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October 25, 2014

Review: Dexter - Dirty Harry

by Danny Gallagher, posted Oct 26th 2009 9:00AM
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan on Dexter
(S04E05)
- "If anyone has ever deserved to be on your table, it's this son of a bitch." - Harry to Dexter

Shows like Dexter are like Heinz Ketchup, good things come to those who wait.

The last few episodes, well, weren't the best of the season, maybe even of the series. They interspersed bits and pieces of the Trinity Killer's true identity with a bunch of dry and pointless plots surrounding the rest of the characters from Batista and Laguerta's closed door relationship to Quinn's "back door" policy with his nosy reporter girlfriend (not that kind sickos).

But it's finally starting to pay off with this week's episode. Some of those dull plotlines have brought together what appear to be some much needed closure and we finally learn another piece of the Trinity Killer's picture and it's starting to look like a Normal Rockwell as opposed to a blood-spattered Jackson Pollock.

Giving the Trinity Killer a family puts a whole new spin on Dexter's hunt. It doesn't change the fact he has to die, but it does give it some very unique collateral damage since Dexter has a family of his own. He's having to deal with a whole range of complex emotions, which must be hard to do for a guy who has none and that's where Michael C. Hall gives off more sparks than a foil ball in a microwave.

From the opening scene where he thinks his sister has been killed to the closing moments where he's dangerously close to losing Rita and his kids, he looks like a man lost within his own body. His facial expressions look confused as if he doesn't know what happy or sad is supposed to look like and when he does have genuine feelings, he feels as though he doesn't realize what he is or who he is becoming.

Those moments have gotten bigger since the beginning of the season, as if they are slowly transforming within him and turning him into a human being. It almost feels as if he could one day lose his "Dark Passenger." I've never been this disappointed at the possibility of seeing evil go away since Dallas traded Terrell Owens to Buffalo.

Speaking of "jump the shark" moments, Debra's potential death scene in last week's episode was far from it. Her follow-up performance as a confused, distraught woman who feels responsible for causing Lundy's death and breaking her former boyfriend's heart was very moving and deeply emotional.

Anyone with a family has had to watch that moment where they punish themselves for something extremely tragic that was no fault of their own, and Jennifer Carpenter absolutely nailed it. She started slow, simmering her emotions in a light sauce but then exploded into a baked Alaska of tears and genuine sorrow.

Who knows if the Emmy people will recognize it, but she would get my nomination for a Best Supporting Actress nod if I had any sway or power over television land...and I don't. Sorry.

[Watch clips of Dexter on SlashControl.]

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adam smith

Dexter is a moron for keeping trophies. When he gets caught it will be the difference between one murder that could be covered up and the death penalty.

November 04 2009 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Emily

This is the most minor of points, but did anyone else catch Dexter's face lining up just so perfectly with the Twilight poster in Aster's room? A little nod to modern love of the dark and dangerous?

October 31 2009 at 8:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phish

whats a 'normal rockwell'?

October 28 2009 at 2:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Becky

So if Dexter knows where Trinity lives and can probably kill him easily, how will the writers fill the next episodes in the season--what will be the twists coming up? I'm very curious. That reporter is bad news. Batista and Laguerta are boring. Is Deb going to finally figure out what Dexter is?

October 27 2009 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Becky's comment
ordinary

The show is very good at developing characters so I suspect the next few episodes will allow us to learn more about the Trinity character. At first we thought he was a loner suffering from childhood trauma similar to Dexter but now we see that he's got a family - a brunette wife and kids in Florida. Yet he has committed his crimes all over the States. Are we going to find out that he does these when travelling away from the family home? There are other questions that I expect the writers will answer in due course. One question that seems obvious though is why does he choose brunettes as his victims as the last two female victims were brunettes and even the male victim had the same hair color. I have read that Debra (the fabulous Jennifer Carpenter) is worried that she might be killed off as the cast have not been given access to the last three pages of the script for the final episode. If Trinity does indeed only choose brunettes then she seems highly likely to be a potential victim given what she means to Dexter. Let's hope not because Debra is a real asset to the appeal of the Dexter story.
However I expect that Trinity is about to break his pattern of three killings at a time, and we will start to see him lose control.
By the way Maria too is an asset to the department/cast and it would be great to see more supportive interplay between Maria and Debra.

