Monday, November 17, 2008

Mr. Brooks Goes To Miami (S3, Ep8)...

Over at Dex-Bot's for some stereotypical pizza, beer, and sports on TV, but it turns into a very Mr. Brooks moment where he tells Dex-Bot all about some ex-football player who pays off his drug debt by bashing people's skulls in for his dealer. He doesn't want Dex-Bot to kill this one, though; he wants to do it. And he wants to learn from the best. Dex-Bot's subconscious-- I mean, his imaginary friend Harry-- tells him just what a bad idea that would be, though for a cop, oddly enough, the word "entrapment" never seems to cross his mind. The official title of this episode, "The Damage A Man Can Do," should tell him something, too; if only he knew, and with only four episodes to go this season, if it doesn't end with Jimmy Smits biting it at the hands of his supposed BFF, I will most certainly not be back next year. I haven't found a character so whiny, so wimpy since... well, Deb, and it's been made abundantly clear that she won't be going anywhere. My patience is not big enough for the both of them!

Deb wakes up in the C.I.'s place and all goes well for about two point four seconds until she finds a bag of pot hidden in one of his cereal boxes. Then she books it out of there under the guise of having a bunch of potential suspects to interview in the Skinner case. Turns out she isn't just feeding him a line, though, as the precinct is swimming in tree trimmers, including the elder one of the two she interviewed at the second crime scene. He tells her the addresses on her list are all "city jobs," and he's a private contractor, and she takes his word for it because he is so helpful in agreeing to get her a list of his employees. He talks about Mario, the other tree trimmer Deb interviewed that day, and how he has a temper and actually had to leave his hometown in Nicaragua because he was suspected of killing someone with a knife. Convenient, no? If this show followed the pay cable code of being "smart" programming, it would turn out that this guy is just trying to slough off suspicion onto his peon. But since Dexter has become so obvious lately, I wouldn't be surprised if when Deb goes to confront the guy at his next job site, she catches him standing over another D.B. holding a bloody pocketknife.

Then Deb grills Hot Cop on exactly what the C.I. was originally brought in for, worrying he may be in deeper than just a little grass. He claims not to remember, so she calls the C.I. directly to get his number so she can check his records... but he doesn't have a number because he doesn't get county paychecks; Hot Cop pays him in cash. Of course he does! Turns out he just didn't feel like filing any paperwork, so he "did him a favor" by not putting his arrest on record. That would be obvious if Deb was a better cop, but she still has to ask what he means. She goes off on how the guy put his life on the line for them and has no official "end date" since he's not an official C.I. and therefore Hot Cop is just stringing him along indefinitely, and that's just plain not fair! She might as well stamp her foot in tantrum. He calls her out with a "what are you, in love with the guy?" and she can only sputter in response. He's been in this department for a handful of episodes, and it's abundantly clear why he has a shield, and she doesn't. He can read people. And he's really good at ignoring elephants in the room and distracting others so they do, too. Deb really should have asked him how he's able to pay the C.I. out of his own pocket, let alone drive around in that boat of a Caddie that she's always going on and on about. But she's so outraged that he knows she's sleeping with the informant, she forgets all about his shadiness.

Batista and Kristin Dattilo are not quiet about their new relationship, and everyone seems to be talking about it except Girlfriend who actually pulls him aside to ask him to be her date for some police gala the following evening. Or maybe she knows more than she's willing to say and just wants to make him say it aloud. It's hard to tell; the acting is kind of flat. She goes to lunch-- and then later some dive bar-- with Ellen; it's not really relevant.

Dex-Bot starts to teach Jimmy Smits about "the code," though he grapples with how much he should really divulge. He takes him to a casino where the ex-football, now recreational baseball (I'm going to call him Walter Young, after the amateur pigskin star who went pro baseball instead) player is killing him, and assumedly, racking up gambling debt now, for a little surveillance. They sit in wait outside his house the next morning, too, despite Rita's raging pregnancy hormones that really should keep Dex-Bot on a shorter leash, but instead of following him, they use the opportunity to break into his house and check things out. Jimmy Smits makes the very astute observation that since he's a forensics guy, no one would question why he carries around a box of latex gloves in his trunk. It's a good point, and I want to check him for a wire. Dex-Bot fumbles with picking the lock all for show and tells Jimmy Smits they need to look for something "bludgeon-y." He sprays luminol on a baseball bat and confirms blood, but Dex-Bot wants to check it against the blood of his alleged victims before they go after him. He's too thorough to not have had years of practice, but Jimmy Smits is so enamored, he's on a high and doesn't question anything either. Jimmy Smits looks for a ledger to mark Walter Young's debts, in order to prove he still owes and therefore will still have to kill; Dex-Bot finds it but contemplates not saying anything about it. After Jimmy Smits says that one of these days he's going to make Dex-Bot sit down and write out the rules, he should think twice because while that's some nice merchandising for Showtime, that's basically giving an ADA a signed confession. Still determined to "take back his own life" from Harry, though, he reveals yet another one of his secrets.

