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Stumptown - Rip City Dicks - Review Roundtable - People Don't Change

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With each successive episode, Stumptown continues to evolve into one of the most intriguing new shows of the season. Cobie Smulders leads a talented cast and watching these characters grow and interact is more fun each week. This week a new, brash character was thrown into the mix with the introduction of Donal Logue as Dex’s P.I. mentor Artie Banks. By the end of the episode he proved to be both a challenge and adversary to Dex. Watching how she exacts her revenge and fights for what she thinks is right is going to be a highlight of Logue’s multi-episode arc on the show. This week I am joined by Spoiler TV writers Ellys and Marko who share their thoughts of the Rip City Dicks episode of Stumptown in this Review Roundtable.

After reading through, please leave your own thoughts in the comments below.

What do Dex's actions in this episode reveal about her vulnerabilities?

Donna: Dex has already shown that she’s not someone who gives up, so if she has to swallow her pride a bit and walk the straight and narrow, so to speak, in order to become a legitimate P.I. she’ll do it. In this case, that means, cleaning up a bit and negotiating with noted P.I. Artie Banks to get her mentoring hours. Saying he reads people very well he exploits Dex’s vulnerabilities. However, she proves she can be just as formidable as evidenced by her changing tactics when convincing Artie to take her on by appealing to his weakness, money. While Artie may think that Dex’s compassion and heart are her greatest weaknesses, he’s going to learn that they’re also her greatest strengths. The quick wit sparring and connection between Smulders and Logue added an enjoyable edge to both characters and it is going to be interesting watching them match wits in coming weeks.

Ellys: Everyone Dex knows is quiet, whether in a sinister (Sue Lynn-Tantoo Cardinal) way or a sweet way (Grey – Jake Johnson, Hoffman-Michael Ealy, Ansel- Cole Sibus), so it was pure joy to see her partner up with someone dark, callous and snarky like Donal Logue’s Artie Banks. Beyond the entertainment value, though, the partnership exposed some of Dex’s sensitivities that we hadn’t seen before. Her daydream about being a cool TV-style detective. The fact that she picks Banks in part because he helped the widow of an Army veteran. She’s also so nervous in that initial interview that she misses all the red flags in Banks’s behavior. This shows us that Dex is invested in becoming a private investigator. It matters to her that she’s able to do this and do it well, and she’s worried about being good enough to succeed. Dex doesn’t completely believe in herself.

Marko: Dex is a deeply complex character, she went through so much and still manages to come on top of the situation. Seeing her interact with Artie showed just how much she needs the positive empowerment the detective work gives her and how much she needs to feel she belongs. As someone who went through so many traumatic experiences sometimes it is just rough to be there.

The ending was extremely bittersweet. What did you think of the ending? What do you think the repercussions will be?

Donna: For some reason I wasn’t all that surprised by the twist. Artie showed signs of being shady from the beginning, what did surprise me is that Dex didn’t catch on to him sooner. Ironically, they did make a good team. However, I think Artie has vastly underestimated Dex. He will use dirty tricks to stop her from coming after him but think he’ll be surprised that she has a few friends on the police force. I’m curious, like Hoffman, as to why he left the police force as suddenly as he did, and the fact that she’s taking on Banks to bring him down might just earn her a few points with the Department and Lt. Cosgrove (Camryn Manheim). Dex may just surprise him though and find out why he left the force. She may take that information and use his own tactics against him, by manipulating and possibly blackmailing him into helping Candace keep her child in return for not costing him his license and livelihood. She’ll show him that she did learn something from him.

Ellys: I got so caught up in Artie and Dex’s rapport that I was shocked by the ending too. He showed all the signs of being shady, but what older TV PI doesn’t cut corners? The $14,000 piece of office decor was a big clue that Artie might be a little dishonest, but I’m still conflicted over whether he meant to betray Candace (Shoshana Bush) and Dex all along. There were moments he genuinely respected Dex, and his concern when her PTSD was overpowering her seemed real enough. That said, when he revealed the lengths of his manipulation, it was a wonderfully villainous turn, awesomely played by Logue. That last little jab that he didn’t even have a daughter. Dex’s response was perfect. I am so happy this is only the first chapter for the conflict between Artie and Dex, as I both want to see justice for Candace and see another round of sparring. That said, the case will challenge Dex. Does she have the skills and the sources to take down someone rich and powerful?

Marko: I was surprised by the ending. Artie being shady was a given but didn't expect him to go that dark. Donal Logue is a great addition to the team and I look forward to seeing where this story will take Dex. Cause she was pissed. Smulders added such a perfect dose of humanity to that final scene that made it truly relatable. Further down the road, I see a lot of head to head games between Dex and Artie and hopefully, the writers will use the great dynamic between the characters to further explore this relationship.

Artie encouraged Dex to pump Detective Hoffman about their case, but in the end, Dex couldn’t do it. Why do you think that was and how do you think she felt learning Hoffman was doing the same thing to her to learn more about his case involving Grey? Is Dex learning to have more respect for herself?

