Posted tagged ‘mos def’

Dexter – Episode 4 “Horse of a Different Color” Recap and Review

October 24, 2011

Google image search is killer.

 

Season six of Dexter continued tonight with “Horse of a Different Color,” and while nothing particularly Earth shattering happened, nothing outrageously bad did either. While it certainly served its purpose as a linking episode more than anything, there was a tinge of a signal from the writers’ room early on stating that they know what potential this show has and are going to finally make Dexter as truly great as it deserves to be. Let’s saddle-up and ride.

Tonight’s episode was written by Lauren Gussis (a writer for the show since the beginning, usually at the helm of character building episodes like season one’s “Shrink Wrap” and season four’s “If I Had a Hammer”) and directed by John Dahl (this season’s premiere, last season’s “Hello Bandit”) both longtime players on team Dexter which makes for the show’s overall logic being as strong as ever. As seen in the above clip, there’s a moment when Dexter is about mention the Ice Truck Killer when Deb cuts him off and reminds us (for perhaps the first time in five seasons) that she knows the Ice Truck Killer was Dexter’s brother. Finally, the show’s stopped ignoring Deb’s awareness of Dex’s ITK connection, which bodes well for the show’s history finally taking itself seriously. Later, between Deb not falling on her face after LaGuerta’s suggestion for the press conference actually worked, Masuka’s intern being well aware of the show’s two previous main Miami Metro investigations and Deb hearing suggestions but keeping her new subordinate in order, I’m convinced that the show is finally really paying attention to its own history as a means to both enhance the experience for longtime viewers and keep us going in directions we didn’t expect.

While it was a slower episode, “Horse of a Different Color” seemed to build a bridge made of solid character growth. “That Ishy” Quinn (as my Mother calls him, Happy Birthday Mom!) smoking a joint with Batista allowed for a certain release between the show’s two most frustrated characters, and them having no consequences for getting high on the job was a nice touch. Brother Sam (now credited as Mos Def, Mos, yasiin bey) coming to the hospital to pray with Dex during Harrison’s appendectomy and revealing he had a similar death-related childhood trauma hammered home he’s one of the good(-ish) guys. Travis Marshall’s apocalyptic advisor Professor James Gellar was given an interesting background as a college professor who is an end-of-times nut and actually stole a weapon believed to be owned by John the Revealer who wrote the book of the Bible he’s obsessed with recreating. While there is sufficient evidence from the show that says he actually exists now (along with the backstory, the difference in Marshall’s crude bludgeons and his meticulous crime scenes), it wouldn’t surprise me if Gellar somehow was Marshall’s dark passenger. Speaking of surprises, as sad as it is to see Masuka’s intern go, I’m glad her red herring-ness only lasted two episodes. The auction was a satisfactory blowoff and gave us some Masuka with backbone.

Who ordered the wings?

Two little things I noticed tonight: 1) Masuka eating Deb’s Girl Scout Cookies while Quinn and Batista had the munchies and 2) was that Masuka’s intern in a commercial for a jar opener behind Dexter in the hospital? Those nuggets aside, tonight was largely about exposition but was handled much smoother than the season’s opener. The Green House kill was brutal and I’m guessing they’re slowly building a subplot about Deb needing to attend therapy for the trauma she’s been witnessing. Colin Hanks is doing a great job as Marshall, and while I found Dexter’s “bargaining with God” to be a tad cartoony for my tastes, the eventual showdown at the end of the season should be great.

We give “Horse of a Different Color”  a Three Out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

Dexter – Episode 3 “Smokey and the Bandit” Recap and Review

October 17, 2011

How many "No, not that show" coversations have we had with friends for 6 years now?

When preparing tonight’s post, I had to double-check the episode number. Are we really only on episode three? I’m so used to the last few seasons of Dexter taking a while to find their footing, but already I’m flat out enthralled. Tonight’s episode not only gave a great amount of what I like from the show, but we got things we’ve never seen before and have (hopefully) been set on a course to go to places where the show really hasn’t ventured.

Tonight’s episode “Smokey and the Bandit” was written by Manny Coto (Season 5’s “Practically Perfect” episode which had the Dexter-Boyd Fowler showdown, as well as inexplicably director of both Dr. Giggles and Star Kid)  and directed by Stefan Schwartz (first time Dexter director who’s most known for helming several episodes of the Camelot and Crash TV series), a combination that really excelled in the world of Miami Metro.  Tonight, we discover that Dexter’s boyhood hero “The Tooth Fairy Killer” may be starting a senior’s tour right in Dexter’s backyard. When the department finds a dead hooker with one of her teeth almost removed, Dexter recognizes the damage as an attempt atthe trademark of a serial killer he kept a scrapbook of as a youth. He pulls the book out at his apartment (complete with a scene where Harry, when reminded of finding Dexter’s serial killer trapper keeper, said he wishes it would have been a stack of Playboys instead) and we find out The TFK wrecked havoc over the pacific northwest for years in the 80s and was never apprehended.

Pic unrelated.

While I’m on principle not the biggest fan of this season regressing into a “killer of the week” show, Dexter’s pursuit of the geriatric madman was a refreshing new avenue. Later, in the killroom when he taunts Dexter and angers him to the point where Dex’s cruelest cut becomes denying the man his legacy, we’re given a scene of subtle growth that quietly restored a bit of his coming-and-going humanity that seems to fade despite the “revelations” each season. I like the idea of Dexter leaving the body looking like a heart-attack death and not letting TFK’s monstrous double life affect his innocent family, as well as the beautiful shot of Dexter dumping another man’s “trophies” into the sea, erasing not just a person this time, but a legend. Innovation aside, Ronny Cox’s portrayal of the TFK as an absolute curmudgeon and murderous mastermind was among the show’s best, and the way Manny Coto managed to channel not only our collective fears of aging with the personal sting of being disappointed in our heros really gave a strong jolt of the empathy that makes vicariously living through Dexter so much fun.

