Monday, October 20, 2008

The Role Of A Lifetime Jumps The Shark (S3, Ep 4)...

Astor and Cody play-fight with non-light-up light sabers (read: the cheap and/or broken ones) when "All in the Family" opens, while Dex-Bot, in his ironic wisdom voice overs about role playing and how when he was a kid, Deb assigned him all of the "bad" roles like monster or robber, and he played each one to perfection. Well, perhaps he should try his hand at Hollywood and acting then! Rita asks Dex-Bot if it's a good time to tell the kids about the new baby, and without a thought, he blurts out the news. Both kids stop playing and hold their makeshift weapons limply at their sides, defeated. See? Words really do hurt! Cody wants a puppy instead, and Astor asks why they're not married, which only prompts Dex-Bot to reiterate the sentiment. He turns to Rita and says that he never thought about it before. "Should we?" His eyebrows raise just slightly, barely hopefully, as if he has Botoxed his forehead and his soul. Rita shakes her head and storms out, mumbling something about potato salad (oh yeah, they're packing a cooler for some picnic with the Smits family). Okay, I know Dex-Bot has no social skills other than the ones he fakes, but doesn't he at least watch television? Everyone knows that is the worst kind of proposal!!! All he cares about, though, is that he suddenly has an even better "cover" as a family man; it's unassuming and harmless, and he doesn't know why he didn't think of it sooner.

At the barbecue, Dex-Bot is distracted by watching the Shady Boys' behavior as Jimmy Smits and Ramone pace and whisper off in the distance. Rita hisses at him about what he was thinking; people don't get married because it makes sense. His "They don't?" sounds like something that would have spilled out of one of her kids' mouths instead, prompting her to give them a "very important life lesson," but no dice. Instead, Astor is being a brat by locking herself inside Jimmy Smits' son's playhouse and refusing to let him join her. A little late on the birth control lesson, don't you think? Dex-Bot goes over to see what's wrong and give her a lesson on sharing, but she just huffs that he's not her father and pulls the door closed, which would have had much more effect if it wasn't one of those little half-doors and we couldn't still see her sad face. It is interesting, though, how quickly she seems to have forgotten about her real father who she watched beat her mother. She should thank her lucky stars the guys Dex-Bot abuses are strangers to her!

Anyway, Rita tells Dex-Bot that she married Paul because she got pregnant, and the next time she plans to marry it will be because someone loves her. That's your cue, dude, but he doesn't get it. She tells him he doesn't have to be both a husband and a dad, and he misses that cue, too. Time to call in the understudy, Rita; you survived an abusive husband before, you should be strong enough to walk away from this guy who doesn't give you the emotional support you need, too.

Jimmy Smits yells at Ramone about "his" brother and then corrects himself. So maybe these two aren't related by blood so much as past association (ie: gang)? Ramone is obsessed, apparently drinking too much, and angry-- oh, so angry. Jimmy Smits wants to give him peace of mind by telling him the truth, but Dex-Bot isn't feeling it. These two are proving to be too much trouble, and if it were up to me, I'd just off them so I don't have to deal with this constant unstable need.

At Dex-Bot's day job the next day, he photographs a dead guy lying in a pool of blood on his floor. His girlfriend sits on the couch, dazed, and covered in his blood, and Dex-Bot voice overs that she is looking at him with real love (albeit, mixed with a little loss) and perhaps that's how Rita should look at him. Apparently it's a B&E gone bad, and Deb ignores a cell call from the C.I. to run outside and escort Hot Cop in, even though this should not be a six person job. He rolls up in a shiny new Cadillac and comments that he just "has a good lease," which of course sets up the fact that he is probably dirty. But the good kind of dirty, right? Just a little skimming drug money, not women trafficking or kiddie porn, right? He's just so pretty; I don't want to lose him! Back inside, Deb interviews the girlfriend/witness, who can't stop talking about how great the dead boyfriend was. They always are saints after they're gone, am I right, Deb? Deb tries to get her on track about the "about six-foot man" she saw fleeing, but the girl just looks shocked that she could even ask such a thing at such a time. Deb wants her to look at mugshots or do a sketch, and she tells her not-so-kindly that her dead boyfriend has to go to the morgue, and she can't go, too. She gets on Dex-Bot about taking "his favorite hat," and Hot Cop has to talk her down. Deb calls him the "Witness Whisperer," which is not a nickname that does him justice, and therefore I will not adopt it. Dex-Bot thinks he should propose to Rita for him, though.

