Sunday Night Boob Tube Bonanza: “Dexter”‘s New Daddy Issues, An Epic Face-Off On “The Walking Dead” & A Heart-Stopping “Homeland”

By: Amelia McDonell-Parry / December 3, 2012

Thanks to last night’s episodes of “The Walking Dead” and “Homeland,” my anxiety levels are way above already above-normal leves. Seriously, the majority of the recaps for each show could be summarized as simply “OMG!!!!!” However, I shall put aside my excitement and delve deeper into both these episodes, as well as last night’s ho-hum “Dexter,” after the jump!

“Dexter.” Oh “Dexter,” where is this season going? For the most part, I have been patient with the somewhat rocky and disconnected storylines this season, because I have faith in the writers that they’re doing what’s necessary to bring the show to an end next season in a way that’s climactic and satisfying. And yet, last night’s episode was a bit of a stinker, no? Dexter’s love story with Hannah McKay, which was once at least hot, is now becoming totally cliche. Hannah has daddy issues too! That’s why she kills people just because! Personally, I don’t want to feel sympathy for Hannah, because I don’t need to feel sympathy for her to think she’s an exciting match for Dexter. Dexter’s back story — witnessing his mother’s murder — has been used expertly to explain the existence of his “Dark Passenger.” But if Hannah doesn’t believe that such a thing exists, why is the audience being force-fed her sad sack backstory in what is clearly a desire to “explain” why she is the way she is? I think the character of Hannah was so much stronger when she was just a ruthless killer who made no apologies for her crimes; seeing her crying over dollhouse memories, a busted flower garden and her crying flower garden is making me like her a whole lot less.

So, in last night’s ep, Hannah’s dad shows up in town, wanting to reconnect with his daughter. But he has an ulterior motive: money. He wants to borrow cash from her to start his own crawfish business but she balks and he immediately changes his tune from proud poppa to emotionally abusive sociopath. Hannah’s dad apparently knows of a witness to one of Hannah’s murders and tells Dexter than unless Hannah gives him the money he needs, he’ll tip off the police.

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Meanwhile, Miami Metro is looking for the guy who keeps setting people on fire. Dexter manages to figure it out, of course, and initially decides that because he can’t kill Hannah’s dad — because it goes against his code — he can at least satiate his urges by taking out the arsonist killer. Dexter captures the guy and Saran Wraps him to his table, as per usual, and goes into his standard pre-stabbing interrogation schpiel. The Arsonist Killer tells him a sob story about being blamed for a fire his best friend set when they were kids and that being sent to a nuthouse turned him into the killer he is today. “You can’t blame it on something that happened to you when you were a kid,” Dexter says. “You’re not a kid anymore. It’s time for you to take responsibility.” And despite talking to himself about his Dark Passenger for the last seveeeeeeen seasons, it’s like Dexter realizes for the first time HOW COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS IT IS to justify his serial killer behavior on what happened to him as a child. Clearly Dexter has never been in therapy if this revelation is just coming to him now. “FUCK,” he says.

So, if Dexter now sees that the whole “Dark Passenger” excuse is bullshit — because, really, any killer can blame a dark passenger for their behavior, right? — than isn’t it time he just accept that he kills people because he wants to? And in that case, who does he want to kill most, code be damned? Instead of disposing of the arsonist killer in his usual way, he tips the cops off instead — and takes Hannah’s dad for a ride on his boat instead. I’m intrigued by where the show is going with Dexter’s journey, I just wish they didn’t spend so much damn time on purifying Hannah in this episode. Thoughts?

“Homeland.” Abu Nazir’s plan to detonate a bomb in the United States has been thwarted! Hooray! But not so fast. Abu Nazir is still somewhere in the U.S. and, oh shit, what’s that? Carrie’s been in a car crash! And now she’s missing! Where could she possibly beeeeee?

Last night’s episode of “Homeland” was completely epic. I was on the edge of my seat the whole damn time. That said, it required a whole lot of suspension of disbelief. Let’s just make that clear. Middle of the day car crash and the number one terrorist in the world is able to drag the driver from her vehicle, on his own, and take her to a warehouse in the middle of nowhere, where he gets excellent cellphone service, which comes in really handy because all of his terrorist business is conducted via Skype on his Blackberry. Who is his provider? I must know!

Abu Nazir calls Brody and tells him that he will kill Carrie unless Brody breaks into Vice President Walden’s office and finds the serial number on his pacemaker. It seems the Vice President apparently has a bad heart at his relatively youthful age. A heart that keeps on beating thanks to a pacemaker, which can just be turned off remotely if you know the serial number. GUESS WHO’S NEVER GOING TO GET A PACEMAKER? ME. That shit is scarier than Abu Nazir to me right now, no joke.

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After getting off the phone with Brody, Carrie and Abu Nazir have a tense little chat. Carrie keeps calling Nazir a terrorist and he’s like, “Lemme tell you why” and launches in the story about the drone attack that killed his son Issa. Carrie is like, “I see your Issa story and I raise you a story about a suicide bomber who took out a ton of kids.” Nazir is unmoved and says that there is a war going on and his “people” are willing to sacrifice everything, including themselves, to winning, because all that matters is God. He also gets in a great organic food joke, which added just the tiniest moment of humor, at least for me, in a really intense and upsetting scene.

