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December 17, 2006: "Born Free"

So let's talk about the title. I mean, how often do you get to hear Andy Williams? "Born free, as free as the wind blows, as free as the grass grows.... "

A shout-out to Michael Cuesta, the writer of Dexter, who also directed this episode. (He directed the premiere as well as two others.) I think he�s fantastic. The opening scene with Dexter standing in front of the moon and we�re watching him through water was a nice visual.

I�ll assume for the sake of argument that the reader who posted in all caps that Dexter and Rudy were brothers must have read the books. If it wasn�t in the books and was just a hunch, well, then, good job. We finally got to unravel the mystery of how Rudy knows everything about Dexter. The unveiling of the knowledge that he and Rudy were brothers was very well done. The flashback showed Dexter playing hide-and-seek with his five-color nail-job mother, and the dark-haired boy popping out from behind the tree unraveled slowly and precisely.

The season finale was a show about relationships, so I�ve broken them down for us here:

Laguerta and Esme: I was worried after their initial interaction that this was not going to go well, but once Maria walked into her old office and confronted Esme, she found out that Esme isn�t just good-looking, she�s smart, too, and knows the score. She�s on our team!

Dexter and Rita: Even as he puts her off, she sees deeper into him and understands his brusqueness from the stress of trying to find his missing sister. When Rita asks Dexter if he is all right, and he says yes and then changes his tune and admits he�s not all right, I felt he was making a move towards a more sincere relationship with her. That should keep her satisfied, until of course she sees the shoe. For my money, I think she�s going to defend Dexter all the way down the line. She won�t give up on him or give him up.

Paul and Rita: Paul starts by accusing Dexter and trying to instill a sense of doubt in Rita. He even goes so far as to send his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor to his rescue, but to no avail. For her part, Rita seems to have grown strong enough that she won�t believe anything Paul says anymore. Paul has cried wolf one too many times for her taste. Right on, Rita.

Deb and Dexter: I actually found their relationship touching in the ep. Rudy/Biney/Brian/ITK has forced Dexter to start figuring out what is of value to him in his life. The little sis is on top of that list, and I think Rita is playing a close second. Harry and his code are so five minutes ago at this point. It will be interesting to see what the writers do with Dex�s disenchantment with his foster father in the next season. Dexter works hard to protect her. And when Doakes is ready to have Dex suspended, it�s Deb who stands up for him.

Rudy and Dexter: Boy, this has been brewing for much of this year, bubbling just under the surface. I found it a novel idea to have these two as brothers who both kill serially, but the differences are so profound. Dexter spends the early part of the show searching for the clues he knows Rudy has left him. Only they aren�t where he thought they might be, so he has to work harder to find them.

Dexter�s emotional struggle with the fact that his own flesh and blood is so much closer to him yet so much more removed is painful to watch. He realizes he would rather protect his pseudo-sis than support the rantings of his deranged natural brother. His struggle gets even more complex as he realizes that he can no longer trust anything in his life. That the one most important aspect of his life was kept from him by Harry his entire life. I think Dexter�s handling of his relationship with Harry will be very important in the next season. He�s going to have to come to terms with the great big lie that Harry told him. I just hope it doesn�t make him as embittered as his brother. Will he remain tied to the code?

Rudy and Deb: Two things stick out for me from this ep. The first one is when Rudy says to Deb, "I never meant to hurt you," and stares into her eyes. Crying, she says, "I know," to which he replies, "Does this make it easier for you? Because I can keep going." Frankly, I was on the floor. The other equally funny part was when he had brought her duct-taped and blindfolded into the house and told her to get down on the floor, and she ran around in circles and threw herself into the wall. His facial expressions were hysterical. Like, �Oh, you silly girl.� Serial killers have such great senses of humor.

Doakes and Dexter: When these two started fighting I thought, "They fight like brothers." Maybe Doakes is the third brother.... It could happen. But it was a very funny scene. I am curious to find out what Doakes thinks he has on Dexter.

