ROBIN WILLIAMS AND MANY MORE
LOST IN A PRISON BREAK
They say the summer is the season when people do nothing economically or socially productive, at least of commercial Added Value. But it is also the season when people can increase their own culture, revisit places they have not visited for decades, or simply visit places they have never visited before. This is personal added value that only counts for one’s own satisfaction. But isn’t it interesting to meet people who have that kind of personal added value and are ready to share it?
Yes, it is, but it is not that simple.
Our memory is too often short-term memory. We remember for a short period of time and then we forget. In fact, this is completely wrong. We are no longer conscious of what we saw, learned or heard but our brain never forgets anything. It only takes a visit back to what was “forgotten” for it to come back naturally, to re-emerge from oblivion. That’s even funnier than that when you visit a city you used to be living in some fifty years ago. It has changed and yet all that comes back to you is what it was and how it was, and you experience the strange feeling of “I just can’t see what it used to be.”
Just get on Google’s satellite maps and revisit the streets you used to be living in and walking every day to go to school when a kid. Things have changed tremendously. Do you remember when around Roubaix’s City Hall it was nothing but bare parking lots? Of course, you do, and yet it no longer is there. Twenty-five years makes a real difference. You go there and you will be haunted by what it used to be, and what your feelings and impressions used to be there too when you crossed these ugly bare asphalt surfaces with dozens and dozens of cars parked there.
What I suggest here are some classics in films and series and just let yourself slide into it and nostalgically remember what your impressions were the first time you watched them. You will be amazed at how strong your memories are and at the same time you will see things differently because the world has changed, you have changed and things have changed. Strangely enough, under Trump, you cannot think the same way as under Obama or Bush Junior, not mention Kennedy, Nixon or Reagan.
Don’t be surprised and enjoy the change and find some new life in the old cup of tea. Or a cup of coffee if you are in coffee rather than tea. Have a good trip back to memory lane.
And do not forget to enjoy the nice summer weather we are having right now. It may not last or it may become bad and then worse. Your choice, or isn’t it the choice of some transcending cosmic force?
TABLE OF CONTENT
1. ROBIN WILLIAMS — NATHAN LANE — GENE HACKMAN — DIANNE WIEST — THE BIRDCAGE — 1996
2. ROBIN WILLIAMS — DE NIRO — AWAKENINGS — 1990
3. ROBIN WILLIAMS — MATT DAMON — GOOD WILL HUNTING — 1997
4. ROBIN WILLIAMS — JEFF BRIDGES — THE FISHER KING — 1991
5. WENTWORTH MILLER — DOMINIC PURCELL — AMAURY NOLASCO — WILIAM FICHTNER — ROBERT KNEPPER — PRISON BREAK — SARAH WAYNE CALLIES — THE FOUR SEASONS + THE FINAL BREAK
6. LOST THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
7. DEXTER — BOOKS
a. JEFF LINDSAY — DEXTER, AN OMNIBUS: DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER, DEARLY DEVOTED DEXTER, DEXTER IN THE DARK
b. JEFF LINDSAY — DEXTER BY DESIGN, Bad Blood Runs Deep
c. JEFF LINDSAY — DEXTER DELICIOUS — THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL
d. JEFF LINDSAY — DOUBLE DEXTER — HE’S BACK AND DEADLIER THAN EVER
e. JEFF LINDSAY — DEXTER’S FINAL CUT — TV MAKES DEXTER CRIMINALLY IMPOTENT
8. DEXTER — TV SERIES
a) DEXTER SEASON ONE
b) DEXTER SEASON TWO
c) DEXTER SEASON 3
d) DEXTER FOURTH SEASON
e) DEXTER — THE FIFTH SEASON
f) DEXTER — THE SIXTH SEASON
g) DEXTER — THE SEVENTH SEASON
9. JACQUES TATI — MON ONCLE — 1958
10. JACQUES TATI — PLAY TIME — 1967
ROBIN WILLIAMS — NATHAN LANE — GENE HACKMAN — DIANNE WIEST — THE BIRDCAGE — 1996
Why on earth do Americans had to remake such an enormously successful French film as “La Cage aux Folles”? Because America is a country, maybe THE country, of immigrants and all they do or redo is imported, particularly in the cultural field. Think of Walt Disney and European culture. Even Mickey Mouse has a European taste and flavor in its diapers. The only thing they haven’t been able to acclimatize is French cheese. But think of Swiss pastry, Danish pastry, French fries, and so many other things. Whiskey comes from Ireland or maybe Scotland (though they will never be able to imitate Tar-Scotch), vodka comes from Russia. And in this field of drinks, only Coca-Cola is really American. Even Canada Dry is Canadian by name, and root beer is so old in Europe and other continents that we cannot really credit it as American. And standard American beer is like diluted beetroot juice when compared to the super-strong European beers climbing up to 12% or more.
But what about this film? A film about drag queens in the USA, in Florida, in Miami or some other seaside resort, seems to be extreme for American taste, and even in fact very tentative. To Americanize the whole thing, they added a son to the couple, a girlfriend to the son, a wedding between the two, I mean a “normal” wedding between a man and a woman, with a man who declares in the presence of his genetic mother that the drag queen of a spouse his father has is his mother.
And yet that was not enough. So they added a conservative senator and his conservative wife as the parents of the girlfriend. Brilliant! Then since it is political it can be accepted as a comedy because all things political are comedy, comical, funny, lies and make-believe. So then it works and they added a Latino servant in the house who cannot wear shoes without falling every other step, and a meal that is so miserable that it is an insult to the gay community that is known for its good taste in food and drinks.
Enjoy the entertainment and do not forget same-sex marriage today is legal in the USA, like in many, if not most countries in the world.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
ROBIN WILLIAMS — DE NIRO — AWAKENINGS — 1990
This film is a true story and like with all true stories we get a fantasized version of the story itself. We are dealing here with post encephalitic patients who have become absolutely catatonic. A new drug, quite experimental and that has not been tested really on humans properly, is used in a psychiatric institution where they have a dozen or so patients in that situation. First one patient, and then the whole group.
The result is spectacular. They wake up and they start having a normal life, well normal is a big word. They just try to adjust to the reality they finally see and within the limited freedom they can have within an institution out of which they cannot go without being totally supervised by professionals. The first patient who was provided with the drug, Leonard, becomes very autonomous to the point of establishing a relationship with a visiting young woman and then asking for the right to just go out on his own for a walk.
The film uses the word “miracle” too much. There is no miracle with chemical stuff and drugs. There are only physiological reactions to the drugs. They can be positive. They can be negative. They can last for a long time with a regular treatment or use, or they can only last a short period of time, an awakening and nothing else and then the patients go back to the catatonic state they used to be in and they may have spent thirty years in. The film at the end is not hiding this fact, but the term “miracle” is false in this context.
The film insists on the reactions of the patients, on the way they enter a phase where they want to have some kind of real living, or at least what they imagine they would enjoy. The film is totally ignorant of a simple fact. These catatonic people are catatonic for us but they still can hear, they still can see, they still can enjoy the benefits of their senses and they know the standard language that is spoken around them. The film does not concentrate on this fact we know today, we would concentrate on today: the patients have heard a lot and seen a lot, even if they are locked up in an institution. But they have received a lot of oral language spoken around them and there is no reason to believe they did not understand it since they may have lost the power to speak, but we know with autistic kids who do not speak for years, that when they start speaking they start speaking normal language because they have learned and assimilated language while in their autistic non-speaking phase.
We know today that it is important to go on speaking to catatonic and comatose people because they hear and they receive that language and they react to it, even if we have no external sign about it. It is amazing at times to find out that a person who gets out of a long comatose state is able to say what he heard and had saved in his memory during that period. It is not systematic. It is not automatic. It is not perfect and extensive. But it is, even if limited. Just the same way there is a womb memory that enables a newborn to remember what it was like in the womb, there is a comatose memory that enables the comatose person when he/she comes out to remember what it was like when they were “gone,” and what was said about them.
I must say that in 1990 we were still far away from what we know today.
The film though is interesting because of the concentration on the people around the sick people. The family for one, at least one mother, the first patient’s mother, Ms. Lowe, who is grateful while the awakening lasts but becomes dubious and skeptical when the awakening comes to an end, and Leonard, her son, falls back into the horror of a semi-catatonic state. The doctors are also shown as being over-cautious, and yet they are justified to be so but we cannot get out of the picture their refusal of a free walk in the city for Leonard as being a cause of the change in the “community” because the patients all knew about the rebellious state Leonard fell into afterward that also caused a relapse in his disease.
The most interesting people are the nurses and other personnel. They are supportive of the change and the new experimental drugs because they want their patients to become more normal people, people with whom they can speak and exchange some conversation. That’s the positive point. The medical profession is not necessarily of the torturing brutal unempathetic type. Somewhere they are still human. And that’s maybe the most important “miracle.” The battle for human treatments is not lost before being fought because the professional personnel in these situations or hospital wards just hope their patients’ situation can be improved.
So, a good film for a hot summer night.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
ROBIN WILLIAMS — MATT DAMON — GOOD WILL HUNTING — 1997
A very serious film with Matt Damon playing his own age and Robin Williams playing his favorite role, that of a teacher, slightly mental manipulator, getting into the brain and mind of a young chap and getting his wings burnt, though this time not by the death or sacrifice of the young man. But somewhere it is very sad.
Will Hunting, the young man, is, in fact, a delinquent with a lot of misdemeanors but he is a mathematical genius, in fact, an Asperger case who is able to enter any mathematical problem within seconds and solve it. On the other hand, he can read a book something like twenty pages every thirty seconds. He is thus a prison inmate under some kind of probation or suspension that enables him to have a job — for inmates on parole — and have a life. That’s how he ends up being a janitor in one top university in the USA and there he comes across the challenges a medaled and decorated math professor gives to students to be checked and solved with a piece of chalk on a blackboard (that is actually green) in the corridor. And Will Hunting does it twice. The professor takes him under his protection and the judge imposes two conditions. Apart from not getting involved in any misdemeanor, Will Hunting has to follow the math program imposed by the professor and he has to see a shrink.
The second condition makes him finally meet (the sixth professional head shrink) Sean Maguire and the worst possible happens. They cannibalize each other. Will transfers himself into the head shrink or counselor whose wife is dead and who is still in love with her. So he finally gets into the car his friends have given him and drives to California where his rich girlfriend has just moved at the end of her university time. On the other side, Sean transfers himself into the young man who has no set home, no haven he can go to, no attachment whatsoever and he decides to do the same and move to China. Will leaves a note in Sean’s mailbox before leaving and the conclusion is pathetic on the side of the older man: he plainly accuses Will to have stolen his life since he is going after his girlfriend instead of the brilliant prospect he could have in this university, just life Sean missed a historic baseball game just to go meet his girlfriend who will become his wife who is now dead.
