This review contains spoilers.
6.3 Smokey and the Bandit
I’ve noticed, and this story underlined it in neon coloured marker, that the writers of Dexter fall in and out of love with their characters. There was a very stark contrast, therefore, between those they’ve decided to be sympathetic to, and those they decided to hate.
Currently, they’re being highly sympathetic to Debra, Angel and even Vince, where Maria LaGuerta and Joey Quinn portray only their most negative personality traits. It’s worth remembering that these viewpoints can move, and having made us hate them, the writers might suddenly change their minds and redeem them. But LaGuerta, in particular, looks like she’s heading down a road towards a singularly unhappy ending, as it’s entirely negative all the way at this point.But back to the proceedings. This was a typical model that Dexter often uses, where there are three relatively unconnected threads between which the audience is slickly cycled.
In this one, it was Dexter’s nocturnal pastimes, the office politics that Debra is at the centre of, and the extremely odd and dark goings on with Travis Marshall. Starting in the middle, the various inter-office interactions have at times a soap opera feel, yet they can be massively entertaining. Anything to do with Vince is generally hilarious, as is the dialogue that he’s always given.
In this story, he contributed two classic lines, one being about rejection and bodily harm, after his offer of a date with Ryan is unexpectedly accepted. The other he delivered on attempting to move the bloated body of the dead prostitute: “I guess she lost her gym membership”. Vince Masuka is a wonderful character, although I’m concerned he might have bitten off slightly more than he can chew with the pneumatic Ryan.
On the subject of Ryan, I found the scene where her and Vince opened the box of Ice Truck Killer evidence very odd indeed, as was her later uncontrollable urge to steal the mannequin arm. I’ve no idea where that’s going, which is one of the reasons that Dexter is so watchable, I guess.
Dexter’s own adventure this week is part of a wider narrative arc they’ve been developing about legacy, where he gets to think about what he leaves his son, not just in terms of possessions. These thoughts are all brought into sharp focus when he encounters Walter Kenny, aka the Tooth Fairy, played superbly by veteran actor Ronny Cox (Chief Bogomil in Beverley Hills Cop). Obviously, hunting the old isn’t normally Dexter’s style, but given that he idolised his work as a teen, he makes an exception when a homicide he’s called to indicated that the Tooth Fairy has briefly come out of retirement.
Most of this story is actually quite funny, through Dexter’s inner monologue, but right at the conclusion, it suddenly sits bolt upright and becomes much more serious. Confronted with his own demise, Walter points out the sadness of old serial killers, unable to even kill people properly, and with insufficient interpersonal skills not to alienate all those around them. In a bitter and twisted logic, Walter wants his son to know his father was a monster after he’s gone, but it’s not an indulgence that Dexter will allow.
Dexter dumps his trophies in the sea, and then returns to add Walter’s slide to his own collection, only to drop them all on the floor. Why he never numbered them, I’ve no idea – it seems somewhat obvious, really. For a person who lives their entire life based on being organised, it does seem a strange choice, and frankly, those slides are evidence that could convict him, so maybe he should send those to the bottom of the ocean too.
Incidentally, if you freeze-frame at the point he drops the box, you can see that Walter was Dexter’s 43rd victim, and with only 50 slides in the box, he’d need a bigger one soon, anyway. â¨The Tooth Fairy story was a rather thoughtful piece of navel gazing that possibly set up the audience for the really horrific final scene when the purpose that Travis Marshall had in abducting a man and holding him in the church is finally revealed. It’s the sort of shocker that only Dexter can pull off, and demonstrates perfectly what a complete nut-job they’re dealing with.
The assertion I made last week, that Professor Geller, played by Edward James Olmos isn’t real, weren’t openly contradicted this week, and still might be true. We’ve yet to see anyone else but Travis interact with him, and the longer this goes on, the more suspicious I become. The trailer for episode four shows them in a diner, so I’m really interested to see if the waitress can see the professor or not.
What’s vital about the four horseman scene, which ends and starts the next episode, is that it’s clearly the trigger for Dexter becoming more actively interested in finding this killer, as until now he’s not really taken that bait.
So far this season, Dexter is good, but it’s yet to deliver any truly jaw-dropping moments. Let’s hope that episode four can reverse that trend. You can read our review of episode 2, Once Upon A Time…, here.