The Beginning of the End

Yes, there goes the last of our credibility

So, we’re all in agreement that was a terrible episode?  I mean, there’s nobody out there who actually enjoyed watching as Travis crossed the line from ordinary villainy into cartoon supervillainy, right?  And it’s safe to assume that everyone else was also gnashing their teeth as the writers pulled Deb’s “complex” feelings for Dex out of their collective asses?  Is there anyone out there that’s actually grown impatient with all this snark and is looking for some insight into this travesty?  I’m sorry if that’s you, but this episode has left me baffled as to who the hell this series is for.

Let’s save Travis’ overly elaborate death trap for a moment and begin with the development that pissed all over the relationship that’d been established between Deb and Dex over the last six season.  Where is in the blue hell did this come from!?!?!  I think it’s fair to say that I’ve watched the Debra/Dexter pairing closely over the years, it’s been the most fascinating one on the series and I’ve written extensively on it elsewhere.  It’s for this reason that I feel completely justified is saying that no past events even remotely suggest that Deb’s feelings for Dexter extend beyond those of a loving, if somewhat naïve, sister.  Their relationship was intriguing not because, deep down, Debra wanted to jump her brother’s bones, but because, deep down, she knew something was wrong with him.  I am, quite literally, shocked and appalled.  Not at the quasi-incest, but at the complete disregard for how this relationship has been portrayed thus far.

I guess my outrage at the “sexy results” between the Morgans is a testament to how much I still care about these characters.  Build up an attachment over five seasons and gross inconsistencies are bound to rub you the wrong way.   Contrast this with Travis, who hasn’t been consistently portrayed all season, and his latest shrug inducing role of Bond villain.  I guess he thought it was God’s plan for the Beast to wake up just in time to watch him pour the last can of gas and go “muah-hah-hah,” but really, why not shoot your victim before incinerating him?  He was going to be blown to bits anyway, would that really have spoiled the tableau?  Maybe Travis has a thing for fire, he did take time to set one while fleeing from Quinn, how was that faster than simply shooting Angel in the head and then jumping out the window?

I’m well aware that I’m breaking one of my own rules here and criticizing the series for what it isn’t rather than what it is. But the show I just watched is so unlike the one I started watching five years ago that I just can’t believe its current fans are the same as its old ones.  This was once a taut thriller that explored the edges of morality through engaging characters and complicated relationships.  Now the action is fueled stupidity and established emotional connections aren’t allowed to get in the way of a bad story.  Worst.  Episode.  EVER.

Final Thoughts

Isn’t Dexter taking a really stupid risk by sending Travis a video?  There’s already the risk of exposure if DDK gets caught, but that’s leaving a pretty hard to explain piece of evidence… kinda like delivering an anonymous tip from his own cell phone last week.

Isn’t Travis conveniently stupid by turning off the newscast before learning how his scheme was foiled?  Surely Dexter, as a bona fide hero, would’ve had his face all over the news.

Wasn’t Matthews particularly stupid for trusting Laguertta to begin with?  I assumed he had some leverage to make her aid in his cover up, but apparently not.

Aren’t Dexter’s nosebleeds a stupidly lazy plot device, existing for the sole purpose of stretching this uninteresting hunt out one more episode?

Wasn’t the kissing scene between Deb and Dex the most cringe-worthy piece of stupidity the show has ever produced?  I spent the whole thing rolling my eyes and praying this was so stupid that it had to be a dream.

Stupid.

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3 responses to “The Beginning of the End

  1. I have to agree with you. This episode left me feeling disappointed.

    Dexter sending Travis a video is part of what I wrote about in last week’s episode: Dexter is over confident. It would be consistent with his character that he would have assumed his plan would work and have possession of Travis’s phone and delete the video. What isn’t consistent is Dexter exposing himself like that in the first place. I agree the writers are breaking with a well developed character’s known behaviour.

