‘Dexter’ – ‘Teenage Wasteland’: Father figure

Senior Television Writer
11.22.10 38 Comments


A quick review of last night’s “Dexter” coming up just as soon as I tell you where your kidney is…

“Teenage Wasteland” felt very typical of season five as a whole: weird and kind of all over the place, but with enough redeeming features that I was mostly able to shrug off the parts that didn’t work.

Specifically, while I wax and wane on the actress who plays Astor, I’ve always found the Dexter/Astor relationship to be one of the show’s more complicated, interesting ones. Our man is never more out of his comfort zone than when he has to deal with her messy adolescent emotions, and I liked seeing him have to deal with her in the middle of this ongoing fustercluck with Lumen and Jordan Chase.

On the other hand, Harry’s comment about being surprised to see Dexter putting himself out there and trying to protect someone else was odd, as there was a story in season two or three where Dexter took care of the guy taking creepy photos of Astor. And that was a much darker, more morally-nebulous story, where Dexter beating up an abusive stepdad is more along the lines of Dexter Morgan: World’s Cuddliest Serial Killer.

Still, I loved the scene of Dexter and Astor in the car at the end, with Dexter surprised by Astor’s question about whether Lumen makes him feel better about Rita and responding with a spontaneous, genuine-sounding declaration of love. Very good stuff from Michael C. Hall there.

And ditto Jennifer Carpenter in the scenes where Deb confronts LaGuerta in her office, and then Quinn in the interrogation room. The non-Dexter stories on the show are always going to be vastly less interesting than the ones about him, but Carpenter almost made me care about the office politics stuff, and of course the Quinn confrontation was about Deb being protective of her brother.

(But also on the other hand, it’s the umpteenth case of Deb realizing her boyfriend is a scumbag, and also of Deb edging close to the truth about Dexter without ever really getting there. The writers really need to get to that already or stop teasing it.)

Also on the plus side: Peter Weller is having the time of his life as Liddy, who’s like this evil genie Quinn can’t get back in the bottle, and the final phone call between Jordan and Lumen was suitably creepy. And also on the negative side: the use of the horrid tinkly Please Laugh Now, This Is A Light Moment in a Drama music (common to so many current dramas, especially the ones on ABC) in the scene where Deb meets Lumen. “Dexter” has never been the most subtle show, but once upon a time it trusted the audience to transition from the dark scenes to the funnier stuff without having to hold anyone’s hand about it.

What did everybody else think?

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