Monthly Archives: May 2016

BTL Top 5 Friday: Top NFL What If’s

What if? Every sport fan has uttered that phrase. What if we would’ve went for it on fourth down? What if the coach would’ve challenged that play? What if we would’ve drafted player A over player B? It gives us both a false sense of satisfaction but also drives us completely insane at the same time. In this edition of BTL Top 5 Friday, I’m going to look at the Top NFL What If’s. Here are 5 of MY what if’s. Yes I could do what if the AFL failed to merge with the NFL in 1970 or what if Vince Lombardi had decided to wait for the New York Giants job opening? These will mostly focus on the past 20 years I have watched football, enjoy:

#5 – What if Sean Taylor was never murdered?

  • Washington Redskin physically imposing and ridiculously gifted safety was murdered in November 2007. He died just a few days short of my 20th birthday. No other athlete’s death has resonated so much with me than his.
  • Standing 6’3″ and weighing nearly 230lbs, he was built like a linebacker but ran a blistering 4.30 40-yard dash. Just combine Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor’s abilities into one player and you had Sean Taylor.
  • In 2007 (drafted in 2004) he had just started to put together all his attributes into the most lethal all-around secondary defender in the NFL.
  • If he had lived, he was on pace for one of the single-greatest seasons put together by a safety in 2007…ever.
  • He would’ve gone on to have his name placed among the likes of Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu for best safety of the 2000s.
  • He could’ve anchored a Washington Redskin defense and team that would’ve made deep playoff runs from 2007-2010.

#4 – What if the Packers pulled off the 2007 Randy Moss trade?

  • Green Bay and New England were the clear front runners for Moss in the spring of 2007. Moss wanted to play with Favre more than anything.
  • On Draft weekend ’07, the Pats pulled the coup for Randy with a 4th round pick to Oakland and guaranteeing his second year (something Ted Thompson would not do).
  • If Green Bay had not ruffled his feathers beforehand and guaranteed the 2nd year, Moss would’ve been a Packer.
  • Green Bay most likely goes to the Super Bowl that year and wins, probably beating New England. Green Bay even had a chance to run the table that year too (went 13-3 without Moss).
  • Brett Favre most likely retires after riding off into the sunset, only for Moss to talk him out of it (don’t think he’d have to push Brett too hard though).
  • The Rodgers vs Favre drama still happens, with Randy taking Favre’s side. Both are traded out of town, probably both to the the Jets.
  • Favre returns to the Vikings with Moss in 2009, both hell bent on beating the Packers after getting jettisoned after the 2007 SB win.
  • With pissed off Favre and Moss, THE VIKINGS WIN THE SUPER BOWL IN 2009!! They already should’ve that year anyways…….. Or Favre throws that same pick again and Paul Allen goes nuts….

#3 – What if the San Francisco 49ers drafted Aaron Rodgers over Alex Smith?

  •  In the 2005 Draft, Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith were the presumptive #1 picks. The Niners went with Smith and Rodgers slid all the way to #24 to the Green Bay Packers (cut to me silently fist pumping).
  • Now if the Niners had drafted Rodgers, would they still had enjoyed all the same success that Green Bay did?
  • Alex Smith falls to #24 and is picked by the Green Bay Packers because GM Ted Thompson believes in BPA (best player available) and well, it doesn’t get any easier than that for Teddy.
  • Mike Nolan turns the tutelage of Aaron Rodgers over to guess who? Offensive Coordinator Mike McCarthy (Packers current HC since 2006). He begins to immediately revamping Rodgers’ flawed quarterback mechanics.
  • Let’s say for the sake of argument that Rodgers’ overall talent wins the Niners a few more games in 2005. But, Ted Thompson hires away OC McCarthy in 2006 anyways because HC money is better than coordinator money and he gets to develop Alex Smith in Green Bay.
  • Rodgers continues to struggle but improve in San Fran. Everything turns around when a former quarterback named Jim Harbaugh takes the reigns in 2011.
  • Rodgers flourishes under Harbaugh when he is handed an elite defense and running game and Harbaugh has a quarterback who no only limits the turnovers but can and will make every throw on the football field.
  • The Niners win back-to-back Super Bowls in both 2011 and 2012. The Niners lead the NFL with 7 SB titles and Harbaugh/Rodgers are the taste of the town.
  • Meanwhile in Green Bay, MM develops Smith into the ultimate West Coast quarterback. There is still the power struggle in 2008 with Favre but what there isn’t is a Super Bowl title in 2010.
  • Alex Smith fails to put a Packers team on his back time and again in the playoffs and subsequently runs out of chances, leading to the president cleaning house in 2013.
  •  As a Packers fan myself, I’m so glad I don’t live in this universe…..

