Terrific episode of Dexter this week, wasn’t it? Which means we have stuff to discuss about the plot, and I have at least one big suggestion to make about the future of the series. But to do that, I’ll need to dabble in SPOILERS, SO THIS IS YOUR WARNING, DON’T READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS WEEK’S EPISODE, CALLED “DIRTY HARRY.”
Now then. Much to our sadness, and Debra’s, Lundy really was killed by Trinity — we’ll miss you, Keith Carradine.
You know what I wouldn’t miss, however? Three things:
1. If Dexter would drop the whole LaGuerta-Batista romance; it’s devolved into tedious office politics.
2. If Quinn and that irritating reporter broke up. That would be another dead-end avoided.
3. And here’s my biggest Thing I Would Not Miss: Rita. It pains me to say this, because I really like Julie Benz as an actress. And I realize that the writers are very deftly playing with making Dexter’s ambivalence toward his new marriage our ambivalence as well. It was extremely clever, this week, to have one of Dexter’s trademark internal monologues (“Trinity hurt my sister and I’m going to hurt him back… “) abruptly interrupted by the sight of Rita in his old apartment. The voiceover suddenly gulped, “Uh-oh!”
Funny stuff. But truly, after a few weeks of seeing how Dexter was exhausted from juggling husbanding and parenting with serial killing, the humor has worn thin. Yes, it was very tense, seeing the way, this week, Rita discovered that Dexter hadn’t given up his old bachelor pad/hidey-hole when he got hitched. And it’s a measure of how good this show is, that you could feel the genuine push and pull that both Dexter and Rita felt, agonizing over Deb’s wounded condition and having to confront Dexter’s deviousness at the same time. Life is like that: Problems don’t arrive in neat sequence; they tend to rain down in inconvenient clusters.
But: I felt dread hearing Rita say, “We have a lot of work to do if this marriage has hope.” I groaned during the coming attractions, showing us Dex and Rita in couples therapy. This is not the Dexter I signed on for this season, did you? Don’t you kinda wish Rita would fall down a Miami manhole or something?
Oh, well. Maybe I should trust the writers to come up with a way to save this relationship — for us. But I’m dubious.
I’m not dubious at all about the wonderful twist Dexter took in regard to Trinity, however. Having made him our anti-hero’s most worthy villain ever, to have Dexter and the audience follow the killer home to a happy household — the same suburban, married-with-children life Dexter is trying to lead — well, that’s just dandy. Dexter’s “He’s like me!” voiceover was the capper to a fine suspense sequence that began with that intense office-building murder. Kudos to John Lithgow for not going over the top with Trinity’s sicko brutality.
I suppose the only way to make this comparison between Dexter and Trinity continue to pay off is to have Dexter and Rita continue to work on that marriage. I get that. But between that and the other romantic relationships cluttering this season, the series is taking a risk at becoming a bit too soap-operatic.
What do you think? Dexter and Rita, unhappily ever after?