Dexter – “Those Kinds of Things”
We’re first treated to an in media res beginning with Dexter stabbed and called 911. How did we get to this point? How did Dexter lose the upper hand and find himself in such a precarious state? The paramedics show up and get needled. Turns out the beginning isn’t so much in media res and just Dexter’s trap to catch two organ-thieving paramedics. As it turns out everything has been going great for Dexter. Harrison’s ready to go to preschool (so I’m guessing more than just a year has passed since last season?) and Dexter’s high school reunion in coming up (20 I guess from the presence of MC Hammer music?). Of course Dexter is only going because the old captain of the football team got away with killing his wife (framing it as a suicide), who just happened to be one of the only people who was nice to Dexter in high school. Of course once at the reunion, Dexter finds out something: while a loser in high school, he is now quite popular. Rita’s death made the high school papers so everyone knows 1) he is single, 2) he has a high-paying job with Miami Metro Homicide, 3) as Harry points out he’s probably the only one who’s better-looking than they were in high school. Everyone wants to talk to Dexter from his former lab partner, to his Spring Formal date (now a lesbian), to the popular girl who used to copy off Dexter to get through high school. Eventually Dexter catches and kills the homicidal jock and gets a blowjob from the pretty girl. Everybody lives happily ever after. You know, except that one dude who got murdered…
Most of “Those Kinds of Things” is devoted to Dexter’s stand-alone adventure at his old high school. Michael C. Hall plays it well and after years of trying to determine which is better, this role or his more nuanced work on Six Feet Under, I can no longer make any argument that Dexter Morgan is not the role of his lifetime. He just owns it. There are some contributions to the shows ongoing mythology. My absolute least-favorite character Maria LaGuerta has now been promoted to Captain (as former Captain Matthews has been promoted to Deputy Chief). Geoff Pierson is sleazy as always as Matthews, and we find out that LaGuerta’s promotion came about because she blackmailed him. I can’t help but feel like that’s going to come back later. Though, with high higher level position I get the feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot less of the already-recurring Matthews. More developments: Masuka is teaching. He has a bevy of students competing for an internship at the CSU. He initially goes against his baser instinct and picks the highest testing student, but when that guy passes out at a crime scene Masuka decides to go with choice number two: the even-cuter-than-I-remembered-her-from-Heroes Brea Grant. Also Quinn is going to propose to Debra and Angel has been promoted to take LaGuerta’s place as Lieutenant.
The theme of this upcoming season would appear to be faith. Dexter, a professed atheist who expressed discomfort as his vaguely-creepy Irish nanny last year keeping a religious figurine in his apartment, is trying to send Harrison to a Catholic preschool (on the recommendation from Angel, who sent his daughter there). (By the way, vaguely-creepy Irish nanny has been replace by Angel’s hot younger sister, though she’s more a babysitter than nanny.) Dexter, wanting Harrison to grow up “normal” (good luck with that), thinks maybe it would be a good idea if Harrison grew up knowing about “those kinds of things.” Dexter deals in absolutes so an unquantifiable abstract like faith causes him some vexation. He even asks his prey (who has Christ tattooed on his chest) how he reconciles his faith in a high power with the awful things he’s done. The guy tries to bullshit Dexter. It doesn’t work. On the other end of the faith spectrum, we’re introduced to the main villains of the season played by Edward James Olmos of Battlestar Galactica and Miami Vice fame, and Colin Hanks from The Good Guys (possibly my favorite prematurely cancelled series of the past several years). Olmos is in charge while Hanks is doing the dirty work, but they appear to be occultists who murder a fruit vendor and stuff his corpse with baby snakes (causing a wonderful exclamation of “HOLY FREAKING FUCK! SNAKES!” from Debra). Obviously they will be Dexter’s main prey for the season. It’s unclear if they will be on the same level as John Lithgow’s Trinity Killer (unlikely but here’s hoping). At its best or at its worst, Dexter always makes for interesting television so here’s to another season.