Monday, November 22, 2010

Review - Dexter Season 5 Episode 9 Teenage Wasteland

While "Teenage Wasteland" offers little storyline development and any excitement, it poses some interesting questions about Dexter and his entire existence. The usual tension on Dexter rarely gets to me because I know Dexter will get away scot-free, so I don't watch the show for the moments where Dexter may or may not get caught, knowing the momentum will be dissipated at the end of the season. Inevitably, the layers of problems pile up, but Dexter will always slip out.

On the other hand, Dexter's pathology is inescapable. It's been established that he's a sociopathic killer who managed to stay out of prison and mostly dishedout justice because Harry taught him how and who to kill. Other than that, Dexter doesn't really want anything and does stuff to either help his killings or keep up a believable facade.

When Astor shows up on Dexter's doorstep with a friend, however, everything we see about Dexter is turned on its head. Dexter really connects with Astor, forcing himself to listen to her, and at the same time, kicking the shit out of Astor's friend's mother's boyfriend (three possessives in a row ftw!) to protect Astor and her friend. Dexter hits a moment of clarity at the end of the episode: he wants to be a good father. We may have seen Dexter do things out of character in the past, but this is the first time he's internalized his behavior into a coherent though which can carry over to the future.

And Harry wonders, seeing Dexter care so deeply about Astor, whether he was correct in leading Dexter down this murderous path. What if he could have prevented Dexter from killing entirely? Although there's no going back, it raises the question whether it was, in fact, Harry who led Dexter down the wrong path.

After Dexter gets a blood sample from Jordan Shaw's necklace and runs the DNA, he gets a hit on a woman. Shaw, meanwhile, realizes something is amiss and calls Dexter's home. Lumen picks up, in a scene Julia Stiles does very well, and she nearly breaks down every time Shaw speaks. The final kicker is that Shaw knows Lumen's on the other end.

There was less of the subplots than usual and there's a good reason why. The couples are fighting and being boring.

I've never liked Dexter for the tension, possibility of people getting killed, or Dexter overcomming insurmountable odds, but for the character of Dexter, not that he kills people, but how he views himself and who he actually is. "Teenage Wasteland" adds yet another layer to his character as we see him care for Astor first and foremost, all the while tending to Lumen's needs.

Score: 9.0/10
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