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There Are Six Things I'm Mad About - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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December 16th, 2007


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11:56 pm - There Are Six Things I'm Mad About
Today, I saw Emily's house for the first time! And had dinner with her parents and pleased them by eating a lot of food. We finished the first season of Arrested Development.

Which is a very different show from Dexter, which concluded another great season tonight.

Re: the first ten minutes:

What.

The.

Fucking.

SHIT?!

I...really didn't think they'd kill Doakes! I...didn't think they'd BLOW UP DOAKES for fuck's sake. And, honestly, things like that just end up throwing me off because I can't deal, and I am mad at the show for teasing us with a brave new Dexter/Doakes (Dexter/JAMES) dynamic and then BLOWING IT UP. It just puts me out of whack, and I can't appreciate anything else afterward properly.

I can't deal!

No more Doakes!

FUCKING LILA.

Of course, I now see a way out of the Bay Harbor Butcher storyline: they believe the Bay Harbor Butcher is Doakes, and Doakes is dead and can't accuse Dexter. I guess there was really no way out of the story that ended with Doakes alive, which is just unfortunate.

And then...I was really irritated at Dexter for his smug old "I'll honor his sacrifice by embracing my freedom" bullshit. I know he feels like his problems are all solved (AND BLOWN UP), but would it hurt the bastard to feel sorry about it for a second? I mean, seriously, he wouldn't be dead if it weren't for him anyway. He wouldn't have been in that cage. Lila lit the match, but Dexter covered Doakes in gasoline.

So then because I was kind of annoyed with Dexter, I was EXTREMELY irritated during the aquarium scene because it looked like he was completely backsliding (and it felt like a retread of discovering that Rudy/Brian was someone he could connect with), but thank God, he was just manipulating her so he could kill her. Plus, that scene went on about thirty seconds too long. Even though I hated it initially, in retrospect, it's kind of awesome that Dexter was basically Lila-ing his way into her.

I was expecting a nice, neat kill...and then they showed a female figure entering in the dark, and I knew it was going to be Deb, and aaaaaahhhhh. What a royal fuckstorm that was. FUCKING LILA.

Oh, the credits homage was cute. Heh.

Then, to ratchet up the tension...let's have Lila KIDNAP THE KIDS! And then TRAP THEM ALL IN A BURNING BUILDING WOOO. Christ, woman. That was frightening. And Deb came for him! Go Deb!

I have no earthly idea how Dexter tracked Lila down in Paris, but...hey. Crazy bitch is dead, right? That's all that matters. For a moment there, I thought she might have started some sort of killing spree "inspired" by Dexter.

I was someone who liked Lila initially, specifically because of what Dexter tells her in the aquarium: at the time, it did seem like they were kindred spirits, and she seemed like what Dexter needed. Of course, then she proved herself to be completely obsessed and nutzo, and I feel like she became more of a plot device than a character, even though, as much as I hated her and wanted her to die, I sort of found her fascinating as a destructive force of chaos.

Scattered thoughts before the conclusion: Poor LaGuerta, man. I wish she'd been able to shed more doubt on Doakes; I mean, Lundy seemed to be coming around with the blood analysis angle. And speaking of angles, aw, Angel! Hugging Deb! I'm not too broken up about Lundy and Deb; I think Deb will bounce back, perhaps with someone both age-appropriate and not a serial killer. And, finally, all Dexter has to do is say, "Sorry, James," and I forgive him.

That being said...I'm not entirely sure I understand what's changed for him. Like, "Well, I tried self-analysis, and that didn't really end well, so...fuck that shit"? How has he really grown? If he has appropriated Harry's Code as his own, how is it any different? And IF YOU ARE FUCKING EVOLVING, WHY ARE YOU HIDING YOUR BLOOD SLIDES IN THE SAME STUPID PLACE???

Overall, the finale didn't reach the heights of "Born Free," but it's a tough standard to live up to, much like the entire first season. If the first season was an A+ (well, it was, okay?), I'd say this season was more of an A-. Maybe an A/A-. Not bad, but who knows what's in store for next season? At all? I hope, having given Dexter sort of a new slate, they can drum up an A+ story.

(And maybe Doakes's ghost can "That's right, motherfucker!" from beyond the grave??)
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(32 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:spideychris
Date:December 17th, 2007 08:27 am (UTC)
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Sigh.

Doakes...

You had to die for the story, yet you made the story so good.
From:wee_warrior
Date:December 17th, 2007 08:57 am (UTC)
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at the time, it did seem like they were kindred spirits, and she seemed like what Dexter needed. Of course, then she proved herself to be completely obsessed and nutzo

Well, if she's obsessed and nutzo, they are kind of kindred spirits, aren't they?

