Monday, September 13, 2010

Born In Blood


In the header of this blog, I made sure it stated that there would be spoilers in these entries. As someone who has both sought out and viciously avoided spoilers, I know what it is to find one that is so juicy and fulfilling it makes you tingle with anticipation or shriek with annoyance at knowing what is going to happen.

Please make no mistake. If you have not seen the fourth season of Dexter? You do NOT want to read this entry. Close it quietly, get thee to Best Buy, Netflix or your local library, and pick up the set. It’s 12 episodes, you will watch them so quickly it will make your head spin.

Did you do that?

Welcome back. You may proceed.

I’ve been looking forward to Season 4 of Dexter for quite a long time now. I’ve been with the show since episode one, mostly due to Julie Benz’s presence. However, even if she wasn’t in there, I would’ve given it a shot. I have a thing for serial killers, and the premise of a serial killer who works for the police department while hacking and slashing in his spare time was just too good to pass up.

Note: I read Darkly Dreaming Dexter after Season 2 of Dexter. I can safely say, don’t read it.

I’m sad to say that while I follow Julie Benz to every project she does (including shitty Lifetime movies), I am not a particular fan of her acting. She picks fabulous roles, but I cannot stand the way she emotes, or the pitch of her voice. Even on Buffy and Angel, the breathiness of her Darla voice made my hair stand on end.

In this show, her part has always been the part my eyes blur during. This includes all scenes with Astor and Cody. Cute kids. But I could care less about their role in the plot of things.


That changed this season. All thanks to this little guy.

Don’t get me wrong. I hate kids. I’m not one of those people who get all tingly in their ovary when children are involved. But the idea of Dexter having offspring got my attention last season, and I was really excited to see where they were going to go with it.

And to be fair, I couldn’t stand it in the first few episodes. I mean, are we going to have a full season of Dexter being too tired to enjoy his nightly activities? Yes, yes, you’re in the middle of stabbing someone and the kid needs medicine. Really? Is this going to be the season theme? Because maybe I should just skip to the end.

But Harrison really brought out the humanity of Dexter, and those have always been the best moments of any season. From Season 1, with Dexter curled in a corner sobbing after he killed his brother, I’ve genuinely loved every spot of humanity we’ve gotten to see.

Michael C. Hall is a truly incredible actor. He plays Awkward Touchy Feely like no other actor I’ve seen. It never fails to surprise me when people give Dexter a double glance on occasion, and it really does surprise me that more people don’t. It was nice to see Rita start seeing some suspicious behavior now that they’re living in the same home. But the scenes between them of her suspicion would’ve been a lot more interesting in another actress’s hands.

293567There was a lot of bullshit filler this season. Astor’s puberty causing her to be a little tweeny bitch, Batista and Laguerta bumping ugly behind everyone’s back, the neighbor macking on Rita. I understand why these little bits needed to be included, but considering just how deep and juicy the A plot was, I couldn’t stop myself from becoming seriously irritated at each interruption.

I don’t even feel the need to touch on any of the bits. I don’t like kids, as mentioned before (and it will be mentioned many times throughout my blog, especially once How I Met Your Mother kicks up again), and bratty teenagers are even lower on my list of things I can tolerate in a television program. I didn’t even like bratty teens when I was a bratty teen. I love Batista as a character, and find Laguerta irritating, so those two hooking up is just baffling. As for the neighbor, I was bouncing in my seat and cheering when Dexter punched him out.


There has never been a villain like Trinity. There has never been anyone who plays a bad guy like John Lithgow. The movie Raising Cane came out when I was 10 years old, and I saw it after it came out on VHS. I have been afraid of Lithgow ever since. He plays creepy sociopath like no one’s business. When I heard he was slated to be on Dexter, my creepy detector started going off. I knew this was going to be 100 times better than Jimmy Smits last season.

I was so far from disappointed. Dear god. From our first scene of him in the bathroom with his victim, I was completely wigged out. Also, what’s up with the naked ass shots? Love you, John, but didn’t need to see that at all. Nice to see a man that comfortable with his pale slightly saggy body, though.