Rita talks to Astor on her cell in the bathroom at work, assumedly where she just got sick. Normally I abhor that because even if you're close enough with whoever's on the other end of the phone that you don't mind if they hear you pee (and they don't mind it), it's just plain not sanitary! Rita tells Astor that she doesn't really care her opinion on whether or not she and Dex-Bot get married (wow, the hormones are raging already), but that Astor has to be nicer to mommy while she's "in this state." She really is starting to act like a teenager well before her time... but maybe things have just changed since I was a kid. If a seven year old is expected to have a Blackberry (The Starter Wife), this really shouldn't surprise me.

Looking a bit disheveled and even more sweaty, Rita heads back to her post at the front desk, where is accosted by the female half of "A-Holes Go To The Gym" (only this time, obviously she has gone to the hotel) and her newlywed husband Jay Pickett, who bitches about not being able to see the sunset from her room even though they're in Miami, and the sun sets in the west. She demands a better room, and even when Rita explains the honeymoon suite she is currently in is the best room and offers a complimentary breakfast or spa treatment, she repeats the "I want a better room" in a manner that is only missing the stamping of the feet, so Rita tells her that she'd "have to build one, and being a bitch about it isn't going to solve anything." Yup, exact words. If pregnancy makes weak women grow balls on television shows, then let's not call it jumping the shark anymore to introduce a baby; let's call it fixing an unnecessarily flawed character! Unfortunately Rita's supervisor catches her, and Rita hasn't told her about the pregnancy yet, so to her it's simply "always something," so she fires her.

Dex-Bot says that "some people are ticking time bombs," and while I was hoping this would lead into Rita walking over to the guest and slapping her across the face, instead we are just given Ramone's mug, as he sits on a bar stool and drinks, like he has been stereotypically written to do. Dex-Bot watches him from a supremely well-lit doorway before "picking up his food" (ie an excuse to "bump into" Ramone). He tells Ramone he'll keep their secret spot... well, a secret, and apologizes for Astor's behavior the previous day before saying "oh, right, you left." He's taunting the guy, but it's really not sure why yet. Dex-Bot tells Ramone that Jimmy Smits is worried about him, and perhaps he shouldn't be drinking, and the pushing of his buttons seems an odd choice, like he's rubbing it in the guy's face that he and his brother are getting close. It's almost like he wants Ramone to be jealous for his newfound relationship instead of simply goading him so he snaps, giving Dex-Bot a reason to cause him harm. All this talk of loose cannons and ticking time bombs Dex-Bot does really just ignores the true elephant in the room: him. Dex-Bot then tries relating by saying he lost his mother when he was a kid so he knows how it feels. Ramone doesn't buy that Jimmy Smits is able to move on, though, because the homicide department hasn't "gotten off its ass" yet. Dex-Bot surprisingly backs off.

Girlfriend finds Jimmy Smits in his office late at night, and "uh, I wanted to ask you about Chicky Hines"es her way through why she's there. Starting a "debate" over this no-face criminal is ridiculous pretense for two grown adults; if she wants a booty call, she should just come out and say it. Even Jimmy Smits calls her out on "maybe there's something else at play." He brings up Doakes, and eyes roll: this is what passes for foreplay on Showtime now? I'm going to start fast forwarding these scenes; their "friendship" bores me.

