4.7 Slack Tide
I’ve come to the conclusion that watching a TV show is much like a blossoming relationship. When it starts, everything is new and unexpected, you’re not sure what to make of it, and you’re unsure how you’ll get on. And then as it progresses, even if you’ve already decided it won’t really go anywhere, you can still enjoy the interaction and uncertainty. That’s where I am with Dexter; it’s the strange girlfriend you thought you knew, but suspected you never really did.
Slack Tide is such a fantastic piece of TV, I have no inclination to significantly spoil it for anyone who likes this show, as the parts mesh like a Swiss watch.
What I will say is that it gives a few interesting insights into Arthur that we’d not previously been given. One is that his docile personality is rather squeamish, to the point where he can’t deal with dispatching an injured animal. Or is that acting? The multi-personality disorder that Arthur has makes him more dangerous than Dexter suspects (and no, it’s not schizophrenia, which is actually something different).
There is, however, in here a complete travesty of logic regarding a felled piece of wood Arthur is working. He takes a felled tree and we see him methodically working it, until it eventually appears as a finished coffin. For whom, I’ve no idea. Dexter?
These sequences entirely confused me. You can’t just cut down a tree and make things out of it later that day, week or even month. You also can’t realistically make a coffin using mortise and tenon joints, as the angles where the pieces join are way too complicated. And you don’t plane down thick pieces till they become planks.
Dexter is usually almost completely dumb-stuff free, so I wonder why it seemed to have so many holes. If Arthur really did what we see in the show, he’s even crazier than I’d ever imagined.
On a more positive note, the episode guest is Brit actor Greg Ellis, who was last seen playing the unfortunate ‘red shirt’ in the summer blockbuster Star Trek. I’d like to say he lasts longer in this, but that might give too much away.
What I am really enjoying is Dexter’s attempts to put into practice what he’s learning from Arthur, with varying degrees of success. Although Dex is marginally better at selling the idea of being normal to Arthur than he does to his own family. Based on what each actually perceives of him, this is pretty ironic.
I just wish they’d given the kid who plays Cody (Preston Bailey) a hairstyle that wasn’t a throwback to The Beatles, but now I’m nitpicking.
In the final act, Dexter does something that he’s never done before, as far as we’re aware and the Ghost of Harry does not approve, unsurprisingly. I won’t tell you what, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it gets utterly flipped in the next story.
My favourite scene that doesn’t impact the plot is the one where Dex tells a scary story around the campfire, which gets so child-unfriendly that one of the other fathers steps in to stop the kids having nightmares.
What’s being lined up here, as we get into the final five episodes, is that Dexter is now on a collision course with Debra, Joey and Arthur, just to name three. I’m just hoping Debra survives, but there are no guarantees with this show.
Read Billy’s take on episode 6 here.