Category Archives: Character Study

the antagonists of dexter

Originally I wanted to call this post ‘The Bad Guys of Dexter’, but I realized that there are way too many, since all he does is kill them. But every season there has been one character who has caused trouble for Dexter. One character who has shaken his world and made his life difficult. Now that we know a bit more about this season’s antagonist, I want to look back at all the others.  If you do not watch Dexter but plan to, GO BACK NOW!!! This post holds nothing but spoilers and big spoiler so get out while you still can!

When Dexter started I don’t think anyone knew what to expect. Was this just gonna be a show about a serial killer with a conscious and the complications of keeping his secret hobby covered up? Or would there be something more? I assumed the latter when my brother told me I had to watch it, giving me seasons 1-3. I quickly began a marathon and for a month and a half I pretty much did nothing but watch Dexter.  And now I’m addicted.

Season One- The Sibling Rivalry

Dexter and the Ice Truck Killer

By the end of the first episode it was clear that the Ice Truck Killer was going to be a recurring antagonist for Dexter and the Miami Metro Police. The games he played with Dexter seemed harmless at first and Dexter was intrigued, but not worried. He hunts the Ice Truck Killer, with the intentions of killing him, but he’s also interested in learning why he’s playing this game. Dexter remains in control and unconcerned until the last couple of episodes when the crime scene is a room filled with blood. Dexter’s suppressed memories return to him. And now, more than ever, he wants to know why the Ice Truck Killer is playing this game. In the last episode he makes all the connections and learns that the Ice Truck Killer/Rudy is actually Brian Moser, his real brother. It was the first time the show astounded us with a twist in plot, but definitely not the last. The beauty of the Ice Truck Killer as an antagonist is that it all seemed so harmless at first.  It was inevitable that Dexter would eventually find and kill him, but I don’t think anyone expected the plot to go much deeper than a cat and mouse game. It’s the unsuspecting quiet way the antagonistic relationship begins that makes this one of my favorite seasons. And Dexter, as well as the audience, learn the truth of why Dexter is the way he is.

Season Two- The Suspecting Cop

Doakes and Dexter

The antagonist in this season is, arguably, all of Miami Metro Police Department since they’re hunting Dexter down, but I’d like to focus on Doakes. For me this was a challenging relationship to comprehend because ultimately, Doakes is right. Dexter is a murderer, regardless of his code and the past experiences which made him the way he is, and that makes him the bad guy. Doakes’ suspicions and pursuit of Dexter make this really complicated. At not one point did I want Dexter to get caught or hurt, but I also understood Doakes. The whole season is a bit of a moral struggle for Dexter, more so than the others. He contemplates turning himself in a few times over the course of the season, and even more so when it comes down to breaking the code and killing Doakes or giving himself up. Lucky for Dexter he doesn’t have to make that decision because that British Bitch did it for him. She killed Doakes and Dexter killed her (good riddance!).  Dexter, not wanting to endure this kind of struggle again picks a better place to dispose of the bodies.

Season Three- The Willing Partner

Miguel and Dexter

This season was the most unexciting for me. Miguel Prado as an antagonist was annoying more than anything. But for Dexter it was a chance to see that maybe he could trust someone to know what he was without being repulsed. Eventually he finds out that Miguel is out of control, thirsty for blood and incredibly sloppy.  He doesn’t follow the code as stringently as Dexter does and this is, of course, unacceptable to Dexter, especially when he finds out Miguel has killed a defense attorney and plans to kill LaGuerta. He has no choice, Miguel has to be killed, just like all the other antagonists he faces. Dexter’s initial trust is broken and he learns that what he does has to be done alone. He can only trust the people how don’t know what he really is.

Season Four- The Family Man

Arthur and Dexter

In my mind, this is the only season that compares to season one. With its epic twist, Dexter’s struggle and the intricate Trinity storyline this season is TV gold. In the beginning of the season Dexter, just like any new father, is doing his best to juggle work, family and killing. He’s worried that he can’t do it. He’s worried that he won’t be able to be a family man and continue his night time hobby, until he finds out who Trinity is and following him home one night discovers that he is a family man too. Dexter decides to try and learn from Trinity before killing him, big mistake. What he learns is that he doesn’t ever want to be anything like Trinity, whose abusive relationship with his family keeps them all shaking in fear. Before Dexter can perform the killing Trinity finds him out. Dexter fears for his family and sends them to Disneyworld. Finally he gets the chance to kill Trinity. He feels satisfied that Trinity’s cycle has finally ended, until he comes home to Rita as the first victim in another Trinity cycle, which will never be completed. Trinity’s role as an antagonist forced Dexter to look at his family. Unlike Trinity, Dexter has strict lines that bound his dark passenger and he would never do anything to hurt his family, which he discovered through their relationship.