Hot Cop announces the dead boyfriend's girlfriend/witness is working with a sketch artist but all she really has to say is still how great her dead boyfriend was-- at which Deb scoffs. The sketch matches what they already had from past break-ins, though, so she's not proving to be much help. Batista pipes in with some sympathy for her, though, saying that it's not easy to realize you're alone in the world, and I think I just found his new racket: picking up victims! Deb's ass vibrates again with a call from the C.I., and she ignores it... again. Masuka sticks his head in with tickets to some keynote address he's giving, and everyone makes pathetic excuses and attempts at getting some chuckles out of the audience. What's truly laughable, though, is Batista's Hawaiian shirt! Dex-Bot says he wouldn't miss it-- though something tells me he'll get caught up in an impromptu killing that night and have to skip.

Dex-Bot says Masuka has assumed the role of court jester. I'm sorry, I must have missed something; have the writers gone on strike again? And has Showtime filled their chairs with hacky scabs? Because setting up a metaphoric theme is one thing, but explaining it occurrence by occurrence is quite another. And to top it all off, he's not even funny! Dex-Bot passes the girlfriend/witness giving details to a sketch artist, and Deb grills her on distinguishing marks or anything else she can offer, but she's such a wreck she looks like she barely hears the question. Deb makes her close her eyes and remember, and all she sees is her dead boyfriend and wonders aloud the whole "why is this happening?" Hot Cop swings by and tells her she's doing great and is a champ, and he takes her aside to show her mugshots. His voice is calm, low, soothing, and everything I imagine it would be if he was trying to seduce me. And it's working.

Dex-Bot swings a popsicle almost tauntingly as Rita leans against the bathroom cabinet, clutching herself like she's about to heave. Rita says she should be glowing, and Dex-Bot finally picks up on this one and says she is... to him. Rita knows she has to crawl back to her job, but Dex-Bot says his insurance would cover them. If they got married, it would be so practical because his assets would become hers, and they'd get a tax break, and the kids would be dependents; his voice rises with excitement, but she turns and vomits into the toilet. That should be a clear enough answer, no?

Deb and the C.I. are at what is assumedly the Cuban club, but since it's not normal club hours, it resembles just another bar/coffee house, chillin' with a beat up guitar. C.I. orders her a margarita, while she pokes into Hot Cop's background. C.I. asks if he has to be either a good or bad guy; if things in her world are really so black and white, and she says hell yeah, that's how it is. He says Hot Cop helped him out of a jam awhile back and gave him an opportunity, and without him, she'd have no C.I. So I guess there's that?

Batista brings a "hooker" back to a cheap motel, but she's Kristin Dattilo, so she turns out to be an undercover vice cop who pulls her shield out of her bra. She knows who he is, so she helps him out by pushing him out yelling about the fact that he had no cash. It's a sting, but she doesn't want to catch him in it. Either she's the only good cop left, or she's going to hold it over him and call in quite a favor in just a few episodes.

Dex-Bot is at Jimmy Smits', confiding about Rita's reaction. He's confiding in him like they're really friends now, like Jimmy Smits is replacing Harry in the mentor/role model/advice-giver spot in Dex-Bot's life. Dex-Bot tells him he ran into Ramone, and Jimmy Smits says they talked, and it's all okay, but Ramone is still in the dark until Dex-Bot is ready to come clean. Dex-Bot wants to convince Jimmy Smits that Ramone is a bad guy; now he seems to be looking for reasons to harm those who don't fit Harry's mold.

Back at the station, Masuka is trying to bribe people into coming to his speech with donuts. I think you can assume where this one is going. He says hell must have frozen over because cops won't eat donuts anymore. If this is their idea of clever humor... But Hot Cop finally tells him that sometimes he can be completely revolting, and it turns people off. Girlfriend has now moved onto Batista about Chicky Hines. If I have to hear that name one more time... Kristin Dattilo shows up in Batista's office with her gun so high on her waistband and her shield dangling so shinily in front of her chest it clears up any confusion that may have been left for the deaf or blind after their last encounter. She finally introduces herself and tells him that his department had "a lot of shit" dumped on it with the Bay Harbor Butcher, and it will have a whole lot more with him because "guys like [him] never learn." She basically gives him a warning, though, and though "no part of [her] really cares," he offers her a sob story anyway: he destroyed his marriage; he never sees his kid; he's a mess, yada yada yada. He's a cliche, but at least he admits it. Oh yeah, and he tosses in the alcoholic label, too, which is either a lie or a new development we have yet to see. He needed to connect with someone who wouldn't hurt him, which I'm sure she has heard from every john she busts, but yet she almost softens, despite hating those who disgrace the badge. She tells him to keep his "dick in his pants," and they'll be good; she's about to give Deb a run for her money with her mouth-- and at least she doesn't look like she's on the verge of tears with every new word that pours out of her mouth. Me thinks she'll be around for awhile; me thinks she needs a nickname...

