"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dexter 7.4: The Lesson in Speltzer's Smoke

As I said in my review of the first three episodes of Dexter season 7, this may be the best season of Dexter, ever, and certainly the best since the last superb Dexter season - which would be the Trinity season.  It's so satisfying that Deb now knows.  Her struggle to come to terms with that knowledge, and Dexter's struggle to in turn deal with that, is story with Shakespearean potential.  And so far the season its living up to that.

Episode 7.4 can be considered an act in three parts, in the unfolding story of Debra and Dexter.

Act 1 finds Deb unaccepting of who Dexter is, an emotion which is strengthened by Deb's success in breaking Speltzer - getting him to confess - with a brilliant interrogation.  If the system works - if it can put monsters like Speltzer away - than you don't need a benevolent serial killer like Dexter to do job.  Riding on this wave, Deb even tells Dexter that Harrison is not safe with him.

Act 2 begins with Speltzer set free because the clumsy cops who arrested him didn't recite his Miranda rights in a way that indicated he understood them.  It's all on video.   The system may be not so reliable after all, and Deb is torn.  When she sees Speltzer lording it over on the sidelines after his latest victim's funeral, she almost loses it.  Later, she and Dexter talk about her feelings.  She's moved from being horrified by what Dexter does to being pro and con - she can see its value, but still can't accept that Dexter is a serial killer.  It's one of many especially superb scenes between Deb and Dexter this year - powerfully acted by Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall (formerly a couple in real life).   The conversation concludes with Dexter turning the tables on Deb - after assuring her that he hasn't changed, he'll always still be there for her, he wonders if she'll be there for him.  Her answer is ambiguous.

And that brings us to Act 3, in which Dexter gets the better of Speltzer and sends him on to his just desert in a crematorium.  Several things are different about this kill.   Not only is Speltzer incinerated, but Dexter includes his slide collection in the fire.  This is not the first time Dexter realized he'd be better off - less vulnerable - without his trophies.   But this time it could be different.  The slides are what gave Deb the most revulsion - brought her the realization that Dexter was not just a vigilante, but a true serial killer, who took pleasure in his kills to the point of keeping trophies.   When Dexter says goodbye to his "friends" - the slides - he's saying goodbye to the part of him that caused Deb the most pain, and put the most distance between them.

Deb doesn't know that Dexter did this.  But she picks Dexter up in her car, and Dexter points to the smoke rising above the crematorium, and tells her the smoke is Speltzer.  And when Dexter asks her how feels about Speltzer in that smoke - the smoke that Dexter made - Deb says she feels "glad".

This is a signal moment in Deb's coming to accept Dexter.  It will be crucial as this season's story unfolds, and Laguerta increasingly looks into the one slide that escaped fires.

See also Dexter Season 7.1-3: Sneak Preview Review

And see also Dexter Season 6 Sneak Preview Review ... Dexter 6.4: Two Numbers and Two Killers Equals? ... Dexter 6.5 and 6.6: Decisive Sam ... Dexter 6.7: The State of Nebraska ... Dexter 6.8: Is Gellar Really Real? .... Dexter 6.9: And Gellar Is ... ... Dexter's Take on Videogames in 6.10 ...Dexter and Debra:  Dexter 6.11 ... Dexter Season 6 Finale: Through the Eyes of a Different Love

And see also Dexter Season Five Sneak Preview Review ... Dexter 5.4: Dexter's Conscience ...Dexter 5.8 and Lumen ... Dexter 5.9: He's Getting Healthier ... Dexter 5.10: Monsters -Worse and Better ... Dexter 5.11: Sneak Preview with Spoilers  ... Dexter Season 5 Finale: Behind the Curtain

And see also
 Dexter Season 4: Sneak Preview Review ... The Family Man on Dexter 4.5 ...Dexter on the Couch in 4.6 ... Dexter 4.7: 'He Can't Kill Bambi' ... Dexter 4.8: Great Mistakes ...4.9: Trinity's Surprising Daughter ... 4.10: More than Trinity ... 4.11: The "Soulless, Anti-Family Schmuck" ... 4.12: Revenges and Recapitulations

See also reviews of Season 3Season's Happy Endings? ... Double Surprise ... Psychotic Law vs. Sociopath Science ... The Bright, Elusive Butterfly of Dexter ... The True Nature of Miguel ...Si Se Puede on Dexter ... and Dexter 3: Sneak Preview Review

Reviews of Season 2Dexter's Back: A Preview and Dexter Meets Heroes and 6. Dexter and De-Lila-h and 7. Best Line About Dexter - from Lila and 8. How Will Dexter Get Out of This? and The Plot Gets Tighter and Sharper and Dex, Doakes, and Harry and Deb's Belief Saves Dex and All's ... Well

See also about Season 1First Place to Dexter 

"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

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