Monday, November 1, 2010

Say It Isn't So: Is Dexter Morgan Ready To Move On From Rita Already?...

How soon is too soon to move onto a new relationship if that previous relationship ended in tragedy but started as a ruse?

This is the question many long time Dexter fans are asking now that Lumen (Julia Stiles) has not only remained in Miami but managed to move into Dexter Morgan (Michael C Hall)'s old house-- the house which he shared with his seemingly beloved Rita (Julie Benz)-- and find a soft spot in his heart.

Just a few short months ago fans of the show were justifying why Rita, who was once just a "cover" was actually the love of his life. And while I agree that Dexter most certainly did love her, I never quite bought into the theory that they were soulmates. After all, he still kept who he truly was from her, and in order for people to be soulmates, they have to truly know each other, accept each other, and love each other for who they are. So now the question just may be, is Lumen Dexter's soulmate?
At first it appeared that Lumen was just going to be a project for Dexter: here is another waify, blonde, abused woman in need of saving. Dexter did that (quite literally) by taking her from Boyd Fowler (Shawn Hatosy)'s house where she was bloody, bruised, and broken, and nursing her back to health with antibiotics, (sometimes forced) rest, and meals.

Then we got a look at a side of her that showed the potential to do what Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) never could for Dexter. But she didn't do the proper research; she was acting out of emotion and not logic or thought, and before their partnership even began, Dexter was pushing her away and turning her off the idea of revenge. Still, there appears to be a little part of Dexter that revels in the idea of passing on Harry (James Remar)'s teachings to someone else. Up until this point, the assumption has always been that little Harrison would be on the student end of the mentorship someday, but Lumen is a much more viable option. For one thing, she's already an adult, so Dexter can get it out of his system now. For another, she's already damaged and showing interest (even if for the wrong reasons) in the "work".

All Dexter has appeared to want, even if he couldn't always admit it to himself, is someone in whom he can confide. He had that with Harry, and he probably could have had it with Camilla, though he didn't find out she knew who he was-- what he was-- until much too late to take advantage of it. And because Harry always told him no one could possibly understand, he has kept it from everyone with whom society would think he would normally share: his sister, his wife, his co-workers and friends. Sure, he whispered the truth to Rita as she lay in her coffin, but again, it was too little too late, and admitting the truth begins to lose its luster after the third or fourth body over which you spew the information (or so I imagine...). He also whispered it to Harrison, but he can't share too much with the infant; for one thing, he is a good dad who is afraid of shaping his young son's mind with gruesome ideas and images. But perhaps more importantly for another, Harrison will soon be talking for real. And baby's first words are always mimics of what they hear their parents say. Didn't his "bye bye" sound more like "die die" already anyway? Can't have the kid spilling all of daddy's secrets!

Lumen found out Dexter's deepest, darkest secret by default. She recoiled and rejected him, but he didn't give up. He pursued the issue, mostly so that he wouldn't have to kill her, an "innocent", and began to believe that her Dark Passenger was bumbling and stumbling its way into the world.

Now, I don't particularly agree with Dexter that Lumen is like him or that something switched on in her after shooting and killing that second rapist. Personally, I think he's only seeing something he wants to see, and that speaks volumes for how he feels about her and this new situation in which he finds himself. Personally, I think she's just a woman who has been through an extremely traumatic experience and needs closure. Once all of her attackers are gone, she shouldn't have the urge to kill anymore. And then what? Will Dexter be done with her? Or will their bond be even stronger because they went through those therapeutic moments together and survived? Only time will tell. But one thing's for sure: she is having just as much of an effect on him, albeit in a slightly different way, than Rita.

When season five opened, most of the audience couldn't imagine moving on from the horrific final images of the fourth season finale. In fact, the situation was so dire, it required a whole episode of wrap-up and grieving rather than the series' usual jump forward in time. Watching Dexter say his good-byes to Rita, it seemed like it would be a long, long time before he found something to quiet his Dark Passenger, set off by the injustice done to the woman he had come to truly love. But life is funny that way: sometimes it sends you someone to help you get through a traumatic experience when you need it most, even if you're not able to acknowledge the fact that you need it.

It's a little uncomfortable, yes, to see Lumen playing house in Dexter and Rita's old one. It's a little odd that he would pretend to be her husband at the motel when he really could have just found ways to show up there without having to interact with the manager. And it completely took me by surprise that he talks so freely about his son (which is only leading up to an introduction, I'm sure). But for Dexter, it all seems to feel very natural. And that's the mark of a positive, symbiotic relationship.

Now, what Dexter chooses to do with any new found feelings will be the real test, though.

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