Tuesday, March 01, 2011

My Review of Dexter's 5x09: "Teenage Wasteland"

Written by Lauren Gussis
Directed by Ernest Dickerson

Lumen (re Astor): “Share something with her. What you did when you were her age?”
Dexter: “I killed the neighbour’s dog.”
Lumen: “Well, don’t tell her that.”

Unlike some people whose comments I’ve been reading on in relation to this season, I never expected that Astor and Cody would completely disappear from Dexter’s life and after watching this episode, I’m really hoping that they don’t either.

Having a huge plot based on teen rebellion isn’t particularly the kind of thing that I want to see on this show but when it comes with Astor – at least she’s not acting like a brat for the sake of it. She has a legitimate reason to lash out at Dexter and seeing her getting wasted with pal Olivia was a good way of showing that.

I liked that Astor didn’t actually believe for a second that Lumen was just a tenant in Dexter’s house because it’s damn obvious that Lumen is beginning to mean more to Dexter than a pet project. Deb even spotted it too when she briefly met Lumen as well and their exchange was somewhat frosty as well. Not that I entirely blame Deb for not wanting to bring out the welcome mat for Lumen though.

As for Astor, she was pretty snappy with Dexter, nursing a hangover and somewhat disillusioned with Harrison as well but the subplot of her trying to help out her friend was a nice twist. Okay, so maybe it was a little obvious upon second viewing that Barry the stepdad was beating up Olivia but I thought it was a great plot regardless.

For one thing, Dexter dealt with the situation that didn’t result in Barry being added to a slide collection whilst at the same time, ensuring that Olivia no longer had to fear him. More importantly, it highlighted his own issues with Astor and by the end of the episode; it was nice that Dexter and Astor began to make some progress.

The best part about this episode as well was the use of Harry. I’ve been relieved that he’s not been in the show for the last three episodes but I liked that by helping Astor and Olivia out, Dexter earned his approval. Oh and can I heap out some praise to Lumen as well? She dealt with Astor’s hostility pretty well and it was her who had spotted that Olivia was being abused, all of which while having to deal with the fact that her existence had more or less been outed by enough people this week.

Now, who would’ve been the worst person to have realised that Lumen was around the place? It could be Deb, given that thanks to her, the barrel girls case has been re-opened but obviously it was Jordan Chase at the end of this episode. That phone conversation was suitably chilling and both Julia Stiles and Johnny Lee Miller played a blinder during it as well.

It’s also interesting that Dexter’s careful work in getting a blood sample from Jordan’s vial was the very thing that blew his cover. If Dexter’s learned anything from last year, it’s that he has to strike while the iron is hot. Jordan now knows that Dexter has interests beyond counselling and Lumen also knows that she’s basically screwed if they don’t make a move. Dexter and Lumen – get your knives at the ready.

Speaking of at the ready, I absolutely loved the fact that despite Maria throwing Deb under a bus, the latter still managed to nail a personal victory. Never put someone as dedicated to her job as Deb in filing because there’s always a chance that she’ll find a hole through a seemingly solved case. She did this week, thanks to her perceptiveness about there being more than just Boyd and Cole being responsible for those barrel girls being killed.

The better part was the fact that Maria was forced into eating some nice humble pie. Maria deserved to be sent up like that after what she did to Deb and I’m glad she had the sense to actually reopen, even if it did take some persuasion. As for the marital problems between her and Angel – I’m sure they’ll probably sort themselves out at some point if they don’t file for a quick divorce.

As for the weirdest part of the episode and yes, I can’t believe I’m actually typing this but I felt sorry for Quinn when Deb dumped him. Okay, he kind of had it coming given that he was investigating Dexter but given that he actually owned up when Deb confronted him with it (except for the Liddy parts); I felt a little bad for the bloke. That being said though, I absolutely don’t blame Deb for her response with him. Quinn fucked up big time there and she has every right to be mad with him.

However when it comes to Liddy, it’s pretty obvious that he’s a loose cannon that needs sorting out soon. Quinn might not be interested in Dexter’s antics now but I have a feeling that Liddy is going to do a little further digging of his own and coupled with Jordan in hot pursuit of Dexter and Lumen, this can’t end particularly well.

Also in “Teenage Wasteland”

To ask an obvious question – who the hell is Emily Birch and why does Jordan carry her blood in a vial? The fact that she’s alive is also rather interesting.

Jordan: “So now you know my secret, are you ready to tell me yours?”
Dexter (to himself): “Over your dead body.”

I actually thought that Jordan had said ‘Play Doh’ instead of Plato when I first watched this episode. Thank goodness mentioning Symposium helped clear that one up.

Astor (re Lumen): “Who the fuck is she?”
Dexter: “You want to try that again, Astor?”

Dexter (re Jordan): “I have a plan to get there. Lumen and I follow this blood trail and take you out.”

Interesting moment where Harrison said ‘mama’ and everyone assumed he was referring to Lumen but instead he actually meant his toy.

Barry: “Teenagers. They can make you homicidal.”
Dexter: “I know what you mean.”

Deb (re Dexter): “I didn’t know he had a tenant.”
Lumen: “I didn’t know he had a sister.”

In the trailer for the next episode, it looked like Deb might start piecing Lumen’s involvement in the barrel girls.

Dexter (to himself): “Deb knows about my partner in crime, the whole station knows that I’m seeing Jordan Chase. This is not my day.”

Barry: “What are you, man, some kind of psycho?”
Dexter: “Not today, just a concerned parent.”

It’s a pity that we didn’t get to see Cody in this one but with three episodes left, there’s still a chance he’ll reappear.

Jordan: “Hang on a second. Tell Dexter one more thing.”
Lumen: “Okay.”
Jordan: “Tell him, time is of the essence. Tick, tick, tick, that’s the sound of his life running out. Could you be sure to tell him that? Take care, Lumen.”

Chronology: I think it was referred that two months had passed since “Hello, Bandit”.

I definitely loved this one. “Teenage Wasteland” certainly pulled no punches in delivering some knockout moments while ably advancing the plot. It was around this time in Season 4 that Trinity had copped onto who Dexter was. Jordan’s done the same but here’s hoping that Lumen doesn’t suffer at his hands in the way that Rita did at Trinity’s.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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