Sunday, November 11, 2012

'Dexter' Finally Finds His Soulmate-- But Is It Too Little, Too Late? ...

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) certainly has a type!

Back during season five of Dexter, I remember lamenting the circumstances in which he found himself sleeping with Lumen (Julia Stiles). Putting aside the fact that it just felt too soon after Rita's (Julie Benz) untimely demise, what ultimately irked me was that the actual act of consummation was a physical reaction to them killing someone together. Suddenly it was as if he got off (and literally) on killing. His ritualistic crimes had always been a release, but it's a much different M.O. to find some kind of animalistic arousal from them. Perhaps you thought I would have had a similar reaction to last week's episode, in which he looked into Hannah's (Yvonne Strahovski) eyes, found someone who was exactly like him, and expressed his relief and gratitude in the same carnal, primitive way. But to me the two circumstances-- and the two women-- could not be more different.

Hannah has come into Dexter's life at arguably the most confusing time for him. The secret of his Dark Passenger was just exposed to someone he cared about-- not someone he had to teach himself to care about (like Rita) but someone for whom the feelings were genuine and natural, even if gradual. Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) isn't someone who's going away, either-- he can't just kill her (like Miguel) or put her on transport out of town (like Lumen, ultimately). 

Deb isn't like Dexter. In fact, she has sworn to be the complete opposite in her line of work. And though she didn't just turn him in, she spent a good amount of time trying to change him-- proving she still just didn't understand him. She was quite literally acting as an external extension of the conscience Dexter should have. There has been a lot of discussion through the years over whether or not Dexter is a true sociopath. I would argue that his code is a conscience of sorts and therefore, he has not truly tipped the scale. Through the years, Dexter has surrounded himself with friends and family and come to appreciate the regular parts of life-- as long as they weren't interfering with his "work," of course-- but certainly confronted with Deb's idea of how to "treat" his Dark Passenger, he had to snap back into the realization that for all the people physically there, he was still alone.

Seriously, it took Deb way longer to be okay with who Dexter really is than it took the audience! Why is she so high and mighty!?

So enter Hannah, a woman who, at first, just seemed to fit his physical type. But he saw something more in her. He saw her secrets, her darkness, her own urges. Maybe for the first time he saw a true partnership-- not in crimes, but in life-- "the soul's recognition of self in another." She's someone with him he can build a life: they can each go off to their jobs during the day and kill when they need to and talk about both things over a nice, candlelit dinner. They accept each other for who they really are. And for the first time he realized just how much he wanted-- or needed-- that.

Season seven so far has been a rocky one for Dexter. He has had to send his son away out of concern someone he was hunting would find him and hurt him the way Trinity had with Rita. He hasn't been able to successfully take down everyone he has wanted to, the way he has wanted to. He has had to deal with the nuisance of Deb's judging eyes boring into him and her obsessive "check in" phone calls. Again, finding Hannah must have been a huge relief.

Naturally just when he is finding comfort, even if not complete happiness, with Hannah, his sister finally comes around and appreciates his true nature, asking him to take down the very woman with whom he is now entangled. He may be able to stall her, but short of actually putting Hannah on his table, she won't be satisfied. And even if he finds himself unwilling to do that, he'd have to send her out of town, too-- so he could tell Deb he took care of it-- of her. Deb's acceptance may mean more to him than anything, but it is coming at such an inopportune time in the story and in Dexter's life. He has made great strides over the years, but is he prepared to handle the emotional complexity to come from having to choose between the two women he loves in such an unorthodox way? We've seen him get emotional before, and every time it has ended badly.

Is it too much to ask, even for a serial killer, that he get a happy ending-- one in which he can sail off into the sunset (literally) with his girl and his boat, maybe leaving Miami behind but leaving the audience with the feeling that he's just going to "clean up" some other city? 

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