Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Review of Dexter's 3x04: "All In The Family"

Written by Adam Fierro
Directed by Keith Gordon

Dexter: “Role playing, such an important part of growing up. When we were kids whatever role Deb assigned me, evil monster, treacherous Nazi, horrible alien, I played them to perfection.”

In life, there are roles to play and Dexter is definitely someone who knows that better than anyone else, given how he brags about playing them to perfection but even Dexter is forced to admit from time to time that there are some roles he’s a little shaky on playing out.

Being a father isn’t always something that comes naturally to him. The way he blurted out to Cody and Astor that Rita was pregnant was a massive no-no. Cody seemed more interested in the idea of a puppy rather than a new sibling and Astor took upon herself to act up a little.

In general I don’t mind Cody and Astor as kids and Astor raised the kind of questions any kid in her situation would do as well. Plus, she’s at the age when she will defy Rita a bit more so playing up at the Prados wasn’t exactly an unrealistic thing for her to do.

I think the good part of Astor acting up was that it seemed to be a one-off thing. Rita talked about her earlier in the season trying to assert her independence and rebelling does factor in it. I liked that Rita made the effort to iron things out with Astor as well instead of letting it fester.

Bringing up marriage was surely an inevitability I guess though there is nothing wrong whatsoever with two people having a child together and not getting married. Rita herself that she didn’t want to get married because she was pregnant and Dexter didn’t exactly come out with the most romantic of proposals either at first.

Towards the end of the episode though, Dexter came out with one hell of a proposal that even I totally bought. The fan part of me wants his feelings for Rita to be real, there’s definitely been enough in the space of three seasons for us to believe that he has genuine feelings for Rita and Rita obviously believed in it if she was willing to accept his proposal at the end.

Rita did have a fair amount more to do in this episode, which is always a good thing because reading four books worth of this series, Rita is just one of the characters that works better on screen than in print.

Friendship with Sylvia aside (nice that we actually see Rita interacting with someone other than Dexter or her kids), Rita also got fired at the wrong time. I understand losing it with snooty customers is a major no-no but Rita was right when she called the woman a bitch. There are some people out there who do genuinely thrive on being pains in the backside for no reason.

Speaking of pains – how effing annoying is Ramon? I know I’m supposed to sympathise with him because he’s lost a brother and because Miguel is bonding more with him than with Dexter but I just don’t want and this episode more than made sure I wouldn’t feel sorry for him either.

Even with Dexter playing both brothers off each other, I still couldn’t care less for Ramon. Drinking yourself into a stupor, causing bar fights and hissy fitting on Maria’s lap is not the way to get justice for Oscar’s death. Miguel wanted to tell Ramon but even if Dexter didn’t have to worry about his hide, he was right in knowing that telling Ramon about Freebo’s death would be bad all round.

Dexter’s little acts of sabotage worked exactly how he wanted them. It was clever to make Miguel believe that he was coming round to the idea of letting Ramon in on their secret prior to Ramon’s little bar brawl. Dexter can pat himself on the back for that but he’s still essentially stuck with Miguel wanting to be his friend.

Speaking of Miguel, Maria’s also seemed to have a U-turn with the guy. Why else would she go to Chicky Hines’s lawyer (I think her name was Ellen) and give her that testimonial. The cupcake and scotch scene was certainly a nice moment but I’m not entirely sure if Maria should be treading on Miguel, especially given how much Matthews hates her. I’m just saying, might help to tread carefully.

I can also take it then that Deb decided to go with Internal Affairs and spy on Quinn after all. Even with an episode absence, Yuki’s still a pain and I wish Deb would get back to her sarcastic self and sock her one. Besides we haven’t seen too much to actually suspect Quinn of being corrupt.

Deb even tried to get Anton to talk about his friendship with Quinn and even he didn’t have a bad word to say against her. Quinn was also excellent during the whole Fiona case as well, even if he forgot to tell Deb that they were playing good cop/bad cop. I didn’t exactly blame Deb for blowing a gasket there.

