It’s great to be back! I missed talking about Dexter with you these past few weeks! I want to start with my favourite line from last week, which was repeated in the “previously on” – Dexter’s, “Some experiences are so big they change our DNA” – which is the very realization that makes him decide to help Lumen…both that they share this fundamental restructuring of their selfhoods, and that he has this sense he might be able to play out some of his revenge for Rita’s death by helping L. I love it not only because the reference to DNA makes great allusion to the one thing that is stable in Dexter’s day job. But also it highlights the fascinating connections between Dex and Lumen – how they are alike and unalike. The writers are already playing with gender difference – not only in that Dexter’s trauma involves a death of the mother (enter a play on Freud), but also that Lumen’s is the most obvious female trauma we could imagine – multiple rape. But there’s also the way in which Dexter has this structured code, ordered way of doing things, and Lumen runs on feeling – she just felt Dentist Dan was the right guy and, wow, against our incredulous stares, she turned out to be right.
Lumen often references ‘feeling’ both as what motivates her and what serves as the basis for her action. And what surprised me most, is that towards the end of this episode, when she says, “I just had this feeling; some sort of lizard brain thing,” Dexter notes how much like him she is becoming. Up until that point, feeling was what separated them. Dexter doesn’t really ‘feel’ – that’s a core theme of the show. And I have never thought of Dexter as one whose killing regime runs on feelings. And so in that moment, what was really happening seemed to be his recognition that something runs deeper than his code and her hunches. Something like intuition or instinct – something animalistic and raw.
The closer together these two come, the creepier it is that she’s living in Rita’s house. Dexter says helping Lumen might help him deal with Rita’s death, but how exactly? When he arrived with Harrison at the end of the episode and the camera panned all three of them playing house together, I worried of where the story might go…even as I also wondered if Lumen could become a partner for Dexter more true to the partner he needs. Someone who knows who he is – what he is – and is willing to accept it. What Lumen needs, though, I’m still not sure.
The whole Jordan and Cole twist was, for me, fantastic! How does that work? Did Cole and his buddies attend summer camp together and figure out a shared love of raping and killing women? And then how is Jordan Chase in on it? He clearly knows something of what is going on – but what does he know? How deep does his involvement go?
You wondered last week if the ritual killing will connect up to Boyd, Dentist Dan and Cole in some way – yeah, I wonder the same thing. Now that one of the Fuentes brothers is dead (and oof, I’m intrigued to see what happens with Deb after that perfect shot!!), that story is likely to fizzle out. I’m not sure anything besides a connection to Boyd will really keep it going, but it also felt too central to die. We’ll see.
So, this might be a dumb question – but is this the last season of Dexter and I don’t know it? I’ve noticed so many little fun references to previous seasons, that I can’t figure out if they’re doing that thing shows do when they’re wrapping up where they leave Easter eggs for long time fans. Dexter’s hand shake with both Lumen and with Jordan in this episode recalled the God/Adam type shake he had with Trinity in the last. And is it just me, or is the Jordan/Cole plot reminding you of the photographer/assistant one that involved Dexter’s first killing of an innocent? There’s more too – so what I’m left wondering is if these are fun Easter eggs, or if the show is just overly-recycling themes and images?
Finally – that guy who’s helping Quinn track Dex…CREEPY! He actually looks like the Devil! We get a hint that he’ll play a bigger role next week, but I’m curious how far his story will go. Oh, and I’ll leave the St. Bridget thing for you – but let me just say, wtf!? Not cool baby sitter lady! Not cool!
Can’t wait to hear what you thought!
I am so sorry it took me all day to respond. One of those days when I just couldn’t get out of meetings to save my life. So hard to blog on the day job! But not as hard as Dexter’s juggling act, I am happy to report. Nor do I even try compartmentalization to the degree he does. I really like that he was trying, though, and I liked watching him, once again, in a new register, play with the idea of an integrated life. That is perhaps the thing that is most intriguing and most scary about where this season might be headed for me. We’ve see Dexter flirt with the idea of what it means to be truly known for who he is – accepted without secrets – in every season: in his cat and mouse game with the Ice Truck Killer and the promise of a true blood brother, with Lila and his addiction to addiction, with Manuel, with Trinity as father figure, and now with Lumen. Things have not ended well for any of his previous partners in crime and that does not bode well with Lumen. But almost more than I worry about Dexter having to put her on his table (I just don’t think that is where this is headed), I worry about them finding integrated happiness. Like you, I saw the Rita-replacement the moment he put her in that house. And then add the happy baby tossed in the air routine and it doesn’t look good at all! Imagine, the new happy family: Dexter and Lumen tucking Harrison in bed before dashing off to prepare a kill room. Lumen doing recon during the day after taking Harrison to school. Both of them giving the other the perfect normal life alibi and maybe even some sort of healing. Don’t get me wrong: it is hard not to wish that things would work out for Dexter, that his struggles would be eased and his burden shared. But would he really be Dexter then? I had a conversation with our mutual friend Luke who pointed out that so much of Dexter’s pathos comes from him struggling to try and understand the normal world that he can’t seem to integrate into. He is not quite the complete monster he might otherwise seem because he struggles so hard to navigate the bizarre rituals of modern middle class life. Perhaps Lumen could help him navigate these, but perhaps they would spiral into the darkness together, like two heroin addicts who lose all perspective on reality. If the season ends with a closed curtain on a happy family, I am not sure I’ll be that excited about what is next.
Then again, our same friend Luke told me that this is supposed to be the last season. So maybe they will conclude with something like a normal life for Dexter – a new wife, a new life. Even so, I will be disappointed. I do want him to have some happiness, but I don’t buy the story that two dark passengers will make for light, no matter what one of their names is.
All of that ranting about possible future directions aside, I am actually loving the season so much after these last two episodes. Things have snapped into focus, there is a plan and purpose to the episodes, and I am ready to see Dex and Lumen set out on the path of vengeance. And yes, Cole and Jordan make to truly creepy men to start with. I will be shocked if Jordan isn’t Watch Guy, but like you, something about the set up makes we worry that there is a red herring in that lead. I think it would be fun to see the members of this sadistic gang begin to realize they are being hunted one by one as we watch just what kind of new power Dex can wield with a partner. The very fact that I want to see them pay so much – and not just get killed, but actually experience some of the psychological torment they inflicted – also speaks to a new dimension of this season: by introducing Lumen we are dealing with personal vengeance on a new scale. This is not cool, level-headed justice that fulfills the law where the law can not go. This is circumvention of the law for revenge that is driven by hot-blooded passion. I wonder if Lumen is able to tap into her instincts more quickly because she has the passion to drive her forward. And how about that feminist riff that Lumen gave when Dex asks for her proof: her body, her feelings, her experience are the proof. This all sounds so bogus, even to a feminist like me, when you are talking life and death. And then wow! it is true. Her experience is the basis for instinct and she is right! Interesting still how much I craved hearing “hard” proof nonetheless. This is going to be an interesting thing to track as they hunt down more anonymous men.
I haven’t even touched on Quinn’s satanic commando. Talk about a deal with the devil. I want to like Quinn and his boyish smile and maybe if he starts getting blackmailed that will help me feel sorry for him again. I will try to talk more about St. Brigit and nanny prosthelytizing as well as Maria’s blindness to self-criticism next week (I am sorry to say it Maria, but mistakes were made and they most certainly were made by you). For now, I have to compartmentalize some more and celebrate my husband’s birthday!