Deb.  Why on Earth would she let Hannah stay there?  Why would she be willing to be so complicit in Dexter’s illegal activity?  I get why she’d give over Oliver to him, but harboring Hannah?  After she tried to kill her last episode?  After Hannah tried to kill Deb twice?  And then she just eats the food and lies to Elway and kisses Quinn and acts like a total puppet?  Really?  Also, she really needs to call Dexter out on his crap.  If Hannah gets found at Deb’s, it’s Deb who will be in trouble, not Dexter.  And then Dexter and Hannah will just escape again, and Deb will be stuck in jail because her brother the not-total-psychopath suddenly learned how to have feelings for the hot blonde.  I guess Dexter’s not a psychopath.  He’s just selfish.  Okay.  Now I can root for him.  Maddening.

Elway continues to be super bipolar and uninteresting and greedy.  I like that he’s the one actually trying to enforce the law and catch a fugitive, but the show wants to frame him in this evil, greedy, villainous role.  In actuality, he’s the only one acting rational.  Deb is a terrible employee and should be fired.  Also, she should’ve known about the goal of this line of work.  If she wanted to get all moral, she should have stayed a cop.  Also, she should’ve turned in her brother.  And not killed LaGuerta.  And not harbored Hannah.  And not let Harrison stay with Dexter.  And, and, and.  Dexter writers!  Stop turning Deb into Charlotte from Revenge!

I’m kind of mad that the Brain Surgeon wasn’t Vogel.  I feel like the show landed a surprise and that makes me a little bit annoyed because I thought I was ahead of this stupid plot.  How’d you feel about the twist?

Steven: So stupid.  It feels like a cheat to me for several reasons.  There’s an old rule about mysteries that the killer or crook or what-have-you has to be present in the beginning, and this is technically true for this fellow.  However, I’m super annoyed at how illogical it all seems.  This guy goes from no red flag whatsoever to this complicated, clingy boyfriend that nobody ever really liked but nobody wanted to mention before this episode for some strange reason.  (Perhaps so they could feel like they pulled one over on us?)  I did especially like Dexter’s mid-morning stalking, however.

Dexter voice-over: “How did Oliver see me?  I’m only draped in Miami sunlight and this bright blue shirt.  It’s almost as if he knows what I look like from all those times we’ve met before.”

What annoys me so much about it, besides the fact that they laid literally no clues for the discerning viewer to pick up, is the fact that they made him related to Vogel.

Writer #1: Is it just you or is it super obvious that Vogel is the brain surgeon?
Writer #2: Oh hey, yeah that’s kind of a problem, isn’t it?
Writer #1: Oh, I know.  Let’s just make it her son.  What other characters do we have lying around?
Writer #2: Batista hasn’t done anything for three seasons…
Writer #1: What about that Ryan Gosling lookin’ fellow?  Chicks LOVE Ryan Gosling.
Writer #2: Problem solved.  Chinese food?
Writer #1: Chinese food!

As for Dexter’s root-ability, I’ve stopped rooting entirely.  Unless you consider the clock on our cable box.  I root for that sucker to go as fast as possible!

Will Dexter and Hannah make it to Argentina?  Will we care either way?  How appealing is that “it’s all in Harry’s imagination” theory sounding right about now?

Susan: This is silly and nitpicky, but my biggest problem with him is how much he DOES NOT look mid-40’s.  He was supposed to be dating Cassie, right? Cassie is a young, attractive girl, right?  Early 30’s?  And according to Vogel, this guy should be well into his 40’s?  I know it’s ridiculous to be fixated, but come on.  No way.  Credulity broken.

I think there are two ways this story goes.  1. Dexter, Hannah and Harrison go to Argentina and Deb finally gets to live her life free of Dexter and his shenanigans.  2. Vogel or Oliver kills Hannah and Dexter and Deb live unhappily in Miami forever.  These are equally unsatisfying conclusions.  Y’know how I know they’re not going to pull this off?  Because if Dexter is happy OR sad OR dead at the end of the series, I will still be unsatisfied.  I know I’m not their target audience at this point, but what do people really want?

I read an interview recently where a bunch of showrunners were asked about Breaking Bad and how they wanted it to end.  Scott Buck, past and present Dexter showrunner said that he wanted Walter White to have some tiny redemption at the end of the series.  Reading that did not make me feel positive about Dexter’s final resting place.

The Harry imagination theory is officially too plausible for this sinkhole of a story.  At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Harrison killed them all because he didn’t want to go to swimming lessons.

Is the Vogel mystery solved now?  Or will her husband turn out to be not dead too?

Steven: Yeah, she was really vague about that old husband deal.  “They’re all dead.  Here are the specifics about two of them…  And, oh look, a blue jay.”  (I think from now on I’m going to do mock-dialogue instead of any analysis.  At least for Dexter.  Deal? Deal.)

