Tension and Release 201: “It’s Alive”

In the wake of the late Ice Truck Killer, and Dexter’s brother Brian Moser, Debra has moved into Dexter’s apartment and Sergeant Doakes is on Dexter’s tail now more than ever. After hounding Rita to look for his missing shoe, and Rita still refusing to help him, Paul gets into a prison altercation, leading to his death. As if Doakes’ suspicions, Debra’s instability, and Rita’s deliberations aren’t enough on his plate, local scuba divers uncover Dexter’s watery grave, and threaten to take him down.

Dark Shadows: Sergeant James Doakes

Sergeant Doakes emerges as Dexter’s main threat this season. Their devils and demons are now dancing, as Dexter so poetically puts it, and now Dexter will forever hear Doakes’ voice in the back of his head, Big Brother-esque, saying: “I’m watching you.” As “a human bloodhound incited by the scent of darkness,” Doakes reveals that he has been researching Dexter the way he looks into his own victims, which is visibly disturbing to our beloved vigilante. He relentlessly shadows Dexter in hopes of witnessing his Dark Passenger. The fact that we perceive everything Dexter does with double entendres in mind creates the tension for these interactions. Watching Dexter scrape and smooth the holes of his bowling ball makes us cringe, for we know he is very good with his tools. It also makes us want to shout, “Dexter, hide! Doakes is watching!”

This Big Brother act finally lets up and Dexter has time to breathe. The first time Doakes lets up, he goes after Jimmy Sensio High Priest and fails; the second time, he meets his match with Little Chino.

[Credit: Google Images]

Politics in Miami Metro

With Maria LaGuerta as a working detective, recently pushed off her pedestal of Lieutenant by Captain Matthews, she has it in for the current Lieutenant, Esme Pascal, for being the woman above her. Their first difference in opinion arises when Debra returns to work after her fatal rendezvous with the Ice Truck Killer; Pascal wants to send Deb back into the field, whereas LaGuerta feels Debra is not ready to return to work. On the surface, LaGuerta appears to challenge Pascal’s authority, for she has a tough time taking orders rather than dealing them out; however, LaGuerta’s judgment is spot-on. Deb is immediately harassed at the crime scene after being recognized as “Mrs. Ice Truck Killer.”

We see three dozen roses in Pascal’s trash, which alludes to a later altercation between Esme and her fiancée. LaGuerta tries to hide in the precinct, while relishing in the details of this altercation; however, Esme discovers that she overheard the fight and decides to delve into the details. We discover that her fiancée is being unfaithful and “fucking some bitch.” LaGuerta is visibly uncomfortable, which appears to stem from her reluctance to form alliances with anyone in the office, as well as the fact that Esme is trying to be her friend, even though she could very well be Maria’s enemy. As Debra highlights, LaGuerta is also perturbed by the fact that she has to give up the limelight to yet another woman – herself. Deb highlights: “she’s just pissed the Ice Truck Killer fucked me instead of her.”

La Familia

As a good brother should, Dexter allows Deb to stay with him in the wake of Debra’s traumatic engagement. She seems to be coping just fine by working out far too much and joking around about her situation, but her freak out in the bar is proof that LaGuerta was right: Deb’s not quite right just yet. Deb’s PTSD is clearly taking its toll on Dexter and his sanity, especially when combined with Doakes taking his role of Big Brother so seriously. Deb does remind Dexter, however, that they only have each other. Dexter doesn’t think that it is “such a great bargain for [Deb];” however, Deb says: “I’m not complaining.”

A major underpinning for the series emerges once again as Paul warns Rita that “Dexter’s not who you think he is.” Just as Dexter is keen on sniffing out fellow serial killers (with the exception of his own brother, just as well-disguised as himself), Paul senses that Dexter has a dark side. Paul asks Rita to look for evidence that would exonerate him from his supposed heroin overdose; however, Rita is reluctant to spoil her healthy relationship with Dexter in order to bail him out of jail.

When in the bar, Deb reminds us that Rita and Dexter are united because Deb answered her domestic dispute call and took Paul away in handcuffs; similarly, Dexter and Harry are brought together and became family all because of a crime scene. Dexter and Debra’s lives will forever be embedded in crime and investigation. Dexter often accuses Deb of submerging herself in her work too deeply; however, it seems as if their lineage demands that they do so.