Take a drink every time you hear the f-bomb during the "Previously on Dexter."

Outside of Dexter’s clean-up circuit this week, we got Lieutenant Deb’s first day on the job. I absolutely adore how the show has abandoned everything redeeming about LaGuerta and Quinn (or, as my Mom calls him, “That Ishy Quinn”) to make them full on self-serving conniving scumbags trying to take the actually growing Deborah down. Deborah’s frustration with the job and growing poise of standing up to LaGuerta and her potential new detective hire has really breathed new life in the character. The writers are playing to each of the actors’ strengths and really letting the show tell itself. Off the top of my head I don’t recall ever being this invested in one of the show’s B or C stories before, but there’s potential here for it to finally become just as entertaining as Dex is.

Applebee's tonight?

I also really like how the show is letting Hanks and Olmos’ religious fanatics be a slow-burn reveal. While I could have done without the super-artsy slow motion of the horses’ gasp-worthy gallops, it really seems like we’re not getting a mystery-for-the-sake-of-mystery but rather will be putting the pieces together alongside Miami Metro. Mos Def‘s portrayal of Brother Sam is the best acting he’s ever done, and I’ve never been so happy to be as wrong as I was about him joining the cast. While I’m not sure where Masuka’s love interest assistant is going (possibly a red herring) she has to recognize Deb as the Ice Truck Killer’s girlfriend. Will her obsession play a part this season? I’m hoping the subtle juxtaposition of both her and Dexter’s obsession with serial killers isn’t early foreshadowing that  later gives us Deb’s death at her hands as the show’s seasonal big twist. Still, after the past two episodes, my enthusiasm and faith in the show are as high as they’ve ever been and I look forward to tuning in next week.

We give “Smokey and the Bandit” a Four Out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

Dexter – Episode 2 “Once Upon a Time” Recap and Review

October 10, 2011

"OH MY GOD, HE'S BACK A-GAI-NAH!"

 

If you missed tonight’s episode of Dexter, you missed a lot. For a show that’s often been criticized as being “a good show that could be great,” tonight’s episode is indicative of that potential. I mentioned last week that “Those Kinds of Things” suffered from being overflowing with exposition, something any creative writing teacher would classify as “telling without showing.” Well, tonight’s episode “Once Upon a Time” was an exact inverse, and a shining example of Dexter almost done completely right. Written by Tim Schlattmann, a writer who’s been with the show since the beginning and is beloved by fans for writing the “Dark Defender” episode from season 2, and MASTERFULLY directed by SJ Clarkson (whose only previous work on the series was the Season 4 nail-biter “Hello Dexter Morgan,” where the Trinity Killer shows up at Miami Metro), I’m more excited than I’ve been about the show this early in the season in a longtime. So, let’s recap!

First, the bad. Again, I wasn’t exactly sold last week on all the revelations revealed like a grocery list, but this week it’s the little attempts of fake subtlety that rubbed me the wrong way. The weak bookends of Dexter telling Harrison bedtime stories about “Monsters” and then having it come back out of nowhere in the kill-room scene was a sure shot trying-too-hard moment. As was debuting guest star Mos Def (credited as merely “Mos,” a puzzling choice. If not Yassin, I would have AT LEAST preferred “The Mighty Mos”) ‘s interrogation room scene. I’ve been highly critical acting of Mr. Definitely’s acting in the past, and with good reason. While he gave admittedly great performances in Monster’s Ball and Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, his acting for the majority of the decade (not unlike his rapping) has been nothing short of dreadful, only appealing to mouth-breathing pseudo-intellectual Def Poetry Jam enthusiasts who just like saying that they “like Mos Def” rather than get any actual enjoyment from his creative output. I have to say, as cringeworthy as the interrogation scene was, his acting once Dexter got to his chopshop was a complete and total 180. Along with tremendous body-language, which is his greatest acting strength, his portrayal of a reformed murderer was picture perfect. While his addition to the cast was one of my biggest reservations about this coming season, my fears are put at ease.

When not surrounded by awful slam poetry, I find this man significantly less irritating.

Now, for the good. Tonight’s star was far-and-away director  S.J. Clarkson. Her style was really missed last season and I have to say that I have so many amazing images burned into my mind from tonight’s episode that I really hope she returns this season again. Also great were all the sudden turns that effectively shake things up. I really like Deborah Morgan as Lieutenant, mainly because we haven’t really had precedent for something similar on the show. She looked great in that uniform, and even more promising are the subplots of the Deborah-Quinn romance and the on-going Batista-LaGuerta fling being discarded to make way for an entirely new season. I’m also surprised with how much I’m liking the Masuka banter with his protege. Instead of the simple routes of her being offended or letting it roll off her back, her “you like to watch, good to know” comment sets her up to possibly be someone who can be anything from an equal verbal-sparring partner to maybe a close friendship. Either way, they have an undeniable chemistry and she makes a welcome addition to the show. I also enjoy where the Edward James Olmos-Colin Hanks partnership is going. While the idea that a randomly-murdering religious zealot being unable to blowoff his sister was a bit of a stretch for me, Olmos making himself suffer for Hanks’ “sins” was a swerve I did not see coming.

All-in-all, I’m intrigued and already looking very forward to next week’s episode. “Once Upon a Time” did was a great second episode should do, tie-up the looser ends of the last season while set course for an ocean of possibilities for where the show can go. I’m completely on board and can’t wait for next week!

 

We give “Once Upon a Time” a Four Out of Five

So until next time… let’s agree to agree!