I challenged my friends to tell me why I’m wrong about my impervious ideas. In this edition of You’re Wrong, Daniel, my girlfriend Audra tells me why I know nothing when it comes to picking good Dexter villains.
Maze Murderer Ray Speltzer
Dexter doing a villain that hunts his victims in a massive, homemade maze proves that Showtime was not only reading all of my letters, but my Texas Chain Saw Massacre/Dexter crossover fan fiction too. Sure, the first chase with the blaring metal music and the flashing lights was way better than the underwhelming second chase where Dexter just ran through nondescript hallways, but I appreciate the fact that the people behind Dexter decided to make a character that wasn’t another “I’m a bad guy, but you’ll understand when you hear about my sad, sad childhood!” villain, and just went pure slasher.
Audra’s Counter-Pick: Lila West
The maze murderer, though entertaining, is Dexter click-bait. He is only featured in part of a season and really doesn’t anticipate anyone escaping. There is no guarantee of death in the maze. Sounds like a really bad plan if you don’t want to get caught. If you’re not in a panic, as Deb demonstrates, you can easily deal with a little barbed wire, or just hide under some angry metal music poster. There’s too many flaws in his plan, as demonstrated when he is captured almost immediately after being introduced. Also, how do you explain all the barbed wire you just purchased for down town Miami housing?
Lila West embodies every man’s nightmare of a girlfriend. Lila is the epitome of how to make a man cry. She gave birth to a legion of stupid, anti-feminist red pill men out there claiming to be victimized by strong minded women. She’s a terror who destroys every man she touches from the inside out. She is possibly the most un-empathetic and selfish villain in the show, while being complex enough to be motivated purely by her own insecurities. She may also be the only villain to outsmart Dexter repeatedly. Hell hath no fury like a psychopathic woman scorned.
The pro wrestling fan in me loves to watch smaller guys tackle dudes that could double as skyscraper support beams. That’s why I was so elated to see Dexter face off against Little Chino, the massive, machete-wielding guy in the beginning of Season 2. Was it everything that I thought it would be? No. I expected something more like the Transporter movies, where Jason Statham kicks at a behemoth until the behemoth accidentally gets his neck caught in a rope or something and offs himself. Dexter’s fighting moves never really went past “catches guy’s arm and holds it” and “headbutt,” but it was cool to imagine that, for once, Dexter was going to go toe-to-toe with a giant. And then he harpooned Chino, which wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but was way better than having Dexter walk into frame and inject Chino close up, which is how he handled 95% of the cast.
Audra’s Counter-Pick: The Trinity Killer
Little Chino is cool because every time Dexter gets someone on the table, you think to yourself, “It’s amazing how strong saran wrap is!” and bam! Our newly learned death trap that defied logic is then defied! Just when you were admiring plastic wrap, Little Chino surprises us by escaping, doing the very thing we assumed would happen. But other than that, he left no impact on me.
The 2nd best Villain is Arthur Mitchell. It seems, Daniel, that you prefer purely evil villains. I prefer the dual sided. I liked that Arthur had a family that secretly hated him. I liked that despite physical appearances, he was gruesome and strong (with mom hatred). I liked that he was pathetic, and somehow terrifying. And that killing to him wasn’t the same unfettered urge that you’d find in the uncontrolled Underbelly Serial Killers Club (that I assume meets on Wednesdays in a dark basement where there’s some sort of duel and a lot of crying and monologuing). It occurred over a lifetime of not getting caught. He was, simply put, really good at being a serial killer with mommy issues. Go you, John Lithgow.
Dexter has always had a problem with the likability/un-likability ratio in its villains. On one hand, it wanted you to think that the Trinity Killer was a nasty psychopath with gross old man hands. On the other, it wanted you to stay intrigued by him. Stan Liddy was formed when the creators of Dexter put every bad personality trait that they could into a hat, and rather than pick from the hat, they just poured the traits back out on the table and got Peter Weller, the voice of Robocop, to read the mess. Nothing about Stan was even remotely empathetic. He was an abysmal human being that totally escaped the Dexter rule of “He has to be a bad guy, but he also needs to make for a good Hot Topic shirt,” and I can respect him for that.
Audra’s Counter-Pick: Maria LaGuerta
Stan Liddy? Really? Did you see his teeth? Did you see how easy he was to catch? Did you notice his MO was hanging out in a van for days on end worrying about someone else’s illegal activity? That’s your conglomeration of evil personality traits? If so, then you’re saying that all cranky old people who buy an RV and follow around their grandchildren’s successes and drug escapades are equally as evil as Stan Liddy. On second thought, they might be.
My 3rd Pick is Maria LaGuerta. Though not entirely evil, she does the villain thing right. She’s entirely motivated by real and sane factors, which makes her easier to digest, and maybe doesn’t put her at the top of everyone’s list. Other than Lila, she was my biggest “THANK GOD!” when she died. I HATED Maria LaGuerta through the entire show. She had a moment when she was connecting with Angel where you kind of thought she could stop shitting all over everyone’s lives, and then they broke up and it was back to hate.
Every big plot twist regarding LaGuerta was, “Maria thinks she did what she had to do, which was screwing over her closest friend”. And yet, she had the most impact and control on each season’s character mistakes. Her character was almost needlessly obstructive to progress. If the writers were out of plot lines, they’d throw in “AND THEN MARIA WALKS IN THE ROOM” to just make it chaotic and fill out some sub-plot for the season. And, let’s point out that she had a serial killer working under her and she didn’t notice for a really long time. He was never in the office- should have been a clue earlier than season 7.
Bad Bosses are the worst. Bad Bosses who steal your job for glory, have sex with your boyfriend to make you insane, prevent your employees from being successful, and get your really great boss fired…. Those are the really relatable villains we all face every day. I just wish that she’d let everyone do their job and let Dexter kill the bad guys. And that she’d died sooner. Then we’d have a lot more plot lines not based around what gossip or manipulation was dropped to get someone in trouble. Laguerta is “The Man” and “The Man” in this particular show is Dexter’s number one enemy. She may actually not be a top villain. But she made me mad. She got to me. And I hated her. And maybe she wasn’t Dexter’s worst villain. But she certainly was the worst.
Also, she’s just annoying, but the “MOST ANNOYING DEXTER CHARACTERS” is another Daniel’s Wrong list, and we all know Deb wins that round.