#2 – What if Eli Manning stays with the Chargers in the 2004 Draft?

  • Archie Manning got his son Eli traded on draft day 2004 to the New York Giants because San Diego was basically New Orleans West except they had better weather. Philip Rivers ended up getting traded from NYG to SD in the process.
  • With Eli manning (pun intended) the Chargers from 2004-present, we have a couple things that would go different for both quarterbacks.
  • Eli will still have the Patriot/Belicheck krytonite gene and he takes care of them in the 2006 Divisional Round. Eli has the far superior team, playing at home and even Pats fans will tell you that they had no business winning two playoff games that year.
  • Which sets up the first major “Manning Bowl” in the 2006 AFCCG. Which Eli would win (giving the nod to home field). Which would put his brother Peyton into a near manic depression.
  • Eli and the 2006 Chargers win Super Bowl XLI because can Rex Grossman really be allowed to have a Super Bowl ring?
  • Eli also has a very decent shot to repeat the following year in 2007. He wouldn’t be hurt in to AFCCG (no dis at Rivers but has Eli ever been hurt, like ever?!), he already beat Brady/Belicheck the previous year and oh yes, he’s Eli-freaking-Manning who owns the Pats. Which would set up…..
  • Eli’s Chargers vs Rivers’ Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Rivers may have a chip on his shoulder since he may believe that SD should’ve taken him #1 in ’04 but I can’t be too sure. I want to give the game to the Giants since nothing about that pass rush would change but I don’t know, I feel Eli does Eli things in the final minute and wins back-to-back.
  • Going forward, not much would change outside of Eli being a pain in Tom Brady’s backside and the NFL getting a Manning Bowl every two years.

#1 – What if the “Tuck Rule” was never created?

  • NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2: The Tuck Rule.
  • In the 2001 AFC Championship Game, Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson had what looked like the game sealing strip-sack on Patriots Tom Brady. The “Tuck Rule” overturned the fumble as an incomplete pass. You know the rest.
  • But what if the rule never existed? Would Brady and Belicheck still have four Super Bowl rings and countless AFC titles?
  • One thing is for certain, the Patriots certainly don’t win Super Bowl XXXVI. It would be 2001 Rams up against the 2001 Raiders. Given that Belicheck had a penchant for defensive game-planning, I don’t think Jon Gruden and company hold the Rams down to 17 points like the Pats did. Rams win SB XXXVI, there second in three years.
  • New England doesn’t have the shine that it would’ve, Tom Brady still isn’t Tom Brady yet. It’d be tough to think Brady preforms as well as he did in SB XXXVIII without his experience two years earlier, specifically as well as he did in the fourth quarter with his duel with Jake Delhome. I’ll give the slight nod to the Panthers in the 2003 Super Bowl.
  • I’ll still give the Pats the Super Bowl in 2004. They were by far an elite team and no other team was really that close to them that year. After 2004, Brady/Belicheck 1-1 in Super Bowls, a far cry from a dynasty.
  • The rest pretty much goes as chalk, they may just pull off one of the two Giants losses in 2007 or 2011. They still probably win in 2014. But 2-3 or 3-2 in Super Bowls is a far different narrative then we have currently. Brady’s and Belicheck’s legacy are both shaped irrevocably by that fateful play in January 2002.

