I’m thankful for Cody, which is ironic considering how grating he and Astor were in the first season. The difference isn’t just the recasting, it’s how the kids are being used these days. They’ve always represented the best parts of Dexter, but this season they seem to speaking less while saying more (I’m thinking of Astor’s “you can be dumb” comment). Here Cody provides some much needed hope in an otherwise bleak look at Dexter’s life.
Last week’s episode made me feel like Dexter’s “just like me” assessment of Trinity had become overblown, but this episode did a masterful job undermining the comparison before turning it on its head. Until now, Dexter’s identified with Arthur as a family man and I’ve been anticipating the big reveal that this was an illusion, that Arthur maintained his happy home by being a master of deception. The truth turns out to be far darker (and better) than my prediction. Trinity maintains his public façade through terror, not deception, and as the abuse becomes more apparent and disturbing the comparisons with Dexter start to erode. Neither he nor the audience can conceive of him treating Rita and the kids this way. As the threat to the Mitchells grows Dexter even steps in as the protector, ditching his own family to serve as their shield. Arthur’s a monster and Dexter’s a hero… until he’s not.
The attack on Jonah was Arthur fully revealing his inner monster and Dexter’s immediate response was to reveal his own. “I should’ve killed you when I had the chance!” is all the evidence we need that Dex is out of control here. Add to that the gleam in Michael C. Hall’s eyes and you’ve got a creature every bit as frightening as Trinity was a moment earlier. These two men are the same, in all the wrong ways, and it’s no wonder that realization has Dexter questioning everything he’s built for himself. Can he really hope to give his family anything more than a life of fear and pain?
Yes, he can, at least according to Cody. The direct contrast with Arthur and Jonah didn’t really counter the monster parallels, but it did complicate them. Dexter has yet to traumatize anyone he cares about, which means he still has every opportunity not to. Being like Trinity is obviously not the solution, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t one.
So Christine’s the shooter… ok, I can buy it… and she’s Trinity’s daughter… huh? The criteria of a good twist is making the viewers say “whoa!” not “huh?” In that respect, this revelation fails. I do not, however, think this is as absurd as many people on the internet do as it does fit with what we already know. Two of them being related should’ve answered a few more questions than it did. There could’ve been some hints that Trinity had an accomplice, or some earlier indication that Christine was the shooter.
How awesome the finger-break? The abuse itself was gruesome, but Jonah deliberately not screaming was just fantastic and really sold why this family didn’t flee from Trinity long ago. He’s got them so terrorized they won’t even cry out in pain.
Rita and Elliot were much better this week. It was pointed out to me that they actually did flirt at the bbq, so chalk part of last week’s confusion up to me not paying attention. Ready for it this week, I thought that story line went to just the right place with Rita getting scared off and fleeing (literally) back to Dexter’s arms. This feels like a much more organic movement toward an affair.
I could rant about how much the Maria and Angel storyline sucks, but it’s not worth the time.