I had originally set out to defend what I thought was an underrated season against its detractors but, having now finished, I must say that Dexter’s third season isn’t as good as I remember. While many of its component parts were strong, they never really came together the way they needed to. At it’s best, this season was still great but, at it’s worst, it exhibited many of the flaws that would derail the series in years to come. Continue reading
Till death do us part
Perplexingly, Dexter’s third season commits the same mistake as the second, completing the season one episode after the main plot has concluded. I appreciate that it’s the thematic arc that was resolved here, and that a relatively good job was done of it, but Dexter’s status as a son and a father should’ve been better connected to the friendship this season was built around. As it stands, “Do You Take Dexter Morgan?” is a good episode best enjoyed outside of the context of the season that preceded it. Continue reading
The part of the episode that matters, really
“I Had a Dream” gives us some of the best and worst of Dexter. The best in that the kill scene is absolutely awesome. For me, this ranks alongside Brian and Trinity among the top three kills of the series. It’s the worst in that much of the episode, the kill scene included, shows a thorough disrespect for the audience. I’ve complained before about the series talking down to us, but the hand holding in this episode was only slightly less ridiculous that the omissions. A little more bravery on the part of the writers could’ve made this a much better episode. Continue reading
Get to the point!
I love the fact that Dexter’s first and last solution to his problem is murder. In the absence of any moral imperative, the only thing that makes him hesitate to kill Miguel is the risk involved. But we all know where this is ultimately going to lead, and so “Go Your Own Way” feels a bit like filler, but it’s about as entertaining as filler can be. The fun of Dexter is always in watching him try to outmaneuver the cops and/or his victims and it’s a nice change of pace see him play the game with someone equally skilled and completely aware of what’s going on. Continue reading
We’re still buds, right?
“About Last Night” is probably the series’ best use of Miguel. The episode is really good in itself but its the parallels between Dexter and his foil that make it great. While Ellen Wolfe’s murder appears to underscore the fact that Miguel isn’t a serial killer up to Dexter’s standards, this episode is all about the similarities between these two men. Miguel’s a manipulator on par with Dexter, a man who lies quickly, easily, and with enough skill to get people to do what he wants. He’s also dogmatically wedded to his own moral outlook; there’s no reasoning with Miguel, things simply are the way they are. It’s these similarities that make it impossible for these two to be friends. Continue reading
Lol, you forgot to use Incognito
Episodes like “The Damage a Man Can Do” should be cited anytime someone claims that Dexter’s third season isn’t very good. It doesn’t stand up against the series’ higher benchmarks, but it’s one of those solidly entertaining and intelligent hours that characterized the show in it’s early years. What’s great about this episode is that Dexter knows, on multiple levels, that fully involving Miguel in a murder isn’t a good idea. Again, we need to remember that Harry isn’t an external character, but merely a representation of some element of Dexter’s personality. He’s once more portrayed as limiting part, even if that’s the case, we need to ask which parts of Dexter he’s limiting. Continue reading
I’ve almost figured out what we bring to the show this season
Dexter’s social relationships are, for the most part, constructs and so it’s always fun to watch him struggle with situations the construct doesn’t account for. Not having any real feelings for his “friends,” he’s not able to rely on them to judge who should/shouldn’t be invited to his wedding; what’s the difference between Batista and Doughnut Guy? Even more interesting: while Dexter flounders with this relatively superficial question, he gives unflinching consideration to the life and death requests made by his “friends.” Continue reading
The key thing to remember about Harry this season is that he’s not an actual character, just an aspect of Dexter’s own damaged mind. I point out this basic fact because it’s one that the show’s writers only seemed to have a handle on it in season three. Harry’s “character” would grow far more problematic the longer he was around but, for now at least, he’s still a positive element of the series as he consistently represents the part of Dexter that says “no, I can’t.” While the ostensible focus of “Si Se Puede” is Dexter’s growing friendship with Miguel, I find this inner dialogue to be the more fascinating piece. Much as Dexter tries to cast Harry’s voice as some limiting holdover from his past, the doubts about himself and others are also demonstrated in his actions. Continue reading
Does this count as dimension?
Balancing the pressures of family with a healthy personal life is certainly a universal conundrum ripe for this show’s twisted-everyman take, but the execution of “Turning Biminese” is too clunky to buy into. Rita just happens to want to do some spontaneous house hunting on the day Dexter just happens to be planning a murder… okay. And then she just happens to have complications with the pregnancy while he’s in ringer-off kill-mode… riiiight. It all just feels like a contrived shortcut to get Dex to appreciate that family comes first. The episode’s somewhat redeemed by an excellent kill-scene and an exciting ending, but the story preceding it should’ve been better. Continue reading
Together forever, I promise
I’ll admit now that I may have been damning season 3 with faint praise when I compared it to Dexter’s recent years as I’ve really been enjoying myself thus far. This is more than just a refreshing trip back to when the show cared about the integrity of its characters, it’s the fact that it was still willing to leave us uncertain regarding what we should think about “everyone’s favourite serial killer.” “All in the Family” provides a stellar example as we watch Dexter struggle with how best to manipulate the people around him, and prove he’s still the master at it, before offering us a touching moment of sincerity. Maybe. Continue reading