Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Review of Dexter's 3x08: "The Damage A Man Can Do"

Written by Scott Buck
Directed by Marcos Siega

Dexter: “I tell Miguel to be inconspicuous and what does he do? He shows up looking like the Unabomber. I’ve got my work cut out for me.”

Yes, Dexter and if you think that’s a problem, then you’ve really got your work cut out for you. Even without the use of fantasy sequences, what on Earth possessed Dexter into thinking that Miguel should be trained up to be a serial killer?

I could say that Dexter’s created a monster but he’s not responsible for Miguel’s dark passenger. Instead Dexter’s enabled and unleashed Miguel’s inner monster and this I can certainly blame him for. Bad Dexter, bad.

Friendships are supposed to involve a lot of fun activities but slaughter ain’t one of them. It was inevitable that Miguel would continue on such a dark turn, given that we haven’t actually seen an episode outside the premiere that would indicate that he wasn’t dark in some way.

Wanting someone to accept your dark side so much is one thing but did Dexter really think that he could control Miguel? Miguel has more than proved that he’s a law unto himself and he certainly knows too much anyway about Dexter.

He figured out that Freebo wasn’t the first person that Dexter offed and to be honest, I don’t think it was this episode that Miguel realised that. I think he’s known for a while but now was seemingly the time in which he felt he needed to address it in order to get what he wanted from Dexter.

What he wanted to do was to kill Billy Fleeter, which for Dexter was worse than if Miguel had simply asked him to do the deed. Dexter showed the usual reservation but this wasn’t going to turn out to be like Ellen Wolf. Billy was bad to the bone, Dexter had the evidence to prove it and Miguel was going to make the kill.

That being said, there were some interesting parts to the plot. For instance, Dexter made the decision to try and teach Miguel as much of Harry’s code as he could in a short space of time. When Miguel wasn’t scowling about the code, he asked a lot of questions that did make Dexter uncomfortable. That should’ve been enough to have gotten Dexter to have changed his mind about killing Billy.

Miguel drawing attention to himself during a stakeout of Billy though very nearly did. I actually cheered that Dexter told Miguel to forget and not because of Billy. I hate guys like Billy but Dexter’s friendship with Miguel has managed to become even more destructive than Lila’s was.

Thing is, Miguel knows how to push Dexter and using the dark passenger speak was a good way of getting Dexter to agree to the kill again. Plus Dexter is seemingly more needy for a friend now than ever so Miguel also played on that one as well to get Dexter to agree to the kill.

As for Billy’s death, we’ve seen plenty on this show in three seasons. Last week’s episode with Camilla dying was poignant but Billy’s was disturbing. As a character, he’s pretty by the numbers but what’s so memorable about it is that Miguel is the one who ended up killing him and feeling elated by the experience.

For all the talk Dexter had about wanting someone who accepts him, this friendship with Miguel is only going to result in death. It was at this point last season that Dexter realised that Lila was trouble. The previews for the next episode give the indication that he’s about to find that out for himself.

As for Ellen Wolf, did Miguel really do her in? I know he hates her guts and is clearly unhinged but I like Ellen and I don’t want her to be one of Miguel’s victims. Besides, she screwed her own client over so that should’ve been enough for Miguel to leave the woman alone.

More importantly, she also gives Maria a chance to be fun. I like seeing a Maria, who’s neither screwing around with people to keep her job or fawning over Miguel. Ellen’s injected some needed fun into Maria and even into parts of this episode as well. I don’t want Ellen to die, especially through Miguel.

Plus Ellen was fun in this episode whereas Rita who I usually love was pretty irritating. I know she’s pregnant, hormones and everything but I also thought she was being a bit of a bitch at some points as well. She’s been with Dexter long enough to know that he’s kind of socially clueless.

Thankfully though, there weren’t that many scenes to endure and while I did want to scream, ‘shut up, Rita’, I think Sylvia managed to convey it a lot better when she told Rita to concentrate on filling the envelopes rather than addressing them.

Also by no coincidence whatsoever, Rita’s temper was seemingly sated when Dexter got her an engagement ring she didn’t want but in reality, she really did, continuing the trend the women say one thing and mean the other.

Okay, so maybe Dexter shouldn’t have had Deb point out the fact that Rita really did want a ring after all but it did make for a nice brother and sister moment. Sometimes Dexter really does need Deb to help him out. He probably should’ve asked her about wedding music as well seeing as Rita was so ratty on that subject too.

Onto more interesting subject than Rita’s hormones, has the Skinner really managed to snare Anton? Is this going to be the third season in a row where Deb’s love life is still a disaster area? Who knows but poor Anton. He gets relieved of having to be a CI and then he gets snatched by Miami’s latest psycho.

Deb’s love life certainly keeps a going. Then there was her spat with Quinn over the cop. Maybe Quinn should’ve reported Stewart’s meth habit to his superiors but would that have really done anything to have save Stewart. I can see why Yuki might have been mad with him but I don’t necessarily think that Quinn was that responsible. Users are still going to use, regardless of what actions Quinn might have took.

As for Angel and Barbara, nice to see another functioning relationship on the series. Quinn might have teased him a few times and Angel might have gone overboard when he thought he was being dumped but either way, I think him and Barbara do make for a sweet couple.

Also in “The Damage A Man Can Do”

Very interesting title for the episode. Miguel has proved that he’s very damaged as well.

Cody (re waffles): “You’re making that up.”
Dexter: “I am even hurt that you would say that.”

A lot of people seem to be commenting on how Julie Benz looks a lot more glam this season compared to last. I was thinking it myself as well.

Anton: “I’m a musician, I work nights.”
Deb: “And what do you do during your days?”

Maria (re Miguel): “You knew that was going to happen.”
Ellen: “Doesn’t mean I can’t bitch about it.”

Miguel was causing problems for Ellen even after the outcome of last week. Man, he really does know how to hold a grudge.

Miguel (re kill area): “Where slot machines go to die.”
Dexter: “At least one gambler.”

Bartender: “Can I get you anything else?”
Ellen: “How about a foot massage with those big, gorgeous hands of yours?”

There was a bit a flirty vibe with Ellen and Maria or was that just me?

Deb: “Oh my God, you just get dumber every day! How do you survive in this world? Of course she wants one.”
Dexter: “How am I supposed to know that?”
Deb: “You are such a Y-chromosome cliché! Just buy her a beautiful, romantic, ‘I love you with all my heart’ fucking engagement ring. And Dex, size matters.”

Dexter: “How do you feel?”
Miguel: “Fantastic.”

There was an accident on set, involving the actor who played Billy Fleeter with a real knife.

“The Damage A Man Can Do” certainly lives up to it’s title. Dexter’s really in danger ground with Miguel and whatever closeness he feels for the guy is going to be something he’ll regret soon enough. Still, a stunning episode nonetheless.

Rating: 9 out of 10.