Something though seems to be missing in the film. An Asperger chap is not only a reciting machine or an analyzing drone. An Asperger is also a person who has a very strong inner fantasizing life that can even be close to illusionary hallucinations. Will Hunting as for that is very superficial. It is a choice of the director but that makes the character rather frivolous. It is true Asperger cases do not like speaking of themselves but they love telling stories that are all either distantly erudite or purely imaginary. And here we have a young man who is very locked up onto himself and who can only get out by being physically or verbally violent.
Good entertainment though.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
ROBIN WILLIAMS — JEFF BRIDGES — THE FISHER KING — 1991
This is not so much a comedy as a traumatic set of events in New York among people who are living on the fringe of the middle class, a radio talk show anchorman and a videotape-shop woman. Some traumatic event brings the anchorman to a strange phase in his life. One of the people he got on his last radio show got an answer that was a little bit rough and he committed suicide. The anchorman gets depressed and runs into some totally off-limits neighborhood and he gets in touch with some street people, homeless people. And that’s how he meets Parry, a deranged history professor who has been, since the day his wife was shot dead by a mass killer who entered the restaurant where they were having some dinner, haunted by historical fantasies about some Red Knight who is after him to kill him
We are dealing here with insanity as a way to live in some fantasy world and at the same time to be able to cope with the dramatic dimension of this fantasy world by escaping the traumatic real world. He is systematically chased and hunted by that red knight made of fire and then he can only run away, and away, and eventually back to his safe zone, his refuge in an underground boiler room in an off-limits zone.
The film is cruel about the way these people are treated. As long as they are not dangerous to other people or to themselves they are abandoned in the streets. When they turn dangerous they are dealt with, by the police if they endanger someone else, or some psychiatric institution if they only endanger themselves or if they turn catatonic. Don’t expect any humanity in such institutions. The people there are just kept alive as long as they can be kept alive, and at some point along the road, they might be nicely accompanied into the other side of the living border.
Jack, the anchorman, suddenly feels some kind of call and behaves as if he had a mission concerning this Parry. So, with the help of his girlfriend, he gets him out of his underworld and little by little makes him wash, eat, drink, dress properly and Jack discovers that Parry has been observing the city and has noticed a woman who works in some bank or financial institution of some sort. She is a solitary woman, in fact, a woman who is extremely afraid of other people. So Parry’s attraction is the fact he feels on her side the same solitude as on his side. Jack and his girlfriend will be the intercessors and they will, the four of them end up in a Chinese restaurant. Quite a strange adventure. Parry then takes The young woman, Sandra back to her place but he does not go upstairs as she suggests, not this time, maybe next time, though he is hard and as big as Florida.
Alone then on the street, the Red Knight arrives and starts chasing him and of course, he runs away to his security zone, his off-limits area but he is dressed for going out, for a date in a restaurant and he is thus attacked by local hooligans who do not like the rich. He ends up catatonic in some institution for sick and helpless homeless people.
That’s when the film takes a turn for the more surprising and I won’t reveal it. Jack plays the insane game of Parry to try and get him back. That’s when this social tragedy turns into a comedy in no way social at all. The end is just plainly funny-strange and of course absolutely unrealistic in any way. Entertaining in its last fourth after three fourths that were quite educational.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
WENTWORTH MILLER — DOMINIC PURCELL — AMAURY NOLASCO — WILIAM FICHTNER — ROBERT KNEPPER — PRISON BREAK — SARAH WAYNE CALLIES — THE FOUR SEASONS + THE FINAL BREAK
This series is more than a series since the episodes are not in any way autonomous. They all follow one another, the seasons too, with only one storyline from the beginning to the end. And you will definitely be moved to deep emotions by the last extra episode, the Final Break. And altogether it lasts some fifty-eight hours of intense breath-taking and disbelief suspending action. The very first lesson is that you must not fool with a civil engineer and attack his brother, even if this brother is not his real brother. It is all in the head and luckily it is, otherwise neither Michael nor Lincoln would have made it to the end of the first season since they had against them their own mother, a power-hungry anti-maternal harpy who is ready to have any of her sons killed or even to kill them herself, slowly if possible because she finds it funny to see them losing their last drops of blood.
But the film is not so much about breaking out of prison but breaking out of servitude and build up your freedom along with the freedom of the whole world. The prison or prisons is or are a metaphor, better a parable of our total enslavement to some kind of order that is far, far beyond our consciousness, not to speak of control. And this battle is triggered by one elder son, who is not a brain but is a brute, who is fooled into going out to kill someone but that is a framing operation and he does not kill but is found guilty and sent to the electric chair in Chicago in the now famous prison of Fox River, the well-named since we are going to discover a prison is nothing but a whole colony of hundreds of foxes, and no vixens at all. Except for the doctor and the main nurse. Some of these prison officers are of course rotten and they sell; to influential prisoners the various services that they should control, like the appointment of the prisoners on the working details. Some can even be thieves and steal the property of the prisoners that is kept “safe” in some kind of closed cloakroom. Prison safety is not exactly safety for the prisoners and their property.
So the series describes all kinds of dependence and imprisonment. The first one is a prison universe with its warden, then its prison officers and various guards and its medical personnel. This is already a hierarchy that has its rules and its alienations. Then you have the prisoners and there too you have a hierarchy. The plain inmates, and then those who have the favor of being considered as able to work in the prison on various tasks for a real pittance, but for something. But the control of such positions is bought up by one prisoner, in our case a mafia higher-up, and he chooses who he wants to be the members of this team. There are also teams working in the kitchen and in the laundry and other general services of the prison. And next to this hierarchy you have another one that is racial, not so much a hierarchy than an apartheid system that cuts the population into the whites and the blacks, or at least the two big groups of people protected by the white and the black main inmates, self-appointed of course, at least on the basis of their outside connections, I mean criminal connections. And then you have those who are not under protection on either side, the non-mentionable who can keep their heads low and remain unseen, and as long as they remain invisible they will have no problems.
The last thing to say about such a world, the prison world is that small criminals are of course mixed with major criminals and that is bad, very bad indeed. The small criminals will be afraid from the very start and they will accept some protection in exchange for some petty services. They become the petty slaves of these protectors and there you have the sexual perverts who only want some young flesh for their personal service. Then you have the real criminal minds who organize networks to control the prisoners, and even, when they can, the prison itself. A prison is a college, if not a university, post-graduate studies if you please, for criminals and that education is paid by the state free of charge, full board and pension included.
The prison SONA in Panama is not different from the Fox River Federal Prison in Chicago. All prisons are the same. It is their very nature, at least the very nature the series wants you to think of and ponder about. Of course, there are different sides that are not shown: the fact that there is a library and that you can get some real education within the prison and also some prisoners lend their knowledge to the others and even do some research to know more and be more helpful to their fellow inmates.
The second level the series wants you to think about is justice, and there the picture is bleak indeed. If by any chance you do not have the best lawyer and the best defense funds for your first trial you can do and try what you want afterward you will never get through and you might, today in some states only, escape the death penalty but be in prison forever. Think of Mumia Abu Jamal, and he is not the only one. In the reverse case you can literally buy yourself the best just and equal justice you can if you can bring experts in and pay for DNA tests and so on. The police will not try to get to the bottom of a case if they have an easy solution on their platter. The police are the easiest institution to manipulate, with the easiest people to influence you can imagine. They only run after real evidence in series and in very special cases. Everyone is not DSK with all the political leverage behind such a case. Then there is only one choice: to dream till you die or to escape and run till you die.
But very fast the series gets what is at first an undertone to the level of the major plot. Our global world is under the menace of some “company” that is secret and possesses a tremendous amount of scientific knowledge that is both positive in the civilian field and deadly or lethal in its military applications. And there are in this world a lot of people who would like to control that technical and scientific knowledge to sell it to potential war-mongers or war-minded politicians or dictators to have some fun in this very dull world indeed. That’s always the basic debate with science. In hard science like mathematics and physics, the constant choice is between military apps and civilian apps, and military apps are bringing in some profit a lot faster than civilian apps. But think of the medical field and the famous and frightening nanobots that will cost a fortune and that will give such an advantage in lifespan and physical or mental means to those who will have them in their blood and brain. They will not forget that these nanobots can communicate within each individual, but, and they will forget this, also within a certain spatial area (like GPS and smartphones) and particularly to the main motherboard controlled by a few people, I mean very few people, like the six card holders of the “company” in this series. Those who will have the nanobots in their blood and brain will become the real aristocracy of the world and take the control of the planet and the cosmos but will be controlled by half a dozen people at an even higher level. And this totalitarian ideology is coming under the disguise of an MIT professor. Never mind which one. There will always be a mad scientist to plan such projects.
But do not think humanities are not concerned. They are working a lot today on human sciences like sociology, psychology, even psychiatry to find the proper genetic ways to control the DNA of people, to change it if necessary, and also to control the minds and the behaviors of people with plain old manipulation, brainwashing, and other hypnotic techniques. Any totalitarian leader or party will find the way to mesmerize people, to control people with propaganda or with some drugs or products, including in your food or drinks. Think how easily they make you addicted to caffeine, to energy drinks, cola drinks or alcohol, not to speak of tobacco. They are ready to use any ideology to achieve their objectives and particularly religious ideologies and absolutely no religion is immune because the basic objective of a religion is to bring people together and make them think and feel and respond to the world collectively along one single line. God made you free to choose the truth and in all religions, there is only one God’s truth.
The series thus becomes political science fiction at first and then plain science fiction after the political intrigue is pushed aside with the resignation of the Vice President who had become President with some poisonous drink enhancement for the elected President and who was behind the framing of Lincoln Burrows, as a faithful beneficiary of the “company”. This science fiction is, of course, nothing but science fiction and in that case, it is not a utopia at all, but a real full and absolute dystopia, at least till the last episode and the Final Break.
The last and essential dimension of this series is a study in loyalty, not allegiance which is not always rational, but loyalty. There are three types of loyalties. First, the loyalty to the “company” and this one is nearly easy to counter: let them shoot the first bullet and then shoot them all down. And if you can capture one or two, try to get into some exchange of arguments, even striking arguments if necessary, to make them change allegiances and then loyalties. But then you have the official services that are supposed to enforce the law, security services, and justice. Both are supposed to develop a rational loyalty to the country, the fatherland, the motherland, the constitution, or whatever charter or declaration of universal human and civil rights. But how can you recognize at the bottom of the institution or outside that the order given to you is respectful of such principles, and such orders can come from a long way up the ladder of authority and if my boss tells me something he must have his good reasons to do so, and I have to obey, don’t I? And then think within the frame of local police, state police, FBI, Homeland Security, Secret Services, Presidential Security and many others and you have the full picture. Think within the frame of elected officials of the police, justice, judicial administration, justice department, etc. Good luck at surviving in that maze.
