Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cheers for Fears!

Dexter wrapped up its fourth season on Sunday, delivering Showtime its highest ratings ever and giving a gruesome Christmas present to most Dexter fans.

This season again followed the formula by bringing in a Big Bad nemesis for Dexter and stirring ambivalent feelings within him. However, they managed to up the creepy factor by bringing in John Lithgow as the Trinity killer, a psycho who slips into bathtubs to slice open womens' femoral arteries, then forces housewives to plunge to their death, and in his spare time, he also enjoys clubbing men to death with framing hammers. Not exactly pina coladas and getting caught in the rain as personal ads go, but hey. And oh yeah, if that wasn't enough, he also does some unspeakable (and unshowable on even Showtime) things to ten year old boys. Still not convinced he's a monster? He called his wife a cunt at Thanksgiving dinner! Oh yes he did! It was quite possibly the quote of fall TV. "Shut up, Cunt."

Dexter certainly does want to kill this guy as one of his trophy targets. But it's the discovery that Trinity does have a wife, and a couple of children, that throws Dexter off his game as he feels compelled to "learn" from this guy to see how exactly he pulls off this balancing act of being a bloodthirsty psycho while incorporating a family life as cover. Along the way this season, Dexter made some uncharacteristic mistakes while trying to juggle all his responsibilities as a father, husband, blood spatter analyst, brother, and an accomplished serial killer in his own right.

I'll admit, the pace of this season did test me at times, but in every episode were some hidden delights. Michael C. Hall's portrayal of Dexter is still absolutely riveting. And John Lithgow was...well, John Lithgow. He was terrifying like no other adversary and brought a level of revulsion previously missing. The big delight of the season, though, was Jennifer Carpenter as Deb, Dex's sister. She had a trying season, as always, but she was absolutely heartbreaking in some of her scenes and seems to have really upped her game.

This year, the show fixed one of its finale flaws. In seasons past, the penultimate episode generally had the big shocks while the finale was often a letdown. This year, they saved the best for last, and for most hardcore fans, it wasn't just seeing Dexter ultimately dispose of the deranged Trinity. It was the big final twist, which really had been speculated since mid-season, but I don't think anyone really thought they'd actually do it. Dexter did get Trinity on his table, but unbeknownst to him, Trinity beat him to the punch and paid a visit to Dexter's home. When Dexter returned from his Trinity kill, feeling refreshed and reinvigorated and newly devoted to his family, he discovered his wife Rita dead in the bathtub.

At this moment, normal audiences would've gasped in horror. But we're Dexter fans here, people. We're allowed to take the joy and squeal as though we just opened a present on Christmas Eve. I mean, come on. It's RITA. She's just always been a dirge and fucking annoying and cramping Dexter's style, and this season she became insufferable. And since she's not a real person, but just a character in a show, I squealed with reckless abandon, loving every second of it. I even applauded.

Well done, Dexter. Well done.

Flesh for Fantasy

In other show news, are you watching Chef Academy still? If not, here's what you missed: Emmanuel naked! That's right, this week was literally the battle of French Ass. Chef Novelli, who simply is an ass, and Emmanuel, who showed his. Oh, you knew it was coming, right? Yeah, they made him strip down to just his apron to serve a special dessert to another classmate, and he even let her fondle his ass for an extremely prolonged period. Again, totally contrived show. But it's a contrived show with a great ass!

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