Paul’s death forces Rita to beg the question: Who is Dexter Morgan? Although it seems as though Rita wants to blame Dexter for Paul’s death, and perhaps even his overdose, her subsequent breakdown proves that love is blind indeed. She is willing to look away from clear evidence that Dexter may have an alter ego in order to salvage herself and live on. Perhaps two dark partners would be too much for her to handle, and understandably so. It is interesting, however, to take note of the fact that this mini-realization/denial takes place in the very spot where Paul loses his shoe, and where Rita keeps her trash cans.

Dexter’s Kill Room, Little Chino

It is clear that something is eating Dexter Morgan: I can only explain this by way of the idea that he actually felt remorse when killing his brother, or emotions other than those typically experienced in his kill room. Perhaps the memory and mourning of his late brother, in combination with those foreign feelings, are to blame for his flub when failing to kill Jimmy Sensio High Priest. Perhaps Sensio placed a curse on Dexter, or maybe the chickens threw him off; however, one thing is for certain. Dexter’s got a case of Kill Room Impotence.

My inner (and outer) homosexual drew me to the fact that Dexter’s urge to kill and succeed revitalizes itself the very moment that Little Chino walks into Miami Metro. There is a hint of wonder, awe, and arousal in Dexter Morgan’s eyes as he observes his prey. He is a challenge that “could restore [Dexter’s] world.” This invincible man, if Dexter can take him down (which he can only do with two M-99s), will fortify his hunger and lust for the kill.

Once Little Chino is on the table, Dexter says he is “ready, willing, [and] able” to take down the “eighth wonder of the world;” however, the lack of duct tape allows the “Beef Bus” to escape (thanks, Deb, for that description, which I guarantee echoed her brother’s thoughts). The sheer size of the man suggests he is a monstrosity, a beast, which is my only idea for the title “It’s Alive!”.

The Bay Harbor Butcher

The flashbacks within 201 reveal to us that young Dexter believes he is a psychopath; Harry, however, tells him to stop studying that “psychopath shit,” for he is “in control of [his] urges, not the other way around.” This will be important to keep in mind as we progress throughout the series, for it has come up for debate several times as to whether Dexter is a psychopath or a sociopath. These flashbacks highlight that if Dexter cannot stalk, hunt, and kill prey, he has a breakdown, which is exactly what we witness in this episode. All Dexter wants is to feel, and feel he does!

We see that Dexter has what appears to be a treasure chest to keep his kill tools in, which is interesting given the fact that his “underwater graveyard” is discovered upon looking for the sunken Santa Rosa. This entire sequence reminded me of how they uncovered the portrait of the naked Rose in Titanic, and Dexter’s reaction to his art being uncovered by the world is just the same, televised and all. He will not exactly approach these people and tell his story; however, we do have this series and his narration in its place.

What the scuba divers uncover first is a butcher knife, a severed arm, foot, and head. It is clear that Dexter will now be under the gun, as is evident by his pounding heart. Not only will Miami Metro be looking for a killer that lives and  breathes under their very noses, but Deb is looking to “finally get some peace” in hunting and taking down a serial killer perceived to be “way worse than [even] the Ice Truck Killer.” And we thought Deb had trust issues now … wait until she discovers her brother is the Bay Harbor Butcher!

Dexter: A Comedy

Dexter’s bowling team is named Bowl ‘til You Bleed.

When Jimmy Sensio is on Dexter’s kill table, Dexter asserts that he is “not one to discriminated based on race, gender, or disability.”

Dexter pulls up a porn tab in order to hide the fact that he is researching Jimmy Sensio from Doakes.

Maria LaGuerta’s evidence for Debra still being unwell: “She hugged me!”


And now to put a “number” on this episode. Dexterity (neat-handedness, puns, trickery, clever sayings, placements, etc.) will judge all of the small things that I pick up on. The higher the score, the more fun I had picking apart the episode for hidden clues. Entertainment (how much I laughed and enjoyed the episode) will judge how excited I was on average throughout the episode, as well as after it for the upcoming episodes. Xtremity (how dramatic, but also how believable the episode was, edge-of-the-seat, white knuckles, the “holy shit” factor) will judge just how jaw-dropping the episode was.

Dexterity: 7

Entertainment: 8

Xtremity:  9

DEX-Factor: 8


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