I enjoyed much of this season, but Lila really wasn't up to their usual level of writing. Oh well, she's gone now.

As for Dexter having grown, I think he really didn't, and that that's sort of the point. His range of possible human emotions and development is fairly limited, so I guess it's astonishing that he is able to do things like rationalizing his selfish urges to himself. The Dexter of Season One probably would have known that he does what he does to survive, without care for others (as long as they aren't close), but this new one is too advanced for that. Which is kind of a development after all.
(Deleted comment)
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From:spectralbovine
Date:December 17th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
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He didn't know it was Lila, but Doakes was still dead. That hadn't even been part of his plan to begin with; you'd think he could have been the least bit sad.
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From:toughcookie42
Date:December 17th, 2007 11:51 am (UTC)
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You already knew Lila found Doakes from last week. I'm not spoiling you!

I was rather sad that Doakes died. And I was also pissed at Dexter for thinking that letting Doakes take the fall, even post-mortem, was any kind tribute. But then, we already know that Dexter doesn't understand death; he doesn't know any better.

The aquarium scene was just one long "oh, bad Dexter!" followed by "ha HA, good Dexter!"

I liked Deb and Lundy. The age difference was weird, but still appropriate for Deb. Even despite the "father-figure-replacement" angle, Deb needs someone mature and stable and independent.

Fucking Lila. She sucked as a character. And they just dropped the Angel storyline without doing anything. And I don't like how Lila became the Big Bad of the season instead of Doakes or Lundy.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 17th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
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You already knew Lila found Doakes from last week. I'm not spoiling you!
That's what was so confusing! I didn't know whether you had just watched last week's episode or something, or whether something completely surprising happened with Lila and Doakes in the beginning of the episode. Which it did.

And they just dropped the Angel storyline without doing anything.
Yeah, that didn't really go anywhere, did it? Of course, it didn't really have to go anywhere to accomplish what it needed to.
[User Picture]
From:sneaker328
Date:December 17th, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
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So upsetting.

SO UPSETTING.

Dead Doakes is bad enough, but that his name wasn't cleared? Really, really bothers me. I was haunted by it the night I watched it (which was like two weeks ago, man) just remembering all those nice little humanizing Doakes moments like his occasional sweetness towards Deb (and you know I thought they were building to something there) and when he stuck up for Angel after Angel told the truth about the shooting. He was a good cop, and a good man, and he found the real Bay Harbor Butcher. He's a fucking hero, and his legacy is of a serial killer and *no one* else at the precinct besides La Guerta even bothered to express any disbelief. That Dexter was so smug and self-congratulatory about the whole thing, and that the show seemed to have the tone of "Ha ha! Isn't this awesome? Dexter gets a way out without having to kill an innocent man, best of all worlds, cue whimsical music" really pissed me off.
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From:miniglik
Date:December 17th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
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I'm with this person. *waves*

I was going to write out something like "Doakes, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO." But I think I'm actually kind of ticked at the show about it. Like, I get the plot-problems they made for themselves, and that this was probably the only way to resolve it. But I was expecting more and I'll miss the character.

So, while I enjoyed the season thoroughly, I'm not happy with the resolution at all. Doakes death was cheap, and Lila was a pretty crappy antagonist. The crappy one-dimensional minor antagonist went and killed the actual interesting antagonis, thus making Dexter's problems easy to wrap up? Meh.

Meh. Meh. Meh.

But, other than that it was good. :)
[User Picture]
From:lenadances
Date:December 17th, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
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For a moment there, I thought she might have started some sort of killing spree "inspired" by Dexter.

You and me both. I still think it did, even if we didn't hear about it; having been introduced to a really REALLY bad way of messing other people up, Lila's just enough of a crazy bitch to do it.

I am sad about Doakes. Things were SO AWESOME for a while there, even if they were clearly not sustainable just because of who Dexter is and who Doakes was. I am happy that his last word was clearly "motherFUCKER...", though. Oh Doakes.

I know he feels like his problems are all solved (AND BLOWN UP), but would it hurt the bastard to feel sorry about it for a second?

See, I thought that was pretty clever writing, because Dexter isn't really capable of feeling sorry for somebody that he doesn't like. He's got stunted little stubs of emotion attached to Deb and Rita and Angel (and Harry), and he couldn't bring himself to go against the Code and actually kill Doakes, but neither of those things was actual sympathy. Highly functioning, but still a sociopath!

That being said...I'm not entirely sure I understand what's changed for him. ... How has he really grown? If he has appropriated Harry's Code as his own, how is it any different?

