Pin It

Remote Possibilities 

by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r &

& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & oilet paper slowly soaks up blood from a shaving mishap. A knife hacks through flesh that turns out to be a ham steak. An egg is cooked over-easy, then gutted with knife and fork and splashed with Tabasco sauce. Filmed in slow motion with shots tight enough to see individual pores of skin and fibers of paper, the opening credits of Dexter do a better job of foreshadowing the series' central tension than any show I can think of. For a serial killer trying to live in society, creating normalcy is an act of detail, patience and precision.

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) has had the desire to kill since childhood, when he was left for days in a cargo container filled with his mother's blood. Harry (James Remar), the Miami police officer who found him, discovered the boy's bloodlust early in life and tried to channel it into things like target shooting and boar hunting.

Harry's effort was valiant but futile. No tusked swine could fill the big, murder-shaped void in Dexter's soul. So Harry began letting the boy loose on society, reigning him in through a series of commandments designed to send him after only other sociopaths.

Dexter's a serial killer, but only of other serial killers.

This backstory unfolded gradually in Season One until Dexter's past and his present collided in the brother he didn't remember having. Also locked in that cargo container as a child, also impossibly scarred, also a serial killer, Dexter had to kill him. In Season Two, Dexter's all broken up about it.

While uniformly good and often great, episodes of Dexter don't touch as keenly and artfully on the show's premise as the credits do. The idea is to humanize Dexter, and since he can't confide his darkness to any of the other characters, he ends up confessing to the audience through abundant, often obvious voice-overs.

It's indelicate, but there's a certain charm to it. Having hidden his bloodlust for so long, Dexter isn't great at expressing it. Hall, though, beautifully renders Dexter's side he shows to the public -- his waxen smile, his even temperament.

It isn't perfect, but the paradox of the citizen serial killer is interesting enough and executed with enough zest to keep me happy for another season or two.

TiVo-Worthy & r & & r &


The brightest spot on NBC's new lineup, this dramedy about a burnout who accidentally downloads the nation's entire intelligence network into his Stanford-expelled brain has more dramatic possibilities than Journeyman and better production values than Bionic Woman, the network's great trite hope. Plus, it's intermittently funny. (NBC, Mondays, 8 pm)


They weren't the first commercial characters to get a TV show (that would be Earnest) or the most insipid (that would be Baby Bob). Still, Cavemen feels like a kick in the face of intelligent television. (ABC, Tuesdays, 8 pm)


Speaking of ridiculous premises -- but this time, one with potential -- Reaper's the story of a kid whose parents sold the soul of their firstborn to Satan in order to save the father's life. Sam Oliver, the kid in question, comes into the devil's employ on his 21st birthday and must find a way to schedule videogame marathons around assignments that involve sucking evil souls back into hell. (CW, Tuesdays, 9 pm)

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Token Democracy
  • Token Democracy

    Would letting Washington voters give taxpayer money to politicians reduce the power of interest groups — or just subsidize politicians?
    • Oct 20, 2016

    Breaking down some of the issues you'll get to vote on this year
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Shea's World
  • Shea's World

    As Matt Shea seeks re-election, his presence may be felt more in other local races than in his own
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Luke Baumgarten

  • Chasing Whales
  • Chasing Whales

    Let's focus less on courting big companies and focus more on nurturing big ideas
    • Feb 5, 2015
  • Completely Repellent
  • Completely Repellent

    How can we expect people to find constructive uses for space that wasn't built for them?
    • Dec 30, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • The Do-Over

    After failing to pass a bus service tax hike last year, Spokane Transit Authority has a plan to get you to vote for it again
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • Pants on Fire

    U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers can't see the forest for the trees when it comes to climate change
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


green zone


trail mix

Readers also liked…

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation