As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Dexter Season Two (Spoiler Free)

Posted by Hedwig on June 18, 2008

The FWB (I’ll let you figure out what that stands for) and I are taking the night off, and instead of dedicating my free time to some lofty goal, like my thesis or my continuing cinematic education, I’m walking around restlessly, cursing how many clothes I have (the hanging part of my closet collapsed and I had to find new spots for each and every one of my two dozen vests), and watching In Plain Sight, which really isn’t one of the strongest things TV has to offer nowadays.

Call it procrastination, something I’m so good at that continuing my studies with a PhD probably wouldn’t be the brightest idea. But I’ve decided to at least turn it into slightly useful procrastination, and seeing how I finished season two of Dexter, I present: the review. After all, I also wrote one for Season One.

I’m drifting. I finally get a chance to kill and I can’t do it. I get a second chance and he gets away. And now all my secrets are floating to the surface. Where is the orderly controlled effective Dexter? Where did I lose him? How do I find him again? I’m drifting. But not to sleep. Dexter

Dexter is adrift, indeed. In the season opener, the ending of Season One turns out to have made him impotent (in several senses of the word), and his secrets are drifting to the surface – literally.

Season one was about Dexter discovering his origins, being pursued by them, even. This second season is about him discovering himself. Everything he believes in is called into question, from his urges to his (professed lack of) feelings and even his father’s code. Everything he thought he could trust – his colleague’s obliviousness, Rita’s devotion – is called into question, and he’s quickly backed into a corner.

As so many people do in that situation, Dexter goes a little nuts. He starts doing some very uncharacteristic things, and it takes you -the viewer- out of the comfort zone. It makes you realize, as if anew, that this is a serial killer you’re rooting for, someone not just dark but truly evil, who might think his acts are justified, but whose acts are gruesome nonetheless. There’s a great moment in episode 10 when we almost pull away entirely… but then of course, there’s Michael C. Hall’s charisma and the wonderful one-liners (“I will not kill my sister. I will not kill my sister. I will not kill my sister.”) to pull you back in.

Season two is not as even and focused as season one, but it’s just as fascinating, and more tense as the noose starts tightening around Dexter’s neck. And getting tighter and tighter, leading to Dexter making mistake after egregious mistake until you start wondering how the hell he’ll ever get out of this mess.

It’s too bad the writers resort to some clumsy and sometimes played-out plot devices (the overheard answering machine message, the forgotten GPS), but really, who would mind when the rest of the show is so well written? The most admirable thing is that – unlike with some other shows – there is a true sense of continuity. Nothing that happened in season one is forgotten or easily glossed over, the characters still carry their history with them, and rather than considering Dexter’s past a given now, they flesh it out even further, adding details and making it seem like a revelation all over again. That’s without even mentioning some revelations that put Harry and his code in a whole different light.

And then there’s the whole addiction metaphor. When it first surfaced, I thought it was a rather lame joke and a rip-off of Fight Club, but it turns out to work wonderfully well, and adds some real depth to Dexter’s character and motivations, changing him, even, making me curious as to what kind of killer he will be in season three.

September 28th. I can hardly wait.

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One Response to “Dexter Season Two (Spoiler Free)”

  1. Dexter is an awesome show i liked season 3 a lot I liked all the seasons really.

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