I think this was, in a very messy way, the season of Dexter Realizes That Other People Can Be Fucked Up By His Actions, And Not Just In The Stabbity-Stab Way. Now, granted, he's only really getting this in regards to the people that are close to him-- Harry (ouch, suicide!), Deb, Rita, the kids, Angel-- and not so much for other people that he's not already prone to like, such as Doakes and LaGuerta. (More on that momentarily.) So, considering that he started with absolutely no grasp of that whatsoever, that's a big step. He's become, in his way, considerate of them. It's another piece of humanity that he was lacking before, another way to connect. Last season, Dexter was compartmentalized away from everyone; his actions didn't really impact anyone (until he impacted Paul with that skillet, and even then we didn't see the problematic results until this season). This season was a big ol' honking mess for Dex; everything he did resonated in his own life. Part of that was the bodies being found, and part was Lila-- who was kind of the embodiment of what happens when a sociopath doesn't care about what happens to anyone close to them.

So... that's evolved. I think Harry's code had only one purpose (besides his deluded idea that Dexter could be a force for good): keep Dexter alive and hidden. Connecting with other people, becoming more human... those things weren't in the original Code. Dexter has just incorporated them, though. That's progress! Stunted, retarded progress, but progress!

IF YOU ARE FUCKING EVOLVING, WHY ARE YOU HIDING YOUR BLOOD SLIDES IN THE SAME STUPID PLACE???

HAHAHAHA, exactly what I said. I can't help it, I loved that in a stupid way: it seemed like just another sly way that the show undercuts Dexter's inner monologue, showing that in spite of being a highly functioning sociopath who's slowly evolving, he's still got some massive blindspots. I can't remember who I was talking to-- Vonnie, maybe?-- but I said at one point that Dexter has this excellent ability to get the technical aspects of a frame-job right (first Paul, then Doakes), but it'll always seem a little off because he doesn't grasp the human motivation behind these things and, hence, doesn't account for them. Same thing here: he misses the fact that because someone found this hidey-hole already, this is a bad hidey-hole and, on a bigger level, doesn't drop the practice entirely of keeping those trophies. Oh, Dexter.

Also along those lines, I'm pretty sure that Dexter doesn't grasp that LaGuerta is never under any circumstances going to admit that Doakes was the Butcher. I get the feeling that she's going to be looking for more evidence, even now after the case is closed, and that this might figure in with whatever happens next season. I really don't think that's over.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 17th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
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So... that's evolved. I think Harry's code had only one purpose (besides his deluded idea that Dexter could be a force for good): keep Dexter alive and hidden. Connecting with other people, becoming more human... those things weren't in the original Code. Dexter has just incorporated them, though. That's progress! Stunted, retarded progress, but progress!
I like it! Thanks for the explanation. I think you got it.

on a bigger level, doesn't drop the practice entirely of keeping those trophies.
What about those NEW RITUALS, eh, Dexter???

Also along those lines, I'm pretty sure that Dexter doesn't grasp that LaGuerta is never under any circumstances going to admit that Doakes was the Butcher. I get the feeling that she's going to be looking for more evidence, even now after the case is closed, and that this might figure in with whatever happens next season. I really don't think that's over.
Ooooh!! I read a comment that LaGuerta could become the new Doakes, and that makes total sense. Iiiinteresting.
[User Picture]
From:jeeperstseepers
Date:December 17th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC)
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Huh. Why did I think you and I totally had a "Ok, so someone else is going to have to kill Doakes, because Dexter can't kill him but he can't go free. And Dexter's going to have to kill Lila in the end." conversation. Maybe that was just with Michelle. But anyway, yeah, watching the finale last night was kind of boring, because it was all just stuff that we figured had to happen. I don't think there was even one moment of surprise or WTF! When Doakes went 'splodey, it was more of a "it really, really, really sucks that they went ahead and did this instead of surprising me with a clever way out." So I guess you can say that the only thing that really surprised me was that they didn't surprise me at all.

I'd give this season a B-/B, which is a lot better than most shows out there. It's just sad, because S1 was A+. I do intend to keep watching, but I hope it improves at least a little, because I found this whole season incredibly depressing.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 17th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
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So I guess you can say that the only thing that really surprised me was that they didn't surprise me at all.
Heh.

I'd give this season a B-/B, which is a lot better than most shows out there.
Damn, you're a harsh critic! But I already knew that.
[User Picture]
From:maka2000
Date:December 17th, 2007 05:41 pm (UTC)
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Oh my Gawd. I wrote out this big response and it was too big for the comments! By like, 3000 characters! Ack. I think I'll just put it in my own journal. But here's some of what I wrote.

