The last season of Dexter was a disappointment on many levels. The show was unable to fully capitalize on the murder of Dexter’s wife Rita and spin that tragedy off into storylines that were interesting and entertaining. Instead we were made to suffer through a first half of the season that was almost painful to watch and a second half that, while better than the first, did not live up to the standards set by this show over the years. This dip in quality was augmented by the show having come off of what was arguably its best season ever. The Trinity Killer storyline was amazing and to follow that up with Dexter in mourning and then falling in love with some creature named Lumen (the interminable Julia Stiles) was just a serious misstep.
So imagine my surprise when five minutes into this new season I was like…whoa. This is the show I was immediately hooked on six years ago. The story so far is that we are one year removed from the events of last season and Dexter has resumed being the avenging angel of Southern Florida. He is satisfying his Dark Passenger while still being a good dad to his son. he’s back in his old apartment, Rita’s kids are gone to live with their grandmother and Julia Stiles is a distant memory never to be seen or heard from again (one can only hope). And the supporting cast have all been returned to their best forms: Batista is once again the loser at love, overprotective family man, Laguerta is back to being the almost pathologically ambitious and career minded lady she was in earlier seasons, Matsuka is still a horndog creep but now he’s molding young minds as a college professor, Dear Old Dad is still giving Dexter useful advice on life and being the perfect killing machine, and Deb is back in Dexter’s sphere again. Too much of last season had Dexter and Deb not interacting as much as they should but this first episode of season six had tons of Deter/Deb moments and the show is better for it. I am still not fond of Quinn but as long as his storyline this season doesn’t focus on discovering Dexter’s secret then I can probably deal with him in small doses.
I am also immediately fascinated with this seasons villainous killers, a two-man crew played by Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks (Tom’s baby boy). The apparent mentor/disciple vibe coupled with the bizarre nature of their murder is intriguing to say the least. That intrigue was made even more elevated by the twisted murder that took place in this episode. Now it is quite possible that those two are just a red herring and their religions, ritualistic creepiness is being played up a bit to throw the viewer off but if so the show deserves credit because I am totally thrown.
Another piece of the show I am curious about is just where Batista’s sister will fit in this season. Will she become a new love interest for Dexter? And if so how will Batista handle that?
Dexter’s questioning of religion and his own lack of a belief system is a good beat for the show to take and is a natural evolution of the character. Dexter has already tried his hand at male friendships, romantic relationships, and family life…it is going to be fun watching him try and grasp the intricacies of religion.
Final Verdict: Overall this first episode was great ( and there is still a bunch of stuff I have left out so as not to spoil anyone’s viewing enjoyment). The scenes at Dexter’s high school reunion could have been stretched out to cover an entire hour and I would have been happy as a clam) and if the rest of the show maintains this level of quality then I am going to be extremely happy; seeing Michael C. Hall hitting the MC Hammer dance is a singular joy. It may be early but I feel secure in saying Dexter is most definitely back. A