What do you think he means by “tiny redemption”?  Is the final scene going to be Dexter helping an old lady cross some busy boulevard in Argentina?  I think that Dexter is beyond the need for tiny redemption.  Tiny redemption is for when you flip someone off in traffic–not for when you kill a statistically significant portion of your home town.

For a show whose original premise was rooted in Justice, that oft forgotten cardinal virtue, this thing has gotten awfully far away from that.  Also, how do you feel about this season being about a big bad serial killer whom Dexter must kill?  Yet again?

Susan: I don’t mind the procedural element of the show, because it really was fun for the first 4-5 seasons.  But now, Dexter hasn’t killed anyone on his kill table in a long time.  He doesn’t even get to kill alone anymore.  Or track down bad guys who got away.  He’s basically just Vogel’s hitman which really takes all the terror out of Dexter as a serial killer.  Also, hugely problematic with his character as it was established.  You’d think for someone who created the code, she’d encourage Dexter to stick to it a little bit more.

Dexter with his kill table, his kill outfit, his plastic wrap, his boat.  Those are iconic images that should appear more in the final season.  Instead everything is unrecognizable.  I wish it were as clear cut as a big bad that Dexter is hunting down.  Instead, it’s just a big bad that he’ll kill once Vogel gives him the go-ahead, aka, when the writers finally run out of episodes.

So much of this has gone so wrong.  Why isn’t anyone chasing Dexter?  Was that really too hard to write?

Steven: This may be a “too many balls in the air” situation.  Maybe they are down to one writer and he can’t keep all the characters in his head at once.  When we do get other characters their scenes are totally pro forma.  Harrison announces which stage of development he’s recently reached, Batista contemplates decisions that have no bearing on the plot of show, and Quinn kisses Deb and then says, “Nah, never mind.”  I think if they were actually spending time thinking about the other characters there would be a natural tension, but instead everybody’s so dang dumb.  Remember Doakes?  Now there was natural police if ever I saw one.

My goodness, that scene just depressed the crap out of me.  Not because I miss The Wire–though I do now realize that I miss The Wire–but because I just realized how bad Dexter has gotten.  Can you remember the last time a character said something that made you stop and think, “Oh wow, that’s so true.”  I personally cannot.  Maybe what we are upset with is not the plot itself or aimlessness of the characters, but the simple fact that the art is gone.  There is no longer a sense of depth or meaning to these characters’ interactions.  Dexter thinks in stage direction and summations of previous action, Deb just fails at life, this new character Vogel offers not wisdom in her examination of Dexter but more theory that is quickly (and weakly, I might add) refuted by Dexter’s own self perception.  (“I don’t have feelings?  But I DO have feelings!” “Oh, my mistake.”)  Maybe we are not dissatisfied with the story itself but rather with what is supposed to be behind the story: the truth the lie tells.  Something like that.

Can you think of anything true from this season?  Anything to take away and carry in your back pocket?

Susan: No. Nothing.  That’s so sad!  At first I thought of the line, “Some people are just immune to good advice” but then I realized that Saul said that on Breaking Bad this weekWhoops.  Now there’s a line with some truth.  If anything, Dexter has inspired such an anti-reaction in me.  When Vogel said Dexter was perfect, I said – no way.  When Deb said she realized it was right to save her brother instead of LaGuerta, I said – nope, wrong again.  Oh wait!  I’ve got it.  When Harrison told Dexter he was a liar, I agreed.  That was very true.  And enlightening?  Not so much.  But way more enlightening than anything Ghost Harry has said this season, that’s for sure.

Mmm, The Wire.  Remember when Bunk and Omar had that great talk after Bunk saw Kenard and some kids pretending to be Omar, like he was some sort of superhero? And they were both a little bit right and a little bit wrong?  That was some good TV.  Maybe Deb needs to stop talking to Vogel and start watching The Wire.

Steven: I think everyone needs to stop talking and start watching The Wire.  We might as well just come out & promote it, right?

Susan: I think I figured it out.  The Dexter writers are planning a spin-off show, right?  Because they’re all still clearly crazy about these characters and making sure they do right by them.  Obviously.  So I’ve been racking my brain for weeks trying to figure out what they would do.  Follow Deb?  Deb and Quinn?  Miami Metro?  Masuka and his daughter?  Elway?  And then, this week, with the undead son and the maybe undead husband on the way, I figured it out.


All of the people Dexter killed will come together at the bottom of the ocean, break out of their trash bags and start to rise out of the water to get revenge for their untimely deaths.  Deb, Quinn and Batista will fight off zombie versions of Trinity and… all the others.  I can’t remember a single other name.  That’s terrible.  Anyway, that’s the best spin-off I can think of for this show.  Are you with me?

Next week: Lem wises up about Hannah, with the help of Elway and Deb’s terrible decision-making skills.  Vogel and her creepy undead son wreak havoc.  Dexter finally remembers he’s a serial killer.  Time refuses to pass.

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