Whoa. That episode! I was watching with a pal, and we literally sat there in silence for a couple of minutes - just staring at the TV - when the episode was finished. It was a lot to deal with!

I...really didn't think they'd kill Doakes! I...didn't think they'd BLOW UP DOAKES for fuck's sake. And, honestly, things like that just end up throwing me off because I can't deal, and I am mad at the show for teasing us with a brave new Dexter/Doakes (Dexter/JAMES) dynamic and then BLOWING IT UP. It just puts me out of whack, and I can't appreciate anything else afterward properly.

That's how I felt too. I was just stunned! I couldn't believe it. So I was all out of sorts the rest of the episode. But you know, when Lila turned up and Doakes was able to tell her (and us) what he was really thinking: he thinks Dex is a psycho and he has all the evidence in the world to bring Dex down - I knew there was no way Doakes could live, since Doakes was a cop who definitely liked to be right, and since the show is called Dexter, not Doakes. Heh. I thought of that later though. At the time, I was just all stressed out wanting Doakes to get away, but not wanting Dex to get caught. *flails*

So then because I was kind of annoyed with Dexter, I was EXTREMELY irritated during the aquarium scene because it looked like he was completely backsliding (and it felt like a retread of discovering that Rudy/Brian was someone he could connect with), but thank God, he was just manipulating her so he could kill her. Plus, that scene went on about thirty seconds too long. Even though I hated it initially, in retrospect, it's kind of awesome that Dexter was basically Lila-ing his way into her.

What's funny about that is, I made my friend pause the episode before that scene got started because I had to say that even though Lila is batshit crazy... I still thought she and Dexter were sort of perfect for each other. At least, perfect for each other's monsters. I said Rita keeps Dex tied to his humanity, but Lila accepts who he really is, unequivocally. Well, unequivocally until you cross her, that is. My pal said he thought Dex should keep both women. Rita could be his day time love, and Lila could be his night time mistress. So when we started the scene again and he started to seduce Lila, we were like, "WOO, we were right! He's going to keep both girlfriends!" But then he said he wanted to move on and he'd already said his goodbyes, and we knew he'd never leave Deb so it had to be a load of poo. Which made us say "WOO, Dexter is smarter than us!" And scarier. Much, much scarier.

To be continued in my journal...
From:metabeta
Date:December 19th, 2007 01:19 pm (UTC)
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My mother wandered into the room while I was watching the finale of "Dexter" and she had only seen the show in snippets so I kept pausing when she asked what was happening so that I could say things like, "See, he saw his mom get chopped up, so it's okay if he's bad!" and "Oh, wow, see how he's holding her arm through the aquarium like that? He's gonna KILL her so much."

Fucking amazing stuff, yo.
[User Picture]
From:zenkitty_714
Date:December 31st, 2007 02:34 am (UTC)
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PC, this is your fault. Entirely. I read the first book, and loved it. Then I heard the other books weren't so good, and I think I won't read them, but I wanted more Dexter, and there you were, gushing about the show. So I bought Season 1, and it sat there for a while as I went "eh. won't be THAT good." Then I got tired of skipped all your spoilers, so I watched the first episode on a Friday night. And then it was Sunday and I had mainlined the entire season. Then I went and BOUGHT SHOWTIME so I could mainline the second season On Demand.

Hi. I'm zenkitty, and I... don't know who I am. Except I'm a Dexter addict.

And it's entirely your fault.

I was so afraid they were going to leave Lila wandering around to be a recurring villian! Then he killed her, yay! no more fucking Lila! but he didn't chop her up! Aw, wasn't that sweet of him?

Poor Doakes. Poor, poor motherfucker Doakes. I'm sorry he died, but I knew he was going to have to die as soon as he caught Dexter and realized he was the BHB. (Show called Dexter, after all.) Having Lila kill him was much less of a Lila-ex-machina than it could have been, too, because they'd set it all up so well for half the season. It was almost inevitable. But poor Doakes; he's a hero, and he's always going to be remembered as a serial killer. That scene at this funeral with NO ONE there was so fucking sad. But LaGuerda is so not letting this go. I predict this is going to play out further in season 3. I'm not surprised that Dex feels no remorse about Doakes' fate - either of them - but I'll be a little pissed if the writers don't. This needs to come back to bite Dex in the butt. Since Lila can't.

Man, this show is so good. I can't believe a show about a fucking serial killer can be this good. Darn you to heck, wee PC! Now I'm obsessed with a tv show, again! Just when I thought I was free! Pusher.

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