But the main loyalty is the loyalty you owe to those who have helped you in a difficult situation, those who have been your associates in some ethical project, even if it is to escape from a prison. And this loyalty is, of course, all the more powerful if we are speaking family. This started in 2005 like Supernatural and in both cases, you have two brothers, the elder one less brainy, the younger one brainier, with a mother that disappeared in their young age. They are not real brothers, be it only because the family names are not the same, but they were raised together and after the disappearance of their mother, and later father, the elder one takes care of the younger one and even puts him through college and university to the level of engineer. But his means were not always very swift and they were often criminal. Those two brothers who are not brothers and yet are brothers have no mother till very late in the series and the mother is such a caricature that they can only deny her motherhood that she refuses anyway and what’s more they do not have any father anymore, though he makes a quick come back to disappear by falling on a bullet. The two series are so similar along that family line that there must have been some leak from the one to the other. But Prison Break is one storyline and one plot, not episodes that have little to do with one another and a rather loose general line. Of course, Prison Break has to come to an end, whereas Supernatural can last forever. The two brothers are Michael and Lincoln, just like the two brothers in Supernatural are supposed to be the vessels of archangel Michael and Lucifer. The parallel between Lincoln and Lucifer is, of course, hilarious but not gratuitous. Lincoln the liberator of the Blacks, Lucifer the liberator of the Apocalypse, of the human species once and for all, or till the next whimsical caprice of God who could recreate his imperfect creation a second time in a few eons.
And the last episode is discreet about the death of Michael with one blood drop and a few light headaches, and then we skip four years and discover his son and Sara his wife but no father coming on his tomb with Alex, Sucre, and Lincoln for some anniversary in some Central American country. The Final Break episode explains what happened and that episode is so phenomenally emotional with the post-mortem video message from Michael explaining why is not here anymore. Absolutely beautiful. But also very Christian. The liberty of all and the punishment of the real criminal minds can only come through the sacrifice of one member of the team and the flight as fast and as far as possible of the only one that is menaced still, Sara, the Mary Magdalene of this modern Christ. Michael Scofield, MS in civil engineering, has to be sacrificed with his superior knowledge and intelligence. We will regret that in the final episode Lincoln’s son is not brought back on his uncle’s tomb with the rest of the family that includes Alex and Sucre who are not really members of the family.
A brilliant experience.
LOST THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
It lasted for six years and it was adventurous and surprisingly eventful. With Walt Disney and ABC Studios behind the wings, we were expecting a family series and yet at the same time rather strong in the plot. And we got what we expected. Right to the end and I must say this last episode “The End” was not disappointing but totally artificial to give the last kick of life with and to a happy ending though clearly beyond death. The bucket had been kicked a last time long before and everyone was lying alive and well at least six feet underground. That final magic was possible because of two elements in the series, the first one being the axiom of it and the second one being the result of a systematic treatment.
The axiom is that we are stepping beyond the real world into a world that is antipodean to anything we know in real life. It is done with a plane that crosses the wrong line one day and crashes on an island that is not listed on any map. This is close to Stephen King’s Langoliers. Planes are tricky and they can cross such magnetic limits between here and over there, I mean the real world and the other side of it that is just as alive as ours but in an inverted terrible way with a few holes in the hedge for some rabbits to come in and out.
This island is a traditional myth in American culture and you will like it tremendously. It is a permanently tropical island that is, as we finally learn at the end, volcanic and there is some kind of a cork on top of the lava tap or hole that could destroy the island with a volcanic eruption that would restructure it completely. To make that lava hole or tap a menace to the whole world is maybe excessive but it is magical because we have always been fascinated by this volcanic reality and we are struck with fear every single time we hear about such an eruption. The island is, in fact, a series of islands, at least two and they are a microcosm of a world in which several projects have been carried out and on which several populations are living in the most hostile way possible. The themes of the series and this island are numerous.
First a mad science project, the Dharma Initiative that wants to sound Buddhist or Asian and that wants to harness the natural and powerful energy of this volcanic force for the improvement of humanity. First, it wants to control the inner force so that it would no longer influence the world, cause catastrophes. That would require the presence of a permanent colony of scientists and technicians to fulfill the task. Other crazy scientific projects exist like about the case of the fertility of women since on this island all pregnant women who were impregnated on the island will die and the baby along with them. Some scientists are brought onto the island to study and solve this problem.
At the same time, different people are helping up that initiative or lurking behind it because there is a profit to get out of it, a commercial profit, a scientific profit that might become commercial, etc. The economic vultures are roaming around and over this island. At the same time there could be a medical profit for it because people are cured of their diseases and healed of their wounds on this island, and yet that is not that simple since at least one, Benjamin, develops nasty cancer there and pregnant women die of their pregnancies. But it is true Benjamin goes out of the island regularly because there is one simple and single way to get out of it: with a submarine. Another mythic element that sends us back to Jules Verne and his 20,000 leagues under the sea.
There are older populations too. First, a shipwrecked pregnant woman who will give birth to two twin boys will arrive one day on the island, be saved by another isolated woman who lives away from some local population that lives in very primitive conditions. The latter woman who delivers the two boys kills the mother and raises the two sons as hers. One will remain faithful to her, Jacob; one will move to the other inhabitants and will start building some way to get out of the island. The woman will destroy the village and kill all the inhabitants. Then Jacob will confront his nameless brother, kill him and send him into the volcanic hole that produces light and this brother will be transformed into a smoky revengeful spirit who will only try to get out of the island. Jacob has to select a candidate for his succession because he knows, sooner or later, his brother will manage to find a way to kill him, which happens soon enough.
This nameless spirit can take the form or appearance of a dead person and he uses that trick to assume the body and identity of one of the wrecked passengers from the plane.
Another group that is, as such, rather short-lived is a marooned group of US soldiers who are safekeeping an Atom bomb that was abandoned here. The point is that this group is led by a certain Richard who becomes the direct associate of Jacob and as such eternal (???). Another is named Whitmore who wants to get and take possession of the power in the island to make a profit out of it. Later on, a certain Benjamin arrives and will have Whitmore expelled from the island. This Benjamin was the son of a member of the Dharma Initiative and he will cross the line and go to the US soldiers grown more or less wild, and then with these he will eliminate the people of the Dharma Initiative and he will take their equipment over with the US soldiers and Richard as his own troops.
Then several lines will give Richard a very old origin and bring a Black Rock sailboat on the island, a sort of slave ship. Another scientific mission will get marooned here too and one woman will survive and give birth to a daughter who will be stolen by Benjamin and his troops. You add a couple of polar bears in this tropical island, just for fun, and a lot of boars for food. You make Whitmore plot his come back to recapture the island, the desire of the smoky spirit to get out off the island, the intrigues coming from Jacob to select his candidates and successor, and many other events to make things more complicated and even bring a real jet on the second island and you will be lost in translation, and you will enjoy it.
The second interest of the series is the survival techniques of humans who don’t seem to know what cooperation and democracy mean as soon as they are in an emergency situation. The relations between the various members of every single group are explored in detail and what’s more they have plenty of opportunities because Benjamin causes a severe disruption to the timeline of the island that can shift from one time to another, going back 30 years at one time, while the real world is going on three more years. Those who had escaped had a real like during these three years and most of them are brought back thirty years back onto the island and they manage, without knowing what they are doing, to bring the island back to the time of the main catastrophe that is simply erased from the world’s record and then we have the characters leading normal lives in Los Angeles at year zero while the escapees from the island live a life that goes up to year +3, while on the island, those who were trapped there are living in year -30. And there the escapees from year +3 manage to get themselves back to year -30 where they meet those that had stayed behind on the island and had been transferred thirty years backward. Imagine the situation.
That’s the most important fact of this series, the systematic treatment of the plot and story. It uses all kinds of flashbacks and flash-forwards without any real pedagogical help. We navigate from one time to another, from one group to another, from one place on the island to another and we little by little build a consciousness that gets all the time more abstract and less respectful of any timeline at all. We are becoming time-obsessed timeless viewers who enjoy living in some out-of-time meta-time that is like the timeline of Mars and Venus merged together forward and backward. This is possible only because we are watching a TV series. That kind of timelessness is nearly impossible with the cinema for instance and would be very difficult with a book. As for that, it is a very good TV series because we are able to remain afloat in a time treatment that should drown us in a sea of pebbles bombarding our brains.
The last remark is about life and death. One cannot live but with the memories from the past and what happened, happened. These recollections, even when they become unconscious are always present in your mind and they come back in some flashy impulses sooner or later and repetitively. This is quite true and Sigmund Freud would agree but it is maybe slightly too behavioral for anyone’s normal taste. People seem to be more or less doomed to start all over again their own mistakes and their own behaviors and actions. The absolute symbol of this impossibility to change is Hugo who no matter where or when he will be fat because he has become fat when he started overeating when his father left him and his mother. The coming back of his father, the winning of a lottery, his sojourn in an island where there was no fat and no chocolate bars, though they managed to get some with the leftover resources of the Dharma initiative, he manages to be running around and having an extremely active wildlife and yet he does not lose one gram. But James “Sawyer” is not better. Jack the doctor is just the same, etc., etc. The best character in that line of behavioral limits is the only Black character and his son: traitor by definition, he betrays several times, manages to sell his companions in exchange of his own return to the outside world, and he will, of course, find himself in an impossible situation that will lead him to sign up with the wrong chap, Whitmore actually, and finding himself signed up too with Whitmore’s arch-enemy and being the saboteur employed by Benjamin within the team employed by Whitmore who are supposed to go to the island, recuperate Benjamin and destroy everything and everyone.
I would not say this is racial prejudice but we must say minority people are not exactly saved. There is only one black woman that is worth anything, but she is married to a white dentist. It is amazing how Walt Disney manages to be white dominant when they are producing anything that is supposed to target the majority white family audience. And I will not insist on Sayid, the Iraqi, whose portrait and role are black and bleak and saved in the last final episode by the scruff of his neck.
And then the series can rewrite the Bible over and over again, with two brothers, the elder one killing the younger one and the dead younger one trying to get his vengeance and the elder one being killed by the younger one and then entrusting other humans to finally dispose of the younger one by making him human again and thus able to die or be killed.
And at the end everyone, or nearly everyone, not quite everyone though, can join in some all-faith multi-affiliation church, Buddhists, Muslims and all kinds of Christians, with Jewish symbols but no real Jewish character identified as such. And it is revealed they are all dead, which explain why Claire’s son Aaron and Sun and Yin’s daughter are not present: they had been entrusted to other living outsiders in the real world before the mother Sun and the woman Kate who had taken Aaron under her protection in the absence of the mother Claire who had stayed on the island.
