Dexter: All in the Family
by Debra McDuffee, posted Oct 19th 2008 11:29PM
(S03E04) I'm really enjoying Dexter this season, so far. Although it seems to have a slightly different tone than past seasons, it continues to hold my rapt attention with its amazing character development and intricate plotlines.
Last week's episode was my favorite one this season. Was tonight's as good? Yes, but in a very different way from last week's episode. We got humor and suspense last week; this week, many little subplots setting the stage to go deeper in future episodes.
The main theme that glued this episode together was role-playing, and how the different roles of Dexter and others influenced who Dexter was.
- The role of father and husband would make a better role than living alone and keeping to himself for Dexter.
- Dex always played the role of "bad guy" when pretend-playing with Deb as kids; it was the "good guy" roles he had trouble with.
- Dexter takes a cue from the role Aster is playing, and decides he needs to get the attention of Rita and Miguel.
- Masuka plays the role of court jester; Dexter finds that being a character actor is probably less exhausting than being a lead with too many emotions.
- Dexter needs to show Miguel that Ramone's role is not that of "misunderstood good guy," which he does.
- Finally, Dexter takes the role of the witness / fiance /murderer and uses her emotions (since he has none) to become what Rita needs. Dexter questions that if you play a role long enough, does it become real? "Could I become real?" Deep stuff.
Rita played a central role in tonight's episode, and I am impressed with the way her character has grown. She is very strong this season, shown by her refusal to marry Dexter just because she is pregnant. She doesn't want to make any mistakes; she's really learned from her failed marriage and wants to do what is best for her family. When Dexter delivers a heartfelt proposal, she accepts.
Now, the first thing that struck me when Dexter manipulated Ramone throughout the episode was that Dexter reminded me of Lilah. He had the opportunity to learn from the master last season, and his careful plans to ruin Ramone's image with Miguel was something that bitch would do. Dexter does note, though, that he takes no pleasure in manipulating Miguel, which was definitely not Lilah's M.O.
Other points worth mentioning:
- For Deb, it's a black and white world: you can be good or bad. It makes me wonder what she would think of Dexter and how knowing what he is would fit into her view of things. Would he classify as a good guy or a bad guy, or would she have to start allowing for some shades of gray? It sure would make her life a little it easier.
- Dexter is becoming less solitary: guests at his apartment, buddying up with Miguel, proposing to Rita. How is this going to effect his code and his "hobby?"
- Angel almost gets busted by vice. This must be setting up for something in later episodes, because I have a hard time believing it won't pop up again in the future.
- What's with Quinn's car? Are we supposed to believe he's into something fishy b/c he drives fancy wheels? He does seem to be playing some sort of game (or should I say role for this episode) by showing a new, sensitive side of himself.
- Maria is not letting the Chickie Hynes thing go; Oh, that is so going to blow up later. What fun.
- Line of the night, courtesy of Deb, referring to Quinn: "He's like the f-ing witness whisperer."