October 28 2009 at 4:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sling

I don't usually comment on blogs but I have to say that the acting by Jennifer Carpenter in this show is among the best I've ever seen. When you lose someone and can't do anything about it, it changes everything. Well acted! If any actress deserves an Emmy it's her.

October 27 2009 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

I thought that was a good episode, but was anyone else as annoyed by Deb's crying in the parking lot, that sounded so unnatural and bad I couldn't stand it.

October 27 2009 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment
Los

I don't know if you've ever suffered a loss, and even saying that, everyone deals with them differently.

From my own experience I can tell you that what was portrayed is what it sometimes feels like in those situations. Especially when there is guilt involved.

October 27 2009 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan J

Trinity saw Lundy's photo in the newspaper with an article about Lundy hunting for him. He had to eliminate Lundy when he saw him at the third "kill spot" to safeguard himself. I agree Rita is becoming burdensome - she is actually the one in need of counseling as she is basing her actions and treatment of Dexter on her previous poor relationships; I doubt she knows what normal should be. Dexter could easily rationalize the need for the apartment - needs a place to unwind alone after being at horrific murder scenes, for instance. I hope Deb gets some counseling too as it is getting tedious watching her jump on anything that wears pants. She is acting out after the years of neglect from Harry by seeking male attention and shutting off the second there is a problem. Heaven forbid she try to work it out with Anton.
I also agree that the AC unit is a bad place to stash slides. Do something a little more sophisticated - how about in the walls - cut out some drywall at floor level behind the molding trim. Sheesh!

October 27 2009 at 9:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C C

This episode was a perfect example of why I love this show. I'm not a black and white person, and the people who inhabit the world of Dexter aren't black and white either. Yes, Trinity is a killer...and has a family, just like Dexter. "He's like me" Dexter says upon seeing Trinity's home. But that's where the similarity ends. On a philosophical level, the last two episodes were spectacular. First showing the cop who killed her family, then switching to "loving father" Trinity, and contrasting them both to Dexter's situation, was genious. Dexter may have a double life, but he's not a phony, and he genuinely loves the people close to him.

October 26 2009 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Key Rick

I believe Lithgow played Trinity's brush with Carradine's Lundy as almost a relief he'd been "found", as he said before purposely bumping into him. I also suspect Lithgow's character is going to turn out to be related to the Morgans; e.g. an uncle on one side or the other's or, perhaps, the first husband of Dexter's mother or some such, because at ComicCon, Lithgow insinuated that he was in possession of a couple facts about his character then that will turn viewers' opinion of this show upside down.

oH! and Jennifer Carpenter has had some astounding performances eversince The Exorcism of Emily Rose, so I knew she had it in her, and was almost glad the Deb character suffered the losses that let the actress shine again. Emmy voters, were you watching? Great job by both Michael C. Hall and the Mrs!

October 26 2009 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Key Rick's comment
bruce

Oooh that's an interesting idea - Dexter being related to Trinity. Never thought of that. But Lithgow could have simply been referring to the fact that Trinity has a wife and kids, is a Deacon at his church (that fact doesn't surprise me at all, I'm sure most priests/deacons/etc are perverted criminals of some sort or another), and/or that he kills Lundy (and almost kills Deb).

I think it would be too weird and coincidental to have Trinity turn out to be related to Dexter. It would basically say being a serial killer is a genetic disorder. It's already a stretch to say that both Dexter AND his brother were susceptible to becoming serial killers merely because they saw their mother murdered (I'm sure lots of young children see horrible things and don't turn out to be serial killers with a insatiable desire to murder, hell, if that were true nearly ever person living in Africa would be a serial killer - genocide in Darfur, Somalia, etc). If Dexter has another family member who is a serial killer (and it's clear something bad happened to Trinity when he was younger, we just don't know what at this point) then they have gone out of their way to say "if anything bad happens to a child in this family with these genes, that child will grow up to be a serial killer." No free will, no purpose behind the killing, no reason for it - just a genetic thing. I'd question whether they are morally responsible for their killings if that were true. They didn't decide to do it, their bodies made them do it. I hope Trinity is not related to Dexter.

October 26 2009 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
notatoad

harry really needs to fuck off, i'm sick of him being there to explain everything in minute detail like we're all a bunch of retards. let the viewers figure some things out for themselves.

October 26 2009 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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