Then we come to this vast idea that life is death in this real world and death is life on the virtual side of this real world. We can live happily ever after because we will die and be reborn in full bliss on the virtual side of this real universe, in other words, we will be reborn in the cleaned up and conflict-free recollection of the island of extreme adventure and dramatic tragedy. We can see how Walt Disney and their authors are mixing, for all faith alike, but not quite for all human ethnic groups, the Christian, Buddhist and Islamic visions of life after death and life before death reunited in one single reality that does not know what a timeline is and prefers a timeless tiered spatial reality. Just get on the lift that will elevate or lower you to the level of this reality you will desire at this or that moment of your mental existence. And don’t be afraid the car of the elevator will not crash with you inside because we are not in Stephen King’s horror after all.
It all sounds like a chapter of Wendy Hui Kyong Chun’s book, “Programmed Visions” that consider the digital subject that gets lost in software knows everything but does not remember, is conscious of all the strata of the multi-tiered mental world but cannot recollect which is real and which is virtual and in what order they come. But Ms. Chun is totally mistaken in that reductive misconception . . . or shouldn’t I say fearful panic or abortion of reason?
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
DEXTER — BOOKS
JEFF LINDSAY — DEXTER, AN OMNIBUS: DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER, DEARLY DEVOTED DEXTER, DEXTER IN THE DARK
It is of course out of the question to summarize these books. They work well only if you do not know what is coming. That is called suspense and Jeff Lindsay is a master in the way he can surprise us in new and unforeseen developments, though of course, we know Dexter is always alive and will always survive. The three volumes have each a perfect unity brought by the arch enemy to which Dexter is confronted in each one of them. The fact that he is a police blood spatter analyst by training is only an easy device to set him in the heart of all serial killing cases.
The fact that he is a serial killer himself makes his life absolutely schizophrenic and he has to learn how to live with that doppelganger of his. The fact that he is trying hard to be human, including by marrying someone, is just some kind of bag of obstacles he has to solve and negotiate constantly, especially with the two kids of his paramour and soon wife. The archenemy is self-appointed and a real challenge for Dexter. Each volume has its archenemy: sibling, a colleague who becomes a target, some old god’s — Moloch — illuminated believers.
The originality of these novels is contained in that very fact. The various lines both complete and contradict one another, always crisscross and mix into some Molotov cocktail of exotic killing and that is why we should read these novels. Be careful on one detail: they have little to do with the TV series that are a perfect adaptation, which means the TV series is the use of the character but not of the details of the cases. In fact, the TV series is an absolutely new and creative storyline built with the character Dexter. We find the same outline as in the first volume, the sibling, at first, but extended and at once completely modified.
The second volume is estranged from its adaptation and the political context of the El Salvador dealings of the US during the civil war there have been completely erased. The third volume has not even been hinted at and many crimes and cases and developments have been added that are not in the books. Some crucial characters in the series are even dealt with and liquidated in the book as fast as fast can be. Do not imagine you are going to find the verbose description of the action-packed events you have seen in the series. It is something completely different in many ways. It is another and different experience worth reading for itself.
One note is interesting here. Dexter is schizophrenic for sure but he is absolutely modern because he is just pushing slightly further than ordinary people what is the very condition for survival in this modern world: we need to be schizophrenic if we just want to be able to wake up tomorrow morning and face the world the way it is. Dexter is our hidden side. Dark or full of light? Who knows? Who can know? But it sure is enjoyable.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
JEFF LINDSAY — DEXTER BY DESIGN, Bad Blood Runs Deep
After the omnibus of the first three novels, I was looking forward to reading that fourth one and enjoy the sequel of these very bloody but as clean as clean can be adventures of the most famous blood spatter technician in the world. And I was not disappointed. Dexter is always running clandestine as an avenger in his police department, though a black sergeant who has been seriously maimed in the previous but one volume is still running after him, with the help of some more curious baboons, like a couple of Internal Affairs officers and FBI officers who are after Deborah who was nearly killed by the new serial killer at large in Miami.
But the new element is of course the third party in this deadly picnic, the criminal at large in Miami who is defending the brand new modern artistic trend that is derived from snuff videos and snuff art: to maim living human beings on the stage of the installation, or even better to self-maim yourself in front of your installation audience. And then put up as an exhibit the amputated part of your body. Let’s note it is the fourth volume in which that amputating, dismembering, maiming of live subjects is used. Obviously, Jeff Lindsay knows his classics. Frankenstein was horrible for building a body from spare parts recuperated from dead bodies, or, if necessary from freshly killed bodies.
Lindsay took the opposite stand: Dexter himself is a dismemberer, then his brother was an artistic dismemberer with his elaborate installations of the body parts. Then we had that crazy doctor back from the special forces in El Salvador who made it his trade to reduce a living human being to nothing but his head on top of his trunk from shoulders to hips, all elements jutting out of it having been severed and disposed of. This well done that human being still survives, even without eyelid nor tongue. Then you had that sect that burned the bodies but severed the head first to display it somewhere public. This time the new serial killer, gay by the way (let’s note this gay touch on that side of the criminal line reveals some kind of a slightly sexist element in the novel because it has nothing to do with the crime itself, uses bodies as fruit and flower baskets to enhance the touristic reputation of Miami.
This time the end is close because Dexter has more or less confessed to Deborah who is going to overlook the fact, but the serial killer puts on the Internet some pictures that are more than dubious, that are frankly as clear as spring water. And Deborah’s partner has managed to see the pictures by eavesdropping one night. Unluckily for him, he makes a mistake that will make him part of the final installation of the artistic serial killer who will, in fact, himself be part of his own installation after a scuffle with our Rita who was just back from her Paris honeymoon with Dexter when all that started. That was a very close case this time and every volume brings the plot closer to a complete revelation. And during that time Rita’s two kids are getting more and more insistent about doing some experimentation to learn the trade, be it only with a pencil, though a screwdriver is a lot more interesting, but.
This writer reveals the deepest layers of our censored, repressed and blooming psyche. We all love that because we all have experienced these drives in our subconscious or unconscious mind. That explains the tremendous success of this author and the TV series inspired by his characters. We are expecting the next volume ASAP or otherwise, we would have to come out and do it ourselves, which would be slightly sloppy and untidy, and that would not be in line with the author’s an*l or rec**l character. Sorry for the censorship but some delicate ears may be reading our lines with their very fingers and one has to keep one’s fingers away from some bodily places, even if Dexter does not.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
JEFF LINDSAY — DEXTER DELICIOUS — THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL
This is the fifth novel in the series. It was clear that the series departed from the books rather early, definitely in the second season. But this volume is a lot more radical since it starts exactly where the fourth season of the series nearly ends (the bloodbath of the Rita is not yet envisaged): the birth of Dexter’s child with Rita. And the difference with the TV series becomes radical.
The child is not a boy but a girl, Lily Anne. You can’t be more different than that since the relationship with the girl is necessarily different and the future of the girl is definitely different too: ballet dancing rather than knife swerving. Rita does not die in the hands of the trinity killer who is not even hinted at. What’s more, Jeff Lindsay brings Dexter’s brother back into the picture from the very start. He had disappeared at the end of the first volume and season since he was the ice-truck killer, which makes his presence difficult since he must never meet Deborah he tried to have assassinated by Dexter in front of him.
And the crime story in this fifth volume is a coven of cannibals in Miami, something that is a lot larger than what Dexter is generally dealing with. A whole band of cannibals led by a couple of people helped by half a dozen second-rank aids.
In this novel, Dexter is going to run risks and take risks more than ever and he will end in the hands of these cannibals a couple of times and will have to escape and in fact, fail to escape for the story to go on. His sister is playing a tremendously more dynamic role in the police and she is dragging her brother into her own police actions which are at times beyond Miranda, in other words illegal. The sister is also vastly restructured as a lot tenser, with a regular boyfriend, a certain Chutsky who is coming from the past and she is sentimentally involved with him.
I won’t say more than that about devilish details. But I want to say something about a couple of questions that are raised in this novel.
The first question is that there is no justice in Florida and probably in the US. If you are rich and can afford the best lawyers you will always walk free sooner or later and quite sooner than later. Anyone who has followed the DSK case knows exactly what Jeff Lindsay means. The main criminals and cannibals in this story are just the direct illustration of this simple fact: there is a justice for the rich in the US that has little to do with the justice for the poor. If, what’s common in many cases, the rich criminal is also in some position of fame or power, this double judicial divide is just severely amplified.
The second thing is that the protection that is due to private life, private enterprise, private meetings, etc. is also the best protection for criminals to develop their criminal activities. They just have to respect the general laws protecting privacy, private life and everything private in the US to set up a free enterprise that will be the cover-up of their criminal activities. In this case, a nightclub for would-be vampires can be the cloak hiding the cannibals. And Jeff Lindsay insists on the fact that this business is so well protected that no police work is possible. If the police want to do something, they have to step out of legal bounds, which they are not supposed to do.
The third remark is about the economic dynamism of the USA. Jeff Lindsay insists on the dynamism of these criminals who are able to develop very powerful economic tools that are untouchable because of their economic power. This is a perversion of the economic system on which the USA is built because that very system does not negate the social dimension of the economy which these people do: they only work for themselves, their interests and their power. It is like a sort of cancer in the very heart of the system. In fact, we can wonder if Jeff Lindsay is not giving a warped image of the USA since in this book he looks at a major business (real estate), real businessmen and he seems to make them irresponsible. Is it the result of the housing bubble, the unacceptable mortgage practices of some real estate agents, the greed of real estate agents who wanted to make a profit with unhealthy mortgages and loans?
At the same time, Jeff Lindsay seems to be careful to under-mention the Cuban presence in Miami and Florida, and that is a change because in the TV series the Cubans are everywhere including in the police, Spanish is present in all episodes or nearly. This under-representation of Cubans in Florida seems to make this volume, maybe all the novels, more WASP American than it should be to be realistic.
These remarks do not take any value from the book which is a real thriller, well-built and with so much suspense at crucial moments that it amounts to some torture from the author to his readers. He finds a real pleasure in getting into some snide remarks when the life of Dexter or his sister is at stake. We have to wait to find out how it finally goes.
But I would like to close this review on the definition of freedom that is given in the book several times: “I had no more choice than a man strapped into Old Sparky who is told he’s free to stay alive as long as he can when they throw the switch” (p. 381) and again: “Freedom is really an illusion. Anytime we think we have a real choice, it just means we haven’t seen the shotgun aimed at our navel.” (p. 399) We can hardly consider this is a non-important side remark that has no general value. This vision of the world is all the more important and effective for the readers when we know it is carried by Dexter himself, the character we are identifying with.
