I like this.
I like this.
There was a lot of coincidences in the latest episode of Dexter. In fact, I would argue that there were perhaps more coincidences than were necessary.
For instance, I can accept that — having killed his latest victim — Kurt would just happen to drive up on Harrison while the latter was trying to run away from home. And I can accept that Kurt would possibly see Harrison as being a kindred spirit. It’s not just that Harrison and Kurt both have homicidal tendencies. It’s also that they’re both people who feel like they’re on the outside of normalcy looking in. Harrison probably reminds Kurt of himself as a teenager and, by mentoring Harrison, it’s possible that Kurt can try to fix the mistakes that he made while raising Matt. Either that or he just wants to make Harrison his new partner in his side hustle, murdering hitchhikers.
I can accept all of that. I mean, this is Dexter that we’re talking about. Dexter requires a certain suspension of disbelief in order for the show to work. If you spend too much time focusing on the chances of two serial killers actually ending up in the same small town in upstate New York, you’re never going to have time to appreciate Dexter’s sense of the macabre.
However, the show also asked me to believe that Angela and Molly would just happen to be in New York at the same time as Angel (David Zayas) and that Angel would just happen to be talking about the murders previously committed by the man that Angela now knows as Jim Lindsay. I mean, it was good to see Angel again and I’m glad he’s still wearing the hat but his sudden appearance was a bit too convenient. It was also very convenient that, earlier in the episode, a drugged Harrison told Audrey that his father was using a fake name and that Audrey later told Angela, at the exact moment that Angela was having her first doubts about Jim/Dexter. The episode ended with Angela printing out an old obituary for Dexter Morgan, one that featured Dexter’s picture.
From the start of Dexter: New Blood, it has been obvious that Angela was going to learn that Jim was actually Dexter. We all knew it was going to happen but I was hoping that Angela would learn the secret as the result of her own investigations, as opposed to just happening to attend the same random conference as someone from Dexter’s past. Audrey very easily could have just told Angela what Harrison told her and Angela could have then done some investigating on her own. Having her randomly stumble across the truth felt like a bit of a disservice to the character. It felt like the type of groan-worthy plot twist that far too often popped up during the final seasons of the show’s original run.
So, yes, I was a bit disappointed. A lot of this episode felt like filler. Dexter returned to his serial killer ways to take out a drug dealer but, in another coincidence, Logan showed up to arrest the dealer before Dexter could actually do his full ceremony. (Interestingly enough, the same thing happened with Kurt when his latest victim refused to run when he ordered her to.) So, Dexter had to force the man to overdose on drugs before making a hasty retreat. That was probably for the best, considering that Dexter still hasn’t found a good place to dump the bodies.
Still, there were a few intriguing moments in this episode. I’m liking the idea of Harrison having to potentially choose between two serial killing mentors and Clancy Brown continues to give a strong performance as Kurt. And, regardless of how she discovered the information, I’m looking forward to seeing Angela confront Dexter.
One final note: I still don’t think Kurt is working alone. I think Olsen is somehow involved. It wouldn’t surprise me if Molly was somehow involved too. Seriously, if Molly isn’t secretly a killer then she’s just an extremely annoying character. On a show like this, it’s always better to be a killer as opposed to just annoying. Either way, we’ll see what happens!
I spent most of this week working on Christmas stuff but I did watch a few shows.
Bar Rescue (Weekday Mornings, Paramount)
I watched three episodes while I was trying to wake up on Wednesday. Jon Taffer and “the experts” yelled at a lot of owners and reduced their employees to tears but I guess it’s all worth it in order to make sure that alcoholics have a fun place to hang out. The third episode that I watched was actually filmed in my hometown and I totally recognized the bar that Jon was rescuing. (I don’t drink so I’m usually the girl at the bar who gets weird looks for asking for a glass of water.) Jon described my hometown as being upper middle class. Thanks, Jon!
Baywatch Hawaii (Prime)
On Friday, I watched episode 14 of this show. There were three subplots, all of which were repeats of storyline that had previously happened on the original Baywatch. An all-nude protest went wrong. Sean flirted with the new boss. JD and Jessie bickered about their relationship. Despite being top-billed in the credits, David Hasselhoff was only in the show for a minute, boarding a plane back to Los Angeles. It’s hard not to feel that the Hoff just wasn’t that invested in Baywatch Hawaii. For that matter, neither am I. This show only lasted two seasons and it’s still taken me a month and a half to even make it through the first half of the first season.
