Dexter s1:5 review

Miami: sunshine, sand, and serial killers. Sounds like the best place on Earth to start a new life, doesn't it? Er, no. Sounds like a great place for Dexter to set up camp, though.

Are we really completely sure that it’s Dexter who’s the sociopath in the Morgan family? Because sometimes, I think it might actually be Deb. She is really, really useless. I’m sure we’re supposed to like her and root for her and sympathise with her struggles to get promoted when the overbearing Laguerta treats her like shit, but really, Deb’s just too stupid to ever make detective. Then again, most of the police in this series seem a bit rubbish, so I’m sure she’ll be fine.

Here’s what we know about the Ice Truck Killer thus far: he kills women. He’s definitely killed at least one prostitute. When the bodies are discovered, they’re dismembered, cut into sections with almost surgical skill, and about half of them have been wrapped up with plastic. On some of the bodies, there’s been some cell crystallisation, which is how we know he has an ice truck, hence the pseudonym. Even though he didn’t do that until quite late in the game, but never mind. He also knows Dexter quite well: he’s broken into Dexter’s flat on at least one occasion, leaving him cute little messages all over the place. And… that’s about it.

Enter Tony Tucci, the only person known to have encountered the killer and lived. He spent nearly a week tied to a table, having one limb after another amputated, and then being left to lie there while rats chewed the sheets he lay on. Ewww. But what better way could there possibly be to extract information from this witness than to traumatise the shit out of him? Well, maybe to do anything else. Anything. Still, Deb reckons the best thing to do would be to blindfold him – apparently she’s heard of context dependent memory – and although Doakes first takes her to task over this (go Doakes!) he eventually concedes that it might work, and although Tucci doesn’t want to play, he too agrees to have a go. Because… otherwise there would be no new leads, I guess.

So what new information do we glean about the Ice Truck Killer? Well, that he likes throat lozenges. And a partial fingerprint. Okay, that might be useful. Yay for Debs!

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Meanwhile, Dexter is caught up in an utterly ridiculous subplot involving a Cuban maid who works at the same hotel as Rita. Every night after work, this maid goes and sits on the beach and waits, because she’s paid money to some creep who calls himself the Coyote, who apparently is good at smuggling people out of Cuba and into America. Only sometimes he decides he wants more money, and when the desperate relatives can’t pay up, he kills the people he’s been smuggling. Clearly, there is only one way to stop this guy…

Something about this episode reminded me of Tru Calling. It’s got that kind of structure, almost a superhero narrative, where a normal person gifted with some sort of supernatural power or knowledge has to investigate something and bring about justice without getting the police involved. It almost always involves breaking and entering – thus, Dexter sneaks into a private car lot, and then later onto a boat, to get the proof he needs that this is a Bad Man whom he is permitted to kill. Maybe he should claim to be the bartender. Or go and break into Eliza Dushku’s house; it’s about time she had a taste of her own medicine.

Meanwhile, Rita is starting to get all starry-eyed and wanting to have big serious relationship talks with Dexter about where their relationship is heading; which, clearly, is something he’s completely unable to cope with. Normally around this point I’d be rolling my eyes and complaining that there are too many threads here, but this time I’m not going to because – it almost hurts me to admit this – the threads are actually linked together, and well. There’s a common theme to all the stories in this episode: the search for love, or at least for meaning. Even the very, very minor plot elements tie into this – there’s the one-handed, one-legged night watchman who’s concerned that no-one will ever love him again; there’s Deb making googly eyes at a cute doctor; and there’s Angel, still trying to get over the breakdown of his marriage. It’s tight, rather than messy, and it’s also funny – the bit where Dexter tries to make himself cry at a weepy movie by just not blinking is hilarious, and his little chat with the sociopathic people-smugglers about how they keep their love alive after twelve years of marriage is just spot-on.

This is all starting to feel very, very promising.More Dexter on Den of Geek:

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