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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dexter Hits Its Stride, Weeds Leaves Us Hanging

Attention: the following review contains spoilers. I, personally, love a good spoiler, but I don't want to ruin it for the rest of you and have to sift through hate mail so...close this window now if you don't want to know what happened to Nancy Botwin or if you still don't know who the Ice Truck Killer is.

In its fifth episode, Dexter really hits its stride. Dexter offs some baddies who make their living hustling Cubans into Florida (and murdering the ones who can't pay for the service). Meanwhile, the Ice Truck Killer (we presume) follows Dex on his kill and decides to turn the cops onto his trail. That's right, one serial killer is outing the other. The relationship between Dex and Rita is becoming very sweet, and I get the sense that Dexter is starting to understand what love is (while he's stalking one of his victims on a yacht, Dexter thinks "I wonder if Rita and the kids would like fishing? No, no, focus..."). I also like the fact that Rita's character is becoming more developed; she is not just a two-dimensional love interest, she has her own story line and her own personality. Now that Dexter has piqued my interest, I wonder how it could possibly maintain its momentum to the end of the series. Here is my biggest question: will Dexter stick with the same plot line as the book, thus introducing the same character as the killer? The show has begun to deviate from the book's plotline already, so it is very possible that the show's writers have something special in mind. Personally, I would appreciate that because the end of the book is a big disappointment. I have big respect for the Law of Economy of Characters, which states that there are no unnecessary characters, and all characters are really clues to the plot's mystery. The Law has driven some of the greatest films and television shows ever: The Usual Suspects, The Woman in White, Twin Peaks, Psycho, Dressed to Kill and Desperate Housewives to name a few. Saw, while fundamentally flawed, used the Law brilliantly, introducing the killer early while planting the notion that he could not possibly be the killer (what with the terminal cancer and all). I absolutely hate it when a film (I'm looking at you, Bone Collector) introduces a total stranger as the killer. It makes me feel cheated, because it means I never had a chance of figuring out who the killer was the whole time. Dexter, if it stays true to its source material, should be introducing Dexter's brother Brian any episode now. If they wait for the last episode of the season to trot out an evil twin, I'm going to fashion wax effigies of the writers and set them on fire.

Weeds had its season finale yesterday; one of the best season finales I have ever seen. Jenji Kohan borrows an awful lot from Tarantino in the final episode, but that particular style fits with the complex characters structure and subject matter in the show. I have never held my breath while watching a sitcom, but Weeds manages to create such suspense in the cliffhanger ending, I had no choice but to clutch onto my coffee mug in anticipation. Here's the lowdown: Celia finds out that Silas took all of the drug free zone cameras and signs. She comes to Nancy's house with a gun (oh, Celia) and shoots Nancy's china cabinet, then stumbles off to crawl inside a bottle of Belvedere. Nancy attends Shane's graduation (at which he gives a very Abby Hoffmanesque speech) and then goes off to meet UTurn and Peter for the buy. Peter, however, is taken by surprise when the Armenians grab him and drag him into a garage. I have a feeling that that's the end of Peter, because the next time we see the Armenians they are spattered with blood and they don't look like they're bleeding. UTurn and the Armenians are both standing in Nancy's--sorry, Lacy LaPlante's--growhouse kitchen holding guns at her head telling her that they want to take her weed. She goes to open the safe to give it to them and...she finds a drug free zone sign. Yes, Silas, her 16-year-old son, has stolen her weed in order to muscle in on "the family business." Stupid child. With eight semi-automatic weapons aimed at her face, Nancy calls her son...just as he is being accosted by a police officer for stealing Celia's cameras. In the meanwhile, Shane runs off with Cat, Andy runs after them with Cat's Inuit bounty hunter, and Doug and Dean get into a girly slap fight at their kids' graduation party. Now for my complaint: Weeds is a 26-minute show that lasts 12 episodes a season. That is so not fair. I'm not sure I can wait until next August to see what happens, so, um, Showtime, if you are listening, bring the damn show back in February instead of August. I'm serious, your fans don't want to wait, and this fickle world of cable television, you can't afford to disappoint them


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