Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What I’m Watching: Dexter

Dexter: Season 4, Episode 7 “Slack Tide” (B+)

Dexter really is daring in his attempts to get to know Arthur, and constantly pushing him closer and closer to an outburst of rage is a dangerous way of living. Dexter’s wry commentary about two serial killers going into the woods was a nice breath of comic relief for an otherwise rather serious episode. Dexter’s discussions with his father about how he wants to learn something from the Trinity Killer before he does away with him is very intriguing, and it again cements Arthur’s presence as crucial to this season rather than distracting from the main serial killer. It’s fantastic that Dexter is trying to get his act together with his family, and his very direct question to Rita about how he’s doing begets an affirmative, satisfactory response for those who were concerned that she would be the downfall of this show. Dexter was surprisingly effective at finding something for the kids to do, though he should be careful not to take Arthur’s advice on being firm and unflinching with his children since that will lead to a darker side that Dexter doesn’t possess (when it comes to the people he loves, not the people he kills). His chaperoning nearly results in a devastatingly scarring story for the children, and he probably ranks with Adrian Monk as the week’s worst field trip guardian. Deb’s search for her father’s mistress isn’t that interesting, which leads into the notion that Deb just isn’t that interesting. The same goes for Batista and LaGuerta, though their quick, sharp responses to Deb and Quinn suggest strongly that they still really care about each other and that their relationship might actually be destined to survive. The lack of a concrete deathbed confession from Dexter’s target, played by Greg Ellis (“24”), was a red flag that maybe he wasn’t guilty, and his innocence may really get Dexter down in coming episodes. The important thing that Dexter should keep in mind is that, while he’s not a killer, he’s still not a good man. Dexter’s still doing his job, he just needs to expand his standards and amend his code to incorporate more than just one capital crime.

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