December 30, 2008

dexter finally

Thanks to holding up for the holidays at my parents' house and many, many Christmas cookies, I finally completed season three of Dexter. I have to admit, after the first season, I never thought this show could maintain the same level of intensity. And though the first season is still the best, this one proved that Dexter can still do it every time. It's just so good. How can a story make you root for a serial killer? But you root for him every time. Not sure how to best sum up my thoughts on this season's story, so I'll try to break it down starting with the minor characters.

I was glad that Angel got a small storyline of his own this season. I also like the move to make him head detective. That dynamic works well with the team. Although I always feel bad that he's usually completely oblivious to (Dexter's work) reality. The hooker/vice cop relationship was cute, but I kept expecting something to go wrong - like she turns out to be some kind of S&M freak or super possessive. She seemed to fall for him too quickly after catching him hiring a hooker. I felt like they were hinting at some bigger issues, but it never got there. And it was also a little odd that Maria dismissed his confession about the prostitution with basically a pat on the head. But she's another story...

God, poor Maria. Why do they keep killing her friends? It seems like she's always the casualty. First, losing her job in the first season, then losing her close friend and believing that he's the serial killer last season when she's usually the one who comes closest to solving cases. Then, making a new friend, who was soon killed by her old friend, who then also turned up dead. Not to mention being deceived and used and almost killed herself. Please, give this girl a boyfriend and a promotion next season.

The new maybe bad, maybe good cop. I like him - a good replacement for dead badass cop. His past is still unclear. I found the internal affairs investigation a little unsatisfying in the end. I'm not sure if that's the end of that plotline, but for all the mystery created by that IA investigator, I thought it kind of fell flat. He covered for a drug addict cop friend, who ended up getting killed by a dealer. Not really the deep dark history I was expecting. And the money for the Cadillac and nice clothes came from a dead relative? Boring. I'm sort of hoping for more from his past next season. I do like his chemistry with Deb. He definitely has a thing for her.

I absolutely cannot stand her. I hope Dexter murders her next season.

She gets better every season. This was some of the strongest writing we've seen for her. She always falls in love with the wrong guy, which is getting a little old. But at least this time she was more empowered and mature in the situation. I really liked the Anton story too - he brought her down a couple of intensity notches, which was needed. I'm hoping he stays around next season, although I'm sure it spells trouble. She also had some great scenes on the job - when she stayed up all night to find the lead about the tree trimmer, the back and forth with the IA investigator, etc. And some good ones with Dex, especially finding out about her dad's affair. Sure we'll see more about that next season.

I would remiss without mentioning this little side story. A lot of people have expressed dislike for this season because it seemed less suspenseful and gory and more about Dexter's internal struggles. I actually didn't have a problem with that. I didn't feel like it betrayed the story. Camilla's story was a great character development device for Dexter. It was about mercy and love for a friend, which is something he never really needs to reconcile with his kills. He spends much of his time having to "act out" how he thinks he is supposed to behave, but I think we saw some of the only "real Dexter" scenes outside of the killing room with Camilla.

Daaaaaaamn. Jimmy Smitts killed this role. He was up and down and all over the place. Perhaps the most psychotic of any of the characters we've seen on this show. Miguel was a monster created without the control that Harry instilled in Dexter. It gave Dexter a glimpse of what he could have become - similar to discovering his brother in the first season. Miguel was seriously scary from the beginning - the manic excitement and then the obsession with justice. I liked how they wrapped it up at the end with his brother Ramon where Dexter was able to help him come to the realization that Miguel really was a sociopath, and Ramon had spent his life trying to pick up the pieces.

This season was really about Dexter's ability to have real relationships. It was interesting to see him go from full on playacting with Rita because he genuinely wants to be a good husband, to being comfortable with Camilla because of their history and because he had nothing to lose by telling her the truth about killing his brother, and the guarded almost childlike hope that he could have his first true friend in Miguel. This led to a crisis of faith and code when Miguel proved to be nothing like the friend he hoped to have, but also opened the door for Dexter to realize how much he valued the loyalty of a sister like Deb (asking her to be his best man) and how much he really does want to be a father to his unborn child. The last scene with the vows "I promise to be the best husband and father I can be." (he narrates: a truly honest vow) proved how difficult it is for Dexter to reconcile who he wants to be (father, husband, brother) and who he needs to be (a killer). The vision of his mother and Harry sitting at the wedding was really interesting because, for better or worse, they represent the two forces that made him who he is.

And let us not forget Vince Masuka. He's a hilarious little perv. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until fall 2009 to see him again.


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