First Blood

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: C+ | 2 USERS: D
Leavin' on a Jet Plane…
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!
Hi there! Jeff Long is apparently having trouble with his TV, cable, or both (whatever the problem is, I sympathize) so I'll be subbing in this week. It's good timing in a couple ways -- one, my regular TWoP gig, Mad Men, just ended, so I have a bit more time on my hands now, and two, in my day job as a film producer, I just finished a movie called East Fifth Bliss, which just so happens to star one Michael C. Hall. And while I've previously recapped the work of both actors and writers I know personally, I've never been quite this excited to do it, both because Dexter is one of my favorite shows and because MCH is just that awesome both as an actor and a person. But rather than extend the gush-fest, let's get to this week's offering:

One other thing before we get started: The rivers of blood Dexter spills in service of his Dark Passenger have never bothered me in the slightest, but I have to fast-forward through the opening credits every time because the part where he cuts himself shaving makes me want to jump out of my skin. That's just me, right?

Speaking of that blood I was saying doesn't bother me, we open on a swirling red screen as DVO tells us that we all have something to hide -- "some dark place inside us we don't want the world to see." For me, that's currently the place that hides the knowledge that I've recently become addicted to REO Speedwagon songs from my youth -- whoops -- but I'm thinking Dexter's referring to something more nefarious. As the camera backs away a bit, the color on screen changes, and as DVO goes on that we pretend everything's okay by "wrapping ourselves in rainbows," and anyone who thinks that's a panacea hasn't been following the DADT debate lately.

Regardless, a rainbow of different-colored fabric moves through our field of vision before it's lifted up to reveal our hero -- he and several parents are hoisting up a multicolored carousel-tent-esque canopy over their children as part of, presumably, some organized outing. DVO tells us he wants to believe that Harrison's witnessing his mother's demise hasn't turned him into a monster, but just then, one of the other kids screams in pain, and when his mother and another woman attend to him, they see he's got a scratch on his face. They conclude that it must have been innocent roughhousing on the part of one of his classmates, but as they take him away, he points over their shoulders at Harrison all J'accuse!, and Dexter is freaked not just at the occurrence but that Harrison actually got rid of the evidence on his own finger. And given that the most efficient way for him to have done so was for him to slurp the blood up like it was his afternoon juice, I can understand why Dexter would feel like he has cause for concern here. Anyway, Dexter wisely figures he'd better get Harrison out of there before the wounded child learns how to talk... let's cut to a close-up of Julia Stiles's hands tearing open a packet of sugar, and given the pile of granules on the table in front of her she obviously needs to find a different way to occupy them. I'd suggest a smartphone and a Twitter app -- while hardly more productive, they at least won't attract ants.

Dexter walks into the coffeehouse where Lumen is most thrillingly occupying her time, and when he joins her, she notes that he always looks disappointed when he sees her, like he was hoping to find an empty table. "Guilty," replies DVO, and I think they tend to overuse the VO for exposition quite often but I will never tire of mental hilarities like that one. Dexter tells Lumen that she should really consider his advice that she leave town and go home, but she asks, "If you had something horrible happen to you, could you just forget about it and move on?" He replies that he'd want to, and I assume he's talking about his childhood trauma but I'd like to imagine he's referring to the cheap technique the writers just used there. Surely Dexter is aware of the parallel -- in fact, especially given what he's going through with Harrison, it's exactly why he wants to divert her from the path of revenge -- so for the writers to give us this on-the-nose line for a One To Grow On moment is insulting. I mean, I know I'm coming from Mad Men, The Show Where Unnecessary Dialogue Goes To Die, but still.

Anyway, Lumen, after making sure that packet of sugar will never, ever hurt anyone again, asks Dexter to help her find those guys and kill them, as she saw him dispose of Boyd. "You knew what you were doing." Unfortunately, the arrival of the waitress stops Dexter from surveying her on the specifics ("Did you really think so? I thought I could have dragged out the death blow just maybe a second and a half longer"), and when she asks him if he'd like "the usual," I wonder about his choice of venue here, as it seems sloppy for him to be seen with sugar-packet-shredding Lumen by anyone who could pick him out of a lineup. When the waitress is gone, hopefully not to call Joey Quinn about the poster he dropped off earlier, Dexter tells Lumen in hushed tones that if she pursues this course of action, things will only get worse -- it will open up something inside her she'll regret ever learning was there. And while this is meant to frighten her in more than one way, as well it might given what she saw Dexter do, she kind of stupidly says she can't trust him, since she doesn't even know his last name.

Anyway, the scene goes on too long here, but suffice it to say that she is not going to be swayed from her path, and when he presents her with a plane ticket to Minneapolis he says he purchased with miles, she shakes her head in frustration and leaves, but not without taking the ticket with her. And if his use of miles ends up leading someone to link the two of them together, he's got no one to blame but himself. You'd think he wouldn't be so dumb, but given that DVO is all "Great, one less problem I have to deal with" to himself, you'd apparently be wrong. He does follow up with a "Maybe it'll snow this week" to himself, but... if he doesn't think she's going to leave, why is the conversation over? I mean, shouldn't he be a little surer that she's not going to do anything that will end up pointing to him? Isn't that slightly more important than picking up his drycleaning?

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