Angel and his roommate, the crazy guy: If it hadn�t been for old "she knows" lying in the bed next to Angel, he would never have been brought into the show. Luckily for him, the guy was nuts and it made Angel realize that Rudy might have been in a psych ward, rather than have a police record. That�s good investigative detecting, my friend. Welcome back to the force.

There was something in Dexter�s face as he steeled himself to break into the cargo container where his search for Deb first brings him. Happily, it�s only bananas. It is a testament to Michael C Hall�s incredible acting ability that he can run from stoic killer to overwrought brother in a matter of moments. I am really impressed. And, obviously, so are the people over at the Golden Globes.

I was sure that when Rudy/Biney/Brian/ITK slipped down the tunnel underneath the garage in the house where he grew up with Dexter, the show was over and they were planning on bringing him back next season. Boy was I surprised when he broke into Dexter�s house in order to rid the world of Debra Morgan, and Dexter had outsmarted him, finally. So the bad news is, we�re still stuck with Deb, though she wasn�t completely annoying.

The best line was while Rudy sat across the kitchen table from Dexter drinking a beer and told him he bought the house for him, and Dexter replied, "I�m really more of an apartment person." I cracked up.

I am already in withdrawal thinking about what life will be like without Dexter. This show went from being a good show to a fantastic show in the course of one season, and we all got to witness it. There were no growing pains that I can think of; instead, its evolution has been clear and focused. With any luck, the sophomore season will be just as terrific, though after Dexter�s face-off with his brother, I can�t imagine what they could dream up next. How will they outdo themselves?

Posted by Paula Paige
Dec 18, 2006 1:48 AM
Wow, the final showdown between Dexter and Rudy was nothing like I expected. Who knew that by the season finale I'd actually feel a little sorry that Dexter killed the ITK. This episode did a great job of helping me understand Rudy's point of view, because though he was a clever killer I always thought he was still a little crazy, but he just missed his brother. Random Stuff:

-Michael C. Hall was awesome in this episode, especially in the ambulance with Deb and in the freezer with Rudy

-I would usually consider Doakes an obsessed stalker, but his suspicions about Dexter are correct so I won't.

-I too wonder if Dexter will continue to follow Harry's code since he was betrayed by him.

-Will someone ever find out that Dexter was ITK's brother.

-I've started wondering who will find out the truth about Dexter first Deb, Rita, or Doakes.

-The ending with all those people celebrating and congratulating Dexter for killing those people was truly a wonderful scene. Dexter's last line spoke so true: "Only in their darkest dreams"

A great season 1 finale to what has turned out to be a great series.
Posted by JFame
Dec 18, 2006 2:24 AM
Such a great episode, and a wonderful ending to a superior freshman series. For me, the best part was toward the end when Dexter referred to his sister as "Dearly Damaged Debra", which is an obvious reference to the title of the book on which this series is based, "Darkly Dreaming Dexter"- I just thought it was nice of the writers to throw that in!
Posted by bookgirl42
Dec 18, 2006 3:26 AM
Great season finale. It was ruined somewhat by the posters in this blog stating that Rudy was Dexter's brother when they knew it to be fact. That annoys me.

Esme good looking Paula? Really? Ok then. I did like that her character will probably work well with Laguerta. That was an intense fight scene between Dexter and Doakes. Dexter has some fighting moves that we haven't seen before. I thought Doakes was going to kick his butt, but Dexter held his own.

The next season will be very interesting. First Dexter will be very different learning the truth about his foster father. The halo is gone from him. It may mess with Dexter. And Debra will be different as well. Her skin will be tougher and she might not let herself fall in love so easily. I think that experience will turn anyone off of dating for a while. The last couple of episodes, I have felt more of a connection with Deb.