    I wouldn’t call the hunt for Travis uninteresting. I like the idea of Dexter trying to provoke Travis into action so he can find him. That is classic Dexter: trying to out think his opponent. What is unpleasant is how badly Dexter is executing it. And I 100% agree, the nose bleed at the dock was so contrived it was worthy of a B movie.

    The anonymous tip from his phone – I actually liked that. I thought it was fitting in that situation he was able to see that his “dark passenger” was in fact wrong and that by not taking that risk he would be jeopardizing many lives. It was the kind of challenge to Dexter’s core question: do I want to change? The fact that it could lead back to him was what made it great.

    The biggest issue we both have is the new direction for Deb and her new found sexual and romantic feelings for Dexter. I would have no problems if the show wanted to explore such a controversial subject…. had it been built up. In Lost, the Boon and Shannon relationship is good comparison and it was done for the most part, quite well because they spent the time to develop the story and they pay off was pretty good. I feel that this new development is poorly executed so far and is likely to be the new low point of the series.

    I am still going to watch the last episode. But for the first time, I am close to be a pessimist about this show.

  2. Yes it’s bad, but there are seeds of promise.

    The eye-rolling scene where they are seated on the couch together and kissed unsettled me for two reasons: the incestuous nature if the kiss itself and the COMPLETELY OUT OF THE BLUE character development it represents.

    The counselor plot-line has excited me because I expected it to cause Deborah to reflect on Dexter’s behavior and eventually spot clues pointing towards his murderous escapades. After the last episode I skimmed a few forums and was surprised to see.that people were raising the issue of incest between Deborah and Dexter and even suggesting that it was the ‘obvious’ trajectory of the counselor plot-line. The thought had never even occurred to me and if it did I would have dismissed it as outlandish and prohibitively difficult for the show to attempt to pull of. Alas, it seems I am not as good at spotting these cues as other people.

    The show seems to be suggesting, specifically through the words of the counselor character, that the prohibition against incest exists purely because participants share a sizable chunk of DNA. Let’s get this straightened out. Incest is repulsive to and beyond the experience of the vast majority of people because it violates emotional bonds and crosses role-boundaries between related people. I imagine it would be just as repulsive to adopted siblings raised together since childhood as it would to biological siblings raised together since childhood. That the show is even asking viewers to jettison their common-sense on this matter is insulting in the extreme.

    I can accept that there are many vulnerable people in this world whose common sense can be subverted and overridden by unscrupulous crackpot counselors and quacks. What I cannot accept so readily is that the character of Deborah, a freaking capable homicide lieutenant, can have her foundational beliefs about her relationship with her brother so rocked by a quack therapist that she considers developing a romantic relationship with him. However, there is a chance that there is some misdirection at play here. It is possible that the dream was purely a way of indicating that Deborah was processing the counselor’s suggestion without necessarily assenting to it. This could be a way for the writers to ‘unfreeze’ Deborah’s’ relationship with Dexter so that she is open to reevaluating her brother and eventually being open to interpreting his reserved, socially-awkward-goofy-fella traits as sociopathic-serial-killer traits. Even if this turned out to be true though it would still be an unforgivably clumsy, not to mention needlessly revolting, way of developing that plot-line.

    Even with what I’ve said, the episode still wasn’t ruined for me. I’m still enjoying every other plot-line and I am especially interested in what’s going to happen with Louis.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys. Glad we’re in agreement that Deb’s attraction to Dexter came out of nowhere. The only “cues” this series has offered us were in last week’s “Next time on Dexter…” preview. Anyone who “saw it coming” is either lying, delusional, or subscribes to Hollywood’s inability to portray non-sexual relationships between men and women, a trend this series had nicely bucked until now.

    This latest disregard for character is just a large example of the problems them have been plaguing Dexter since last season. When the writers start ignoring established facts in order to take shortcuts, it’s only a matter of time before they drive off a cliff.

    Louis is the one element that has my attention at this point but, given the producers’ comments that the last two episodes will introduce the “end game” for the series’ final two seasons, I doubt we’re going to get a payoff for him next week.

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