Flat Stanley binge re-watches Dexter | Jennifer A. Howard
Not a spoiler: after his mother’s murder, Dexter Morgan was adopted by Harry and Doris Morgan. After the first go-through, Flat Stanley didn’t remember his adoptive mother’s name. Neither did you. After 8 seasons, we know two facts about Doris: 1) she encouraged Harry to get in touch with Dexter’s biodad when her little boy needed a blood transfusion. This storyline is complicated by a lack of medical accuracy; Dexter is AB negative and it is not impossible for him to receive blood from strangers with any blood type as long as they don’t have the Rh antigen. The blood that will save him exists in plenty, but the writers want him to take his girlfriend, and his sister, and the guy he doesn’t know is both his brother and the Ice Truck killer on a road trip. And 2) Doris brought a puppy into the family home. Harry decided the puppy was a terrible idea, that Dexter would surely murder it for kicks, and proclaimed they had to send the puppy away. Dexter’s little sister Deb was distraught. What a dumb mom, thinking a puppy would survive that damaged teenager, seems to be Harry’s only thought about his wife, who he had been cheating on, with Dexter’s dead mom. (No moms fare well on this show. Not even theory-mom played in a late season by Charlotte Rampling, who has raised one successfully murdery son and participated in Dexter’s development in an advisory, off-screen way in his youth. Don’t even get Flat Stanley started on Rita.) Though nobody worried about Deb’s actual safety, only the puppy’s. Might Dexter murder her too, for fun, out of need? Probably not, we assume both parents decide. Oh! Flat Stanley remembers: in a third flashback, Doris suggests to Harry that Dexter isn’t well. He needs perhaps some professional help. She notes: the poor kid watched his mother die violently, after all, and his new parents – us, Harry, you and I! – chose to ditch his brother (later, as noted, a serial killer himself) and pretend to Dexter he never existed. Therapy is not a bad idea, Doris!, Flat Stanley yells at his iPad. But no: Harry teaches Dexter how to game the help-system so the shrink doesn’t see what a monster he is. Thanks for trying, Doris. Instead of Dexter being adopted with his brother, and getting therapy, and loving a dog, and a sister, and understanding how blood types work, he was trained to get away with shit, and to be neat about it. Like many men. Flat Stanley—a little boy who takes up zero space—has heard sentences change when women walk into a room. These shifts in content and tone are never explained. It is assumed he will be blood brothers with assholes.
Jennifer A. Howard edits Passages North and teaches in Michigan's snowy Upper Peninsula. Her collection of flash sci-fi, You on Mars, was published by The Cupboard Pamphlet.