I thought for sure that Rudy was gone until the next season. That was surprising when he tried to come back and kill Deb. Dexter won out probably because of Harry's training in that situation. He was ready. Poor Dexter. The one person who knew what he was going through is gone. He was no one left who would understand what he does.

Rita now has some doubts about Dexter. She did find the shoe in the end. I wonder what she would do if Dexter told her the truth about what he did to Paul. He did do it for the best of her and the kids. I don't think she would think of it that way. So it may be right for Dexter to keep quiet.

I also believe the conflict between Doakes and Dexter will be heightened next season. Dexter has to be very very careful.

Can't wait for next season. Hopefully the people who read the books will be a bit more respectful and not spoil it for people.
Posted by speedy1383
Dec 18, 2006 4:01 AM
What else to say than excellent finale and season?
MCH truly deserves a LOT of praise for his acting. He's the one to pull for comes the GG ceremony.

Dexter killing Rudy was "sweet" and macabre at once. It's hard to explain that ambiguity but it was very entertaining to watch Dexter struggle with the conflict of putting down the only person he doesn't have to hide from.

I have to admit I wish Deb had died. No actually I'm okay with the character I'm just not fond of the actress. No hate either just meh.
But I admit that she did a great job in this episode (as well as the previous one for that matter) but still, I wouldn't miss the character if she were to die or relocate or whatever.

I was in stitches during the end scenes. It was so Six Feet Under-ish. LOVED IT.
I would have died if it had ended with Dexter yelling like David Fisher in the SFU pilot,then everyone looking at him with WTF? expressions on their face. *hee!*

As for favorite line this episode there were several but the one that stayed with me the most is "I couldn't find the remote". Dexter lies to cover his killings but he can't lie to cover his search of Deb and's just funny.

Finally I hate Doakes, he reminds me of all kinds of tiny stupid and mean dogs that bark and whine all the time.
I know I'm suppose to accept he's a tough "in your face" kind of cop or something and that I should view him as a threat to Dexter (and his 'work') but the total absence of subtelty and, for lack of better word, deviance in his dealing with Dexter ONLY makes the character terribly annoying.
I wish they give the sergeant more nuances next season or else I'll treat his scenes as commercials and look the other way (or fast forward).

No disrespect because I'm not one to talk but you have quite a few typos in that review. :O
Posted by innamorata
Dec 18, 2006 8:08 AM
I hope that the reader that posted in all caps was just guessing as well. Because, if he wasn't that was totally rude and inconsiderate to post that information without a spoiler alert. Everyone that watches this show did not read the books and I in fact had never even heard of the book series until I heard about the show. I could never understand why people like to ruin things for everyone else. I've had to stop reading numerous blogs on this website because so many people are so inconsiderate. Didn't there used to be an "ignore this user" link, or something to that effect?

Okay, rant over.

While I am proud of Rita because she is much stronger than the shell of a woman we saw in the beginning, I do think that Paul still has a minor hold on her. I say this because the minute Paul asked her if she had ever even been to Dex's laboratory where did she show up? Dex's laboratory. She even started to look for the shoe, but, then changed her mind (before she came across it by accident). I couldn't believe she let him get to her like that, and while Paul is telling the truth (about this) I don't care. I don't want Rita questioning or investigating our Dexter.

I was hoping that Dex would come clean about what he did to Paul. He did it for Rita, and honestly I can't think of any other way that she would have been able to keep the kids after she violated their visitation agreement.

I also thought the ITK killer was going to get away and the story would continue next year, but, now I'm even more excited to see what story (if any) they're going to come up with next year.

Doakes sitll irks me to no end.