Dex-Bot takes Jimmy Smits shopping for all they will need and tells him he'll get him his very own "starter kit." They lay the plastic down for this kill together, and Jimmy Smits says that this will be nothing compared to the fourteen years he has spent trying to prosecute cases and getting tied up with technicalities and bureaucracy. Still, he shows up looking like a darker skinned Unabomber to the bar to "capture" Wayne Young; they even manage to get enough of an admission of guilt out of him just by sitting beside him and watching some game that he loses. They say they're sorry, and he replies: "Not as sorry as someone else is going to be." Still, they can't make the kill tonight because someone recognizes Jimmy Smits (well, sure, he was part of a very respected network cop show just a few years ago!). Dex-Bot wants to take down the kill room, considering it's currently living in a sparcely used room in the casino, but Jimmy Smits talks him down. He just walks away, fuming, and after he has some time to sleep on it, he calls it off completely because he doesn't take chances in this situation.

Deb tells the C.I. all about the "clerical error" that gets him out from being under the department's thumb, but then he stands her up, and though she assumes he just smoked too much and is now sleeping until noon "like any self-indulgent, adolescent musician" (heh, yeah, she really is too uptight for him; it will never work!), but really I think Hot Cop caught wind of his secret (or lie, depending on how you look at things) getting back to him and has now taken him out... and not just for a nice brunch. Ruthie did let us know that he was involved with a fellow cop's death on the job not too long ago, and that's why I.A. is looking into him, anyway. She goes with Dex-Bot to look at wedding rings instead, and she gives him the old "hypothetical situation" of "what if there was this guy who had to work with this girl, but he didn't like doing it, but then they started having sex, but then he finds out he doesn't have to work with her anymore, and now he has disappeared" to find out if the C.I. was just using her and/or taking advantage of a crappy situation to fill his primal urges or whatever. He tells her that sounds perfectly reasonable, and she screams at him. I think this is supposed to be the big comedic moment of the episode. It's-- again-- something that is too expected to garner any kind of reaction.

Waiting for Mario, Hot Cop comes clean about the guy on his team who he was supposedly responsible for killing: the guy made a bad judgment call at a sting and got shot, which left him paralyzed, and he ended up killing himself. So it is one of those "tortured friend" situations where Hot Cop could have done something to stop him-- because the guy also had a crystal meth problem, and Hot Cop knew about it, btw-- which, I have to admit, makes him a bit hotter because now he has an emotional depth to him, and maybe he's not such a shady guy after all. See, he really is good at ignoring the elephant in the room! The minute the camera is off him, I realize I still don't know where he's getting all this extra cash! Oh yeah, and the way he talks about wanting to help or protect someone rather than booking him on a drug arrest is probably not all about this ex-cop but also about the C.I. A bender would explain why he isn't returning Deb's calls.

Mario runs. I don't think anyone's surprised. But we shouldn't be surprised, either, if why he's running is just because he's afraid of cops after what happened to him in Nicaragua. After all, he was really stammer-y and shaky when Deb questioned him that first time at the second crime scene, and then he was only considered a potential witness. They finally get him in a room alone—just Hot Cop, Deb, and Mario. Take away Deb, add me, and it’s a party! Anyway, let's just say that by his reaction that it was his boss who gave him up, I was right once again about the perp. Sigh; I truly missed my calling.

Jimmy Smits finally gets to Dex-Bot with not another sob story about his abusive father but an empowering tale of how he finally felt in control the day he knocked the old man down a flight of stairs. He claims he understands the darkness and wants to share in Dex-Bot's world. When he agrees, and they stand over Wayne Young's naked and Saran-wrapped body, Jimmy Smits thanks him and has a little too much fun (if you catch my drift) jamming the metal stake into the guy's chest. He wants a souvenir, but Dex-Bot talks him out of it, and suddenly the page turns, and he snarls like a spoiled child being denied something for the very first time. Dex-Bot may have unleashed a monster here, and he well knows the only way to stop a monster is to take him down.

Deb heads to the C.I.'s apartment only to find a dark, empty place with neatly trimmed trees on the outside. She reiterates what we already know aloud and then is just left standing impotently with her gun at her side on the walkway to his door.

The episode ends with Dex-Bot returning to Rita, who is worried about the baby and their future. He presents her with the ring, and suddenly everything is "perfect" for her. He seems to feel the same way, though really is now the time he should be most worried: after all, he is about to learn if it really is nature or nurture that creates and then trains the monster inside a person. It is way too soon to tell if his unborn child will come out unscathed, but Jimmy Smits, who arrives on Ellen's doorstep that evening, is clearly acting on a learned behavior.

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