Anyway, Brody, who has the worrrrrst poker face in the entire world, will do anything to save Carrie, so he heads to the VP’s manse and essentially behaves like a teenager who just stole their first porn magazine from the newsstand and it’s blatantly obvious that he’s up to something, but again SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF because this show is good enough to deserve it. Brody sneaks into Walden’s office and makes the world’s biggest racket as he tries to fine the pacemaker’s serial number, which he can only see with a goddamn magnifying glass because this show takes place in 1922, did you know? Brody video Skypes with Nazir, apparently not the slightest bit concerned that the CIA might still be monitoring his phone because WHY WOULD THEY it’s not like he’s a double agent or anything, and demands that Nazir release Carrie first. He swears on the soul of Issa, that he will deliver the serial number once Carrie has gotten away. Nazir lets Carrie go and she takes off running. Brody delivers on his promise, slowly though, as instead of taking a photo of the serial number and sending it to Nazir, Brody juggles his magnifying glass and his Blackberry and texts the number. Ahhh, technology!

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Brody finishes just in time because Walden walks in. He and Brody start talking, and the scene flashes between them and a random guy typing in numbers on a computer, clearly someone who works for Nazir and is pulling the plug on Walden’s pacemaker, like, pronto. As Walden starts to have heart pangs, Brody tells him he is removing his name from consideration for the VP slot, explaining that he needs to focus on his family. “Fuck your family,” Walden responds. The chest pains increase and any sympathy Brody might have had isn’t registering. Brody then changes his tune and tells Walden that he doesn’t want to be his VP because he disagrees with him on everything and basically hates him and blah blah blah and Walden’s heart is totally giving out and he says Brody should call an ambulance and Brody is like “YAWNNNNN, don’t you get it, bitch, I’m killing you.” Hmm, I suppose if you are basically kind of forced into killing the Vice President, whom you hate, you might as well kind of enjoy it?

So, meanwhile, Carrie has run away from Nazir’s warehouse of terror and grabs a truck driver’s cellphone so she can call Saul. She tells him about Nazir taking her captive and where she thinks she is — because the CIA doesn’t have the ability to track cellphones apparently — but doesn’t mention a word about Brody or what Nazir told him to do. Protecting her man, because she knows his deal with the CIA will be off? Looks like it. Carrie is ordered not to go back to the warehouse to find Nazir, which of course means that’s exactly where she’s headed. Saul, Quinn and the suddenly -appearing Agent Galvez (injured at Gettysburg, remember?) take off to find Nazir, but before they get out the door, Saul is taken into custody for questioning. For what? Don’t put your hands on Saul, motherfuckers! I suspect that Estes had Saul taken in so that he doesn’t get in the way of Agent Cheekbones, who he knows is a black ops agent. But is he also be set up as the CIA’s mole? Is he the mole? I sure as shit hope not, but it would be unexpected. My money would be on Galvez, since he just came out of the woodwork again, but that seems too obvious, as does Estes. Fuck if I know. Just leave Papa Saul alone!

So, I saw mixed reactions to this episode on Twitter, with many rejoicing in how exciting it was, while others called out the incredible number of ridiculous things the audience was expected to believe. Terrorists Skype from abandoned warehouses? It’s THAT EASY to break into the VP’s office? You get the picture. So what did you think of the episode?

“The Walking Dead.” Last night’s episode was the mid-season finale; the show will return in early February. Sob! But boy, was it is a doozy. Team Prison snuck into Woodsbury to rescue Glenn and Maggie, who, by the way, haven’t given up on saving themselves — Glenn fashioned weapons out of the arm bones of the walker he killed last week. Glenn is basically is the most bad ass mother fucker of them all at this point. In the end, he and Maggie still needed Team Prison’s help in escaping and they made sure to tell Daryl that his brother Merle was among the men who kidnapped and tortured them. Rick implores Daryl to stay with them for now, and he helps them escape back outside Woodsbury’s walls as the Governor’s minions, including Merle, fire at them.

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Michonne, who helped Team Prison break into Woodsbury, has of course gone off on her own. She’s back at the Governor’s house, where she finds his creepy sitting room, with its fish tanks full of heads and, oh yeah, a little zombie girl with a peeling scalp. At first, Michonne drops her guard and appears very, very emotional at having come upon this child … but her sympathy fades once she realizes that child is a walker. As she’s above to lop off little Penny’s head, the Governor appears, brandishing a gun, begging her not to hurt his daughter. I almost – almost! — felt sorry for the Governor but then I remembered what he did to Maggie last episode, and I was back to cheering for Michonne to kill him AND his zombie child. Michonne accomplished the latter, driving her crazy sword through Penny’s head, which cause the Governor to flip the fuck out. Watch Michonne and the Gov’s epic fight above, which was broken up by Andrea. Watching Andrea and Michonne circling each other with their weapons drawn made me sad — couldn’t have Michonne just EXPLAINED herself for once? So frustrating!

Back at the prison, we meet Tyreese, a beloved character from the comic books who I am so thrilled to see being played by one of my favorite actors from “The Wire.” At this point, we don’t know much about Tyreese and his small gang of merry followers, but I’m hopeful that he and Team Prison will band together to take down the Governor.

Everyone makes it out of Woodbury alive, except for Oscar, the black prisoner who Team Prison begrudgingly began to accept as part of their camp. Poor Oscar, we hardly knew ya — but it seems like only one black dude at a time is allowed on “The Walking Dead” (check out Slate’s article on this subject). Oh yeah, and Daryl is nowhere to be found either. The Governor’s got him, and in front of Woodbury’s residents, turns on Merle, saying that the brothers are working together. As the episodes, we’re left wondering what the Governor has in store for Merle and Daryl, and whether Andrea — who has got to be freaking out a little — will do anything about it. See ya in February, “Walking Dead” fans!