The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Are You...?"

The events of this episode were a long time coming. Lieutenant Debra Morgan of Miami Metro Homicide knows the truth about her brother. This is a moment the show has been building up to for years now, it was teased for a long time, so when this finally came, it had to be done just right. One misstep and it would have been a betrayal to both the fans and, let's be frank, basic common sense. The bar was set really high, and I for one was not let down.

As the episode opens, we pick-up where season six left off, Dexter had Travis Marshall laid out on the alter at the church, he plunges the knife into his chest and Debra had just walked in. As well done as this scene was, my own fears about the execution began to pick at me, because I thought she accepted his explanation too easily, and helped him cover up the murder to readily. But, as the episode progresses, her detective's instincts just won't let this go, and she keeps asking questions. Dexter is smart enough to answer these questions well (dodgy, but well), and as much as Debra wants to believe him, she can't ignore her instincts. As the episode ends, Dexter returns home late from murdering the latest scumbag of the week to find Debra in his apartment all his blood slides on the table, his murder kit on the table, and everything is now out in the open. "Are you..." the answer is "yes."

This was easily the best episode since the end of season four. I didn't much like season five, and as flawed as it was, I did enjoy season six. This episode was better than every episode of the previous two seasons combined. While I never felt the series jumped the shark, this episode was a reminder of why I fell in love with this show in the first place. It's the show that makes you question right and wrong, good and evil, and your own ethics. Dexter is the audience's alter-ego in a way, we see everything unfold through his eyes and we're always in his head. But has Debra become the stand-in for us as well? She's asking these same questions now. We root for Dexter and love him, but should we? The show has truly confronted this dichotomy and I am anxious to see where it goes from here. At this time last year, I was already thinking that Gellar lived only in Travis Marshall's head, but now... I have no idea where the show is going, and I'm more than happy to enjoy the ride.

One thing that I am certain of is that Harry Morgan was a monster, this episode finally cemented it for me. The way he talked to Dexter in the flashbacks: "no one can ever love you if they knew who you really were." Who says that to a seven-year-old child? Maybe if he had just gotten Dexter some help, instead of training that child how to kill and who to kill, he would have had a normal life. Not to mention that Debra was ignored and discarded by Harry so he could teach this sick child how to efficiently kill and not get caught. We've seen Dexter surprise himself over the course of the show as he's realized that he CAN care for people and love people. Young Dexter was not beyond help and Harry turned him into a weapon. Harry was a sociopath.

Sunday night cannot come soon enough. This season has already gotten me hooked.

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