Monday, October 8, 2012

Showtime Dexter “My Brother's Keeper" #702 "Sunshine and Frosty Swirl”

On Sunday ,October 7th, episode 2 of season 7 of ShowTime’s “Dexter was aired. The name of the episode is “Sunshine and Frosty Swirl.”  You have to see the episode to understand the relevance of that name. It is actually quite poignant.

I’m renaming the episode, “My Brother’s Keeper” because that is the main theme of the episode. Deb has decided that she can be her brother Dexter’s own personal rehab.  She tells him that she  is not going  to arrest him. One, she is an accessory after the fact now. But more importantly, she can’t bear the thought of her brother in prison for the rest of his life… or worse.  She can’t bring herself to say the words, but they do live in Florida, and Florida is second only to Texas in how much they love the death penalty.

One small question:  Has Deb gone absolutely nuts?  She is going to be therapist and 24 hour supervisor of a serial killer while holding down her job at the police department.  Another small question: Deb decided that Dexter should live with her so she can monitor his every move. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Deb to move into Dexter’s apartment? How does Dexter explain to his baby sitter for his toddler–age son that she is on 24-hour duty now because he has moved out. Why does the baby sitter agree to work 24 hours a day?  (How can Dexter afford to pay her for 24-hour days?)

Deb thinks she can supervise Dexter, but it isn’t more than a day or two before her ability to do this is proven to be next to nil. Dexter wants to go out, so he drugs his sister’s dinner. She later finds out that Dexter slipped out, but she thinks it was because she was sleeping too soundly.    

She finds out because Dexter tells her. (One small question: Does Dexter think it is wise to let Deb know that he can give her the slip at will?) He’s parked his car on some quiet highway, perhaps a rest area. He calls Deb to come and meet him for a talk. Then he says he needs to be alone for a little while and Deb docilely leaves. Some 24-hour watch she is keeping!

The reason Dexter needs to be alone is that he has Louis in the trunk of his car. He had drugged him, planning to kill him, but he changed his mind. Instead he called his sister for a tete-a-tete right by the car. Dexter wants to reform, so after his sister leaves he puts Louis on a bench and leaves him there to sleep it off.

Dexter and Louis are having a bit of a tiff, if I may totally understate the problem. Louis, who is an intern at the police department and the boyfriend of Dexter’s baby sitter, spent five years developing a video game called “Serial Killer.“ He asked Dexter’s opinion of the game, and Dexter went ballistic . He emphatically told Louis the idea was terrible.  Louis has been trying to get even with Dexter. He obtained a piece of evidence, a mannequin arm, dating back to the “Ice Truck Killer”  in season 1 and anonymously sent it to Dexter. He’s a computer whiz, so he hacked into Dexter’s credit card accounts and canceled them all. Little stuff like that makes Dexter angry.

He pays Louis a visit at his home and tries to scare the living daylights out of him.  Dexter tells Louis he never wants to see him again. He must quit the police department and leave his babysitter. Dexter is one scary dude when he gets really really angry, sort of like “The Hulk” without all the turning green. Louis says he’ll go, but he brazenly ignores Dexter and acts like nothing has happened. That is when Dexter decides that stronger measures are called for. He sneaks out of the house, goes to Louis’ home, drugs him intending to kill him, but ultimately relents.

Several small questions: Dexter doesn’t get angry. He’s always calm and in control. Is this fury with Louis part of his spiral out of control? Killing Louis would be against the code (to stay nothing about how difficult it would be to cover it up. Louis is far from the nicest guy in the world, but he’s not a killer. (However, the fact that he developed a game about a serial killer leaves a little room for wonder.) Was Dexter about to deliberately go against the code? Is this more evidence that he is spiraling out of control?

Dexter describes his urges to kill to Deb. He says he starts to see blood, more and more blood, turning from red to black, and the feeling that he must kill builds inside of him.  A small question: In the past, it always seemed that Dexter killed just because he came across a “bad guy’ who “needed killing.” It never seemed to be a spontaneous urge. So why is Dexter saying that blood-hallucinations” make him kill? Perhaps both things were going on at the same time. A killer would make him see the blood. The blood would make him seek out a killer.  

Now to the “Sunshine and Frosty Swirl” part of the show. A serial killer who had been in prison for quite a while has volunteered to lead the police to the bodies of some of the women he has killed. He says that he wants to clear his conscience. Dexter gets himself assigned to the scene and Deb, unwilling to let him out of her sight, follows along. Naturally, Dexter finds a way to talk to the orange jump-suited and chained prisoner.  Dexter can never resist an opportunity to talk to a serial killer—he is fascinated with the subject.

The prisoner says that “he just let it go” and now he is at peace without any urges to kill. Dexter buys them both a Frosty Swirl from the ice cream store across the street and they both chat convivially as they stand in the sunshine and eat their ice cream. Dexter is starting to believe that it is possible to change. 

But things are not what they seem. Suddenly, the prisoner hurls himself into the street in the path of a truck. Dexter realizes, as he stands there with blood splatter on his face, that it was all a con. This is the “I-never-saw-this-coming” moment of the week. The prisoner couldn’t stand life in prison any longer, but before he made his final exit, he wanted just a few more days standing in the sunshine and eating his favorite treat, Frosty Swirl ice cream, still made with real ice cream.

I have a feeling that this event is going to haunt Dexter.
There is something else that might haunt Dexter when he eventually learns about it. He killed a mobster in the last episode and the mafia bosses are none to pleased with his disappearance and probable murder. They question the boyfriend of the dead stripper that the mobster murdered because they believe the boyfriend may have murdered the mobster. In another unexpected moment, he’s stabbed with a knife in the eye, and falls to the ground dead. How will Dexter feel when he discovers that his actions led to this man’s death? Will it contribute to his spiral to the state of out-of-control?  

I’m afraid I have to say that this episode was somewhat disappointing, despite some good moments. I think there were too many “small questions” interfering with my “suspension of disbelief.”

This picture of Dexter and Deb having a "therapy session" at the side of the road came from
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