Sunday, 3 October 2010

Fall Schedule TV Round-up: Supernatural/Dexter *spoilers*

Supernatural 6.1 – Exile On Main Street

We knew form the final dénouement of the last series that Sam had returned, somehow. At the beginning of this show, it’s weird because Dean is living his normal apple pie life without him. I expected some stuff to have happened off-screen as he's been away for a whole year. The writers play around with the return of Sam in a way that makes us wonder what we’re watching. Judging from previous shows, Dean could have been living his own fantasy whilst being strung out due to a Djinn’s poison. The return of Grandpa Campbell was also off-kilter, coupled with the revelation that the Winchester boys have cousins that are also Hunters. Old yella eyes returned too, but I think that was an illusion. What was a bit grating and contrived was the thing about Sam not telling Dean that he was alive, and that Bobby also knew. The audience shares Dean’s anger and frustration. The writer’s seem to advertise the fact that they had no idea on how to bring Sam and Dean back together and have winged it a bit. I can see the Writer's Committee now.
"How do we get Sam and Dean back to what they do best?"
"Erm....Let's not say"

Grandpa Campbell looks as if he could be the overall Big Bad this season.

I couldn’t help feeling a little like I did when presented by Babylon 5 Season 5; a bit “so what?” I hope I get proved wrong.


Dexter 5.1  - My Bad

This was hard going but in a good way. At the end of a terrific Season 4, we learn that Dexter’s wife Rita is dead. It was a dour end to a season full of wonderful moments, most of which involved John Lithgow. But the series isn’t just Dexter and a nemesis, this is a family show; in the sense of an ensemble cast. The entire cast got to shine in this episode.

Dexter feels that he is unable to emote over Rita’s death and appears to worry more about the fact his boat needs refuelling. Any audience member that has been watching from the beginning, and has paid attention, should realise that Dexter is in fact suffering from avoidance, and a kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is evident when he continues to wear the set of Disneyland Mickey Mouse ears (given to him by Cody and AStor) whilst informing Rita’s kids that she’s dead. All of that sequence is uncomfortable because of the way he handles it. Dexter let the children enjoy a last day in Disneyland , leaving the bad news until their return. He sees it as a part of his disconnect with his humanity. I see it that he’s just suffering from shock and was not thinking straight. At the end, this theory is paid off as Dexter finally loses it and takes it out on an unsuspecting redneck who just happens to p*ss Dexter off enough to warrant his killer instinct overtaking him.

Michael C Hall notches up an Emmy winning performance in this episode alone. For most of the episode he appears shell shocked and unable to function in his normal controlled way. When he finally vents his fury, it's almost as a reaction to an understanding that he did indeed truly love Rita with all his heart. 
Despite her leaving the series, Julie Benz gets to see her character off without just being left in a bathtub at the beginning during entertaining flashbacks. These flashbacks provide brief respite during this mostly funereal dirge of an episode. 
Once again, Jennifer Carpenter was at the top of her game. Her hyperactive character goes through the full range of emotions, almost somewhat understated at times. She goes from breaking down to making love to Quinn in a matter of moments. She plays the “strong” sister very well. 
Quinn may be taking on the role that Doakes had in the first and second seasons. I suspect, though, that the writers may twist this against our expectations. 
Both Lauren Vélez and David Zayas (fresh from Stallone's The Expendables) share some poignant screen time and C.S. Lee, as Masuka, gets the most uncomfortable line in the show;

“I’ve always imagined seeing Rita naked but not like this”

All of the above is sure sign that the writers still have a good handle on what makes this series great.

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