Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm Afraid for Dexter Morgan

So, I'm a fan of Dexter. I've already done a regular blog post about the show which you can read here . However, since this is a TV blog, I will limit my musings strictly to the show.

I must confess, I sometimes am an episode or two behind schedule since I have to rely on someone else's TiVo to capture them. Yes, Captain Monkeypants still does not own cable but, instead, has a rabbit-ear antenna. The reason for this is that I love TV and I love to watch it. TV is not only entertaining but also the worlds' best procrastination method. Long story short, if I had cable, I would do a lot less writing and a lot more couch-potato-ing. The only way to control my TV addiction is to not tempt myself with the source. Of course, this is limited to my own apartment. If I go elsewhere to watch cable, that's just fine. Rationalization=less guilt. Moving on...

So, back to Dexter. This, to me, is one of the best shows on TV. As I mentioned in my other post, I've read the books and though I tend to always favour the written word over the visual interpretation, Dexter is an exception. That's not to say the books, by Jeff Lindsay, aren't good because they are. After all they did create the character.

It's just that Michael C. Hall is Dexter Morgan and trying to read the books without picturing him that way now is absolutely impossible. The character is one of the most layered and interesting on TV, now and ever. He appeals to that darkness in all of us and though we all know killing is wrong, bad, a sin and all that, there's just something amazingly compelling about watching Dexter choose his victims and prey upon them. I find myself favouring the episodes in which Dexter commits his signature serial-killer acts of murder on the victims he stalks.

In his defense, Dexter is no cold-blooded killer. Well, ok, so he actually is and he doesn't claim otherwise. He's a sociopath who can't feel emotion but he fakes it well. But our Dexter isn't as much like that as he claims. He feels enough affection for the people in his life that he likes- his sister, Deb, his fiancee, Rita and her children- that it could actually be confused for love.

Yet when it comes down to it, he needs to kill. It's a bloodthirsty voice in his soul that cannot be satiated. He calls it his Dark Passenger. It is this which leads him to seek out the guiltiest and cruelest of criminals in the sultry landscape of Miami, Florida. He stalks them, makes sure they're guilty and when the time is right, he pounces, cleanly killing them and disposing of their bodies.

Dexter has had a little trouble in the past. The messy ties he has to others tend to get in the way. The body parts of his victims were discovered during season 2 and Dexter had to play a tricky and dangerous game to not get caught.

He's a master of avoiding consequences, a genius, even. His lack of messy emotional investment in life means that he can observe and study others. He can see their weaknesses and he can see their strengths. It is this which makes him a master of the kill, a genius manipulator who never seems guilty.

This season, I'm worried about Dexter. He's leading himself to believe he has found a friend, an assistant D.A., Miguel Prada, who has the same bloodthirsty urge for justice as Dexter but without the stomach for killing. Together, they are a perfect team: Miguel does the research, delivers the 'package' and Dexter kills him.

It seems like the perfect arrangement but past experience should teach Dexter to be very cautious. Last season, there was Lila, a crazy artist who thought she could manipulate Dexter. He fell for her at first until he realized how dangerous she was. Naturally, she is no longer around.

This season, I feel guilty again for wanting someone to die. Ok, it's a TV show but it still pulls at the dark passenger within us all, part of the reason Dexter is so popular. We can't kill, we wouldn't kill but it doesn't mean we can't get a secret, ominous thrill out of watching Dexter neatly murder his victims without a hint of regret. And so I find myself hoping that Dexter's new friend, Miguel, doesn't last a long time. I don't like that there is someone else who thinks he knows Dexter. I'm afraid he's going to screw things up. I'm afraid he will make Dexter sloppy. I almost feel like Dexter is cheating on us, his secret, silent audience, by sharing his hobby with Miguel.

Most of all, I don't trust Miguel. He's too slick, too slimy. Something about him worries me. Yet Dexter seems ok, truly believing he's found a friend. He thought that before, with Lila, a big mistake. In his urge to connect with people, to feel as though he's in control, Dexter is very vulnerable, an ironic twist considering his socipathic, violent nature. He wants to be loved so maybe it will rub off and he will feel that love back. He wants to connect with Miguel and be friends because that's what normal people do and, for all of his nighttime butchery, Dexter has always wanted to be normal as well as seem normal.

And I know this is random musing because the show has already been written and filmed and the ending will come, regardless of what I think. However, I can't help but hope that it means Miguel Prada will go away. More than that, I hope that Dexter will see the light from the darkness within and realize that he works best alone. I could be wrong and a partnership will be born but I doubt it. Dexter Morgan is a loner and sooner or later, I think he'll find a way to cut himself loose from Miguel.

And I can't wait to watch it happen.

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