I’ve seen the first three episodes of Dexter‘s fifth season and I’m here to to tell you about them. One of the things we’re going to be doing a lot more here is reviewing and discussing television shows on or before their airdates in an attempt to educate and entertain you. Yes, I’m pandering so let’s begin…
The Mirror has Two Faces but only one of them is Remar.
#5.1 (Watch this Episode at the bottom of this article!)
The first episode of the season aired last night and it had a rough
task ahead of it: punctuating season four’s brave yet series-changing
loss of Julie Benz’s Rita character at the hands of The Trinity Killer
(Emmy winner John Lithgow). A lot of folks though the decision to kill
off Mrs. Morgan was brave because she represented possible salvation for
him and because she lent a softer counterbalance to the admittedly dark
strokes of the show. That’s true but not why I was glad they sent her
away. There are enough shows about family, and while there were some
very great little elements that the family angle led to for Dexter
Morgan I was much less interested in how he balanced his two worlds of
family and being a serial killer. The two worlds I’m most interested in
are the worlds of his job and his serial killer nightlife, not his
family life. I like the police station and the many possibilities it
brought and while there are even more shows about crime than there are
about family, I’ll take a police station full of eccentric characters
over Rita and the kids every day of the week.
This episode is a mixed bag for me. It’s good to see how things are progressing but because the episode begins literally right after the events in last season’s finale, we have to deal with stuff like the funeral, children’s reactions to their mother’s death, a few flashbacks with Rita to tie things together, and a red herring regarding the FBI’s interest in Dexter as a suspect.
Worse yet is that the show is on a track (which I hope it avoids) to turn Desmond Harrington’s Joey Quinn into the new Doakes character who’s onto Dexter and becomes an adversary and the show loses another asset. Harrington’s grown on me and his presence keeps Jennifer Carpenter’s character from becoming too annoying. That’s a concern, because her vulgarity isn’t entertaining anymore.
There are some nice moments here, but I am disappointed that Dexter’s inability to even manage fake emotion over the loss of his wife. There are a few too many moments where he seems about to actually have a human reaction, which would be sufficient as a cover for those around him. Part his duality with his “Dark Passenger” involves the subterfuge amongst regular folk.
And yes, I realize that Dexter is compromised with all that he’s taken onto his plate with the family and the job and now allowing someone close to him to suffer for his actions. It’s a weird balance to maintain and the show has always found a way to do it. Luckily, the episode ends strong:
Dexter’s return to brutality is a delightful thing.
I didn’t know she was starring on this show!
The episode still concerns fallout from Rita’s murder but it’s nice to see the show starting to focus on getting its footing for this pivotal season (which could be the last if it doesn’t register with its core audience). It’s also good to see that this season’s marketing centered around Dexter being a father isn’t indicative of the actual product. Having three kids to juggle isn’t compelling stuff for most people watching, since it’s what they’re used to doing.
When the smoke clears we’re starting to enter turf that works: Dexter has found a possible target (Shawn Hatosy as a roadkill cleanup guy) and he’s got his father speaking to him on a regular basis (face it, the show is at its best when James Remar’s consistently around). There’s other crimes to deal with, and for once it’s quite fun, someone decapitating folks for Santa Muerta [who features prominently in this book you must buy] and the efforts to make sense of it while their blood spatter expert’s away.
It’s definitely a ‘connective tissue’ episode but it was a step towards getting me excited for the season properly, especially since there’s no real big Grade-A villain for the season. YET.
Plus it’s directed by John Dahl, a filmmaker I love.
“Call me Assbag ONE. MORE. TIME.”
The best episode of the season so far. There’s a lot less time devoted to Dexter raising his son and a lot more dedicated to the best part of the show: Dexter finding his quarry and trying to put them in a world of silence while dealing with not getting caught. I love Hatosy’s character, this really odd backwoods guy with a very nasty secret. I almost wish he was the “Big Bad” for the season because he is much more Male Id than the baddies who preceded him and his physicality is a nice change from John Lithgow. I think we’re due for some folks in this show who aren’t these really meticulous and Machiavellian forces.
There’s a very nice surprising twist to Dexter’s attempt to kill Hatosy’s character that leads to some fun stuff. I wish it would have gone on for a few episodes. Especially since Dexter isn’t quite as meticulous as he used to be. This episode gives me hope for the season. There are some interesting things afoot and I think the show still feels like Dexter, which is all we really could hope for.
This is the episode where we first meet Julia Stiles, and apparently her character is a major one this season. We shall see…
Fun Dexter links:
Facebook ‘Know the Code’ game.
Official DEXTER Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dexter.
Official DEXTER Twitter: http://twitter.com/SHO_dexter.
Official DEXTER Series Site: http://www.sho.com/dexter.