The Flaming Nose hopes that our recent swoony posts on AMC's Mad Men and its star Jon Hamm, and our crush on HBO's TrueBlood, aren't giving the impression that we don't still love our other Sunday night treat, Showtime's Dexter. Quite the contrary!
All right, maybe we've been a little less than taken with the whole Rita-is-pregnant storyline than we might have been. Dexter sister Deborah's enthusiastic and hilarious reactions nothwithstanding, the baby thing seems to be a little tame for Dexter, though Michael C. Hall is giving it all the quizzical nuances he can. My favorite line so far was when he was holding Rita's hand during the ultrasound -- "She's stronger than she looks" he comments to himself with some surprise, ever deep down the serial killer assessing someone's defenses. (Though I also wonder how he wouldn't know how strong she is, considering they've been having plenty of energetic sex, as we've been shown.)
What I've liked a lot is what happened to Masuka, namely the death of his spirit after being told by hotshot officer Joey Quinn "You're the foulest person I've ever met". The seal on the deal was his coworkers' complete abandonment of him in his triumphant hour as speaker at a forensic conference, which came on the heels of nobody reading, or even wanting a copy of, the magazine with his newly-published article inside. The normally unflappable and aggressively unpleasant -- smarmy might be the best word -- Masuka got his feelings hurt, and he clearly didn't like it much. Actor C.S. Lee, who's been so good at making Masuka smug and a tad creepy, made his realization that he's alienated everyone around him a real punch in the gut, with visceral tug that made you empathize with the rejection.
The rebirth of Masuka was a terrific moment, as his forensic report was being questioned by an outsider, and Lt. Angel Batista and Deb stood up for him and his results. Will Masuka be a changed man after this experience? It's fascinating character development.
I'm also excited to see the interesting and under-used actress Kristin Dattilo in as Gianna, the vice officer who nearly blew the whistle on Angel when he tried to pick her up for sex. You might remember her from her role as Yola the agent on the charming The Chris Isaak Show which ran on Showtime for several years starting in 2001. (And where in heck is the DVD release on that one, anyway? Way way overdue!). She and David Zayas, as Angel, had a nice chemistry and it looks as though there might be a romance in the future for the two characters. Zayas' portrayal of the big-hearted Batista has been a constant delight through all of the Dexter episodes. After nearly getting railroaded by the insane Lila last season, he surely deserves a little sugar.
Jimmy Smits is also continually proving to be a wonderful addition to the show. The friendship and unholy alliance between Miguel Prado and Dexter Morgan is evolving nicely into a real sticky wicket, and it should get even better. It will be intriguing to see what steps both of these men take as their relationship ripens. So far it seems as though Miguel's foray into the explorations of vengeance-seeking and murder might go down easier for him than the camaraderie and male bonding experience will for Dexter. Their whole bloody involvement is a trenchant contrast to the girly house-hunting that consumes Rita and Miguel's wife Sylvia.
A big shout-out to all the Dexter cast, of course, including Michael C. Hall in the title roll, Jennifer Carpenter as his sister Deborah (did you see her frantic recent feature Quarantine? She's good in it.), Julie Benz as Rita, Lauren Velez as La Guerta, Desmond Harrington as the complex Joey Quinn, Jason Manuel Olazabal as Miguel's intense brother Ramon, and Valerie Cruz as Sylvia.
Dexter, we still love you! Can't wait for tonight's episode!