Enjoy the frightening yet maybe sometimes humoristic story.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
JEFF LINDSAY — DOUBLE DEXTER — HE’S BACK AND DEADLIER THAN EVER
This one starts well and ends well, but in-between it is a real mess.
Dexter has become so soft in the head that he has lost his really deep nature and alertness. He is slow, he is not able to anticipate what is coming, to be at least one shot ahead of the opponent and this time the opponent is terrible.
The opponent is a frustrated man in all possible ways. He is a baseball player who did not even manage to succeed in Little League. He is an expert in computer science an internet manipulation who is nevertheless too slow and misses predicting what he is really causing himself. How could he ever think he could go through tailing Dexter when he had done what was necessary for Sergeant Doakes, the mutilated monstrous anti-Dexter cop, to be tailing Dexter too. Dexter cannot really survive with two tails: one has to get the other and that is the end of it, of both of them I mean. That is in a way a guarantee for Dexter to succeed even when he is at a disadvantage
That opponent is essentially someone who has no real personality, who hates his ex-wife who has managed to make him hate her, but he made one mistake one day: he witnessed one of Dexter’s play games. What a mistaken inspiration went through his head to be curious about a derelict car parked in a foreclosed house! But he will pay for that, hard and sharp.
The worst part is that in fact he has no imagination and he is a copycat. He copies Dexter on his own ex-wife but he does not have the talent. He uses a carpenter’s saw to slice up the body. He then copies another criminal’s murders to put Dexter into real trouble with his own department and he succeeds rather well but yet his copycat copying is rather sloppy and signed by the use of a baseball bat instead of a special hammer used by house demolition workers, some kind of sledgehammer. Killing on the first blow and breaking the skin whereas the real psycho he is imitating was careful not to kill on the first blow to keep the victim alive and suffering as long as possible and never breaking the skin not to spill one drop of blood: suffering, slow death, entirely internal. Bad copycat.
In spite of the use by Dexter of Brian, his own brother, to clean up the plate, that criminal was intelligent enough to escape that menace by being one person who was still alive and hence got the blow instead of him. That leads to a marvelous finish in some Tortugas islands and Tortugas National Park, feeding sharks with body parts, playing bathers with turbaned towels on their heads, driving speed boats if not small yachts, around and so many fascinating vacation activities for the kids.
The final confrontation is deadly for the one you may expect, sends Dexter back into public oblivion, enables Rita to buy a big foreclosed house in an auction, provides the kids with a lot of fun, the family with a deluxe and free suite in Key West and extra dinners for free too, and a lot of good recollections about that month of July. At the same time, we can wonder if Dexter is not aging too fast and is not going to be overtaken by his own kids. He still is vicious, insensitive, inhuman, very skilled, but he seems at times as if he had been hit on the head with a cast iron skillet that made him slow.
This novel is funny but strange at times. The depicting of Rita is hilarious. She cannot finish one sentence before starting another, uttering a completely incoherent discourse. She is in many ways depicted as a caricature of sanity and organization, and yet an extremely over-effective roller-coaster of a housewife that never ends worrying about others and bothering others, definitely obsessive and compulsive, in one word OCD-ed to the heart and the core of the mind. Some will say that this female character only counterbalanced by Dexter’s sister who is an OCD-ed police officer, reveals in a way the hostility of the author to women, not sexist but at the level of what they are best in life: their supposed light-headedness and their real one-pointedness, in life though not in discourse. Apparently, these female characters have not digested Hillary Clinton as being representative of the female sex.
As for men, Dexter is so pretentious when he is not even justified in his pretention, so proud of his pride-worthless life that he becomes slightly irritating. We will say it is his character, his personality. But a man like that will not survive fifteen minutes in real life. The author must be conscious of this flaw and in this volume, more than ever, he uses humor and irony to bring that pretentious pride down to earth. But at the same time, he has to save the character for the next volume. He was in many ways a friendly character before but he is becoming slightly annoying now. He has to find some more human let alone humane dimension. That’s urgent: he is becoming a pain in the mind and his justifiable crimes are more and more tangential as for ethical justice. Here he provokes a dissatisfied person to become a criminal by just involving him in one of his episodes, an involvement that is un-willfully due to Dexter’s own sloppiness. A sloppy hero is not a hero at all, especially when he cannot clean up his mess before it becomes s tsunami of blood and corpses.
The author also has some accounts to settle with Key West and the touristic industry in Florida. The page about the hotel and how they buy the signature of a customer who should sue them all teeth and nails out with miserable favors is superb, including the limitations of these favors: a dinner for the family, but beverages not included (tap water will have to do), and they conclude the deal by accepting the request from Dexter of banana splits for the kids and a bottle of Merlot wine for Rita. Stingy niggard misers. A good lawsuit would have brought in quite a few thousands of dollars for the displeasure of finding a dead body in your suite, brought up during breakfast time in broad daylight using the service elevator of the hotel by a sociopath. What about security?
The best part of the book is the style which is in itself suspenseful and humorous, provided you have a rather black sense of humor.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
JEFF LINDSAY — DEXTER’S FINAL CUT — TV MAKES DEXTER CRIMINALLY IMPOTENT
The author, Jeff Lindsay, sold his character to television where Dexter became the main hero of a series that lasted seven seasons at the end of which he officially died, but did he really die or just disappear? No one will ever know, except the audience if a new season appears one day.
It depends a lot on what is going to happen to Dexter in the meantime as a book character. And the seventh book has just been released or has at least finally reached my desk in my distant mountains. The title may mean he is going to be finished, our Dexter, and this volume is the last one. Or it may mean something more down to earth as we are going to see.
Jeff Lindsay had already parted with the timeline and events or circumstances of the TV series in the last volumes of his book series, and that was good though confusing since we had two Dexters. Now the TV Dexter is dead Jeff Lindsay can recapture his character and go back to his own business. But this volume has to settle accounts with TV.
Jeff Lindsay cannot obviously blow up the TV network that exploited his character to death (he made quite a pile of greenbacks from the adventure), but he can bring a TV series in his book and settle accounts with television in his book. Television and the series in the book are hijacking Dexter from his standard life and his not so standard pastime and turn Dexter into a counselor to some TV star, Robert Chase, chase me if you can, and his sister into an assistant to the second TV star, Jackie Forrest, and don’t get lost in that forest with two r’s.
Jackie Forrest is stalked by some criminal mind who becomes a serial killer to force Jackie Forrest to see him with her own eyes and to accept to acknowledge his existence by becoming his object, his thing, though he does not know exactly what he wants from her, except absolute servitude and submission. Dexter then accepts to look after her, be her protective blanket, and sure enough, he gets rid of the menace. But another appears from inside the shooting perimeter, nothing to do with guns and everything to do with cameras.
But things are vicious and I won’t say more about that side of the book, except that Jeff Lindsay eliminates the stars with a snuffer one after the other. But that is not enough as for vengeance. So he manages to depict the female star as being vain, superficial, self-centered, obsessed with sex and of course she traps Dexter and he falls, and he adds so many other qualities nurtured in her by her stardom that she becomes a monster, and he piles up the incredibly non-ecological and uneconomical conditions that surround her. He manages to add some pedophilia in the star system, a man liking little girls, and everyone is blind to it because he is a star and has a high TVQ, he is popular and he attracts a big audience. At the same time, the pedophile is a daily predator on all girls around and he has the bad taste and the silly idea to capture Dexter’s own stepdaughter. Poor darling man, you’re dead, that’s for sure when Dexter catches you. I hope you can swim, or at least your body parts can.
Dexter appears here as having lost his main concentration and objective and he becomes the play toy of a female star who promises to give him a career, at least for the time of the shooting with an under-five part, and he is vain enough to dream he was going to have a career in Hollywood and why not an Oscar. Ready to abandon everything and everyone to follow the call of the stars, at least till the kidnapping of his stepdaughter calls him back to reality, the dusty and muddy reality of Miami.
If you want to know whether Dexter is dead or finished or terminated at the end of this volume, or whether there will be another volume soon, you will have to read the book. In spite of the false tracks on which Jeff Lindsay will set you, you can surmise or conjecture the truth rather fast, at least if you have some practice in thriller-reading. I find the book at times slightly too slow, maybe even verbose, when Dexter loses himself in his newly found human sentiments for the female star that tries to illuminate his vanity and capture his attention.
But, well, it is funny in a way. I just hope there will be another volume and it will be slightly more dynamic. The final cut is of course the final “cut” order he gets from the director or show-runner or whoever that man may be — and HE might be a woman seeing how much vodka HE drinks — at the end of the last take of the last scene of his under-five part, and the book opens with that last cut. But that last cut will cut Dexter to the bone for sure and that will be a good thing because he is really made dumb and besotted by the skin, flesh and various body part of a female star-object, a perambulating inflatable doll in a way, inflated by whatever TVQ the audience projects into the outside skin of that evanescent being.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
DEXTER — TV SERIES
DEXTER SEASON ONE
This concerns only the first season of this series and I know some of the things will not seem right to those who have watched the next seasons. But that is just the point. The first season has characteristics that will change later and the meaning will change too. I will keep within the very limits of that first season. What we gather from the first episodes is that this blood technician working for the Miami PD is the adopted son of a police officer. He was adopted at the age of four by this police officer because he had been traumatized by the killing of his mother with a chainsaw by some drug dealers. At once the series insists on the fact that this trauma caused an irreversible damage in the psyche of the child who is fascinated by death and needs killing just like junkies need their drugs.
He is addicted to inflicting death on other people. We will only learn quite late in this season who his real father was, after his death actually, so we will never know the man really. We will not be given in this season any detail about the death of the mother beyond what I have said. And all the detail that comes up now and then is always flashbacks in the memory of the child that Dexter was. Dexter recovers that memory little by little just like any child or even adult would do in the case of a traumatic event. His foster father just tried to bring this death impulse of his within some acceptable limits, within a certain code: you can kill but to survive hence you have to kill people who are just plain dirty (I sort of remember this is the code of Anne Rice’s vampires). And that’s what he has been taught and trained to do. First, hide your impulse. Second, pick the proper criminals.
Third do it so professionally that you can never be suspected. This ideology then is very typical. You can survive any trauma if you know what you are if you accept what you are and if you find out why you are what you are. When you finally know, then you are clear. The term comes from Hubbard but it is the one that is needed here. It may change later. This concept of clarity is doubled then with the Skinnerian concept of absolute determination of your whole being and future by the mold into which you have been cast in the very first years of your life. In this case, Dexter is a killer because of his trauma that happened when he was four, hence he will be a killer all his life. No one can change that. One can only teach the kid a code, a method, an art to do things along a certain ethical line and not to be caught.
