Thoughts From The Dexter Season Premiere
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
We find Dexter enjoying his life at the start of season six. He’s back in his old apartment with his son Harrison, who is now about three and entering pre-school. With encouragement from Deb and Batista, Dexter ponders enrolling Harrison in a Catholic pre-school. But both the school and Deb are surprised to see that Dexter doesn’t believe in any sort of spiritual power. This leaves our hero pondering his lack of spirituality. Meanwhile, Miami Metro Homicide is shocked when they find a set of human intestines at a crime scene. When the victim’s body shows up later, they find that his intestines have been replaced with snakes. Life has been fairly simple for Dexter as of late, but it seems things are about to become complicated yet again.
I’m usually intrigued when religion is examined, and even questioned in popular storytelling. You’d be hard pressed to find a better character to analyze it than Dexter. To an extent, he plays God. He judges the wicked (in this case, people who’ve gotten away with murder), and takes their lives away. He also has a moral code that he applies to what he does. Despite the gruesome nature of what he does, he believes he’s working for the greater good. Two of the main questions hanging over this entire series are: “Is Dexter a good guy?” and “Can we condone the things Dexter does, simply because he does them to ‘bad people?’” There’s a moment in the premiere where Dexter has a bad guy on his table who has murdered his wife, but happens to have a Jesus tattoo. Dexter calls him out on that, and it results in a great little exchange which I hope is only the start of what we see this season. I’m very interested to see what conclusions Dexter comes to about the spiritual world.
Dexter’s sister Deb is still at the forefront of the series, despite actress Jennifer Carpenter’s divorce from Michael C. Hall, who plays Dexter. Watching them interact on screen is awkward at first. They’re obviously total pros to be able to still work together, but you’ve got to know that those first few takes had to be weird. In any event, it looks like Deb and Quinn, fresh off their relationship starting last season, are going to toy with the idea of marriage. The idea of Deb marrying someone is an interesting one, and it certainly merits exploration.
Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks join the cast this year as villains. Their characters are professors of religious studies and cultural anthropology, respectfully. They’ve got a creepy Deliverance/Red State vibe to their characters. Call me depraved if you must, but I got a kick out of seeing those snakes slither out of that corpse at the crime scene (knowing it wasn’t real, of course). In the next episode, they apparently attach a bunch of human body parts to mannequins, and then attach said mannequins to horses and send them into public. I think that’s a really great modus operandi for two serial killers, and I’m anxious to see more of it. Hey, don’t look at me like that!
Humor was also a very prevalent force in this episode. Dexter goes to his high school reunion, and dances in a way that can best be described as hilariously awkward. Later, he and a woman meet up in an old classroom of theirs and have a bit of fun, which comes into conflict with Dexter’s mission to catch a bad guy. Seeing him struggle between his determination and his frustration is a lot of fun.
After the thrill ride that was season four, season five seemed like a bit of a creative valley for the series. John Lithgow is such a hard act to follow. This season definitely has a chance to bring the series back upward in terms of creative intrigue. As I’ve said before, I’ve never seen a bad episode of Dexter, and I’ve seen them all. I’m certain this season will be good, but the question is: Can it be great?
Front page image from screenrant.com. Image 1 from shockya.com. Image 2 from fotorater.com.