 

-MikeV87

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #10

We have finally cracked the top 10. Just think about that, this is one of the 10 very best seasons that television has had to offer since 1999. It also marks the first time we have a repeat show in the top 20 (the list has six shows that appear more than once). Coming in at #10 I have Game of Thrones Season 4. In what has been their best season to date from top to bottom (although this current Season 6 may have something to say about that, too early to tell), Season 4 mixed the very best of what Thrones has to offer into an unforgettable experience.

But before I go on, here is the list so far:

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #20

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #19

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #18

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #17

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #16

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #15

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #14

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #13

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #12

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #11

#10 Game of Thrones Season 4 – Score: 32

Rewatchabilty:  8

Recently I have re-watched the entire series in the past year with my roommates to catch them up on this amazing television show. And after each season they kinda give me their thoughts on the season as a whole. Without question Season 4 was their favorite by far. And it really has to do with the amount of memorable moments that happened in that season. Starting with the surprise death of the evil psychotic bastard Joffrey Baratheon in just the second episode! I remember watching this initially with all my friends and we all stood up cheering for him to die as he was choking to death as if we were rooting for Jordy Nelson to take one to the house (cold I know, but I guarantee you we were not in the minority).

Throw in the Tyrion Lannister murder accusations and his epic speech at the trial that pretty much screamed, “Give me the damn Emmy right now!”. And if that wasn’t enough that he was to be wrongfully accused of Joffrey’s death, he demands a trial by combat. But who would defend him? Jaime and his one arm? Bron? It was pretty interesting to see that yes, Bron’s loyalty and friendship was based on money (it is always a business decision in the Capital) but more than money, self-preservation is just as paramount to the him. Prince Oberyn Martell takes the duty of Tyrion’s champion.”The Viper” didn’t do it in some sense of justice for Tyrion or beleaguered friendship, but for revenge against the family (Lannisters) and the person (Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane) that were responsible for the rape and murder of his sister Elia Martell and her little children.

The match and the episode aptly titled “The Mountain vs The Viper” was a landmark moment that I don’t think any of us would soon forget. Prince Oberyn more than lived up to his nickname and nearly slayed the immovable Mountain, only for his over-confidence and showboating to get the best of him. Just like in the horror movies, the monster is never dead until you deliver the head shot. And it turned out to be the Viper that got it’s head crushed.

I’d say more but lets leave some of the meat and potatoes for our other categories.

Acting Performances: 8

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When Emmy season rolls around, Game of Thrones is no stranger. In 2014 they were nominated for an astonishing 20 Emmys! Those that pertained to purely acting, they notched 4 Emmy nominations. Best Supporting Actor (Peter Dinklage, perennial nominee for his role as Tyrion Lannister), Best Supporting Actress (Lena Headey as Cersi Lannister), Outstanding Guest Actress (Diana Rigg as the smart and witty Lady Olena Tyrell) and Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series. Unfortunately they went 0-4 in those categories but that shouldn’t tarnish anything, Breaking Bad was on their victory lap in 2014 and that was to be expected.

But what I really wanted to touch on is the casting overall, yes Dinklage is at the height of his powers and Lena Headey is always amazing, but the sum of their parts is greater as the whole than any one actor/actress. Not even mentioned are the stellar performances of the Lannister patriarch Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), the breakout of Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell and the spunk of little Maisie Williams (Ayra Stark). Their are few dramas on this list that has the enormous bench of characters that GOT can pull from and still have no wasted screen time. The only other one that I could think of is The Wire (coming soon).

Acting Moment of the Season:

Lastly before I leave this category, I want to leave you with the “acting moment of the season”. Yeah I just came up with that 10 seconds ago but it’d be a nice touch to the top ten going forward. It should be no surprise…

“By the laws of gods and men”

Season Plot Arc: 8

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S4 of Game of Thrones was probably the most balanced one they had throughout the series. Not any one storyline or plot arc dominated throughout the season. Joffrey and his death came out strong to start the season. Jon and the Wildlings paced the middle part. Tyrion’s accusations built up the level of drama steadily. And then we had huge finishes with the trial by combat match and then the penultimate episode, which if you are any fan of the show, you know is always the very best.

Baelor, Blackwater, Rains of Castemere and lastly The Watchers on the Wall. Those are the last four penultimate episodes and they are also on the short list for best Thrones episodes to date. In Season 4 we saw Jon Snow infiltrate the Wildling camp and become one of their own. He got to meet the Wildling “King Beyond The Wall”Mance Rayder. He gained a understanding of the plight of the Wildlings and why marching South wasn’t just territory expansion but survival at its core. The ever present threat of the White Walkers was drawing near and even Jon could see that now.

Jon ends up deserting the Wildlings and escaping back to Castle Black, just in time to warn them about the imminent attack that was coming. Alas, we come to episode 9 of Season 4, the battle for the Castle Black.

It what was an even more expansive project than Blackwater, The Watchers on the Wall felt like a one hour movie set with explosions, one-on-one combat, giants and equally larger animals (like a Lord of the Ring movie) charging the gates. For one hour we saw the drastically outnumbered men of the Night’s Watch hold their ground versus the thousands of Wildlings that Mance threw at them. And they held strong, barely, but they held it through the night. Question was, what would happen the next night? Jon knew they couldn’t withstand another attack, so he marched out to meet Mance Rayder, unarmed, with no plan or idea how this would play out.

Finale/Cliffhanger: 8

As good as their penultimate episodes are, the finales never quite seem to live up to the billing. And this is not so much a dig at the finales but that the current string of episodes 9’s are just that damn good. In the Season 4 finale Thrones left us with a lot to digest. Jon makes peace with the Wildlings but only with the assurance of Stannis Baratheon and his army. The “one true king” ambushed the Wildling army and takes them hostage. Stannis plans to take the North back from Roose Bolton and he’ll need Castle Black as his base of operations before he does so. Jon marches the Wildlings through the gates of Castle Black, to the dismay of some prominent Watchmen.

Back in King’s Landing, Cersi threatens to go public with her “twinsest” with Jaime if Tywin forces her to marry Loras Tyrell. Meanwhile, Tyrion is scheduled to be put to death following the loss of his trial by combat. His brother Jaime finds a way to plead for a stay of execution. Tywin agrees to spare his son’s life if Jamie heads back to Casterly Rock and produces an heir to the Lannister family. Jaime agrees.

Daenerys learns that her dragon Drogon is responsible for the death of a little farm girl, she realizes that these beasts will never be tamed and decides to lock the other two up.

Brienne and Podrick catch up to Arya and the Hound. Brienne pleads for Arya to come into her protection, but the Hound will have none of it. In one of the better brute strength single combat fights you will see, Brienne defeats the Hound, mortally injuring him. After Brienne leaves, the Hound pleads with Arya to end him, she doesn’t and walks off to leave him to die a slow and painfull death.

One of the more overlooked storylines, Brandon Stark finally reaches the Weirwood Tree he, Hodor and the Reed twins were looking for. All the sudden they are attacked by Wights, they kill Jojen but the rest of the crew is saved by some weird looking children throwing fire ball blasts. The Children of the Forest lead Bran into the Weirwood Tree were he meets the Three-Eyed Raven. He states he has been waiting all his life for Bran, and while he will not walk again, he will fly.

Back in Kings Landing, Jaime organizes an eleventh hour escape for his brother Tyrion. With the help of Varys, he escapes through the tunnels of the Red Keep. Not before grabbing a crossbow and looking for his father in his chambers, he finds his former love, Shae, in his fathers bed. He strangles her to death and finds his father in the bathroom. After some words are exchanged, Tywin says “you are no son of mine” as Tyrion pumps three arrows into his father. He flees the capital with Varys in a wooden crate, their destination, Volantis in the East.

The show ends with Arya convincing a Bravosi man to give her passage to the city by giving him the two-faced coin and uttering the words given to her by Jaquen H’ghar.

Arya and Tyrion head East, the bells toll in the capital as Tywin is found dead. Daenerys dragons are chained up. The Wildings and the Night’s Watch have reached a tentative peace. Bran finally found the Three-Eyed Raven. And the White Walkers draw closer and closer.

Defining Moment:

A season this good gets two of them:

A little 10 minute montage of Watchers on the Wall

The Mountain vs The Viper

 

-MikeV87

 

 

 

 

BTL Top 5 Friday: Best Baseball Players Right Now

Key word, right now. You probably have a good idea who might crack this list from just watching a couple nights of SportsCenter but I want to delve deeper and make the case for the players who are playing the best NOW.

Again, this will not be a long form post. Quick, concise and to the point. Let’s go:

 

#5 – Mike Trout

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  • Surprised a little? Aghast to see baseball’s golden boy at only #5?
  • Well up until a week ago, he probably wouldn’t have cracked this list but the man is on fire.
  • Over the past week Trout is hitting .367 3 HRs and 11RBI’s!
  • You can’t deny the talent and it is about time. With the current injuries to the Halos pitching staff, they need Trout to be at MVP level if they hope to stay afloat.

#4 – Jake Arrieta

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  • Cool it Dodger fans, no, Kershaw didn’t make the list and that’s because Arrieta has been better to start the year nearly across the board.
  • Not by much but when you’ve already notched a no-hitter, despite having only your “B” stuff, that is quite remarkable.
  • His K/9 isn’t were it sat last year but Arrieta is inducing more weak contact than ever.
  • His line through the season’s first month is absurd; 6-0 / 37 K’s / 0.84 ERA / 0.74 WHIP

 

#3 – Bryce Harper

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  • It kinda sucks that he went on that week long slump. If not, he’d be at #1 no questions asked.
  • If Trout is baseball’s golden boy, Harper is its chosen one. And he’s starting to check every box for that title.
  • He’s already had clutch moments with 2 grand slams and a pinch hit game-tying HR in the bottom of the ninth.
  • His line so far is .274 / 19 runs / 10 HRs / 26 RBIs / 5 SBs. Turn back the clocks two weeks ago and that average would be hovering around .330!
  • With the massive strides he has made in his strikeout and walk rates (going along with his power), he is the closest thing we have seen to early 2000s Barry Bonds……..think about that…….not even Trout can say that.

#2 – Nolan Arenado

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  • To hold the mantle of best all-around 3rd baseman in the league is like asking who is the best Laker of all-time? The field is stacked, but Arenado is a cut above the rest.
  • He is already following through on his expected HR/FB upside this year. Even after jumping from 7.1% – 11.4% – 18.5% the last three years. He was expected to jump even more this year! Dumb just dumb.
  • It would be a crime not to include his Brooks Robinson-like defense at the hot corner. He is what Andrelton Simmons for SS but at 3B.
  • When you post a line of .306 / 26 runs / 12 HRs / 28 RBIs after April, that’s MVP level.
  • You can say he is a product of Coors Field but he’s already debunked that myth as he’s hit more home runs on the road since 2015 than at home.
  • Do I hear 50 home runs this year? We just might see it.

 

#1 – Jose Altuve

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  • Pound for pound, the best player in the MLB right now and it’s not even close.
  • He has continued to progress every aspect of his game. His walk rate has jumped while his contact rate seems to never fall.
  • What might be most astonishing is his power output so far. 9 HRs from a 2nd baseman that stands maybe 5’6”.
  • His overall line is absolutely ridiculous; .330 / 27 runs / 9 HRs / 19 RBIs / 10 SBs.
  • He does everything but pitch, and if he did, the Astros may just be in first place, maybe haha.
  • For everyone playing right now, no one holds a candle to Altuve and he’s got the championship belt of Best Baseball Player Right Now.

 

-MikeV87

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #11

Dexter Season 2 was the first time I had that “tv moment”. You know what I’m talking about, the feeling you get after episode 5 of Making a Murderer where you’re completely all in for the season’s remaining slate. Whether that’d be at 3 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning, you don’t care, all good judgement goes out the window! The early part of 2010 was a landmark year for me in discovering “good” television (Dexter and Breaking Bad in the span of 3 months). Season 1 of Dexter was great in its own right but the drama of Season 2 left me starring at my reflection on the dark screen, speechless as to what I had just witnessed. Never before had I experienced “that” type of feeling and it is “that” feeling that ultimately led to this list and my love of TV.

The list so far:

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #20

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #19

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #18

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #17

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #16

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #15

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #14

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #13

The Top 20 Television Seasons – #12

#11 – Dexter Season 2 – Score: 31

Rewatchability: 8

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While Season 1 was about finding out about Dexter’s origin, Season 2 was about Dexter’s secret and the great lengths he went to keep his dark passenger from being exposed to the whole world. As suspenseful as it was seeing Dexter thwart the bad guys over and over, Season 2 upped their stakes when Dexter became Miami Metro’s public enemy #1, as the search for the “Bay Harbor Butcher” took place. Yes Sgt. James Doakes was always out to get Dexter, and that made for some great back and forth between the adversaries, even to the point where Dexter dropped his facade and let his sergeant see his real self. Instead of Dexter hunting his eventual blood slides, it was he who became the hunted. At Dexter’s every turn, there was Doakes, and if that wasn’t enough, the discovery of his underwater burial ground brought the attention of renowned serial killer specialist, Special Agent Frank Lundy.

This is also the first time we see Dexter really trust an outsider with his “dark passenger”, in the bat-shit crazy Lila Tournay. She slowly seduces him with her free spirit and willingness to accept a person’s darkness, no matter how horrible it might be. But eventually, even Dexter knows that even Lila cannot be trusted and must be stopped. But it doesn’t hide the fact that she helped Dexter open up to her, if no one else, at least she saw him for who he really was and didn’t look away.

But where Dexter Season 2 really hung its hat on was the cat and mouse game played by both Dexter Morgan and Sgt. James Doakes. I can still remember the feeling like it was yesterday. Doakes catches Dexter in the act of disposing a body, he has him dead to rights, of course though, Doakes makes a fatal error and lets Dexter get too close as they are now locked in a struggle. Dexter subdues Doakes in a choke hold and the sergeant wakes up delirious in a cabin. He shouts at Dexter, that he will have to kill him, Dexter closes the door as the shouting persists. He slumps down as his whole world crashes down around him….episode ends.

“How the hell is gonna get out of this?” I say to myself.

That right there is the moment I referenced above. The feeling of sharing Dexter’s hopelessness and being just as lost about where to go from here as he is. That feeling has stuck with me to this day and is a prime reason why Season 2 was so memorable.

 

Acting Performances: 7

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You will see this comparison from me again as I compare some of the leading men to sports athletes because their circumstances happen to parallel each other. When I bring up the case of Michael C. Hall, I can’t help but think Charles Barkley (don’t worry, you’ll find out who Jordan is later on in the rankings). Criminally underrated, never got the full amount of respect he deserved, and mainly because of the timer period they performed in. Michael C. Hall garnered a 2008 Primetime Emmy nomination for Best Lead Actor for his portrayal of Dexter Morgan. And it was well deserved, he balanced the delicate line of humorous, ferocious and lovable into one persona. It was very well received, and Dexter isn’t Dexter without his amazing performance. But like Charles Barkley, sometimes his best wasn’t good enough to take the hardware home. But the recognition is deserved nonetheless.

Some others deserve mention too, Erik King (Sgt. James Doakes). King was great adversary worthy of Dexter and in my opinon, topped the Ice Truck Killer. Keith Carradine (Special Agent Lundy) gives a strong performance as the wily veteran agent and Deb’s love interest. Jaime Murray (Lila Tournay) as Dexter’s sexy and psychotic love interest had her moments too. To me, it was a season centered on Hall and King and they performed up to the billing.

 

Season Plot Arc: 9

DEXTER (Season 2)

Season 2 opens with Dexter going through a prolonged drought in his murdering ways, 39 days to be exact. 39 days since he had killed his brother the Ice Truck Killer, and now he has the always suspicious Sgt. Doakes on his ass every free second he has. Dexter finally gets to chance to quench his blood-thirst but finds himself unable to follow through on the murder. Perhaps he’s off his game or maybe it’s the fact that murdering his own brother took its toll on him. Whatever it is, Dexter now has to deal with these feelings, and it is uncharted territory for him. It doesn’t help when his underwater burial ground is found by divers and Dexter now has a fancy new nickname, “The Bay Harbor Butcher”.

As if that wasn’t enough, Dexter’s relationship with Rita is strained when her abusive and drug-riddled ex, Paul, gets out of prison. Dexter soon has to take care of the problem Paul is beginning to be. But in the process of doing so, Rita calls him out on setting up Paul and labels him a fellow drug user who must seek treatment. Better to be labeled that than have his real mask revealed. But in the process of his NA meetings, he meets his soon to be sponsor/partner-in-crime, Lila. Yeah, Rita isn’t too excited either when she sees her.

All-the-while, Miami Metro has called in the F.B.I. criminal specialist Frank Lundy, his expertise, catching serial killers. Now Dexter must dodged not only the suspicions of Doakes but Lundy as well. The former has only increased his witch-hunt on Dexter, looking into his past, financials and leaving no rock upturned. Dexter begins to drop the nice guy act and lures Doakes into a physical altercation at the station which results in getting Doakes off his back….. for now.

The real truth behind Dexter’s mother begins to surface as he finds out Harry was seeing his mother and that involvement led to her gruesome death. His search for the lone surviving member of her murder begins. He eventually finds him, but Lyla talks him out of it. His victim comes back to settle the score with Dexter but also fails. It isn’t until Dexter nabs him at the cabin and disposes his body that things calm down, well until Doakes catches him in the act.

Dexter’s moral struggle of never killing an innocent man has him in a bind. He’s not sure what to do. The inner contemplation of deciding what to do with Doakes is pretty fascinating to behold. What type of life that he will continue to lead is directly affected by the Doakes decision. He talks himself in and out of killing Doakes multiple times. Then he decides to turn himself in, courtesy of the eleventh hour pleading from Doakes. But then he remembers Harry’s #1 rule, don’t get caught. He ultimately decides to frame him, and his job is nearly complete, until Lundy’s task force target Doakes too and their intel has led them straight to Jimenez’s cabin. Dexter looks to be SOL, until Lila stumbles upon the cabin.

 

Cliffhanger/Finale: 7

The real drama was the three episodes that preceded the finale but you can’t knock it for not wanting to start the finale with a bang.

Thinking he just got his saving grace, Doakes implores Lila to let him out. And in typical crazy girl fashion, she does the exact opposite. She turns herself completely over to Dexter (even after he told her to back off) and decides to murder Doakes for him. A little turning of the gas here, some fire there and BOOM! Doakes goes up in a blaze of glory. Wraps up pretty nicely for Dexter right. Well that is until Lila decides to take Rita’s kids hostage and trap both them and Dexter in a fiery apartment. All three escape but Lila has definitely signed her own death warrant. Dexter tracks her to France and settles the score once and for all.

No cliffhanger, and nothing really sets up the story for Season 3. But that Doakes death/frame job success really scored points for me. All in all, solid way to finish up the season.

Defining Moment:

You know the moment, I’ve referenced it all throughout this post. Start at the 1:40 mark all the way through 2:52.

 

-MikeV87