I can't wait until Season 2 starts!!
Posted by blueree
Dec 18, 2006 10:20 AM
For me the title of this episode will forever be "Harry Wins!" Nurture triumphs over nature in the battle inside Dexter's head. He kills his long lost brother, for Pete's sake, per Harry's rules and training. So Briney didn't really know little bro after all. Sure, Harry lied, Dexter lies all the time, both to protect himself and to protect those he cares about. I hope he resolves that issue early next season.
A few other random thoughts:
Where is Doakes any better than Dexter? Didn't he execute that black ops guy under the bridge?
Poor Deb, she'll either jump right into another disfunctional relationship or swear off men for the foreseeable future, only the writers know for sure. Maybe she'll hook up with Laguerta as a nod to the L-word, or maybe not.
Rita is growing stronger with each new trial. She is doing things now the character never would have at the start of the season. Remember, she was too damaged to even consider real intimacy with Dex way back then. If she finds out the truth about Paul and stops to think about it, she'll probably go along, though she'll have to reassess her image of Dex as the sweet boyish but not terribly assertive boyfriend. Perhaps her biggest mistake was not finishing off Paul when he attacked her. Parollee with a history of family violence and drug abuse restricted to supervised visits only, case would never have even gotten to the DA. There would be the matter of explaining to the kids of course.
How ironic what with the abuse, violence, attempted rape, and the whole "poor dad it's all your moms fault" crap he's pulled that what get's Paul burned is a setup. IMHO, couldn't happen to a more deserving individual.
Oh my, it's gonna be a long time until next season.

Uncle Lar
Posted by Uncle Lar
Dec 18, 2006 11:15 AM
Agree with all. Great episode and great season. MCH was amazing and so was the actor who played Rudy, (his name escapes me now).

RE: Finale. Is it implied that Doakes followed Dex to Rudy's and knows what Dex did? Clearly Doakes was following him during episode, since we saw the confrontation at shipping yard and the 'look'/warning at Rita's...Maybe in Season #2 it'll be revealed how much Doakes knows and how long he's been tailing Dex..
Lastly, with so much happening, just wanted to confirm that there was no reveal re: Dex's bio dad involvement in massacre or if he was also Rudy/Brian's dad?
Posted by lnmib
Dec 18, 2006 12:25 PM
It would be nice if people who read the books don't mention anything from them. Many TV shows are based on books, in fact Bones and the new Dresden Files-which will be on SciFi in January are based on books but like Bones, are way different than the books themselves. I've read both the Bones books and the Dresden File books but I wouldn't think of telling people things in the books that may be so different in the tv series. Look how many movies based on books are changed to make the movies more dramatic. So please don't mention plots from books that don't appear in the shows or show up later in the series than what is presently being shown. Thank you.
Posted by vicki
Dec 18, 2006 12:50 PM
Wow this was a great ep! And the actress who plays Debra was awesome in this one! I had a feeling Rudy was Dex's brother despite the posts to that effect, only someone who was there could have known what he did. I'll miss Dexter. Thank goodness "Psych" starts in a few weeks! That will hold me over til next season of Dexter, even tho the two shows aren't remotely alike. lol
Posted by tracey1027
Dec 18, 2006 1:27 PM
Re: Doakes
I actually think of him as comic relief. Don't remember if it was mentioned on this blog or comments afterward, but what was up with him reading Dexter's mind? An episode or two back Dexter was saying something as narrator (not as character) to which Doakes replied, "What did you say?" Possible angle, but runs the risk of absurdity.

I actually like Deb. She's the perfect "little sis." Granted, it suits a 16-year-old better than a professional. Interesting that she was trapped for a time in a trunk with a dead body--similar to Dexter, though not quite to his extreme. That, and the fact that she might not be so quick to date for a while might make her a little more cold, and a little more like Dexter?

I was disappointed that Rudy was killed. I thought it would be a perfect cliffhanger. And serial killers aren't identified and captured in the amount of time this seems to have taken place. A good serial killer ought to last a few seasons before it gets tired. Of course, since they've only recently picked up season two, and the writing and filming would all have been completed beforehand, they really had to have it wrapped up neatly by the end of the season.