That is pessimistic but that is not the main interest of this first season. The main interest is that another serial killer, the Ice Truck Killer, though not being a copycat, is obviously aiming at this Dexter. And his crimes that are very special in their style, method, and delivery are there to titillate Dexter, to chase or bait Dexter into a trap or a corner. Little by little, we will learn the connection between the two and that I won’t reveal. In the end, Dexter will have the upper hand and kill his competitor, along with his own method, more or less. The second interest of this series is how Dexter can keep his secret for himself in his own private life, hiding it from the women he is going along with, from his own sister (foster sister for sure but sister anyway), from his direct colleagues, from his department, etc.
It is subtle and difficult and there the actor is doing quite a good job, though the series is more building the meaning with the environment of the character than with the acting of the actor. As usual in American series, the actors are rather static and the stage director, the series director, and the set designer are building around him or her a composed visual moving environment that builds the meaning of the expression or speech of the actor. Note in this case most of the discourse of the main actor is his own voice over the pictures. He is telling us a story and it is often a commentary on what we can see.
The next and essential quality of this series is, of course, the real artistic and artful suspense that is built in each episode and in the twelve episodes of the season and that lets us absolutely breathless most of the time, even when we finally know who the Ice Truck Killer is, and then the suspense does not go down one iota. In other words, this series is so far, the first season only, Dionysian, quick, fast, dense, exhilarating, inebriating, intoxicating and many other things of that sort. In one word it is addictive and habit-forming. You may if you have ten hours and a half at your disposal watch the twelve episodes in one go and you will never be bored, tired, de-concentrated. Try it and you will like it I am sure.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
DEXTER SEASON TWO
Now his arch enemy is out, now he has killed and bled his own brother, though the real identity and even existence of this brother remain kind of schizophrenic more than real, Dexter can concentrate on the business at hand and how he can go on with his psychologically lucrative activity. But… That would be too simple. First his girlfriend is a weak woman who has been made afraid of her own shadow by her very mother who invades her home after her own personal crisis, that of an uninspired school teacher who ends up hating the system she has served all her life because it cannot change when she is aging, when she becomes unable to stand young children and their disorganized way of discovering the world, life, and knowledge.
That mother is a bloodsucker for her own daughter and grandchildren. That leads to Dexter being careless and evoking his addiction, to death and killing of course, but his girlfriend understands drugs, because of her own first husband, and she pushes him into some Narcotics Anonymous where he is absolutely vampirized by a British uncatchable praying manta that only wants to suck her men dry or dead or destroyed. That will lead to the worst dramatic events ever in this season. But that you will have to discover all by yourself like big boys and big girls. But the black sergeant of his department at the Miami Metropolitan PD is becoming more than suspicious. he tails him, he corners him, he provokes him, though he himself is not clean, with a couple of shootings that are at least suspicious, and the last one is frankly clear as plain morning sunshine.
That leads to a conflict and that conflict will lead to the major bloody meat of this season. But once again, go and discover it by yourself and don’t beg like puppies. It is great. The worst part for him is the inner voice that is telling him crazy things, and yet so sensible now he has bled his brother to death in front of his own eyes and with his own hands. This season is based on the idea that even Dexter can change. He sure can change. He has great difficulties killing for a while, drops one case, who is blind and can’t recognize him, and fails with another case to finally succeed but out of sheer luck more than real art. He starts doubting himself, and he is brought to thinking that his father actually committed suicide because he discovered that the monster he had trained was a real monster and not only some kind of dreamer. That leads to his own desire to end all that.
But his carnivorous vampire friend of a British girl convinces him of something else, that he can actually become addicted to what she is addicted to, a minor addiction in his case, sex, and he does. But very fast he realizes she is only sucking his marrow out of his bones. But he can’t get rid of her because she is destroying everything and everyone around him, including the children of his girlfriend. She is an arsonist and she manages with that great art of casting fire when necessary to capture his attention, then to liberate him of a great danger, but to make him afraid more than ever, and finally to prove him that if she cannot eat him slice by slice at her own speed and leisure she will spoil the meat for no one else to be able to approach it anymore, and a few other people close to him will be toasted dry and brittle at the same time. The third problem is the FBI. It is a real problem with the first special agent who is FBI all right but careful and patient, and he falls in temporary love with Dexter’s sister.
But the second one, the first one’s own boss, wants fast results at any cost and they satisfy themselves with the Bay Harbor Butcher the arsonist is serving them on a charred platter. That’s good luck for Dexter. His worst perils and hazards turn out to be good charms. So his psychological dissolution is countered and reversed into some more positive conviction that there is a god for the serial killers of his code and that he has to go on, after getting rid of the British arsonist somewhere under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, of all possible places. So can he change? And the second season after many hesitations ends up with the same ideology as before: he cannot change, not because he was educated as a monster, but because deep in himself he has a divine soul that dictates his attitude and his action.
He gets independent, free from his father because he is able to climb a few ladder rungs towards a more justified killing style and mode. He becomes some kind of Archangel Michael or Gabriel who is killing the dragons of evil in the ailing heart of our society. In other words, he is another Lestat de Lioncourt, a vampire by profession, and Anne Rice’s darling creature and creation. The serial killer the social cereal that provides society with the fiber, the bran it needs to evacuate its clogged intestines. He is the purge of evil, in one word he is the future. And he has a future for sure. The third season coming soon. And will there be a fourth season soon too? A shame the DVD’s bonuses did not include interviews of the important people on this series: Michael C. Hall for one and the director for another who has chosen the cool and slow style of a voice-over to tell us the story.
There would be a lot to say about that schizophrenic means. But who is schizophrenic? Dexter or the director?
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
DEXTER SEASON 3
There is little to add after season 1 and season 2. It is going to still be the same. Well, you did not read the books properly then or you did not watch the first two seasons properly. This one is entirely new and yet still the same. That’s the miracle of this series: it seems to rejuvenate itself by getting older. So what’s new that is not so new after all? First, he got his Rita girlfriend pregnant. No surprise since he went to it bareback and there never was the slightest innuendo or plain detail about covering up before going out. Sooner or later with a woman who already has two kids! And of course, she forgot the pill one night or something like that. Bound to happen, Sir.
And it did happen. But you should see the fertile dog who is kind of wailing and whimpering in front of the reality he loves and desires more than anything else, but he can’t admit it even to himself. It is true, morning sickness and all the rest on Rita’s side, and the rest is a lot, like buying a new home, a wedding dress, choose between chocolate or hazelnut for the wedding cake, buying an engagement ring and all the rest, that can give you vertigo. It is truly an engagement ring looks like the receipt you get from the parking machine that gives you one hour’s parking time, but well that is generally done, isn’t it? New and not so new is his sister who falls in love with a local black singer, details in the series but look for them. This time he is not from Philadelphia or even farther away, and he is not the age of her father. It is true he is black, and he is a little bit wrapped up, but that’s only muscle, isn’t it?
No, no, she is not getting that old yet and maybe in the next season, we’ll have another family affair. Ah! Those Dexters! Quite new is the fact that Dexter gets a partner. In other words, parallel to his wife to be he gets some kind of professional attraction to someone of the same sex who is not a cop. But how can that work? Dexter is a solitary animal, like a spider, and it eats its partners after the dual carriageway trip, that spidery and long-legged insect that is not an insect. So how is the spider going to accept a partnership and yet keep his plate clean and his little secret night adventures for himself? And what about after the marriage? Well, that will be for next season. You already know I guess, but I prefer waiting for the DVD. You can already pre-order it, with one click at Amazon if you are trustworthy, financially I mean.
But as they say, the apprentice gets always worse than the sorcerer. Remember Fantasia? You’re going to say that is such a cliché. But it is so effective, but well at times we dream of the reverse, but then I am told it becomes a serial killer, not a serial justice cleanser. And then you do have some more details about the various polices that fight for a tidbit of macadam here and there, the Vice Squad, the Miami Dade Police Department and the Miami Sheriff’s office. A little more about grossness but this time in a way with some reserve. There is a little bit less blood. That’s maybe a good thing for the audience and the watching rates, but it takes some real gross horror out of the series.
Dexter is becoming more civilized in a way. No real blood display like a bed floating in blood or a blood shower when opening the toilet door. But this season is definitely growing up to something that is or should be disquieting. Killing is becoming some kind of hobby, not a possession, not a deep impulse, not at all, just something you have to do every day like washing your teeth or brushing your feet, or the reverse. No public outcry at the latest victims. No outcry at all at the disappearing hoodlums, or district attorney as for that. Though I must say the skinner is by far the best invention in that season. It holds us firmly from the beginning to the end including the kidnapping. But hush, you are going to give away a spoiler. So enjoy it all in one go. It’s only about ten hours of TV.
A good nice night with some booze and peanuts, not too much popcorn though, especially since the price of cereal products is going to go up this year after the forest fires in Russia.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
DEXTER FOURTH SEASON
Amazing fourth season. If I had to watch it all by itself and without knowing that something is coming next, I would say this season is by far the best because it is entirely, from beginning to end, a full cycle centering on one serial killer chased by Dexter and chasing Dexter. And that is excellent. The construction of this whole season is perfect and in the style of Stephen King’s Dark Tower. The end is the beginning and the last scene can only bring Dexter back to his very first cry in his life and in the first episode of the first season. This closing of the cycle is so beautifully made that it would be the perfect ending for the saga, just like the last page of
The Dark Tower is just the same as the first page of The Dark Tower. Life is the most beautiful thing there is to live in this world just because it is always the same and yet always a new beginning. The sun rises every morning and the moon rises every evening, or nearly so. The variations are themselves cyclical. It is absolutely state of the art primeval pleasure. The serial killer behind this whole season is a cyclical man too, but a double cyclical killer who kills every so often along a cyclical need and always the very same cycle of victims in very set circumstances and very set time spans.
The key to this season is that we all know about FBI profiling, so it becomes funny and strange when that profiling fails to be true and is in fact totally wrong. And this time twice again, because it is superficially wrong, the man is not a solitary cat that kills to satisfy his need to have human contact, but the alternative to which Dexter comes is also false because it is only an appearance. That serial killer is keeping appearances, to even kill better and more easily. The series also settles some accounts with the paparazzi, those fake journalists who gather any information and spill it around with no conscience whatsoever and without the slightest pang of conscience about the potential victims the people they expose become. And what if that nosy journalist were a killer herself?
And the plot can sicken a little bit more when Rita kisses the neighbor. What a horrible thing to happen, and she is shocked when Dexter does not react the way she expects him to react, so that he has to do something about it, and apologize to the brutalized neighbor on the following morning I guess. This season also gives the dead father an ever more important role to play. He is Dexter’s permanent and privileged interlocutor. Then the action is always as packed as usual, though Dexter does not buy donuts for his colleagues every morning as he used to.