Fiona was definitely psycho-stalker personified with her murder of a man that she claimed was her fiancé but clearly he didn’t even like her. The fact that she was so convinced she belonged to the guy was scary as well. Deb was naturally disgusted by her but Dexter seemed to be impressed.

As for Masuka and Angel, both of them seemed to be making impressions and not particularly good ones. Masuka couldn’t muster anyone except Dexter to attend his speech (Forensics Quarterly again?) and got one hell of a dressing down by Quinn. Is it wrong that I actually felt a little bad for Masuka? I’m not keen on his pervy jokes either but he’s hardly Topher from Dollhouse either. Even Masuka has a sense of right and wrong.

Angel getting busted with a hooker who turned to be Metro vice cop Barbara Gianni really did take me back. I guess it’s because I view Angel as such a family man that him sleeping with hookers would be a shock. From Barbara’s perspective, I can understand why she wouldn’t be so sympathetic towards Angel.

If Dexter’s marriage proposal was touching and heartfelt, then Angel’s apology to Barbara is equally effective. To be fair, the guy has had a rotten time – divorced, not being able to see his daughter, getting stabbed by Rudy and falsely accused of rape by Lila. They’re not excuses to seek out hookers but still, there were enough for Barbara to realise that Angel wasn’t a creep either.

Also in “All In The Family”

Some of the episode titles on this show are pop culture reference, so was this one a reference to the sitcom of the same name?

Rita (re Astor/Cody): “We should tell them.”
Dexter: “About the baby?”
Rita: “I don’t want them to hear from someone else.”

I noticed that Rita was wearing the dress that Julie Benz wore in the Season Three promotional shots in this episode.

Dexter (re Fiona): “Forensics are gonna need her clothes.”
Deb: “Why don’t you tell her?”

Rita: “The honeymoon suite’s the best room.”
Female Customer: “There’s always a better room.”

Why didn’t Rita tell her boss that she was pregnant when she was castigated about her absences?

Dexter: “It’s your secret spot, right?”
Ramon: “Not anymore.”
Dexter: “I’ll keep it between the three of us.”

Dexter (re morning sickness): “They say this part should pass soon.”
Rita: “They say I should be glowing. Am I glowing?”
Dexter: “You are to me.”

Not to sound like a nark but shouldn’t Rita have gotten health insurance way after she got Paul behind bars? Though come to think of it, that’s also something I should look into.

Anton: “What do you need?”
Deb: “A stiff drink for a shitty day.”

Quinn (to Masuka): “You’re like the foulest person I have ever met.”

I should’ve mentioned it in my last review but Quinn’s first name is Joseph. There was a priest in my home town with the same name.

Angel: “Does any part of you think that there’s any part of me that’s proud of what I’ve done?”
Barbara: “No part of me really cares.”

Dexter: “Raw emotions, not your forte, huh?”
Deb: “What’s that supposed to mean?”

There was no Harry in this episode and Dexter didn’t kill anyone in it either.

Miguel: “I have only one person I can trust anymore.”
Dexter: “Yourself?”
Miguel: “I was thinking of you, actually.”

Dexter (to Rita): “You're what makes me real. I want us to always go out for banana splits, and replant the lemon tree that keeps dying, and I never ever want to miss a pizza night. And that's how I know I want to marry you. Because something as simple as pizza night is the highlight of my week.”

Chronology: I don’t there’s been any time yet. Is Rita even past her first trimester?

For an episode that plays on the themes of role playing more than family from time to time, there’s no confusion in its message to me. “All In The Family” keeps things ticking over beautifully so that it’s really hard not to be interested in everything going.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

1 comment:

Nat said...

Dexter's proposal was just so sweet. I know he lifted some of it from the crazy stalker/fiancee/killer, but proposing to Rita and the kids was adorable, easily one of my favourite scenes of the show.

I'm liking the chemistry between Debra and Anton, he's very hot, and maybe not great for her professionally, he could be good be good for her personally.