I like the commissioner, too. Am I the only one? Laguerta was a world class (annoyance) at the start, and for most of the series. Why should I have any sympathy for her? The commissioner had helped Deb, and had been a close friend of Harry, so I always viewed him as the guy to "cheer" for, in that conflict. I don't like Laguerta, and I don't care for her replacement, simply because it looks like she will ally herself with Laguerta.

Any word on when the next season begins? I will assume it's at least a few months away.
Posted by palafox
Dec 18, 2006 1:50 PM
wow!!! Great episode!!!

At the end for a moment I thought that Deb was going to die. You know, they save her, but then Rudy comes back and kills her. phew! I really like that character. She can be annoying at times, but it's a great character, and I think the actress is doing a great job.

I think it's great that they're pissing off Laguerta. She wasn't very nice at the beginning, and they mentioned that she took credit for something years ago and because of that she was made Lieutenant. She's all about getting higher in her job.

About the shoutout to Jeff Lindsay's book, I think 'Dearly damaged Deb' was a reference to his second book, "Dearly Devoted Dexter", not the first one. And I don't remember where, but Dexter also says 'Dearly Disturbed Dexter'

It's going to be hard to be without Dexter for almost year. But I'm sure after a few weeks we'll forget a little bit about it because there'll be something else to watch.
And about Psych, I didn't know it was returning so soon, so now I'm psyched! :)
And 24 is coming back next month. Then a new show by Tim Minear called Drive is premiering in spring, and then in summer The Closer is back, and The 4400, so I think it's going to be an easy wait.
Ok, maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that it's not gonna be hard.
Posted by tamara
Dec 18, 2006 2:37 PM
As a big fan of Darla from Angel, I was especially interested in Rita. What will she do with the discovery of the shoe? As to Dexter coming clean to Rita, it might work if she thought it was a one time occurrence. However, the AA guy told her that this was not the work of an amateur and that whoever set Paul up was experienced at this type of thing. The whole character arc for Rita is based on her new found strength and independence. To ask her to just trust Dexter and not question him is a reversion to the damaged frightened character we first saw at the beginning of the season. When you start on a journey of self discovery, you pretty much have to go where it takes you.
Posted by PKK
Dec 18, 2006 4:41 PM
The premise of series is probably what makes it so addicting to watch. I love it!

My only question is, does anyone know the name of the classical piano piece Rudy is listening to while he's driving with Deb in the trunk of the car? It's been eating away at me that I can figure it out.
Posted by haste
Dec 18, 2006 7:09 PM
There were two things I found interesting. First, didn't it seem that "Briny" was more acting out a case of sibling jealosy/rivalry than anything else. The snotty "fake sister", insults at Harry contrasted to his complaints about his own upbringing. Its seemed less an attempt to "free" Dexter, as opposed to drag him down to his level. Note the anger in his "you can't be a killer and the doesn't work like that!" (Good break of fourth wall with that, BTW)

Second, did anyone else get the feeling that maybe Deb heard a bit of their discussion? Really, if you wanted "Dexter 101", that discussion over Deb on the table would be it. The writers for this show rarely do the convienient, or get loose with language. Yet here's Deb, convienently coming to just as Briny is stabbing downward. And she uses the "hero" comment he did (with these writers synchronicity like that isn't usually an accident).

Wouldn't she freak out and report him? Well, what would she have heard?

1. Dex is a killer.
2. But Dex only has or will kill the worst of killers.
3. Harry knew all of this and helped him. (Sudden revelation on why Dad paid more attention to him.)
4. Her brother loves her (even though he doesn't really get that, or can say it).
5. He's willing to risk dying for her, even hurting his "real" brother.

I can see where Deb would want to think that through, rather than run to her fellow police.
Posted by ARAMIS
Dec 18, 2006 11:42 PM
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Michael C Hall wins nom!
Our good friend, Michael C Hal, best known for his current work as the dark, serial killer, Dexter, has earned himself a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by and Actor in a TV Drama. Congrats, Michael! We love you!