Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Darkly Desiring More Dexter
I have to throw a shoutout out there.
Dear ShinyKaro, thank you for introducing me to one of the most vile, disturbed, grotesque, bone-chilling, blood-curdling, depraved and absolutely brilliant shows that I have seen in a long time.
Showtime's Dexter, the show about your friendly neighborhood serial killer, is my newest guilty pleasure. I don' t mean guilty pleasure as one would consider something like, I dunno, say Rock of Love (wink). I mean it in the sense that despite the fact that the protagonist is a serial killer, and we, the viewers, love watching him stalk his prey, dispose of them through his special brand of justice, don the mask of normalcy and slither his way through dangerous situations that might expose him for the monster that he is. We love it all. From the disturbingly gruesome way that the introduction is shot, to the unnerving way that Dexter throws up veil of false emotions and then butchers criminals, abusers, mafia and other undesirables that he feels deserve the business end of his power tools.
I just finished the first season, thanks to iTunes, and I don't think that I was able to breathe for a good minute and a half after it had finished. In the spirit of not spoiling anything, I won't go into any sort of detail. That being said, I have to thank the writers for veering away from the habit of many prime-time writers to keep the story going trans-season, while answering one question only to ask three more and keep people hooked.
I believe that the story is in the characters. That is to say, one story can end, but because the characters are so fantastically written, the writer can put them into another situation and they would entertain us just as well. That is not to say that the story that progressed during the first season wasn't great, it was! It was enthralling, actually. But I'm glad that the characters are dynamic and multi-layered enough that we don't have to have a static villain (aside from our hero, of course) that we have to contend with year after year.
I like to call that the Inspector-Gadget effect. For those of you who remember, we never saw Dr. Claw, the antagonist of that particular cartoon, and he was never apprehended. We knew that each time a villian came by, he was sent by Dr. Claw, or at least the good ol' Doc had something to do with it, but we also knew that he would -always- be there, and that was that. No greater push, longer and harder journey to put this evil bastard away for good. Nada. It's alright to have a foil, but not for the sake of being a foil. Dexter doesn't suffer this, thankfully.
I'm also glad that this show is on Showtime. Somehow, I don't think that NBC or ABC could hack it (yeah, I went there). Because of the fact that Dexter is on a premium channel, they can get away with showing a lot of things you wouldn't see on basic cable. I'm not a fan of gore for gore's sake, but for being a show about a serial killer, there is surprisingly little gore. We see Dex working the tools, and then disposing of the trash, if you will. Most of the gore that we do see is the work of the Ice-Truck Killer, Dexter's adversary and playmate of season 1.
As far as my thoughts on the finale of Season 1, I applaud the writers for being able to time up everything so neatly. Questions about the hows and whys of the season are addressed in a believable way. Who does what and where is clearly laid out for us to see. I really appreciate that, because again, so many shows try to put a band-aid onto questions that either they didn't have the time to properly answer.
One last thing that I love about the show was the ending to the last episode. We see Dexter and his sister walking back into their police station after doing their justice, but I believe there is a seamless transition between reality, and what Dexter sees in his head. His fellow policemen and Miami residents cheering him on for doing away with the killer. Pats on the back for him doing his dirty deed. A sick appreciation for Dexter's after-work activities. As the monologue cuts out, and Dexter smiles and walks towards the camera, the images freezes with his face blurred but in an extreme close up, and in that one single frame, he really looks like the serial killer that we know him to be.