Christine Written by Craig Shilowich Directed by Antonio Campos U.S., 2016 …
Michael C. Hall
John Krokidas’ film debut Kill Your Darlings follows the turbulent University years of famed American beat writers Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), Lucien Carr (Dane DeHann) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster). Set in the early 1940s at Columbia University and on the streets of New York City, the film centers around the murder of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) and the months that led up to it.
There is a somewhat clichéd analogy used in regard to a fiction, in which the piece is compared to a dangerously misbehaving child. This line of thought always ends with the line “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed”. This was applicable a week ago. This week, a more fitting denouement would be a Changeling style scenario where the parent screeches “That’s not my son!” Another potential comparison could be a first for locomotion; having rather lazily drifted off the rails and beyond the point of potential rescue, Dexter is now not even accessible to those craving a suitably entertaining train wreck.
What’s the best way to wrap up a big long story? Do you concentrate on the characters, ensuring that their journeys come to an end in a satisfying manner? Is it a matter of destroying the world you have set up to justify the use of such a clinical term as ‘the end’? Or is it a case of doing both, throwing every last inspired thought and radical idea into the pot for one final thrill ride both visceral and emotional
Oh God, here we go again…once again words leave the lips of a viewer with multiple interpretations, and once again the least likely is the emotion behind the utterance. Ever since the beginning of its fifth season, Dexter has taken pleasure from torturing its fans with its frequent mood whiplashes and dips in quality, hitting lower and lower marks before somehow returning to a comfortable height in a breakneck maneuver. It would be nice if there was some consistency. What we’ll have to settle with instead is the fact that the rollercoaster is heading upwards again. Yes, two weeks after seemingly destroying its own legacy in suicidal abandon, Dexter is alive and kicking again.
The one perverse positive of producing a turgid piece of dross is that it immediately sets the bar so low that virtually anything can top it and look reasonable by comparison. After last week’s nightmare of a bore-fest ‘A Little Reflection’, Dexter could quite comfortably fills its episodes with serial-killer-killer-killers or murderous clowns and not worry about the disconcert growing greater. Fortunately, a writing team that has become the bane of a show’s loyal fan base don’t quite push the envelope that far down stream, instead opting for a continuation of their scatter shot story with ‘Dress Code’ and deciding to replace time killing with people killing. Plot, in other words.
Last night, Dexter crossed the line. There, ladies and gentlemen, is a sentence that has been gathering dust in a drawer in wait for the appropriate moment, when the expletive finally hit the fan. It is the final season after all, so this would be the perfect time. Unfortunately, its use here is not what was wanted, needed…Dexter Morgan did not cross the line, the show that shares his name did. Half way to the end, six episodes into the last saga, the series has dropped its worst episode to date on its ever decreasing fan base. It didn’t cross the line by going to the extreme, taking a wild route. Chance would be a fine thing. No, ‘A Little Reflection’ flipped the bird at its audience by way of being surely the most boring thing ever to have a serial killer as a protagonist. Then it tried to make amends in utterly incredulous fashion. Last week’s episode was worrying; this one confirmed that concern was justified, and that its probably too late.
Just like an inherently destructive loved one; infuriating you, disappointing you, breaking your heart, only keeping the bond alive with rare flashes of nostalgic familiarity, then finally sucking you back in when the exit door looks inevitable with the palpable suggestion that things, finally, will be as great as they can be. Such is the existence of the loyal fan, forever questioning whether that connection you share with a material that once seemed life affirming is an irrationally emotional one. It is apt that last night’s episode of Dexter vaguely centered on the significance of family, because at times this show seems, appropriately enough, like the proverbial black sheep.
The trouble with ending a story is that too many people want too many different things, the author included, and quite often the natural endgame to set up is the one that people are afraid to see. It’s a scary thought, after all, if you’ve been invested in something for it to come to an end. We all want different things, have different expectations and not everyone will be satisfied with the result. With Scar Tissue, the fourth installment of Dexter’s final season, it has become clear that the last great chase will focus almost entirely on its two central characters, not villains of the week or rival serial killers. Unfortunately, with the episode’s indecisive conclusion, the chosen direction is not in the slightest bit clear. Fear, it seems, has crept into the men and women behind the TV monster.
Your mileage may vary on the merits of Dexter taking three episodes before actually doing some Dexting. Not the traditional definition, this term in this context refers to seeing the titular character doing what he does best, scouting and hunting out potential prey by occasionally ingenious and always casual ways. Ironically, in an episode that closely hammers home the point that Dexter is indeed “perfect”, but only in one avenue, that talent itself is left on the backburner in favor of personal drama. Misleadingly titled as far as content goes, this is another outing of the Deb & Dex show, heavily laced with former’s downfall and the latter’s soon to be legacy.
Via an old VCR tape recorded onto a DVD, we see a concerned Harry Morgan in full uniform at an office belonging to a renowned neuropsychiatrist, sharing details that go far deeper than personal. His ten year old adopted son is continuing to show terrifyingly monstrous tendencies, fascination with death and bloodshed, and every attempt he has made to shock him out of his murderous reverie has backfired on him.
For a long term fan, nearing the end of Dexter Morgan’s journey is an experience that holds a tangible fear and pang of panic in one’s stomach. Not because of the fact that it will soon all be over, one of TV’s most immorally ambitious tales ever reaching its final chapter. The trouble has come with the undeniable rut that has set in the minutes following the harrowing ending to Season Four, when a writing team who had canvassed together a quadrilogy of emotive, compelling and unforgettable continuing stories stepped out the back door. By September 22nd, this will mean that a full half of the show’s run has been beset by a gang of scribes who too often have revealed themselves as producing well financed fan fiction. The real fear, ultimately, is that they will screw it up at the punch. ‘A Beautiful Day’, the opening salvo of the last hurrah, proves inconclusive in this regard.
There’s a moment in the pilot episode of Six Feet Under which perfectly captures the tone of the show. On his way to pick up his son from the airport, Nathaniel Fisher ends a phone call to his wife Ruth by promising he’ll give up smoking. He stubs out his cigarette. Then he smiles a little private smile to himself and flips another smoke into his mouth. It’s only when he bends to light it, that the bus bearing down on him at the intersection is revealed.