Season Five- The Inspirational Speaker

Dexter, LUmen, Jordan
This season represents the first time Dexter has a partner that doesn’t screw him over. It’s also the first time he tries to help someone else with their own darkness. The antagonist isn’t as clear in this one, but for the sake of this blog I’m going to claim, it’s Jordan Chase. Though it’s a bit of a struggle for Dexter to allow someone to be there during the kills, especially after what happened with Miguel, this is different. The relief Lumen feels during the first kill, tells him she is not the same as Miguel who became kill-hungry. He helps her track down all the men responsible and eventually ends with Jordan, who, unlike the others, is a bit of a challenge.  I think I’d venture to say that his quest for Jordan and the four other men involved in violating Lumen is the real antagonist here. Though Chase fuels it the most, by catching on and kidnapping Lumen, it’s the hunt for all five that fuels Dexter’s thought process.  Dexter is able to put aside his need for retribution against the Trinity Killer (which he can’t achieve because he’s already killed him), to help Lumen in the quest for hers. In the end when Lumen no longer feels her dark passenger, Dexter can only hope that one day he’ll no longer feel his.

Season Six- The Messengers

THe MEssengers
We’re still in the midst of discovering more about this season’s antagonist, but we know they’re fueled by religion. One man, does the killing, while the other, cannot shake the feeling that what he is doing is wrong, despite it being a message from God. After one discussion with the side-kick, Dexter let him go, which may come back to haunt him. I wonder how the paths of these two will cross with Dexter. We already know he is looking at the whole religion thing because of Brother Sam and the school he wants Harrison to go to, but ultimately I’m not sure what this antagonist will give Dexter, besides maybe a new-found disrespect for religion given the way the duo’s literal (and bloody) interpretation of the bible.

The antagonists of this show have served their role well. Teaching Dexter, forcing him to discover things and giving him a purpose. They’re very important to the show, more so then the average kill, though they have their affect too. But most importantly the antagonists give the audience something to stress out over while waiting for the next episode.

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the walking dead: favorite characters

As Sunday draws closer so does the second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Even though the first season was – much to the chagrin of yours truly – only six episodes long, I took the entire season as the prologue…to the show…that had already started? It makes sense somehow. I know that the characters aren’t always going to be the same throughout the entirety of show’s run but I managed to get favorites from the glimpse that was season one. And besides, it’s a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, I don’t think we have that much time anyway…

My Top 3 (in a particular order)

Glenn

Of course it’s Glenn! The former pizza delivery boy just trying to make ends meet before the outbreak began. Maybe I’m a tad biased but when I envision the future zombie apocalypse – you know it’s inevitable – I see myself as the “scout”. Glenn is young, quick, and resourceful. Although he isn’t a leader per se he is usually on the front lines when the group needs him. His sarcastic insight is a must and his ability to lighten the extremely grave mood is, obviously, appreciated. Glenn is going to have to try REALLY hard for me not to idolize him during the season.

Daryl Dixon 

What a drastic change, right? I like a good antihero every now and again. Daryl is brash, brave and a slew of other “B” words – borderline bigot included. Every crew needs a wild card and Daryl plays the role well. He doesn’t mind challenging the authority of Rick or Shane when he feels there is another option and since he doesn’t know what has become of his brother he has that “nothing to lose” mojo going for him. I know that Daryl is going to make me hate him as a person several times this season but solidify his standing as one of my favorite characters. Cheers to hypocrisy?!

 

Rick Grimes

The adopted/accepted leader of the group. I mean the man is a Sheriff…who was presumed dead…left in a hospital with the dead…in an abandoned/infected town…then still managed to find his family and “friend”/partner Shane. I would follow that man. He made the practical decisions for the group in season one. He doesn’t have the “lone ranger” mentality that Daryl has which I feel is going to cause conflict going forward. I appreciate him as a main character, but for now I appreciate the conflict that he initiates just by being the leader. I hope to be able to like his character as an individual more this season.

For some pictures and insight on character development, plot lines, and ZOMBIES from the producers of The Walking Dead click here.

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entourage series finale: this could be ‘the end’

Entourage was never one of those “shock and awe” shows. Everything that happened to Vince, Turtle, Eric, Johnny Drama and Ari fit with the ebb and flow of life. Whether winning (Aquaman) or losing (Medellin) they handled their problems with a stride similar to our own, albeit with much larger bank accounts.

I watched the first season of Entourage the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college. Then I returned to my HBO-less apartment and subsequently lost touch with the show. I wasn’t reintroduced to “Vinny and the boys” until a few years later (life sucked without seasons on DVD and DVRs to not miss shows in the first place). Turtle was definitely my MVP of the series, with Eric and Drama tied for “most progression over an 8-year span”. Outside of that pesky drug addiction, Vince was always the laid-back/semi-slacker/“it’s all good bro” glue that held the whole operation together.

