Friday, November 04, 2011

My Review of Dexter's 6x03: "Smokey And The Bandit"

Written by Manny Coto
Directed by Stefan Schwartz

Walter: “Some needs don’t go away, even if the equipment is on life support.”
Dexter (to himself): “Does that hold true for killing?”

What I love about Dexter is that he seems to be an equal opportunist serial killer. It doesn’t matter about race, sexual orientation, gender or even age. If you’re a notorious baddie, then sooner or later, Dexter is going to add you to his slide collection. And if you happen to be a killer who er, inspired Dexter, then you’re equally up the creek without a paddle.

For an old man, Walter Kenney was quite the vulgar specimen that if you didn’t know he was the Tooth Fairy, you would be just appalled by him anyways. It’s interesting that this guy’s own killing spree and tooth collecting from his victims (lateral incisors- ugh) piqued Dexter’s interest but ultimately not that surprising though.

It also resulted in the best use for Harry this season so far when he confronted Dexter as a teenager about the newspaper clippings he had on Walter Kenney. Dexter was quite the fan of Walter but there’s a reason why people should never meet their heroes. Walter turned out to be both a massive disappointment and another cautionary tale to Dexter.

The disappointment factor being that Walter became little more than a sad, bitter old man who got drunk and looked at porno magazines but at least Walter showed some smarts when he realised who Dexter really was and tried to kill. Again, it seems that killing really doesn’t improve with age if you’re Walter Kenney.

Not only did he balls up on a prostitute as his last victim but he was also outsmarted by Dexter who decided to punish him by giving him the most mundane death going. I liked that instead of Walter becoming notorious as the Tooth Fairy, Dexter instead made him into another OAP who died of a heart attack. It was both a cold and a kind way of dealing with Walter and only Dexter would’ve done that.

As for the cautionary tale element – did we really need it spelled out? Over the last three seasons, we’ve had every possibility of what Dexter’s future could hold and how Harrison could see him more or less explained with this episode alluding to the bitter/useless old man part of it. In a lot of ways, the cautionary tale offered nothing entirely new to the table.

However there was the scene at the end where Dexter did lose it for a moment and his slides were put out of order. Perhaps this is something (fate?) telling Dexter that keeping evidence from his kills isn’t such a bright idea after all now that his life has changed so much in the last two years. That being said, I’m not sure if Dexter is ready to give up on taking souvenirs from his own victims just yet.

Also in keeping with Dexter – please tell me that Brother Sam trying to get Dexter to embrace religion isn’t going to go down south for either character? I really don’t want Brother Sam to be revealed as a nutter in later episodes because I quite enjoy the friendship they seem to have and we don’t need another negative connotation with religion on the show right now, considering that Travis and Gellar are covering that ground.

Speaking of Travis and Gellar – well, they didn’t kill poor Nathan in the previous episode. They kept him alive in this one long enough for him to try to repent, fail to escape and when that wasn’t enough, they chopped the poor guy’s head off and attached it to a display of horses they released in the street in the most interesting way this episode could’ve ended.

Unfortunately, while we had layers with Travis in the last episode, in this one he was little more than a foolish follower obeying the orders of a deranged fanatic. I really want to find Gellar effective as a villain but he’s feeling a little one note so far and whatever sympathy I might have had for Travis is beginning to wane all the more. I can handle the characters being religious fanatics but they need to be interesting ones too.

Elsewhere away from the main villains of the series and Dexter, it’s nice to see Deb settling into her new role as Lieutenant. Quinn and Masuka can act like jackasses all they want but I think Deb will actually flourish in the situation. She certainly did well by taking Angel’s advice in relation to Maria’s unnecessary micro-managing and she also dealt with Mike’s condescending attitude as well with her usual charm. I think giving Deb a promotion was the best thing for her to be honest.

Last but not least – is there a reason why Ryan has such a fascination with the ice Truck Killer case? I hope it doesn’t mean that she’s eventually going to become a nutter or a fanatical follower of Rudy’s but there definitely has to be something to it, though? And she also accepted a date from Masuka, which isn’t odd at all.

Also in “Smokey And The Bandit”

The title comes from a car that Angel idolised when he was younger and there was a certain reference as well.

Angel (re Deb): “She didn’t steal my job. It was never mine to start with.”
Quinn: “That’s always your problem, you’re too nice. You let those fucking people walk all over you, it’s bullshit.”

Quinn was a complete prick in this episode. I’m actually glad now Deb broke up with him and Ryan had the sense to turn him down as well.

Harry: “Most kids in the eighth grade were obsessed with their favourite baseball players. You tracked serial killers.”
Dexter: “Only certain ones.”

Nathan: “I don’t know what you want from me.”
Travis: “I want to hear you tell God that you’re sorry.”

I know Masuka wanted to impress Ryan but it was a bit stupid on his part to show her Rudy’s hospital ID and the artificial hand from one of the women he killed.

Brother Sam (to Dexter): “It isn’t easy to turn your life around, man. It can go south at any minute but I’ll take the blessings when they come.”

Dexter: “Is it a good time to ask for a raise?”
Deb: “Terrible.”
Dexter: “I’m serious.”
Deb: “Fuck off and die.”

There’s a wonderful bit of unintentional comedy when Walter admitted that he ‘goggled’ Dexter instead of saying ‘googling’.

Dexter: “And you’re going to kill me?”
Walter: “You haven’t left me much choice.”

Dexter (to Walter): “You are not my future. I will not spend my final days getting drunk and staring at a box of trophies.”

Chronology: A few days since the events of “Once Upon A Time”.

I didn’t dislike this episode but at the same time, I didn’t enjoy “Smokey And The Bandit” as much as I wanted to. Some of the ideas were generally good but as I said about the cautionary tale element of the Walter storyline – it didn’t really tell us anything we already didn’t know and the Travis/Gellar storyline does need some ironing out as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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