3. Blinded By The Light
The confidence of the creative people behind Dexter is almost palpable now, and Blinded By The Light is a fine example of how well they know their characters. Being so in touch with their subtleties allows them to exploit your expectations, and make them surprise you in the way that real people occasionally do.
In the middle of this story the inimitable Vince Masuka and Debra Morgan are trying to establish the cause of a woman’s death, when completely unexpectedly Vince comes out with something that’s borderline sensitive and caring. And even before my head stopped spinning from that, he’d returned effortlessly to type by dressing the dummy he was launching from a high building in a short skirt, so he could see her panties as she fell. We’re confronted with the idea that Vince is actually a more complicated person than he is 99% of the time, and the depth of his character was increased by a magnitude in that small moment.
Despite what that experiment suggests, the woman didn’t fall unaided, and as Frank Lundy thinks, and Dexter Morgan absolutely knows, it was the work of the serial killer Trinity. He convinced the woman to jump through fear alone, threatening her children with the same fate if she didn’t kill herself.
This power of such a lethal sociopath to make people do things through the power of their unlimited capability to harm others is something of a theme in this story. And another is the concept that some people operate well in groups while others are ‘lone wolves’, hunting outside the social bubble.
It starts with Dexter trying to be sociable with his neighbours and children, and failing rather badly. Occasionally the show needs to remind us that Dexter isn’t a normal guy who just kills people, but a person who doesn’t understand the whole empathy game, period. His best attempts are emulation, but without actually understanding what it is he’s simulating, it can so easily go wrong.
The neighbourhood is in uproar because of the actions of a vandal, causing his neighbour to deploy motion sensitive lighting – not exactly what stealthy Dexter needs.
After a little detective work he decides the culprit is a teenage boy, and sets off to scare him into being less anti-social. This is a funny sequence because he runs smack into a neighbourhood watch who pursue him around in the dark. He’s more embarrassed than anything else. I mean, what would happen if they caught him?
On a subsequent night he finds out that the real vandal is actually the boy’s father, wonderfully played by J.C. MacKenzie. When confronted he actually wants to fight Dexter, which opens the possibility of him killing one of his own neighbours.
Thankfully, he uses much the same trick as Trinity, threatening his son to stop this beating from escalating completely out of control. After solving that small problem Dexter gets himself into hot water with Rita when she sees him smashing the security lights of their adjacent neighbours. Oops, that might take some explaining.
This season is simmering nicely, and some of the guesses I’d made about Trinity’s next victim have already been blown out of the water. We’re told that the 30 year old pattern is for a man to be killed next, bludgeoned to death. I’ve got a feeling it’s a character we’ve already met, but who exactly? Anton?
We’ve also been given a curious insight into Trinity’s odd mother issues, where he leaves some of her ashes at each killing. When are he and Dexter going to meet?
I just hope it’s soon, as I desperately want to see the sparks flying between Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow.
When this show is good, it’s great, and while not exactly action-packed, it’s firing on all cylinders at present.
We can only hope that this season can reach the pinnacles that the previous one did, and I’ve seen nothing to suggest so far that it won’t.
Read Billy’s take on episode 2 here.