Uncomfortably Numb

#amwatching #Dexter #amwriting

Stories can be powerful. Any reader or otherwise consumer of fiction knows that, has experienced the impact of a well told and powerfully crafted tale. I have already admitted I am late to the party with regards the show Dexter, everyone’s favourite serial killer. Watched a show from season 5 on Netflix tonight. May have been the season 5 premier. In any event, it is the one immediately after we find out his wife was murdered by the Trinity killer.

What is interesting here is, Dexter is a character that can’t feel emotions. Emotions are an alien concept. So in getting us to feel for him, emotions are off the table. That’s right, seeing what he is going through is the way we as consumers of fiction experience, well, feelings for the character. But Dexter is a blank page. He has to fake emotions which only elicit fake emotions in us. If at all. But the writers, and the brilliant interpretation of those words by the actor have done a skillful job of showing in a powerful way what this man with no experience with feelings is… Feeling. Dexter watches other people go through the turmoil of Rita’s murder and in his study of how regular people should feel, he mimics it and convinces us to feel for him. And in the process shows us the character developing and learning something about himself. It is worth watching if only from an academic point of view. Writers do what Dexter is doing all the time. Not knowing how to do something and mimicking those who do it well. And in so doing convince others, and maybe even themselves.

The writers and actor did something awesome. They made me feel empathy for a character that had a complete lack of…empathy.

Well done.