Ramone shows up at the station and yells at Girlfriend for a little while about what they're doing (or not doing) to find the guy they think has fleed and who they both think killed his brother. Now I understand why so many crime dramas are procedurals and wrap up their "mysteries" within an hour; it's just boring to drag this out, especially when the audience is waaay the f*ck ahead of the characters. He bitches about the anonymous tip he got that someone saw Pheebo in Miami; Dex-Bot watches from a doorway and reminds everyone just who was responsible for that tip (or wild goose chase). Ramone tells them about his girlfriend, and Deb's voice shakes as she said she has passed the girl's photo all over town. Well, her and Dex-Bot. Girlfriend finally gets in his face and tells him to Leave. Now., and the drums pick up a bit to let us know He Will. Be Back. Batista asks Girlfriend if she wants to clue Jimmy Smits in, but she says she's tired of that family right now. Huh. That's new.

Dex-Bot is experimenting in blood splatter, and he enlists his sister's help, but she's only there for a report. He tells her to put on the suit, and she only agrees because she wants to be done with the "weeping" girlfriend/witness. Pot? Kettle; you're black! Dex-Bot once again states the obvious that she's not so good with raw emotion (again: pot? Kettle...), but he also knows that emotion plays a greater part in someone's success than straight brains. So in other words, Deb has to stop tearing up at work if she ever wants to earn a shield. Dex-Bot has his sister bash the dummy head, and he lets out almost a squeal of excitement seeing the blood spray everywhere. Deb asks for layman's terms (um, isn't she supposed to be better than that?) with the results, and Dex-Bot says the girlfriend/witness got her facts wrong: a body acts as a shield (heh. ironic), and the splatter shadow wasn't tall or wide enough to belong to a six foot killer... but a weeping girlfriend/widow... Dex-Bot seems equally surprised and intrigued that he missed that. Maybe his radar is only turned on for men.

Deb, however, is almost giddy in the interrogation room with the girlfriend/witness because she thinks she can finally nail this annoying chick. Kind of like how I hoped the Ice Truck Killer would off Deb, but sadly, though I did not get my wish, Deb most likely will because there's only fifteen minutes left, and they have to wrap this up so we can watch Dex-Bot kill someone. Deb pushes the only photo she found of the two together across the table to the girl of whom none of dead boyfriend's friends seem to have heard. The photo is poorly photoshopped-- not just for the prop department, but for the character who was a crazy stalker, not actually his girlfriend. Deb goes at her hard, and she puts her hands over her ears and rocks "No, no, no, no, no" like a mildly autistic child, but Hot Cop swoops in and saves her yet again by telling Deb that it's over, and she's done. Apparently she's badgering, and this chick doesn't even have a lawyer present. Way to make your case stick, hot shot! He pulls rank on her, too, and Deb has to watch on a closed-circuit video camera as Hot Cop whispers "I know; it's all right; I believe you" to her. Dex-Bot watches, too, as Deb cries, but he shushes her because he's getting the perfect proposal script from the way this chick talks about this dead guy. He realizes that he should be able to convince Rita of all of the same things; after all, he has the advantage of at least knowing and having a history with Rita, whereas this chick created something out of nothing, out of a stranger, and she deeply believes it. We have a word for that, Dex-Bot: it may not be politically correct, but it's called crazy.

