Sunday, January 10, 2010
SPOILERS AHOY, MATEY!
Season Two picks up about 38 days after the events of the final episode in season one. Deb Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) is on sick leave to recover from her near-death experience with the Ice Truck Killer while Dexter (Michael C. Hall) cannot bring himself to perform any rituals due to the grief of killing his brother Matt/Rudy Cooper. To make matters worse for Dex, he is constantly being followed by Sgt. James Doakes (Erik King) based on Dex's hidden connection to the ITK case. To make matters even worse than that, Dex has to lie about being a drug user to his girlfriend Rita (Julie Benz) in order to escape being caught in a lie that sent her abusive ex-husband Paul back to jail last season. And the icing on the cake? Dexter's secret stash of his multiple victims are discovered at the bottom of the Atlantic by divers on sunken ship exploration. Basically, Dex starts off the season in a major hole and one that he cannot see himself escaping.
His victims' discovery creates the major angle for the rest of the season as the search begins for the Bay Harbor Butcher (Dexter), who is hyped as a bigger serial killer than the Ice Truck Killer (Matt/Rudy). The scope of the investigation is so big in fact that the F.B.I. are brought in to head the case, led by Special Agent Lundy (played by genre vet Keith Carradine). Paranoia begins to set in for our protagonist as all potential case momentum leads things closer and closer to revealing him as The Bay Harbor Butcher.
In the meantime, Dex attends rehab in an effort to cover up his lie about Paul's wrongful arrest and meets a hottie sponsor named Lila (Jamie Murray). Lila manipulates Dex into a sultry relationship thus axing his current one with Rita. We soon learn that Rita is a crazy, obsessive chick with a penchant for fire once Dex realizes that his heart belongs to Rita and tries to win her back.
As season two gets moving into full gear, Lundy and Deb get romantically involved (she has serious daddy issues), Dex tricks Doakes into getting suspended from the force, Dex and Rita's relationship goes on the mend, crazy Lila does everything in her power to get Dex back, and Dex locates his mother's killer. As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts this time around making for a chaotic season to enjoy.
Dex has to jump through hoop after hoop in order to dodge every obstacle in his way. And it's funny how all of these moving parts are able to align by the last couple episodes and get Dex out of a seemingly inescapable predicament. It is a shame that someone as genuinely as good of a person deep down inside like Doakes had to be killed off the show. He was a real hard ass, don't get me wrong, but he was always trying to do what was best according to his own 'legal" code. Guess his death might be viewed as comeuppance due to his killing of innocent people in the past even if they were in the name of the law. At least he went down swinging and that was a great final tribute to his character.
Season 2 was close to being as good as its predecessor due to a well-developed story that moved at a perfect pace. There just seemed like no plausible way that Dexter was going to escape being fingered as the Butcher with too many things snowballing against him since the first episode. It seemed that Dexter was perfect and untouchable in the first season, so it was interesting to see what would happen when things didn't go exactly as planned. Every episode contained several instances where it seemed that the jig was up for Dex but somehow he was able to deflect the attention somewhere else.
What really separates the first two seasons is the emergence of Dexter's humanity. In the first season, his voice-overs explained to the audience that he felt no compassion or care for anyone except for maybe Deb and that Rita was only a cover for him to blend in. She was a damaged person that he could easily keep his distance from since she had intimacy issues. This season, his genuine love for Rita and the kids become evident in his attempt to win her back after his fling with Lila. That really humanized his character and I think the creators needed to do that. His character needs to continues to evolve somewhat over time or he is going to be as repetitive and predictable of a character like Monk in that USA series.
ETMC Score: out of 5
- It's too bad that Doakes had to bite the bullet, because he was a great character that kept Dex on his toes. Then you got to see a softer side of him but only right before Lila blew up the cabin. Of course his exit leads to Desmond Harrington (who pwns) coming aboard in his place, so that's a positive.
- Season 2 keeps the series on a high, but things take a bit of dip in season 3. More on that next time...