I think Dexter rivals Life on Mars in the number of emotions it produces throughout an episode. It's only in these two shows that I can feel amused, sorrowful, creeped out, surprised, satisfied and vaguely morally ambiguous all within the space of ten minutes. 'Father Knows Best' was a great episode.
When they first introduced Rudy as the Ice Truck Killer, I thought it was done heavy-handedly, and this episode added onto that feeling. But I love Christian Camargo's performance of him. He's creepy in ways Dexter never is. And that's just so right. I guess - I totally see why they're nailing it in that Rudy is both Serial Killing and not operating under a Code of Harry - therefore making him Not So Nice, but at the same time, I think it could be done with more subtlety. I love the fact that they've revealed who it is, though. I've always had a penchant for mysteries where we know whodunnit, but we get to see how the characters figure it out.
I'm guessing that Rudy is Dexter's brother, even though most of the time you get the distinct impression he's courting Dex. He is courting Dex, but in his own insane little way. Not knowing his full motivation makes it all the more disturbing and enticing somehow. We know what Dexter's thinking, we're always in his head - but Rudy? Not so much.
I do feel morally ambiguous for liking Dexter as a character so much. I know he kills people. And I don't advocate killing people. I don't even like the death penalty. But Dexter is also the embodiment of many traits I adore - loyal, protective, witty, clueless. Dexter thinks he's empty inside, but he shows us he's not. And we're on that journey of discovery with him. Whilst he murderizes the bad guys left, right and centre.
I like the structure of Dexter - it isn't always about Dexter killing some evil person every week - and we learn stuff about Dex and his relationships with those around him along the way. Also, there's a sense of ensemble with Debra, Rita, Angel, Doakes, LaGuerta - even Masuka all being fully rounded and interesting characters outside of how they relate to Dexter. I'm madly in love with Rita, actually. I've always adored Julie Benz, and she brings the role so much.
I really love this show. I know I haven't been posting about it, but I've been watching it religiously. Some episodes more than once. I got Nick into it too, and sometimes I can't wait till he's free to watch it with me, so I watch it first and then watch it again with him. I'm pleased to know there's already going to be a second series.
It isn't perfect - there's always a balancing act between subtle and sledgehammer in Dexter, and yes, there's lots of sex and blood - but it's more than made up for by good performances, interesting observations and just general wholesome serial killer fun.