TV Detail: Dexter review. Episode 3.04—"All in the Family"
So, uh, Dexter and Rita are engaged. Weird. The entire episode this week—as Dexter tried to convince her to accept his awkward, whim-induced proposals—felt out of line with the subtle shades that have developed their relationship over the last few seasons. She had a tentative place in the show early on, as if she could have easily left the cast, and it’s hard not to get the sense that she’s going to need to get a little more wind of Dexter’s nighttime activities for this to work. We’ll see.
Elsewhere, if this was not exactly the strongest episode of the season,
it did finally allow for a subplot confined to a single episode, which
used to be a touchstone of the series. The murder investigation felt
like it could have come from any of the many investigation series now
on television, but it at least afforded the show a measure of dramatic
relief, the sense the characters still have jobs outside of the
show’s primary mechanics.
What worked less well were Dexter’s convoluted efforts to manipulate the younger Prado to no obvious end. He has to cover for himself, yeah, but of all the characters to worry about knowing his secret—and with how thoroughly he’s convinced the elder Prado of his valor—the whole effort felt pointless.
And with the news this week that Dexter will be back on for at least two more 12-episode seasons after this year, here’s hoping the show can return to more mythological conflicts for Dexter than contrived domestic setups. The key exchange in this week’s episode revealed that Dexter is very much an actor in his new family life. Now it's just a question of how long he can keep that up.