Sympathy for the Dexter: Brotherhood

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Some tv shows are really deep and disturbing and have seasons that leave you needing a break from the show to process and anticipate what will be coming next. At least that’s the way I felt after finishing Dexter season one. Such being the case, I thought I might take a break and watch something else. But I couldn’t and then I had to.*

It’s really disturbing when Dexter kills his brother hours after finding out he’s his brother, and that he is like him – a serial killer – and in that sense understands him. Brian knows the urges Dexter feels and acts on to kill, he only really differs from Dexter in that he doesn’t have the code of Harry. Even though Harry lied to Dexter and Deb about Dexter’s childhood, to the extent of even hiding his blood [pun] brother from him, Dexter still ultimately chooses his un-real/adopted family over his blood brother. He chooses the life of a faker versus the real life and connection he could have, and could have had if Harry had told him, with his brother Brian.

It is deeply disturbing to think that certain incidents can cause the same gene, or trigger sub-consciously, the need to kill in two boys, and that even with a change of environment and being raised under different standards they ultimately turn out the same in that they are both killers hiding in the plain site of society.

Then season two starts. What is bothering about the end of season one is Dexter’s seeming cold reaction to killing his brother. Yes, he has a panic moment in the corner, but he goes through with it and holds together his outside life. He even starts bowling and manages to restrain his urges. Then it becomes clear that he’s been effected on a deep psychological level, he can’t kill anymore. It’s shocking, he goes through the process that makes up the very core of who he is, who he was raised to be; a calculated killer taking out the trash; following the code of Harry. But he can’t. Something in him has changed.

He can kill hundreds, but the moment he finds the chink in Harry’s armor, the moment he realizes his life is a complete lie, that he has a whole brother and was the victim of a killer himself, that he can’t just go on living the way he was living before. In this moment, in Dexter not being able to kill after making the ultimate kill, Dexter shows that he is in fact affected by the world around him. By those he should care about naturally, his brother, his sister, and his father.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m halfway through S2:E2 and have some more watching to do. After all, sleep and peace of mind are highly overrated.


*(of course it should be noted that being a child of the Netflix and On Demand tv I’ve never really experienced the wait between episodes and only on a few the wait between seasons… OITNB, HoC, Scandal).


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