Monday, January 03, 2011

My Review of Dexter's 5x01: "My Bad"

Written by Chip Johannessen
Directed by Steve Shill

Dexter (to Harrison, re Rita): “Lucky to have me. I wouldn’t say so. She trusted me and now she’s dead. Like your sister said, I’m toxic. You’d all be better off without me.”

And TV would be a slightly less interesting place without this show. I debated for a few weeks as to when I was going to review the fifth season of this show and after realising that FXUK would probably delay it for summer, I decided that I might as well just get in there and review it now. After watching this episode, I’m glad I made that decision.

When it comes to grief, there are plenty who will sob and shout their hearts out and then there are people who are so quiet that the likes of Quinn will suspect them of not caring or being responsible for their loved ones death. Dexter, naturally of course fell into the latter category, which wasn’t a good thing when Quinn is involved.

Dexter’s total lack of emotion made a shit load of sense to me as a viewer. He’s capable of feeling and we’ve had enough reminders over the previous four years that his feelings for Rita were real but at the same time, Dexter was able to vocalise his feelings in a way that people expected of him in this episode.

Even Elliot from next door was more openly sad about Rita’s death and the technical manner in which Dexter’s described Rita’s death when he made his 911 call certainly raised Quinn’s alarm bells but overall, Dexter had more than just reacting to Rita’s death to deal with and this was a week where he didn’t want to deal with anything.

He delayed telling Astor and Cody about their mum’s death and when he did, it went typically wrong. Even though, I’ve found Astor annoying in past episodes, I actually didn’t blame her when she lashed out at Dexter. Dexter himself felt like he failed/abandoned Rita and Astor was the only one to vocalise that as well.

Even when it came to funeral arrangements, it was Deb doing all the work there – picking a casket, arranging a burial date, funeral home and even getting a selection of dresses for Dexter to choose for Rita. It made sense that when Dexter snapped out of himself that he chose the dress that he first saw Rita in.

And that led to another interesting thing – their first date. I wasn’t really all that surprised that Dexter cut it short to tend to a victim but I was charmed by the fact that in spite of his seeming indifference to her at first, that Dexter did want to know more about Rita. Even back then, he was probably falling in love with her without realising it of course.

It was also a nice way of utilising Julie Benz in the opening episode, other than having her just play dead for a few scenes. The funeral scene itself served as a satisfying but emotionally potent coda for the episode. The big stuff from Dexter was less to do with his eulogy and more to do with him finally snapping.

I guess even an episode as downbeat as this one needed a killing but the attack on that asshole in the bathroom was definitely savage and unlike Dexter as well. It’s not the healthiest way for Dexter’s grief to have spilled out but it was certainly the most believable and after spending most of the previous season frustrated with Harry’s appearances, I was grateful for him being there when Dexter needed him the most.

However as for the consequences of Rita’s death – everyone mostly thinks that Trinity did the deed so that storyline isn’t entirely resolved either. The only person who believes that Dexter killed Rita is Quinn and it does seem that he’s going to be a further nuisance than Doakes ever was in trying to expose Dexter, especially that thanks to Masuka, he also knows about Rita and Elliot.

Whether or not this means that Quinn’s destined to be added to a slide collection in the next eleven episodes is anyone’s guess but overall, much as I dislike him, there’s a part of me that hopes he does learn more about Dexter for some reason. As for sleeping with Deb, it didn’t actually bother me but geez, couldn’t they have picked somewhere that a murder didn’t take place in?

Despite Deb’s protestations, it’s pretty obvious that the writers are intending her and Quinn to become an item this season and if she can make him a lot less annoying than he usually is, then more power to Deb. Otherwise, I’m not really that fussed about them as a couple. And I’d also like to hope that apart from being a support system for Dexter, Deb also has other storylines this year to be getting on with.

As for Maria and Angel, I really hope the honeymoon period isn’t over for them just yet because the lengths they went into becoming an official couple, it’d just be annoying for them to break up. I did actually see both their viewpoints with Rita’s death – Maria had a point with wanting the FBI to deal with it and Angel had a point with wanting Miami metro to tackle it. Either way, between the FBI and Quinn, Dexter had better watch his back because it certainly seems like being associated with Trinity could come to bite him on the ass again.

Also in “My Bad”

Have the writers been watching Joss Whedon shows over the summer because the episode title sounds like something a character of his would utter?

Dexter: “I’ve watched 67 people die and in the moment of truth, I’ve looked in their eyes and they knew and I knew they got what they deserved but what if that’s not what happens if you don’t get what you deserve?”

After this episode, Dexter can add 68 into that impressive collection, can’t he? Also Arthur killed Rita at least eight hours before Dexter discovered her body.

Deb: “FBI? Fucking bunch of idiots.”

Dexter (re Rita): “This is what she would’ve wanted – a grieving spouse. For once doing what a normal person’s supposed to do.”

Not so surprisingly, Dexter ran away from the FBI debriefing and nearly skipped town until his own moment of truth happened.

Dexter (re Deb): “She admitted the fact that I’m an axe murderer?”
Rita: “No, no, she said you were a blood stain pattern analyst, which I have no clue what that is.”
Dexter: “Believe me, I don’t either and I do it forty hours a week.”

Astor (re Rita): “She’s dead and it doesn’t even matter with you.”
Dexter: “How can you say that?”
Astor: “Cos it doesn’t. I can tell, just by looking at you. You don’t even care. Where were you? Where were you when someone was killing her?”

Astor and Cody being told about Rita’s death while they were all wearing Mickey Mouse ears/hats was definitely one of the most unforgettable things of this episode.

Dexter (re Rita): “I was never really honest with you. I’m a serial killer, that’s what I am. I know I led you to believe I’m a human being but I’m really not.”

Rita: “So you know all about me?”
Dexter: “I’d like to know more.”

Julie Benz’s name was out of the opening credits for this episode and no special guest stars were added either.

Dexter: “I thought you left me.”
Harry: “I’m here.”

Chronology: Exactly from where “The Getaway” left off.

As an opener goes, “My Bad” is definitely the darkest and most uncomfortable one that the series has done but it’s also the strongest one since the “Pilot” and while no new big bad was set up in this one, there was more than enough going on.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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