Sunday, September 05, 2010

My Review of Dexter's 4x03: "Blinded By The Light"

Written by Scott Buck
Directed by Marcos Siega

Dexter (re neighbourhood watch): “It’s watch and report, assholes, not watch and chase. This is so humiliating.”

The one thing about neighbourhood watch storylines in most shows is that besides one episode, they’re usually a rather throwaway plot to be honest. Something stalks the neighbourhood, concerned citizens band together to try and catch the menace but it never really lingers beyond one episode or a few in case of some shows.

I guess with this show, it’s actually impressive that up until now, this very type of storyline hadn’t really been done before but until this season, Dexter and Rita weren’t trying to keep up with their neighbours and honestly living next door to half of this lot would be enough for seclusion to be the sweetest deal around.

The problem I had with this plot was that none of the neighbours really felt that organic and that’s odd because this show has been able to make some pretty unhinged characters into real characters but it doesn’t seem to pull it off that well with the neighbours in this episode.

Elliot seemed to be quite the boy scout neighbour happy to let Dexter and Rita know when a mysterious vandal would strike the suburbs and was even pretty present during the neighbourhood watch where Dexter initially suspected that emo punk, Jesse was the one going around causing mayhem on the streets.

Despite the fact that Jesse was a pretty annoying character, I was actually impressed that it turned out to be his broke and desperate father, Andy responsible for the chaos this week. Okay, Dexter was probably taking a huge risk in confronting Andy in the manner that he did but given that he was at the end of his rope and having a hard time catching a break, I’m willing to give him an allowance here. Scaring Andy shitless into ending his reign of terror is far better when you consider Dexter’s usual MO for dealing with pests.

Unfortunately I just wished that the episode hadn’t ended with Rita catching him busting up the security light because given the way she’s been this season, I don’t think Dexter is going to be able to talk her around like he used to. Is it wrong that I’m beginning to dislike this more stroppy, controlling side of Rita?

It’s not that I want her to be an idiot who’d believe any lie Dexter would tell her but three episodes in and I’m beginning to tire of her constantly controlling him. Maybe she doesn’t mean it but practically grounding Dexter because he didn’t tell her about his concussion is rather petty in my book and I’m surprised that Dexter himself is tolerating it.

Also it does do Rita something of a disservice as well. I think I preferred her last season when she had a friend and a job and wasn’t just trying to live out this inane suburban dream that she’s been doing this season. It also doesn’t help that along with Rita being in constant nag mode that Dexter’s getting sloppy himself.

Once again, there was Harry pointing out that his skill set was limited. Dexter made a few social no-no’s with Astor this week and Rita embarrassed him over it and instead of placating Quinn, all Dexter managed to do this week was to anger him even more. Although, come to think of it, who the hell would want to spend time with Quinn if they didn’t have to?

I’ve got nothing against Desmond Harrington, he’s a good actor but Quinn is such an unlikeable character that I am beginning to lose patience with him. Actually no, I can deal with characters that are unlikeable but Quinn’s problem is that he’s an uninteresting character and that’s something I can’t deal with.

Quinn might have resented Dexter labelling him a dirty copper but if Quinn’s willing to steal money from a victim and blab to his reporter girlfriend about Lundy’s killer theories, then I think he’s in no position to complain. Unfortunately, I do see this growing resentment between him and Dexter escalating into something else.

Speaking of escalating, we’re three episodes into the season and while he hasn’t interacted with Dexter at all yet, I am still fascinated and totally unnerved by Trinity. John Lithgow, I don’t think I’ll ever look at in the same way again and the death of poor Tarla in this episode actually got to me, which is rare given that seeing dead bodies is an expected thing on this show week in, week out.

I think it’s because we knew Tarla prior to her death and also the fact that Trinity made Tarla end her own life that made it more powerful. We were also told about his pattern here and while I fear that his next victim will almost be Lundy, I think I’d be more happy if it were Quinn.

As for Lundy, watching him and Deb only continued to serve as a blatant reminder of how good that relationship was on screen. It’s great seeing the pair of them working together but I also feel rather sorry for Anton here, who looks more and more likely to get dumped within the next episode or two.

Finally, Maria and Angel – can we see some progression here? I get that Maria wants to keep their relationship under wraps to the extent where she won’t even let Angel comfort her in front of others but it’s getting a little frustrating as well. Still, at least they got something on the tourist killers this week.

Also in “Blinded By The Light”

Even though he’s still getting naff all to do, I have to praise Masuka this week for his comments about Deb’s feelings for Lundy. Who’d have pegged him for being on the mark?

Tarla: “Why are you doing this to me?”
Trinity: “You know I’m not to blame here.”

Trinity called Tarla “mom” after she died and marked the ground with some ashes – his own mother’s perhaps?

Harry (re neighbours): “You’ve only been here for a month and they’ve got you tagged.”
Dexter: “It’s not just me, there are other houses.”

Masuka: “Geez, who do I have to fuck to get those kind of tickets?”
Dexter: “Here, no fucking.”
Masuka: “Dude!”

Further proof of Quinn had him mocking Dexter’s name and the fact that he was adopted during his booty call with Christine. What a tosser!

Dexter (to himself): “I make my bodies disappear; Trinity leaves his out in the open, supremely confident that no-one will trace them to him, decade after decade after decade.”

Quinn: “This is Miami, Deb, people die!”
Deb: “And sometimes, it’s by murder. I wanna follow up on this.”

Deb was looking through 30 year old files to find a connection between Tarla’s death and the Trinity pattern.

Masuka: “Must be weird for you, Lundy coming back.”
Deb: “Why would it be weird, you’re weird?”

Dexter (re Trinity): “He’s come home.”
Lundy: “I’m not sure home’s the right word. People like us don’t really belong anywhere, we pass through.”

Standout music: Rita’s rather enthusiastic version of “Karma Chameleon” in the car but more for Dexter’s reaction to it than her vocal ability.

Deb: “So now this is your retirement project? You’re completely incapable of relaxing, aren’t you?”
Lundy: “That’s just it, this is how I relax, I get the scent of a bad guy. I can feel my blood pressure going down.”

Chronology: Nothing specified since “Remains To Be Seen” and did Lundy admit to Dexter that he had a dark side? I got that impression from their exchange this week.

Definitely better than the previous episode but “Blinded By The Light” could’ve done with less Harry and less of the neighbourhood watch stuff. Also now that we’ve gotten to know Trinity a bit better, I think it’s time that him and Dexter meet face to face.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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