Girlfriend shows up at Helen Hunt's TV sister's home office, and they share some sort of ganache-frosted pastries and talk about the Chicky Hines conviction. Girlfriend gives her information that she shouldn't and says she doesn't even want anything in return. It's all exposition at this point, and I did say if I had to hear that name one more time I was going to skip the scene altogether, and that's exactly what I did... even though I feel kind of bad for denying this Mad About You background player a chance at a comeback.

Dex-Bot leads a horse (or in this case, a hot head) to water with a fake Southern accent. It's not entirely clear who he's pretending to be or why Ramone would head to the bar to meet this fake person, but because it works for what he (and the show) needs.

Hot Cop tells Deb the girl copped, and he had a hunch from the beginning, but he "wasn't sure" until she was, but he was afraid she'd blow it, so he needed her to implode before he could make his own move. She tells him his poker face is too good. Well, I guess she's made her decision then: she hates him too much to find the passion, so it will be the C.I for her! Good: Hot Cop for me!

Dex-Bot shows up at Jimmy Smits' office and gets yet another apology about Ramone. Dex-Bot fakes that it's okay to tell him about Pheebo because his current behavior is jeopardizing his career. Dex-Bot says he's had a lot of pain that they can end tonight, which is sinister and conniving as usual, and when Jimmy Smits calls him, Ramone is clearly about to drive drunk and kill himself before Dex-Bot can even get to him to lay a hand... err, a needle on him. As quick as a blink, they show up at the bar to "rescue" Ramone, but Ramone raises his voice and tries to cause a scene, and Jimmy Smits tells Dex-Bot to leave. He obliges, but not before telling the bartender he saw Ramone touch some girl, and he thinks he has a gun, and he just stands and watches through the same door, cyclically, as Ramone is this time held down at the bar. Dex-Bot says Jimmy Smits should prefer this to his usual alternative; again, he sees himself as a hero without being able to acknowledge it. Typical narcissist: he should be able to "act" Rita into believing he loves her.

Oh, and it turns out all those texts and calls Deb kept getting were not from a lovelorn C.I. but from Ruthie who is now waiting in her car for her outside the station. She's just as bad as the murderous stalker. Ruthie gives Deb crap for letting Hot Cop take the win for the case, and she tells Deb he's using her, and soon she'll be questioning herself because "he's such a great (read: hot) guy, it can't be him." Uh oh, sounds like she was a wronged partner of his in the past! She actually leaves Deb with something to think about this time.

Finally back at the beach, Dex-Bot brings his new BFF Jimmy Smits coffee, which is a nice crossover when talking about people using other people. Jimmy Smits reminisces some more about his younger years with his brother(s) and tells Dex-Bot he's the lucky one for not having something to lose. Jimmy Smits admits his dead brother was lost to drugs long before he was murdered, so Dex-Bot is finally validated that he did kill the right guy; he was a bad guy after all. Jimmy Smits also tells him he's the only one left that he trusts, and that though Dex-Bot is used to carrying his secrets to himself, he's used to "sharing the load" and therefore hopes Dex-Bot will open up. OMG STOP REPEATING YOURSELVES!!!!

Dex-Bot reflects. Here was a chick who played a role for so long, wanting something so badly, that she invented it herself and believed it to be true, and is now going to jail because of it. He wonders if he can do the same: if he can become real. He heads to Rita's and monotonously repeats verbatim what he heard girlfriend/witness say about the guy she killed. The kids can tell he's being "weird," and not just because his voice is completely flat, and he stands with his arms still at his sides. The editor switches to a close up as he throws in some personal adlibs about banana splits and pizza night and a lemon tree, and she starts crying that pizza night and these kids are the highlight of his weeks. He tells the kids they're his family, and he asks all three of them to say yes. Only Rita answers for them, but even Astor joins in the hug, and Dex-Bot says that some actors will toil for years, but sometimes, if you're lucky, you're cast in the role of a lifetime. Dexter may have been it for this group two years ago, but now, it just got stupid.

No comments: