Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Review of Dexter's 4x01: "Living The Dream"

Written by Clyde Philips
Directed by Marcos Siega

Dexter (to Harrison): “Wanna know a secret? Daddy kills people, well, bad people. Not really anyone else I can tell about that. Daddy’s not going anywhere, buddy. I already lost my innocence, I’m not gonna sacrifice yours.”

Why the hell did it take FXUK to air this season? The last time this show was on TV, it was over a year and I’ve been reviewing many a thing since then. In terms of opening episodes, this actually delivered a lot more than I bargained for to be honest.

Where do I start first? Probably best to discuss the fact that Dexter’s now a father officially on the show. He’s been a pretty good parental figure for Cody and Astor and now with Harrison in his and Rita’s lives, he’s determined to be a good father at any cost and unfortunately if this episode is anything to go, it shows that even someone as meticulous as Dexter is going to have a hard time coping with things.

The fact that he brought the wrong evidence to a court case put him in an awkward position with Quinn and managed to ensure that Benito Gomez walked free. In spite of the fact that the writers seem determined to make me dislike Quinn, I had to admit I understood why he got so mad when Dexter dropped the ball the way he did.

Being a good father seems more important to Dexter than it would be in the past because while he’s forgiven Harry, there’s always the lingering impression that Dexter doesn’t want to fail Harrison in the same way that he felt Harry failed him. It’s an admirable trait and there’s certainly a lot to behold with Dexter’s efforts.

Despite being incredible tired, he took his son on a drive to try and settle him down, seems to be responsible for getting up during the nights when Harrison cries and even had to hurry up killing Benito so he could go and get milk for his kids. Who needs bad boy vampires when you have a serial killer that you could actually leave alone with your kids in the shape and form of Dexter?

That being said, I got kind of annoyed that Rita wasn’t making more of an effort with Harrison though. I know she’s a stay at home parent and seemingly happy to keep in with her neighbours but her phoning during his legal work to settle Harrison was a bit on the annoying side. It’s been noted by other people that the writing for Rita has taken something of a hit and I have to admit that I see it here to be honest.

It’s a shame because I do like her and Dexter as a couple and I get that looking after a baby is hard work but it did seem like Rita should’ve picked up on Dexter being exhausted and maybe given him a chance to rest at least once during the opening episode.

As for the crash at the end of the episode, I actually didn’t see that coming until the cryptic visions of Harry emerged. Undoubtedly Dexter will probably be fine but the fact that he had severed pieces of Benito in plastic bags in his trunk is going to cause him a lot of problems when the police and ambulances come to his aid. That’s what happens when you don’t get a decent sleep.

And the thing about this episode was that Dexter’s problems kept amplifying. After the Skinner proving to be a disappointing foe last year, it seems that the Trinity killer is someone that won’t disappoint. John Lithgow pretty much scared the shit out of me in the space of three minutes in one episode compared to the Skinner in twelve episodes.

Trinity is definitely an interesting menace in the way that he sets up the scene and picked his victims. The part where he even got in the bath with them was the first time upon watching this show that I had to turn away at different points because it really freaked me out. His fastidiousness is also something that Dexter seemed to envy as well. It looks like Dexter has a worthy opponent in his corner.

With the Trinity killer however came the return of Lundy. Keith Carradine was one of many brilliant things about the show’s second season, so having him back was worth it just for both Dexter and Deb’s reactions alone. I detected an air of suspicion between Dexter and Lundy but regardless of that, Lundy did seem to want Dexter in on trying to track down the Trinity killer and those two as a team up could be a lot of fun to be honest.

Deb’s reaction to Lundy spoke a lot of volumes as well. Her relationship with Anton is sweet but because of her promotion, there’s the likelihood that the two of them may end up going their seperate ways. I don’t actually want Deb and Anton to break up but the show does seem to have an inability for Deb to stay in a nice relationship for long and Lundy’s return will definitely complicate things for her and Anton, to put it mildly.

Speaking of complicated, Angel’s also gotten himself involved with Maria of all people and while it’s rather leftfield, there’s a nice enough rapport between David Zayas and Lauren Velez to make it work perhaps. I also get why Angel and Maria are keen to keep their romance under wraps but with Masuka around, I bet it’ll get exposed way before the halfway point of the season.

As for Quinn’s potential romance with Christine the journalist, I don’t see that particularly ending well either. Last year because of his own incompetence, Yuki nearly had him and this year, I have a feeling that getting involved with Christine could also be a career threat as well.

Also in “Living The Dream”

Desmond Harrington who plays Quinn has been made a regular cast member and John Lithgow is a special guest on the series.

Dexter: “Alright, Harrison, the driving thing didn’t work, the singing thing didn’t work. Are you planning on both of us not sleeping for the next three months? Apparently so.”

It’s a bit of a copout that we didn’t get to see Rita actually giving birth but maybe it’s a good thing at the same to just cut into Dexter being a hands on father from the first episode.

Deb: “You screwed up?”
Dexter: “Big time.”
Deb: “Should I be worried?”
Dexter: “No, I’ll be okay.”

Dexter: “Quinn’s a good cop, I need a good kill and sometimes, one just falls into your lap.”

There was a new cop in the station as well during the discussion of the tourist kills and through him, we found that Angel and Barbara have broken up.

Dexter: “I’m going home to my family.”
Masuka: “Vastly overrated.”

Cody: “When I grow up, I wanna be just like you. Do what I want when I want.”
Dexter: “You and me both.”

Astor seems to have gotten into that annoying phase of trying to rebel against Rita over an iPod, which was something I could’ve done without in this episode.

Lundy: “Dexter, how’s my favourite blood spatter analyst?”
Dexter: “Uh great, how’s my favourite serial killer hunter?”

Suzanne: “Harry always said the only word that wasn’t in his vocabulary was no.”
Deb: “Did you say no to him?”
Suzanne: “Dear, I said yes to him all the time. Shit, hundreds of times. The only problem was ...”

Nice to see that Deb was making an effort into investigating all of Harry’s informants but I was nearly screaming at the screen for her to pick up the Laura Moser file.

Dexter: “The perfect husband would’ve gotten rid of his old apartment but I kill people. Not exactly the perfect husband.”

Cop: “Do you know your ABC’s?”
Dexter: “Course I do.”
Cop: “Then give them to me backwards.”

Trinity naturally kills in three and according to Lundy and Dexter; he’s also the most successful serial killer to have gotten away with murder. Dexter couldn’t help but look impressed at one point.

Lundy: “Hello Debra.”
Deb: “Motherfucking fuck.”
Lundy: “Nice to see you too.”

Dexter (re Harrison): “If I want to be around for my son, I have to do this right. I’m killing for two now.”

Chronology: Not specified but I remember reading that it was supposed to be six months from where “Do You Take Dexter Morgan?” left off.

Solid opening episode, “Living The Dream” definitely made a point of emphasising that you really can’t have it all but if there’s one person determined enough to beat the odds, it’ll be Dexter of course.

Rating: 9 out of 10.


Nat said...

I liked the episode, it was a nice get back to basics episode, especially with showing the kill in such detail.

I could kind of see the crash coming when Dexter was driving but I was hoping it wasn't but admittedly it was a good way to kick of the season.

The Trinty stuff was way creepy, definitely Ice Truck Killer creepy.

shawnlunn2002 said...

It's an impressive episode and the Trinity stuff is delightfully creepy. Will have a review for the fifth episode tomorrow.