I then watched Episode 15, which was weird. Basically, it started with Jessie getting lost in an underwater maze. Once she was rescued, suddenly it become about Jason and Allie working together on the beach and Jason being haunted by the death of a previous lifeguard. And then Dawn went on a date with some strange guy who insulted her by assuming that he knew everything about her. I know where Dawn’s coming from but still, none of these random stories really seemed to go together. One gets the feeling that this episode’s script was a combination of scenes that had been cut out of previous episodes. Again, it’s hard not to suspect that the people in charge of the show just didn’t care.
Dexter: New Blood (Sunday Night, Showtime)
Dude, You’re Screwed (Friday Morning, Discovery)
So, I guess the idea behind this show is that three ex-military guys toss some someone in a hostile environment and then they watch to see if that person can make it back to civilization without dying in the process. On the episode that I watched, they stranded some guy in Tanzania and then watched as he spent two days being chased by lions and trying to run in 98-degree heat. Luckily, the guy did make it back to civilization. He met some local hunters who were on the verge of killing him for trespassing before the hosts showed up to whisk him away.
It was kind of a fun show actually.
Fear The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Wednesday Night, FXX)
Yay! The Gang’s back and they’re as terrible as ever! Two new episodes aired on Wednesday, featuring the gang fearlessly taking on the brave new world of the 2020s. In the first episode, they discussed what they did during 2020 and what they spent their PPP money on. In the second episode, they made Lethal Weapon 7, while trying to avoid remaking the mistakes that they made with Lethal Weapon 5 and Lethal Weapon 6. They’re a terrible group of people and I love them. They’re what this country needs right now.
Killer Cases (Wednesday Night, A&E)
The latest episode of this A&E true crime series took a look at the murder of Mollie Tibbets. On the one hand, I feel like shows like this are terribly exploitive and insensitive. On the other hand, I always end up watching. So, I’m as much of a hypocrite as anyone.
The Office (Everyday, Comedy Central)
I watched two episodes from season 3 on Thursday night. The thing is …. Jim knew that Andy had anger issues so hiding his phone and then repeatedly calling it through the day was really a dick move on his part. Bullying is never cool, Jim!
Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)
Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)
Oh, hey, this is back! Chris Hardwicke did his best to try to make Walking Dead: World Beyond sound interesting. I respected him for trying.
Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)
After being absent from PBS for a few months, Upstart Crow returned on Sunday. PBS aired the show’s three Christmas specials, though not in chronological order.
As such, the first Christmas special that was aired was actually the show’s third, from December of 2020. In this special, Will and Kate were stuck in Will’s London home, under quarantine due to the Bubonic Plague. As Will tried to write a “Scottish play,” they discussed how the world had changed due to the plague. Needless to say, it was a pretty obvious and heavy-handed commentary on the UK during the Coronavirus lockdowns. The episode was both hopeful and angry. It had its funny moments but overall, it was a rather dark episode. Then again, December of 2020 was a rather dark time for many people.
This was followed by “A Christmas Crow,” which was the show’s fist Christmas Special. Airing long before COVID (or, for that matter, the episode the featured the death of Will’s son), A Christmas Crow was an enjoyably light-hearted “look” at how Eighth Night became Twelfth Night. Emma Thompson appeared as Queen Elizabeth I and was funny, sympathetic, and somewhat terrifying.
The final Christmas special shown was “A Crow Christmas Carol.” Still mourning the death of his son, Shakespeare met a mysterious stranger (Kenneth Branagh) who told him a story about a miser who changed his ways after being visited by three ghosts. Shakespeare and his friends attempted to pull the same thing on the villainous Robert Greene in an attempt to get Greene to change his ways. The highlight of this episode was, not surprisingly, Kenneth Branagh’s effectively creepy cameo as the Stranger.
Walking Dead: World Beyond (Sunday Night, AMC)
Eh. Who knows? There was a lot of death and paramilitary stuff going on. The show briefly had my attention a few weeks ago but the last few episode have just been kind of dull. It’s nearly over.
The latest episode of Fear The Walking Dead featured Morgan taking baby Mo to Strand’s tower, in order to try to find medicine for her. Normally, Strand would have sent Morgan away and laughed about it but Morgan was lucky enough to show up while Strand was having an existential crisis about his role in the brave new world of the Walking Dead.