Last night Entourage came to its end…for now. I went into the series finale with medium-level hopes. The season only totaled eight episodes and the finale, which should have been an hour, was the standard time of all the other episodes. Given everything that had led up to ‘The End’, I didn’t see how they’d go out with a bang.

I was misty-eyed once everything was said and done, which I originally equated with enjoying a “solid finale”. But I couldn’t escape the nagging thoughts that stayed with me this morning. Series finales (outside of the perfection done by Six Feet Under) are generally love it or hate it territory. I firmly “liked” Entourage’s ending. However, whether or not this episode was a set up for the movie, I still took issue with the a few things:

  • Vince’s whirlwind romance could have been spread out just a little bit more. They portrayed his fiancé as a practical professional, yet we were supposed to fully believe that all it took was a 24-hour date and huge rock for her to become a hopeless romantic? Both unrealistic and lazy.
  • I stopped liking Mrs. Ari…er…Melissa after the second episode of this season. They also played her uncharacteristically callous, which we now see was only done to make sure Ari could pursue Dana Gordon without betraying his marriage (something many fans had wanted to see for YEARS). All that’s fine, but similar to Vince’s story, I wish they’d given us more time to see Ari woo and not left us with a spastic choice to end his career that may be undone should he take the position he was offered at the end of the episode.
  • Eric and Sloan’s story could have honestly wrapped up last season with a huge wedding. The emotional turmoil their break-up caused and the slapdash way the writers threw them back together at the end was pointless.
  • Lloyd may have been moving up the ranks career-wise, but he was severely demoted this season. Aside from a few phone conversations with Drama, we barely saw him. There may not have been enough room for him with such limited time. But who better to help Ari with his heartbreak than his adoring ex-assistant? It would have been seamless and enjoyable.

Entourage has been critiqued for years as Sex and the City for men, but although I’m sure they exist, I have yet to cross paths with someone who watched both series with the same gusto. There was a slightly wider margin of time for Carrie and Co. to finish their story (and then start it again in an incredibly crappy second part), but I’m still hoping for the same satisfying ending for Entourage that the S&TC movie provided for fans. I can’t wait to see what millionaire looks like on Turtle and whether or not Drama can sustain his lucky career streak.

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it takes a community…

I don’t know what I miss most about Greendale Community College. Could it be the the sheer joy of finding a magical trampoline? Building and organizing a dorm-wide “Blanket-Fort City” – a la EVERY awesome sleepover EVER?! Or maybe it was the school-wide paintball tournament? Either way, I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to witness a group of people stay in school WAY longer than necessary like I have for the study group in Community.

I hope you see that scarf!

Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), the self-absorbed, faux-apathetic douche with all the witty “complisults” (compliment + insult). Jeff is always at the ready to tell the study group that he doesn’t care to deal with their shenanigans and always finds himself directly in the middle of the action and sometimes even spearheading the charge. Even though I feel this great ensemble cast doesn’t have a “lead character” Jeff has all the qualities to fit the bill.

 

Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), resident rebel with an adopted cause, is everything that Jeff is not but he just can’t get enough of. These two usually get tied together as the most polarizing forces in the study group. Britta has the ability to undercut any grandstanding with the surgeon-like precision of a veteran “Mean Girl”.

Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase) is the epitome of what it means to be politically incorrect. Racial slurs? Sexism? General Jackassery? Pierce has more than enough to share with the class. Usually pegged as the antagonist of the study group – a role he fits perfectly – I’m actually starting to like his character more with each verbal/visual beating he gives me – because that’s healthy, right?

Troy Barnes (Donald Glover) is filled with a childlike exuberance – if you couldn’t tell by the picture – that is never annoying and always accepted. Whether he is making “dumb-blonde” statements or even a subtle facial expression, Troy takes advantage of all his screen time. Also, when you can throw this epic of a tantrum as a grown man you deserve some credit.

Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) is the socially awkward and pop-culture poignant “android” character that spews information with no filter. He does a great job keeping characters in check because he only tells what he sees and doesn’t let characters build their ego too high before he makes them realize how blatantly mediocre they really are. Abed and Troy are one of the best “buddy” duos on television right now, and they even come equipped with their own handshake! Jealous yet?

Annie Edison (Alison Brie) is the young, straight-laced, naive beauty who usually has the best interest of the whole group in mind when she sets out. But this may change things a bit for the upcoming season. I actually like Annie’s character, maybe more than I should, and it’s not just because she is HAWT! She may feign oblivious to most her surroundings but she knows exactly what she wants and usually gets me it.

If Samuel L. Jackson's Pulp Fiction and Whoopi Goldberg's Sister Act had a baby...

Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown) is the religious, sometimes single mother that is never opposed to gossip. She finds a way to know everyone’s business without shedding light on her own and passive-aggressively pits characters against each other. I like Shirley’s instigating methods because she can add a new twist to any episode with one line.

Get your #2 pencils ready class. School is back is session September 22nd on NBC.

 

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