That’s a shame. I liked that habit, but I guess everyone on the team has to watch their waistline and weight. They are getting old in other words. But be sure to get the fifth season, before cancer or his sister takes Dexter away and to find out if the last scene is a real scene or a nightmare. I have my idea about that but let you enjoy the suspense.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
DEXTER — THE FIFTH SEASON
A new season, just like a new book, about Dexter or by his dear author, are treats that have the essence of pleasure and the texture of bliss and happiness. This fifth season is no exception especially with the final image of the previous season of Dexter’s son, Harrison, in the blood of his mother and wife, respectively and backwardly, killed by the Trinity Killer just before he was abducted and liquidated if not terminated by Dexter who did not know what this trinity Killer had just done.
From this traumatic scene opening this season, we move onto another serial killer or rather a gang of serial killers who have been operating since high school or so and are still operating under the supervision and guidance of a TV positive thinker, one of these new prophets of the post-God era. These gurus who more or less mesmerize their clients into doing what they, the gurus, want them, the clients, to do in their, the gurus’, places. It is tempting to have an inner circle of disciples with whom you share your real power, I mean the guru has the full power and the others execute the deepest bleakest darkest blackest desires the guru has and has been able to suggest or extract from the unconscious minds of the followers.
It sounds religious, Christian in fact, but they push slightly further the parallelism and that gang of If-you-want-something-take-it-ters project the Christian nature onto their victims who are sacrificed in the perfect number of thirteen, the thirteenth victim evading the lot and the curse, so that we drop back to twelve, the proper number with the thirteenth traitor who will turn against the guru, and will be coming back with a dark angel to execute and terminate all the members of that gang, one by one. In fact, it is even more vicious because the first victim has been mesmerized into accepting her link with the guru and she survived. That makes fourteen victims, the first surviving like a sort of Holy Virgin and even helping along, twelve dead after torture and a few other niceties, the last one surviving and treacherously coming back to bring justice, like the archangel Gabriel, the executor of God’s sentences, with I guess the archangel Michael, the liquidator of dragons.
This series does not work as a common thriller and what is important is not to learn who the real criminal is, why Dexter is going to execute this one or that one. We know that straight away, from the very start. The point here is to know how Dexter is going to get out of the intricate complicated and very obscure and precarious situations he is putting himself in. And this season is great as for that. But I am not going to reveal these details.
What is more interesting is that the thirteenth victim and Dexter are going to be fellow-travelers on the dark passage of the dark passenger. But is it going to be the meeting of one’s lifetime or is it going to be transient and evanescent? Is she going to be the new woman in his life? On the other side, Harrison has to be taken care of and he is growing. The problem is the nanny because he needs a nanny since his grandparents have taken the other older two children and can’t take this one, and since Deborah has a full-time job at the Miami Metropolitan Police. But that’s a small complication in the life of a really busy young man who has two professions, both exacting and demanding.
The best part of this series is that we have divided loyalties. We are absolutely on the side of the police and Deborah who are for catching criminals and bringing them to justice, but at the same time, we are absolutely behind Dexter who considers that we are supposed to save taxpayer money and avoid bringing those criminals to justice. But, if we are for that kind of a twist in the fabric of justice and law enforcement, we are well obliged to be on the side of the small or big twists in police work to simplify a situation that is too complicated for a colleague, who is innocent of course of any crime, just awkwardly compromised by his or her lack of swiftness, or to decide to let some criminals run because they are just cleaning up the dirty place in which we live and this is ethical, cheap and efficacious. What’s more, it attacks most of the time, in this case particularly, people who have the necessary means to have the best lawyers and evade criminal justice like a certain DSK in New York.
One thing is sure: quite a few people disappear in the USA without leaving any tracks or footprints behind and no one seems to care about it, provided these disappearing characters are proved vicious criminals of any type. This seems to reveal something about the American-ness of this series. The objective is to catch the criminals — if the police and justice can — or to let some vigilante liquidate them — if the police or justice are too slow. This is typically American efficiency and practicality: the objective is to reach the target and the goal at the lowest price possible and in the shortest time possible and with as little collateral damage as possible. At times this practicality and efficiency create impossible situations like in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan, but there is always a rub somewhere in the carpet of life.
But the best part remains the opening credits that have not changed from the very first episode, especially the admirable mechanical mosquito, and the music of the whole series. Long live our Dexter International, registered and unlicensable trademark and copyrighted character. After all, he could be some night partner of ours on some winter nights when we are alone and cold in our beds and need some distraction, more than entertainment. And distracted you will be by this aging young man who manipulates knives like a magician as if they were pencils or toothpicks.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
DEXTER — THE SIXTH SEASON
This sixth season counts twelve episodes, which is fitting since it is based on the Christian Apocalypse, in fact not the one in John’s Book of Revelation, but another reconstructed version widely enriched with the numerous apocalypses that exist or existed in the Levant and even the Middle East traditions, going back to the Zoroastrians and the Babylonians, hence to the old apocalyptic visions we can find in old Sumerian documents (clay tablets) and Zoroastrian stories that are as old as the Sanskrit Vedas, if not even older. But altogether we remain within the vast tradition of the three originally-if-not-still-Semitic religions.
It is a fad today and has been for quite a while, to integrate the Apocalypse in TV series. I can just quote the most famous ones like “Supernatural” in the USA (WB-TV) and “Being Human” in Great Britain (BBC). And of course, we have to think of the secular vision or rewriting of it in the long series of “Terminator” and the “Sarah Connors Chronicles.” But “Supernatural” is seen from the point of view of the monster hunters who try to prevent the coming of the apocalypse that is programmed in an inescapable way, and yet, there is always a way out when there is a way in. On the other hand “Being Human” is the apocalypse seen from the point of view of vampires and it is again the attempt to stop it by blocking the taking over of the earth by the Old Ones (the vampires from the original millennia of humanity). This sixth season of “Dexter” takes the apocalypse from the point of view of a deranged, fundamentalist Christian zealot who thinks that by enacting the prediction you could bring the end of the world. Dexter is thus the one who is trying to stop the criminal and that is not easy.
If you consider the apocalypse and all the religious bull that goes along with it in the minds of all latter night (not to speak of days) prophets, read my lips to see who I mean, is undrinkable, just avoid this season. If on the other side you are only interested in serial killers and catching them, what’s more if you believe in one serial killer being able to catch all the serial killers and pass them to the other side of the transatlantic Gulf Stream back to Europe where they probably or obviously belong, then welcome to this season.
But there is a lot more than that.
The series this season definitely defends the idea that you have to believe in some kind of higher force behind the universe. It ridicules the fundamentalist zealots of the three originally-if-not-still-Semite religions for sure. But it states very clearly these people are dangerous.
In the same way, it ridicules the fundamentalist zealots of the evolutionary theory that can only impose their stuff with harsh and purely rhetorical attacks on the creationist point of view, hence the zealot fundamentalist originally-if-not-still-Semite beliefs. Rhetoric is not an argument and certainly not evidence or proof of anything. It is nothing but plays on words and superficial semantic jingling juggling. In fact, there is no proof of any sort on either side.
On one hand, the question “Who created the universe?” and the answer “God.” will bring the next question: “Who created God?” And there is no end in that direction except the crazy science fiction of Ron L. Hubbard and Scientology that we are nothing but the rejects of an extra-terrestrial civilization that existed zillion, zillion, zillion, zillion, zillion years ago. And then “Who created these extra-terrestrials?”
On the other hand, if you are on the side of evolution and science, nothing comes from nothing. We can say the beginning of the universe we know is a famous “big bang” but then since nothing comes from nothing (Lavoisier among others in the 18th century) that “big bang” came from something, there was something before that “big bang”. Then what was it and where did that come from? Evolution is a theory that perfectly explains life, in fact not only vegetal and animal life but also mineral and cosmic life, the way we know it and over a very long period of time, knowing that what we see at the outer limits of the visible universe (with modern technology) is what it was billions of years ago and we have no way to know what it is today, except through speculation and reconstruction.
In the same way, this season uses a lot of symbols in the most irritating way, especially the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. It is written somewhere: “I am the alpha and the omega” but it is in fact slightly more than that: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Bible, Revelation 1:8, Standard American Version). The first part states that there was no time before the beginning, and states that there will be no time after the end. That led Saint Augustine to consider that eternity, before the creation and after the end of this world is timelessness. But then how can the past ”was”, the present “is” and the future “is to come” not be seen as contradictory, except if you play on words and consider that verbal tenses refer to time and hence there is no past and no future before and after the creation and the end of it. “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” (Bible, Ecclesiastes, 1:2, Standard American Version) Just as if the eclipse of the last episode was the end of the world. How naïve!
As entertainment, this season is great, even maybe greater than the previous ones because there is a fairly tighter unity of the twelve episodes and a fairly ugly fight for power at the head of the Miami Metro Police Department. But as for the ideology and the ideas it transports and even bombards onto you, it is slightly naïve and definitely over-powerful. We are not supposed to think about all those theories and political or ideological ideas, but at the very same time, it is unfair to crush the audience with such heavy-weight hammers and expect the audience to say thank you and not be in anyway influenced by it. Luckily the classification of the season is -18, “suitable only for persons of 18 years and over” and “not to be supplied to anyone under that age,” but even so how can we assume that over 18-year-old people can be un-influenced by such heavy at least graphic arguments.
In fact, it is not the apocalypse per se that is at stake here but the exclusive reference to the three originally-if-not-still-Semite religions. “Supernatural” is careful to refer to a lot of religions and other beliefs. “Being Human” is careful to refer to a lot of theories that have nothing to do with the three afore-mentioned religions. But this season of “Dexter” is extremely narrowly targeting that particular vision in the three afore-said religions. At least the Buddhist can have a great laugh at it. But is it so for everyone else?
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
DEXTER — THE SEVENTH SEASON
This season takes Deb down into the deepest layers of hell. It starts with Deb falling upon Dexter’s killing a Christian serial killer in his church and it ends with an even grosser and more deliriously crazy crime. Dexter used to be more or less manipulated by his Dark Passenger, by a need he had to satisfy, an impulse he had to follow, but little by little he realizes that there is no dark passenger and that he is entirely responsible for his crimes and that leads to the idea that he is killing to survive, and eventually to avenge the killing of his mother.
As soon as this idea that survival is the main objective Dexter becomes a plain ordinary simple and banal serial killer. He does not kill dangerous people, I mean dangerous for society because they are serial killers themselves, but he kills because he feels menaced. His killing is no longer an act of vigilante justice but an act of pure fear, the fear to be taken, and when his sister is totally involved, the fear she might get caught or that she might become the target of some other criminal and little by little of the police itself. It is no longer awesome but it has become awful.