In short, Morgan got to enter the tower and he stayed there for a while before Strand ended up having one of his trademark changes of heart. After nearly tossing Morgan to the Walkers, Strand changed his mind on the condition that Grace and the baby would stay at the tower while Morgan went back out into the apocalyptic wasteland. Morgan then hooked up with Dwight and his “moral outlaws” and then they all ran into some Stalkers who are apparently different from the other Stalkers who have previously appeared and then there was a big explosion …. or something.
Look, I don’t know. To be honest, I had a hard time following what was going on after Morgan left the Tower. That could be because this is the first season of the show that I’ve really watched. But, I will say that, when Fear the Walking Dead works, it works precisely because it captures the confusion of trying to keep track of who is who in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It does a good job of capturing the paranoia that would go along with the end of the world. If The Walking Dead and Walking Dead: World Beyond is occasionally a bit too neat when it comes to depicting its characters as being good or evil, Fear The Walking Dead is a bit more chaotic.
As for this episode, it kind of reminded me of one of those old episodes of Lost where Jack or Kate would end up spending a week with The Others and you would kind of end up thinking that, regardless of how you felt about The Others as a moral force, you’d really rather live in their little village than in the caves with Jack and the skeletons. I wouldn’t necessarily want to live under the rule of a dictator prone to arbitrary rages but, at the same time, the Tower does look nice and Strand is keeping people alive (or at least, he is until he randomly decides to them off the top of the Tower). One could easily imagine the Others living in the Tower and telling a disbelieving Morgan, “We’re the good guys.”
For me, the highlight of this episode was Colman Domingo’s performance of Strand. Domingo, who has recently gotten some deserved attention for his performances in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Zola, is charismatic enough to be believable as a leader while also frightening enough to be believable as someone who could get his followers to go along with his often contradictory impulses. I actually felt a bit of sympathy for Strand as he realized that he would always be viewed as a fearsome ruler as opposed to a benevolent monarch. Of course, the rest of the episode was dedicated to reminding views as to why exactly Strand is so feared.
Anyway, it was a good episode. Colman Domingo and Lennie James dueling each other to see who could control each scene was entertaining to watch. The next episode is called Padre, so I guess we’ll finally get some answers as to who exactly is out there.
Boom! I predicted Harrison would be a budding serial killer so give it up for me!
Well, to be honest, I’m probably not the only person who predicted that. I haven’t been reading any other reviews of Dexter: New Blood beyond my own but Harrison turning out to have a dark passenger shouldn’t be a shocking development to anyone who watched the original Dexter series. The way that the Trinity Killer killed Rita was obviously designed to turn Harrison into a killer. There was even an episode during season 5 in which Dexter investigated whether or not Trinity’s son had taken up his father’s bad habits. (And let’s not forget that, in the books, Dexter quickly realized that Rita’s children were sociopaths.) Harrison following in his father’s footsteps was something that was set in motion long ago. It’s an inevitable development. The only question really is whether or not Harrison has killed before or if his attempt to kill his high school friend was his first dry run. And will Dexter forgive his son, partner with his son, destroy his son, or be destroyed by his son?
While I’m patting myself on the back for being correct about Harrison, I should also admit that it appears that I was wrong about the identity of the killer sniper. I was sure that it was going to be Olsen but the end of this episode seems to suggest that it’s Kurt. Of course, Kurt could be working with Olsen. Considering what’s happened in past seasons of Dexter, it wouldn’t be a shock to discover that the Sniper is actually more than one man. Perhaps Matt was a part of the organization as well. I mean, he certainly was trigger happy.
It was a good episode. I’m cringing a little bit at the character of Molly Park, if just because she sometimes seems like a boomer’s version of what a podcaster is like. (“Those crazy kids, with their cursing and their drunk sex….”) But, I do think there is some potential to her “alliance” with Angela. I also felt the fallout of the school stabbing was handled well, particularly Harrison’s new status as the town hero. In many ways, Harrison is living Dexter’s fantasy. He’s killing (or nearly killing) and he’s being celebrated for it. He’s a hero, just like Dexter always wanted to be.
(That said, even I could tell that Harrison obviously stabbed himself. Have the people in this town never watched an old episode of CSI?)
For me, the best part of the revival remains Ghost Deb. She really deservers her own show, though plotlines would probably be limited by the fact that she’s just a figment of Dexter’s imagination. Still, Jennifer Carpenter was one of the key parts of what made the original Dexter such an entertaining series and the way that show’s final season rather cavalierly killed her off is one of the many reasons why so many people hated the original finale. Though Ghost Deb may not be solving crimes, she’s still calling everyone on their bullshit. It’s good to have her back, in all of her profane glory.
