It looks like the writers have a hold of the pacing of their show. Much better than “Crocodile”, this episode satisfies plot development and gives us a much more meatier flashback sequence.
I think I have identified the structure of a Dexter episode: Ice Truck Killer arc, individual criminal that Dexter targets, and a case that the police deal with, plus Dexter’s and Rita’s relationship, accompanied by a couple of subplots from subsidiary characters. Now that I have identified it, I think I’ll feel more comfortable with the show because familiarity breeds comfort. That’s why I love 24 and The Shield and Breaking Bad: Jack Bauer and Walter White (and Pinkman!), and Vic Mackey are characters that I enjoy watching simply because I have witnessed their actions and emotions for a long time and feel for them. That’s where great TV shows beat out great movies. It takes time to develop characters and only TV shows have it. But you can’t compare the two mediums anyway.
For me, “Popping Cherry” was like an icebreaker (seeing this line makes me think there’s a pun in icebreaker). It started off with this nice line from Dexter: “Most people have a hard time dealing with death, but I’m not most people; it’s the grief that makes me uncomfortable. Not because I’m a killer, really, I just don’t understand all that emotion. Which makes it tough to fake.” And then we moved on to the usual. Something I really liked about this episode was the fact that it showed us Dexter’s first “job”and how Harry explains to Dexter that his target is a bad person and must be stopped. There was dark humor when it happened, and it made me chuckle. It answered my question from the last post and it also fulfilled my expectation in the relationship between Laguerta and Deb. It is so typical of cop shows to pit a detective against a lieutenant (most famously between Vic and Aceveda) and I can’t wait to see a catfight between these women. I wonder why cop shows deal with serial killers who target only prostitutes? Why don’t they get different victims? Dutch on The Shield caught one, and now the Ice Truck Killer is on Dexter ( I haven’t seen any other cop related shows). Just something to make note of.
Another thing I liked in this episode was how Dexter dealt with two people: a guy from Rita’s past and his new target. Dexter’s target in this episode was a scrawny kid and when he tells Dexter that he killed someone who raped him, Dexter looks sympathetic, even empathetic. Was Dexter abused? Is that why he went to a foster home? But Dexter has rules, and he cannot kill someone who has killed for a purpose, as he does. I also like the chemistry between Dexter and Rita and her kids. The reason for this subplot (to me) is probably to show Dexter’s disconnected feelings and how that will change as the story goes on.
Good stuff from America’s favorite serial killer.