Last week after the premiere of Dexter I contemplated the show’s use of guest stars. The way I figured it, since season three, the show has relied heavily on the talent and the writing of the guest characters on a season of Dexter, rather than the emotional stories surrounding its protagonist and supporting characters. Sure, each season likes to end on a cliffhanger that either centers solely on Dexter or Deb’s futures, but that’s only after the guest star has taken their final bow. Whether you agree with this dependency on outside talent or not, it’s undeniable that a good turn from guest stars on this show can make for compelling television, and folks, I think we might have some winners this season (though it may be too early to call).
Charlotte Rampling’s introduction into this show as Dr. Evelyn Vogel almost has me convinced that the show could reach the peaks of its latter days. Her mere appearance in this show has twisted so much of the well-worn character mythology that we have grown attached to after seven seasons. The Code of Harry and Dexter’s upbringing are all story elements that have been explored inside and out, from many different angles. It’s a difficult feat to make major changes to backstory this late in the game and make it feel like something other than a huge grasp at straws, but somehow writer Manny Coto slides Vogel snuggly between the pages. Explaining that Vogel helped create Dexter through therapy sessions with Harry Morgan normally would take tiresome exposition, but here, the details flow effortlessly, even uniquely, with taped therapy sessions with Harry, a good use of James Remar’s talent other than those dreadful Ghost Dad pep talks.
The new information about Dexter goes down so smoothly not just because of the sound writing, but also in part to Rampling. She delivers exposition heavy lines with conviction, in a stern, yet warm manner. The woman takes credit for Harry’s Code with a stifled laugh of pure delight. Her persistent attempts at gaining Dexter’s trust allows for great scenes between the two, allowing them to build chemistry and a rapport seamlessly. When Dexter seems so smitten with Vogel by the end of the episode, you can’t really blame him, she is quite likeable. We’ve seen Dexter with playmates who are like him but slightly off before, but this time he seems to have found someone who accepts him more completely than anyone else. We could be in for some fun with these two.
Our other guest star, Sean Patrick Flanery (Boondock Saints) seems to have good chemistry with our other main character, Deb. As Deb’s boss Elway, Flanery deploys a cool, calm, collected demeanor on our livewire Debra. It’s nice to see somebody give Deb a tongue lashing without even raising their voice, and Flanery and Jennifer Carpenter’s chemistry truly is vibrant. I look forward to more scenes between the two, which isn’t something I say about all of the character’s that become involved with Deb, who might I add, is in some more crap this week.
Sadly the days of cokehead Deb seem to be over, but vicious, murdering, shooter Debra surely will tide us over on our appetite for craziness. The character seems to be headed straight downward, which definitely is affecting Dexter’s character. With him now having to cover for the both of them, things could definitely get messy. Honestly, Dexter should leave Deb alone, he has done enough damage clearly, so I do not feel bad for him that he is being rejected by her, but I guess someone needs to protect the shattered person he has created.
Lots of things are popping off on Dexter, and when this show is good, it makes for some addictive and enticing television. Let’s hope they can keep this up, I remember my reviews at this point of last season to be almost equally optimistic, and we remember how that all turned out.
The Best of the Rest
- Michael C. Hall directed the episode in his directorial debut. He added some cool visuals to the moment where Deb had to view the pictures of a shot El Zapo.
- It was really cool to see how the bloodslide ritual began. Like I said above, all of this could have been detrimental to the show if handled poorly, so I’m really glad they nailed it.
- No, you’re not having Lost flashbacks, you heard “Make Your Own Kind of Music” while Sussman made his kill.
- Quinn is pushed to take the Sergeants Exam. Whoop dee doo, good for him.
- Batista finds out about Quinn and Jamie’s relationship because he’s “a good detective,” who also happens to work with the guy who killed his ex-wife and many other people he’s looked for during his tenure as a detective. Yeah dude, you’re the man.
- Dexter goes to visit Vogel in his kill uniform. I guess every vigilante needs his costume.
Den of Geek Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars