The Life & Times of an Auteur.

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

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Surprise, Motherfucker!


If I didn't do it now, it would never have gotten done. I've got four episodes of "Dexter" to talk about, four episodes that really develop the character and push him and the people around him forward. First of all, I thought this season, oddly structured as it was, was great. Easily the best since the fourth season. Throughout seasons five and six, I felt like Dexter was in kind of a holding pattern, he didn't seem to grow or develop all that much even if some of the people around him, especially his sister, Debra, did.

I thought Ray Stevenson's Isaak Sirko was great. I was surprised and saddened to see him go relatively early in the season... Stevenson had a commitment to "Thor 2" so they had to wrap up his character a little earlier than intended. But, despite his being a killer and a Ukrainian mobster, he was as close as any antagonist of Dexter came to being a man of honor. I thought his ending where he joined his beloved Viktor was perfect.

But while I missed Sirko, the rest of the season had more than enough to offer. Dexter's romance with Hannah McKay was a plot thread that, I'll confess, I wanted to hate. And yet, I didn't and couldn't. I think I felt as conflicted about it at times as Dexter himself. When her degenerate father came onto the scene (played by Bobby from "Supernatural"), even though he did not fit Dexter's code at all, I was happy to see Dexter murder him and throw him off a boat.

But where is Dexter now? He has acknowledged that there is no such thing as a Dark Passenger. There is nothing inside him that makes him do what he does. He kills because he wants to. It's a deep and a strong want, but he can't blame it on "an imaginary friend." And, while Dexter has killed innocent people before, two instances by accident and once while in shock and grief over the murder of his wife, Rita, this season marks the first time we've seen him plan and carry out the deaths of people who don't fit the code.

Combine the previous paragraph with the question of where is Debra now. The very instant she found out what Dexter was, she has been on a slippery slope too. First she tried to cure him, then she acknowledged she couldn't but let him roam free, then she asked him to kill Hannah McKay (which he refused to do), and then.... well, we always knew that eventually she would have to choose between her brother and the law she had sworn to uphold as a police officer... a choice that Dexter and Maria LaGuerta both forced in a very emotional scene in the season finale.

Season eight is the final season. But I will leave you all with this: Dexter's never been a hero. He may have killed some bad people, may have saved some innocent lives, but not because he was a hero; those outcomes just coincide with his actions. Dexter's sole purpose as a character is to advance the plot and make the audience identify with him. If you thought he was a hero and now you're disappointed that he's not, then the story was effective. Over the course of the series, the story has managed to make a hero out of someone who kills people, chops them up into pieces, and disposes of them in the ocean. Your "hero" wasn't even perfect; he killed some innocent people in the process too. Don't hate Dexter because he's not living up to what you hoped he would. He was never a hero, and I'm sure Dexter would agree with that.

1 comment:

  1. I would never think of this show as a "hero vs villain" affair though. Dexter's just a monster who fights bigger monsters, while the people who know right from wrong are too arrogant to get their point across (Quinn, Doakes, etc.).

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