Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dexter - "Swim Deep" Review

Dexter fights the current in another exemplary episode.

Dexter's return to form continues with another standout episode in "Swim Deep".  I loved this episode, even more so than last weeks fantastic "Run", which I was not expecting.  I believe the biggest reason for this is that Dexter really seems to be punching harder with its underlying themes, something it's forgotten to do in recent years.  Its pathos seems to be cutting deeper, and the show seems more self-assured than ever before.

Dexter's latest conversation with his invisible father was the most enjoyable in quite some time, as he opines for a "New Normal", but something inside him knows that is not possible, and sooner or later, the worst parts of his extracurricular activities are going to consume the rest of all he holds dear.

Finally bringing Deborah into the reopening of the Bay Harbor Butcher investigation was a great move, as she now projects the same level of suspense that we feel as an audience.  I'm also really enjoying how Dexter must come face to face with the fact that his "lifestyle" is not as air tight as he consistently deludes himself into thinking.  Truth is, he messes up all the time, sometimes more than a regular person would (*cough cough* Season 6 *cough cough*).  There are holes in any story, no matter how small, and his own failures can no longer be tucked away in ignorance.  Deb will make sure of that, and the whole thing is really cathartic for a viewer like me who's grown quite frustrated with Dexter's overlookings and sometimes shoddy planning.

Deborah has been fantastic at playing devils advocate.  She asks all the small questions and harps obsessively over every minute detail that Dexter, in his frantic quest to appease his dark passenger, often disregards.  Watching Deborah see the picture of Dexter at that wedding was as heart-sinking as Jennifer Carpenter made it look, and it's good to have someone "normal" who can project what we would act like upon such revelations, and how each transgression that is forced upon her becomes increasingly more overwhelming.

The walls are indeed beginning to close in on him, as he now not only has his past rearing its ugly head at him, but his run-in with Issak proves that he cannot contain the damage to only his person, as those most closest to him are now also in grave danger, that much there is no denying.  The entire bar scene with Issak was just fantastic, especially when Dexter ran through the slaughter with Miami Metro.  Portraying the enemy as threatening is no longer a problem for Dexter, as Deb exclaiming that they're looking for the fucking Terminator seems quite apropos.  This scene allowed for both Dexter and Deb to realize who they were dealing with, and Deborah to see that Dexter's handling of things did not go as planned.  The intimate conversation between Isaak and Dexter at the jail was just the icing on the cake.

I really liked the moments between Deb and Dexter in the hotel.  Them exchanging stories of their childhood helps to bring some levity into a world that has become far too grim at times for its own good. It's important for us to be reminded of Dexter's origins every now and again, and how there is so much good that has come from it, and how he risks it all every single day just to satisfy a petty indulgence.

Hannah Mckay also received some much needed development this week, as Dexter, unsurprisingly, slowly unraveled her subterfuge, discerning that she was every bit the sadist as her late lover, all while still exchanging googley eyes at each other and buttering their sexual tension.  There was an intense glee that eminated from Dexter as he explained to Hannah how her story didn't hold water, and it was the most vital we've seen him in a while.  You can tell he gets off on this stuff.  Girls like Hannah get him all turned around. On the one hand, he finds an outlet for his dark passenger. On the other hand, he is intrigued by the common thread they both hold, and seeing such people attempting to be "normal" mirrors his own internal struggles, and he becomes determined to find out if it's possible for him to change, or if he at least can assuage his loneliness.  Happened with Trinity.  Happened with Lumen.  It's happening now.

Plus, Hannah looks like Yvonne Strahovski.  That probably doesn't help things.

Deborah finally breaking from the weight of Dexter's secrets and coverups made perfect sense.  The moment between brother and sister in the final minutes was very well done, and really resonated with their situation.  As Dexter continues to swim into the current, he relieves himself with the thought that Deborah is safer now that she's departed from his world, not realizing that he is the one now in the most danger.  Deborah was his own personal rescue helicopter, waiting in the wings with a lifeline whenever the undertow proved too strong, as that wedding photo clearly illustrates.  She was the reluctant guardian angel, and the only question that remains now is that, without her, will Dexter be lost at sea?

89% = ***1/2 = "Amazing"


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