Donna: It didn’t take Dex long to realize that Hoffman was there for the same reason, in fact, I think she knew that before she even arrived. Although she tried, I think she had too much respect for Hoffman to go through with the farce, just as he did. They have a personal connection that I think scares her. I’m not so sure it’s so much respect for herself than it is responding to people who seem to genuinely care for her, she’s not used to that and throws her.

Ellys: Dex deciding to back off struck me as her not wanting to spar with Hoffman. He was just too fine tossing that salad. I think Dex is drawn to Hoffman in ways that she would prefer not to be, so she’s reluctant to push their relationship in any direction. She doesn’t know if she likes his attention. Her irritation at him trying to get information out of her was compounded by her irritation that she couldn’t be madder at him for it. Hoffman has gotten under Dex’s skin.

Marko: The whole episode was about the inner conflict of doing the good or bad deed. Just like that Dex was torn from the beginning on if she should involve Miles, especially after Sue Lynn promised to retaliate. It really isn`t an issue of self-respect it is about not being the only person you should care for. How far is too far? Miles wasn`t culpable in any way and didn`t deserve to be dragged into this story.

We learn in this episode that Dex and Ansel’s father is not dead. Where do you think he is and why did he leave? Do you think he will make an appearance this season?

Donna: Dex’s comment when trying to convince Candace to let Artie take her case was a big clue to this. She told her that she didn’t know what she would do if someone tried to take her brother away from her. That told me that situation is likely to happen at some point during the season and the logical suspect to that may be her father. It would be a nice change from the trope of a father abandoning his family because he is not able to handle a mentally challenged son. I do suspect he may have acted that way at first and has some military experience. Perhaps he forced Dex into the military for her to become the son he wanted to follow in his footsteps. Either way, it’s a highly conflicted relationship, that is surely to come into play this season.

Ellys: My current theory is that Dex and Ansel’s father is tied into the trouble between her and Sue Lynn. This could explain why Sue Lynn objected to Dex and Benny’s relationship and why Dex seems to want nothing to do with her father in the present day.

Marko: A long lost Daddy appearance is a given. The reason behind his absence will hopefully be deeper than, he couldn`t handle his handicapped son. Daddy issues are always a great storyline to explore cause with a lot of women it determines how they will conduct themselves and sadly also determines their self-worth. Considering Dex was a Marine officer herself, I could see her father being in the service as well which would make their interaction complicated.

What next for Dex? How do you think she will get the apprenticeship hours she needs for her license?

Donna: I think Dex’s experience with Artie will make her more determined to become a better P.I. than he is. If for some reason the police have been quietly investigating Artie and Dex becomes instrumental in bringing him down, they or some former client of his that he scammed may reward her by offering her a few shortcuts to her license.

Ellys: With her new mission to take down Tapper and Artie, Dex won’t be focusing on her license for a couple episodes at least. I question if the show will even return to that this season or if her dealings with Tapper and Artie will draw her into a tangled web of sorts. She’ll have to find another private investigator to be apprenticed to. One can only hope her new mentor will be as fun to watch as Artie.

Marko: Dex is a capable woman and as proven during this episode she will get through anything to make her goals happen. The events of this episode will probably inspire her to get it down faster and better so she could go toe to toe with Artie.

What do you think about the relationship between Sue Lynn and Dex? What do you think Sue Lynn would have done when she told Dex next time she wouldn’t ask nice?

Donna: The relationship between Sue Lynn and Dex is one of the most complex on the show to me. I think these two women are more alike than either would care to admit. Sue Lynn comes across as a tough, intimidating businesswoman, and I think if it had been anyone else investigating someone connected to her they wouldn’t have gotten the courtesy of a warning. The fact that she came to Dex to warn her off tells me there is some level of respect for Dex and I don’t think she would have been as ruthless towards Dex not backing off as she would have been if it were someone else. The subtle and emotionally charged scenes between Smulders and Cardinal have been some of the highlights of the season.

Ellys: Our information about Sue Lynn and Dex’s relationship is minimal. We know that Sue Lynn exercised her influence to keep her son Benny from marrying Dex, but we don’t know what motivated Sue Lynn to do so. Was it because Dex wasn’t Native American, or was it because of something someone else in Dex’s family had done? Whatever the case, Dex blamed Sue Lynn enough to haunt her casino. Sue Lynn might have hated the idea of Benny being in love with Dex, but she never turned Dex away from her casino and, in fact, trusted her enough to ask her for help. Was Sue Lynn honoring her son’s memory by being civil to the woman he loved? Does Sue Lynn carry her own burden of guilt for pushing Benny away? Nothing that we have seen from her so far speaks to her being particularly dangerous, so it’s hard to imagine her crossing any major lines.

Marko: Shady characters like Sue Lynn are always a good addition to a show. They aren`t always in the picture but when they strike, they can be lethal. As for how far Sue Lynn would go and make moves against Dex, it is unpredictable at this point. Their heavy backstory is certainly a thorn in Sue Lynn`s cutthroat ways, still, if she feels Dex is putting her business or family in danger, she won`t blink twice to get Dex out of the picture.

We’d love to know what our readers think. After viewing the next episode post any questions you may have in the comments section here. Each week we will select one question from all of you to include in our roundtable. Please submit your questions in the comments section below.

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