Monday, August 25, 2008

Dexter - Season Two

My name is Stella and I am an addict. I am addicted to a show about a sympathetic serial killer. How ironic that season two of Dexter should feature our anti-hero going through a twelve step program. Initially, the "Inconvenient Lie" is to appease Dexter's girlfriend Rita who thinks Dexter is a drug addict. Little does she know that murder, not heroin, is his drug of choice. The NA cover also throws Doakes off the scent, but brings a much worse complication in the form of Lila (Jaime Murray), Dexter's sponsor cum soul mate.

Personally, I could have done without the Lila diversion. I felt she only served to undermine the audience empathy with Dexter. While Dexter was with the sweet and meek Rita, it was easier to identify with his good side. When he took up with the manipulative and deceitful Lila (aka skank, trollop, slag and a host of other denigrations courtesy of Dexter's sister Debra), he became far less sympathetic. Still, I understand why the writers threw in that complication. It certainly made life a bit tricky for Dexter--added to the fact that the evidence of his crimes were discovered by treasure hunters exploring the ocean floor off the coast of Miami (hmm--that's pretty much how the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815 was discovered on LOST...).

Juggling Lila, evading Doakes and trying to stay under the radar of Special Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine), who is conducting the FBI search for the Bay Harbor Butcher, makes for a lot of balls in the air for Dexter during season two. I was on the edge of my seat for every single episode! It was weird to see cool, calm and collected Dexter unraveling and @#$%ing up--but far more intriguing than the perfectionist serial killer of last season.

Carradine did a great job iconoclastic agent, but I would have preferred the writers kept his relationship with Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) to the hero-worship/father figure without having Debra indulge her Electra complex. That was just "Ew!" I was also not thrilled with the Esme Pasquale character being portrayed as a complete basketcase instead of a competent leader. Captain Matthews tells Laguerta that Pasquale set women back 20 years--and yeah, she sure did. Thanks writers! Like we really needed a female leader portrayed as a jealous, shrewish nutcase.

Perhaps it was just a mechanism to get Laguerta back as the head of homicide. But seriously, they could have come up with something better. And Laguerta as the string-pulling, backstabbing bitch behind Pasquale's downfall didn't sit well with me either. Lauren Velez is amazing at giving Laguerta dimensionality, and certainly her machinations were later redeemed by her loyalty to Doakes later on in the season, but did we really need this little subplot?

Speaking of James Doakes (Erik King), it was a rather ignoble end--but truthfully, his was not a likable character and I wasn't really sorry to see him go. It was rare we got to see a human side to him--he always seemed permanently pissed off. Perhaps, as Dexter pointed out to him, if he had a life he wouldn't have been obsessed with Dexter--and as such, would still be alive. My favorite character is Angel--who is also Dexter's favorite as well. The best moment of season two was this exchange between the two:

Dexter: Angel, if I got to choose a person, a real person, to be like, out of anyone, it'd be you.
Angel: Not really sure what that means, but thanks Dex.
So with Lila, Frank and Doakes now out of the way, will Dexter have an easier time of it in season three?


Yup. I am addicted. I am constantly amazed at how the writers of this series are able to get us to sympathize and root for the "bad guy." I don't plan on overcoming this addiction any time soon, so I must find someone with Showtime to TiVo season three (which starts September 28th!) for me...


  1. Hmmm...we're gettign our tivo fixed by then. Not sure how to get it to you. Is there a way to tape it off of tivo?

  2. I'm not sure--if you figure it out, let me know!

    My friend Di (who is the one who got me hooked in the first place) has Showtime. One way or another I'll get to see season three!

  3. I don't even have cable right now, let alone the premium channels. I guess I'll wait for Season 3 on DVD NEXT August. Devastating...

    In the meantime, I just finished season 2 and it was really good. There was no sophomore season slump here.

    I agreed with most of your complaints. I could not stand Lila and didn't like the person Dexter was most of this season. But I think they were trying to show us what he would have to be if he were not going to be killing anymore. And the viewer gets to the point of "Well, at least he isn't acting like a jackass anymore." Hmph....

    I hated Doakes forever until those final few eps where he and Dexter had some real conversations, and I could imagine they could have gotten along in some other universe.

  4. Linz,

    Totally agree--season two had me engrossed from the get-go. With season one, I slowly was sucked in. But I was on the edge of my seat for every episode of season two. Each one was a complete cliffhanger and they really ratcheted up the tension by the end.

    Yeah, I hated Lila and who Dexter became with her (and maybe that our steel-willed serial killer was too stupid to see what a nutjob she was!) but I see what you're saying. It was also classic dramatic writing to through her in the mix to create obstacles and complications--plus give Dexter a bit of a journey to go on.

    I think Doakes and Dexter were actually very similar. Only Doakes didn't dissect his victims. I think Dexter realized that, but you know Doakes would never admit to it. I loved Erik King's portrayal of the character, although his pissed off look (squinty eyes, pursed lips, clenched teeth) got a bit tedious.

    I wonder who Dexter's nemesis will be in season three?