The psychological level of the characters, Dexter among them, then loses a lot of its appeal. Dexter is a monster, a self-centered, egocentric, selfish monster. He has not one ounce of humanity left. He has become a danger for society by not being a scavenger that takes care of mental rubbish and social garbage. Then the suspense in the series is no longer only about when and how he is going to be caught but rather how he is going to get out of his mess by killing whom, when, where, how. Up to now, there was an ethical dimension he called a code in that appeal. Now it is purely morbid and nothing but morbid.
The series uses some circumstantial subjects to build some kind of setting and environment to the predator’s hunt. The Ukrainian mafia in Miami opens nightclubs with Ukrainian dancers who are essentially strippers and pole dancers, in other words, something close to prostitution that is more or less tolerated but the Ukrainian mafia uses that cover to import all kinds of highly profitable drugs. This clandestine commerce then comes to a direct clash with the Colombian drug mafia that tries to defend their territory. But that transforms the series again into a simple criminal action film like so many others.
The series tries to widen Dexter’s scope by making him fall in love with another criminal who has killed exclusively to protect herself from all kinds of ills, a father first who was brutal, a gambler, a child molester, etc., and then juvenile institutions and then the serial killer she makes an escape at 15 with and whose crimes she shares, apparently with a lot of zeal but her lawyer manages to get her some immunity for these crimes because she was considered to be a hostage more than an accomplice. She knows what killing means, and she is in poison, and she understands Dexter and Dexter understands her. They fall in love, real love, not some social convenient arrangement like with Rita. But she menaces Deb who is trying to step between her and Dexter. Then Dexter has to get her in prison for one crime he had covered up.
But she escapes. Food for the next season.
Then this season revives Maria La Guardia, the Captain, and her love affair with Dokes, a Haitian sergeant who hated Dexter and had seen him through, and her obsession, in continuation of Dokes’s own obsession, against Dexter and she brings back out of the boxes the case of the Bay Harbor Butcher, but things have become tricky and since Dexter promised Deb not to compete with the police anymore, he has to find other solutions than killing people and he becomes very good at framing them. He thus frames Maria who has tried and is trying to frame him. These two framers and their accomplices are like writing the new constitution of the Crime Republic, but that is easy, that is not even respectable, nor believable. And the framers lose their frames in the meantime and have to come back to the radical solution: dispose of the menace.
I am afraid I have to say this season is packed with action and dynamic intrigue, but the main and most successful actor has become the mosquito in the very opening credit sequence, even if its life is very short-lived. Even the love of Deb for Dexter is turned into something perverse and sickening. Crime corrupts and absolute crime corrupts absolutely.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
JACQUES TATI — MON ONCLE — 1958
C’était le temps où la Quatrième République sombrait dans le brouhaha de la guerre en Algérie, d’un coup d’état le 13 mai à Alger justement, du retour du Grand Charles après treize années folles de croissance de reconstruction à l’américaine. C’était le temps où le Parti Communiste Français faisait des films de propagande où il dénonçait l’arrivée du Coca-Cola car en France nous avons tout ce dont nous avons besoin, le vin rouge bien sûr, tout aussi bien sûr que ce fut du vin et bien sûr qu’il était rouge, et qu’on le donnait bien sûr aux bébés dans leurs biberons. Le blanc était pour les riches et le rosé n’était pas encore arrivé. Et c’était avant le Beaujolais Nouveau, mais là rien n’a vraiment changé. Un Coca-Cola-Beaujolais pour la route.
C’est donc une farce avec du Jérôme Deschamps derrière les coulisses et du Jacques Tati dans la cabine de pilotage. On se moque donc d’une société industrielle où les très riches sont fous et les autres insignifiants. La société moderne américanisée a des portes qui s’ouvrent toutes seules, des cuisines qui fonctionnent au doigt et à l’œil, des jets d’eau qui font mumuse avec les imprévus, des tondeuses à gazon à pédales pour les voisines un peu gaies-réjouies-enjouées sur les bords pour faire rococo.
Et cette façade fangique moderne n’est qu’une couche de vernis sur la misère traditionnelle et les enfantillages de gamins égarés. Des enfantillages parfois cruels mais si amusants quand une vieille dame portant une boîte à pâtisserie écrase son nez et sa pâtisserie dans le réverbère qu’un sifflement impromptu rend invisible mais certainement pas insensible. Le lampadaire en a comme une crise de tristesse et s’excuse de mille façons possibles et imaginables.
C’est le monde de mon oncle qui est en perdition à grande vitesse. La pipe remplacée par la cigarette. Le Solex noir remplacé par les voitures américaines multicolores aussi larges et longues que la foule à l’enterrement de Johnny Halliday qui commençait tout juste sa carrière de rocker américanisé. Le café à l’ancienne sera prochainement remplacé par je ne sais quelle station-service pour passants assoiffés. Le marché avec de vrais légumes et de vrais maraîchers remplacé par ce qui sera bientôt le supermarché. Les vieilles maisons abattues au pic et à la pioche remplacées par des blocs dans le lointain, les fameuses cages à lapins des HLM, ou des maisons entièrement automatiques.
Et ils n’avaient pas encore l’intelligence artificielle. Imaginez la maison d‘aujourd’hui où tout est gouverné et réglé par un ordinateur domestique auquel je peux parler à distance, de l’autre bout de la planète, et qui en plus peut me parler pour me conseiller d’aimer ce que j’aime et qu’il a enregistré. La maison de demain est la routine sans surprise. Champ culturel aussi petit qu’un jardinet de façade de trois mètres de long et de soixante centimètres de profondeur avec trois tulipes, deux glaïeuls, un lilas nain et peut-être un dahlia pompon jaune.
Jacques Tati est encore un peu avant « Des Ronds Pompon » mais tout à fait juste avant le déjà là « Des Sous Charlot ». Avec très exactement soixante ans de distance le film est devenu culte. Un film culte d’un âge perdu évoqué in vivo et en temps réel par ceux qui se trouvent du côté de la poubelle de l’histoire et qui se moquent une dernière fois de ce qui vient sans voir vraiment qu’ils sont finis, ou s’ils le voient ils se disent que l’on peut encore se faire un peu plaisir avant que tout cela n’arrive. Ce fut l’âge où la culture française est tombée au niveau de Françoise Sagan et de Sacha Guitry.
Nostalgique, saugrenu, absurde. C’était le temps où les gosses se faisaient violenter avec plaisir dans les encoignures des portes cochères. « La guerre des boutons » était de rigueur et les perdants qui avaient perdus tous leurs boutons rentraient chez eux en slip car les slips n’ont pas de boutons. Dommage les filles mais vous n’avez pas besoin de boutons puisque vous n’avez pas de braguettes. Je ne sais pas s’il faut en rire ou en pleurer, mais il est sûr que ce temps-là est parti et que la guerre des boutons est terminée puisque maintenant nous avons tous des fermetures éclairs, invention américaine s’il en est une.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
JACQUES TATI — PLAY TIME — 1967
Il y a exactement cinquante-et-un ans Jacques Tati cauchemardait d’un Paris envahi par les Américains qui arrivaient par avions complets à l’Aéroport de Paris, connu aujourd’hui sous le seul nom d’Orly, qui passait deux jours et une nuit à faire la fête dans Paris avec une Tour Eiffel en reflet dans une porte en verre, un Sacré Cœur de même et un Arc de Triomphe de la mème façon. Le pauvre Monsieur Hulot est perdu dans cette faune en rut dans les rues de la jungle parisienne.
Il ne manque pas un seul cliché d’époque avant 68. Les Marlboro comme cigarettes, les drugstores comme bar et café et brasserie du nouveau monde dans les temps nouveaux. L’acier, le verre et le plastique partout, plus que partout d’ailleurs. La France a disparu et Jacques Tati proteste, comme cette bonne parisienne qui va au supermarché américain pour acheter une botte de poireaux. Débile. Comme ces ouvriers en salopettes et en bleus de travail qui répare les dégâts de la fête et qui sont encore un peu français au moins sur les contours extérieurs. Mais existent-il réellement ?
Tous ces bâtiments en verre, toutes ces cages à lapins transparentes, tous ces pièges à renards, loups et gogos qui ne savent qu’en demander encore plus pour passer inaperçus dans la foule des Américains, pour passer en fait pour de vrais Américains parisiens. C’est la mode. C’est in. C’est fun. Et si Versailles m’était conté ? Vraiment il nous manque un peu de la vie réelle des gens simples qui mangent du pain et pas de la brioche. Versailles est devenu Paris-sur-Mississippi. Maman lolo ! Maman pipi ! Maman bobo ! On en oublie même le Grand Charles dans ce Paris qui tourne en rond autour d’un rond-point ridiculement évocateur en ce temps-là de la Place d’Italie, de la Place de la Nation, de la Place de la Bastille, et même en format carré de la Place de la République, sans oublier bien sûr la Place de la Concorde et la célèbre Place de l’Etoile pas encore Charles de Gaulle.
Mais pourquoi donc Jacques Tati et les Parisiens qu’il fréquente ou fréquentera ou aurait pu fréquenter comme Jérôme Deschamps et sa bande de Zozos, de Zazas et de Zinzins, avec Pierre Perret (à peine huit ans plus tard) et son Zizi en éducation sexuelle et Zizi Jeanmaire qui danse son truc en plumes déjà en 1961 quelques six ans plus tôt pour les touristes américains, et encore pour deux ou trois ans les GIs américains dont Charles de Gaulle débarrassera la France. Les Jacques Tati et bien d’autres ont poussé ce jour un soupir de soulagement larmoyant.
Mais en 1967 Jacques Tati était un peu court sur la prédiction et même la prédication car c’est plutôt les bus de Japonais qui envahirent Paris, et maintenant les bus de Chinois qui arpentent Paris comme une cour de récréation, et ils ont bien raison car Paris est devenu on ne sait plus quoi. Le Château Belleville de Bordeaux a disparu pour laisser la place à Mériadec, et la rue Belleville de Paris n’est plus qu’une autre rue chinoise sur bords de Seine ou l’Elisa de Serge Gainsbourg se donne à voir et s’offre une partie de jambes en l’air.
Jacques Tati est d’un autre âge, d’un âge ancien qui a disparu et d’une mentalité qui est en train de sombrer dans le vrai vin rosé de France importé d’Espagne. Le film devait être hilarant en son temps ancien mais il est devenu culte de la nostalgie qui ne mène à rien, qui ne m’aime même plus comme on savait aimer en ce temps-là. Ah mon premier baiser tout en bas de la Rue Mouffetard ! Mais ce temps-là, c’était en 1963, est parti et qui voudrait y revenir ? Tout en bas de la Rue Mouffetard c’est devenu chic, trendy, classe moyenne même un peu supérieure, et il n’y a plus de maraichers authentiques qui livrent des légumes et des fruits le matin à l’aube. Même si Emile Duhamel nous les décrit toujours.
Alors nostalgie d’un jour, nostalgie toujours, oh oui mais pour les sourds.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU