In the video for their latest single, ‘Darkly Dreaming’, Lincolnshire alt-rockers They Say Fall decided to embrace their serial killer instincts and pay tribute to TV crime series Dexter. With the tracks intense tone and off-kilter verses, the accompanying visual clip is ideal. The video sees the band being kidnapped with their fate being left questioned.
For this edition of “Fives”, we spoke to They Say Fall’s Brad Bishell (guitar, vocals, programming) to get the low down on Dexter as he explains how he became a fan of the show followed by his five favourite episodes.
I’ve been a fan of the show since it’s inception back in 2006, I’d heard about it through a friend who’d read the first novel “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay, We shared a mutual fascination of serial killers in general, and he recommended it to me on that premise alone. I remember actually having to order the first two seasons on DVD because it hadn’t been released over in the UK yet.
As far as I recall, I was the first one in the band to start watching the show, I actually remember pestering Kyle for years telling him he needed to watch it. He eventually fell in love with it. The show captivated us all because of the varying degrees it operates on, the premise of a serial killer who’s raised to channel his urges into killing other serial killers and murderers rather than those who’re innocent victims. The very nature of it is complex at it’s core, do two wrongs make a right? In a world that is becoming increasingly viewed as simply black and white, it’s refreshing to see something that represents the very real, complex fundamentals of existence in a really unique way.
We wanted to pay tribute to the show aesthetically because of all the above, the concept of the show and cinematography. It was really fun throwing in a few fellow friends from bands as our victims in photos too, and besides, who doesn’t love to get naked and lay on a table with four of the best friends?
Season Six: Episode Four – “A Horse Of A Different Colour”
Sgt. Angel Batista: “Inside, I can feel how much your heart hurts for Deb.”
Joey Quinn: “Dude, get your big f*cking sausage hands off me. That’s terrible.”
After a slower Season Five, Season Six really picks it back up quickly with the ‘Doomsday Killers’. A duo that seek to bring about the end of the world through tableaus based on the Book of Revelation, The Four Horsemen etc. We’re basically big suckers for anything at all religious. The Book of Revelation contains some incredible imagery, who doesn’t love a good ole happy as Larry end of days story? The show using the angle of Dexter as “The Beast” from the scripture who is said to slay and overcome the two witnesses is a masterstroke, and this episode contains one of the best scenes of the entire show involving a horse, and a man who’s seen better days.. This one happens to be one of Kehn (Gembalczyk)’s favourite episodes. You’ve gotta see it to believe it folks.
Season One: Episode One – “Dexter”
Dexter Morgan: “Tonight’s the night. It’s going to happen again and again. Has to happen. Nice night. Miami is a great town. I love the Cuban food and pork sandwiches, my favourite. But I’m hungry for something different, now.”
Where it all began. The first episode of Dexter sets the show off with a near perfect execution, with Dexter on the prowl, stalking his victim. It also does a great job of introducing Daniel Licht’s incredible score that really sets the mood of the show. It teases a dark, almost sweaty Latin American sound, particularly Cuban in mood that really captures the setting in Miami, and has had a huge influence on me in regards to writing/arranging music.
The episode introduces all the supporting characters well, particularly the amazing Erik King as Doakes, the only cop in the entire precinct who’s actually suspicious of Dexter (“You give me the f*cking creeps, you know that Dexter?”) and it sets up the season arc of the “Ice Truck Killer” perfectly.
Dexter manages to sink it’s teeth into the right spot to have you looking for excuses to cabbage out on the couch and watch the entire thing.
Season Five: Episode Eight – “Take It!”
Jordan Chase: “I have some bad news for everyone. You’re all going to die.”
Dexter Morgan: [looking to Cole Harmon, thinking] “Some of us sooner than others.”
After arguably one of the greatest seasons in television history, the show needed to go in a different direction, so rather than trying to top the huge heights of Season Four, it leads in an entirely different angle with the story of Lumen, a surviving victim of a murderous rape gang that Dexter accidently stumbles across while on the prowl. With Dexter still reeling from the events of Season Four (and after some initial hesitation,) he decides to help her murder the remaining members of the gang after realising she too harbours a “Dark Passenger” inside her.
The season handles Lumen with incredible balance, focusing on the transformation of a victim, into a survivor. Jordan Chase, who leads the gang, is a dangerous combination of TV Salesman/Life Coach/Evangelist preacher, who really captivates during this season. (“tick tick tick, that’s the sound of your life ticking away.”) This episode features a nail biting cat and mouse chase, and really cumulates the overarching plot of the season as it draws closer to it’s conclusion.
Season One: Episode Twelve – “Born Free”
Sergeant James Doakes: “Surprise mutha fucka.”
The finale of Season One is a very special episode, and almost makes it to the very top of my list. The first season of Dexter is based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, and it’s had a huge impact on our song ‘Darkly Dreaming’.
The conflict that is seen throughout this episode in particular, the duality of Dexter and the two sides that he must choose between in the final moments, really inspired and influenced the development of the song lyrically, and musically. Dexter isn’t a hero, he isn’t a villain either. The closest thing he is, would be an anti-hero. The show, and novel really capture the greyness of human existence. We like to think that things are black and white that they are good or bad, but in reality everything has almost infinite layers of tone and texture, rhyme AND reason, the millions of idiosyncrasies that make us who we are. The episode ends with Dexter fantasising about what people would think of him if they knew the real truth of what he was.
“This is what it must feel like to walk in full sunlight, my darkness revealed, my shadow self embraced. Yeah, they see me. I’m one of them… In their darkest dreams.”
Season Four: Episode Twelve – “The Getaway”
Dexter Morgan: “It’s okay. Life doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be lived.”
Well, where to start? This is as good as it gets. In fairness, any episode of Season Four could have taken this slot. If I’d not exercised such restraint the entire top five would all be Season Four episodes. It’s that good!
This episode however, happens to be the proverbial cherry on top. This season, Dexter really starts to struggle with the balance of family life, being a good husband, and father on top of his extra curricular activities. Not to mention that there is a new ritualistic serial killer in Miami who is as dangerous as Dexter. To be honest, the less said about it, and the season in general is for the best really. Just take my word and watch it, it’s one of the finest seasons, and episodes of television ever created and John Lithgow as the Trinity Killer is terrifying and fascinating throughout.
If you haven’t seen Dexter before and you’re reading this list, I could understand how you’d think the show was all doom and gloom, very serious and broody. While the show is incredibly dark and gritty, it’s also bloody hilarious. In this clip, Dexter, who’s just killed the two men in question and about to dispose of them is made aware that his colleagues are moments away, as they’ve been called to the area via a police report. What follows is one of the shows best moments, as the sexual deviant “Vince Masuka” Dexter’s lab partner kindly fills in the missing pieces with his knowledge of deep web erotica, unknowingly helping Dexter cover for a murder.
‘Darkly Dreaming’ by They Say Fall is out now.