As Dexter got closer to him, it was such an incredible juxtaposition of the two men. You start out thinking, “See, Dexter? You really can have it all. This man is obviously a fucking sociopath, but look how normal his family is!” It’s incredible to see what Dexter could be like in 20 some odd years.

Then the tables flip, and they flip hard. And seeing Dexter completely lose his shit thinking this is what he’s going to be like with his family is so chilling. Arthur is so intense in every scene he is in, he steals each one. Who gives a crap about Dexter, the baby, or Lundy? Trinity’s here.

Speaking of Lundy. I didn’t see his death coming, and I most definitely didn’t see the whodunnit. I really didn’t think it was Arthur, but I couldn’t figure out who else it could be. I actually thought it would end up being a senseless killing with nothing at all linked to the case. I thought that would make a beautifully painful twist. Then when Christine opened the door and said, “Hi, Dad”, I pretty much pissed my pants. I didn’t see that coming, from any angle. And I immediately knew she had shot Lundy and Deb.

dexdeb Can we discuss Jennifer Carpenter’s acting skills this season? She’s another one I found mostly annoying the past three years. She’s fun, sure. The character of Deb is raunchy and vulgar, and a real go-getter. But I mostly want to claw her eyes out and tell her to STFU. This season? Jesus christ. She moved me more than any other character in the show’s history, including Dexter in any of his more vulnerable moments. When she’s in the parking lot with Dexter, sobbing and flipping out about Lundy being dead. It’s an extremely powerful scene.

I’ve heard people say how creepy it is that Michael and Jennifer play brother and sister, yet they’re married now. I say more brother sister pairings should be married couples. The chemistry these two have plays beautifully for their relationship here. It’s never too heavy handed, they still maintain the strained relationship they have because of Dexter’s lack of humanity. But my enjoyment of their relationship has never been as intense as it was this season. Their final scene, with her telling him what he already knew, was beautifully played on both parts. God, I loved it.

I was, most unfortunately, spoiled for Rita’s death. But I didn’t know details, only that they killed her off in the finale. I would’ve figured it out eventually, given that Julie Benz has gotten another show. Unfortunately, this means I was watching her scenes much more intensely all season. I also questioned who would be the one to kill her. Sure, it seemed obvious that Trinity did it, but the problem was the obviousness. There were so many different scenarios that could’ve played out. But when she left the house to go to the airport (or wherever), I pretty much knew she was going to come home for some reason and he was going to kill her. I also thought he would say something while Dexter had him strapped down. Makes it all the more evil that he didn’t.

I was holding my breath after he walked into the house. I was very impressed with the show’s music crew for not having any ‘DUN DUN DUN” music when the voicemail said she had to come back for something. Even when the phone started ringing in her purse, they kept the normalcy going. It wasn’t until the baby started crying that your skin started to prickle.

When Dexter rounded the corner and saw Harrison sitting in the huge puddle of blood, I got chills all over. It was absolute perfection. Rita in the bathtub full of blood up to her neck was so intense. And Michael C. Hall played it beautifully. There were no hysterical tears, no grabbing her up and clutching her to him. It was almost clinical, yet you could feel the horror and sadness. And he scooped up the baby and ran out of the room, clearly seeing the juxtaposition to his own life.

Best season of Dexter ever. They will never top this, I don’t care how good Season 5 looks.

1 comment:

  1. So ignore my last comment about you needing to post more. I mean actually DON'T since you DO need to post more, but as soon as I wrote that I realized I hadn't yet read THIS post of yours since I didn't want to be spoiled until I had seen the entirety of S4.

    And I was pretty much nodding all the way through as I read your beautiful take on S4. Except for the Laguerta hate. I actually like her a bit. Cool observation about MCH/Jennifer using their chemistry to fuel their sibling dynamics. I actually don't squeak at the idea they're playing siblings.

    I've only seen the first two episodes of S5 (need to catch up!) but S4 really was something. I CANNOT believe MCH didn't win an Emmy. Of course I get why Lithgow won but CATEGORY FRAUD. Lithgow as Trinity was more than just a "guest actor" last season. I call bullshit. He was practically lead. At the very least supporting. Guest actor? Excuse me as I bludgeon you with my fist. /pet peeve