I’m doing my bit here to introduce everyone to the brilliance of Trentemøller.
Enjoy, whether your dead or alive!
Welcome to December! What better way to start the last month of 2021 than with a video from my favorite band in the entire world, Saint Motel?
Here’s a little something to get your week off to a properly energetic start.
To be honest, this is kind of a last-minute pick. But I like Emma Muscat and this video does speak to the nostalgia that I feel for traveling. I hope to return to Italy soon!
Between my sister’s birthday, Thanksgiving, and my attempts to get caught up on my Lifetime movie viewing, I didn’t watch much TV this week. Here’s some thoughts on what did I see:
Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)
With the long-distance duck making its way (very slowly) to London, Rene and the Resistance disguised themselves as doctors and nurses so that they could rescue Monsieur Alphonse from the hospital. Meanwhile, the German colonels plotted to assassinate Alphonse with an exploding bedpan. It was a bit of an odd episode but I still laughed.
Baywatch Hawaii (Prime)
On Friday, I continued my binge of the first season of Baywatch Hawaii, watching three episodes.
Episode 11 featured a bit of tragedy for the Baywatch Hawaii team. No sooner had Allie declared her love for Nick, the hunky coast guard helicopter pilot, than Nick ended up sacrificing his life so that two dummies trapped in a mini-sub could live. David Hasselhoff made a brief appearance so that he could presumably collect his a paycheck and also so that Mitch could declare, “Nick wasn’t a lifeguard but he died being one.” That’s actually probably why he died.
Episode 12 featured some JD/Jessie relationship drama, as it was revealed that JD and Dawn had previously worked together and had a relationship in Florida. I’m assuming that JD and Jessie broke up over the fact that JD kept it a secret, though the ending of this episode kind of left things in the air. There was also an odd subplot about JD inventing a new type of wet suit that allowed lifeguard to swim faster than dolphins. It was an oddly disjointed episode (and I haven’t even gotten into the subplots about the missing child and Dawn getting named in a wrongful death suit) but it did end with a nicely surreal scene of the lifeguards relaxing underwater while fireworks exploded in the sky above.
Speaking of surreal, that’s the only way to describe Episode 13. A man was recovered after drowning. Despite having been underwater and medically dead for 20 minutes, he was still revived with absolutely no brain damage or any other injuries. This led to Dawn and Sean exploring an underwater meditation technique that Dawn learned in India. Sean was freaked out by a vision that he had in which Dawn appeared to be trying to drown him. MEANWHILE, Jessie, Allie, and Kekoa went shopping! Yay! This led to them getting invited to a party on a boat and it also led to them having to strip down to their newly-purchased lingerie (in slow motion, of course) in order to save a group of stranded swimmers. It was weird mix of philosophy and prurience and, to be honest, it was kind of brilliant in a Baywatch sort of way.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (Sunday Night, PBS)
Cowboys vs. Raiders (Thursday Afternoon, CBS)
Because it was Thanksgiving, I kind of watched this football game with my family. Most of my cousins really got into it. Myself, I’m just hoping that no one suffered any permanent injuries and that both teams had a nice Thanksgiving meal after the game ended. I was a little bit disappointed when the game went into overtime. I mean, they already had the tie. There was no need to hurt anyone’s feelings! Still, with their enthusiastic spirit and their can-do attitude, both teams were winners!
Dexter: New Blood (Sunday Night, Showtime)
Fear the Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)
King of the Hill (Sunday Afternoon, FXX)
I watched three classic episodes on Sunday afternoon. Khannie and the Dale Gribble Bluegrass Experience went to Branson. (“She’s good …. she’s Branson good!”) Peggy was conned by the president of the fictitious Genius Institute but she got her money back by pulling a con of her own. Finally, Hank tried to convince his father to allow the local Vietnam vets to join the local VFW.
Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)
Arkwright tried to impress Nurse Gladys Emmanuel while Granville bitterly considered the pointlessness of his life.
Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)
The Walking Dead: World Beyond (Sunday Night, AMC)
This week brought us another slowly paced episode of Walking Dead: World Beyond. I guess the scientists and the main family are trying to break out of the paramilitary compound now? Well, that’s probably a good idea.