Dexter Season Six – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

So Season 6 of DEXTER has ended and the heady euphoria I felt with the the awesomeness of the first episode of the season (Harry was back! Dexter went to his high school reunion! Dexter did the MC Hammer dance!) quickly came back to earth when the show began to make misstep after misstep. It was such an insufferable season to watch because at times the show got things almost perfect and then almost as quickly things would take a turn in a totally head scratching direction. It was a very schizophrenic season and some of the decisions have left me wondering if I should even bother with the show next season.

Best Character: Deb
Aside from the whole being in love with her brother stuff (more on that later) I was really happy with what we got with Deb this season. The character grew professionally and personally and Jennifer Carpenter did the best work of the series this season. She played every beat of the emotional spectrum almost perfectly from the break-up with Quinn to the insecurities of her new position at work and even with the unknown aspect of therapy and the uncomfortableness she has with opening up and revealing herself. I am curious about how the relationship between Deb and Laguerta is going to progress because the last episode showed a bit of softening between the two and it would be a new wrinkle in Deb’s character to see her in a friendship with another woman especially one who knows firsthand about a lot of the things Deb is going through.

Worst Character: Travis
The idea of a religious serial killer popping up during a time when Dexter was questioning the concepts of faith and spirituality was a good one. Casting the always great Edward James Olmos as the driving force behind the murderous duo was just as great since the power of The EJO could compensate for the casting of Colin Hanks as his accomplice. The killings being based on tableaus heralding the end times was cool. Even the idea that Olmos’ Prof. Gellar was actually a figment of the demented imagination of Hanks’ Travis was a pretty good twist. The problem was that once that twist was revealed Gellar went away and all we were left with was Colin Hanks trying unsuccessfully to portray badass Jim Jones serial nut job but coming off like a milquetoast accountant. At the very least the show should have kept Gellar around as Travis’ own Dark Passenger constantly pushing him to complete the mission. It was a waste of a great actor and put too much emphasis on an actor and character that didn’t have the tools to pull off what was being asked of him.

Most Useless Character: Quinn
I don’t quite understand Quinn’s purpose on the show. Since Deb has dumped him and has seemingly no interest in him romantically maybe it would have been a good idea to have Quinn take his injured pride and ride off into the sunset. Instead we were treated to an entire season of Quinn’s drunken whining that didn’t even give us any entertainment aside from the revelation of his booze fueled one night stand with a paunchy 50-year old. Quinn is unnecessary and needs to either move out of Miami or die. Either way works for me.

Most Annoying Character: Dexter
This pains me to say but this season Dexter has been almost clueless. He was sloppy in every aspect of his life from work to fatherhood to serial killing. It seemed like every episode Dexter did something incredibly stupid that just made it more likely that he would get caught. Going after Travis while still effected by the poison gas and having his wallet and keys with him in his pocket while doing it; making anonymous tips to the police department he works for (and that records these calls ) but not attempting to hide his voice at all; exposing himself to a serial killer after the disaster that happened with Trinity in season 4; using an active crime scene as a kill room…and let’s not even go into the nonsense in the “Nebraska” episode. Dexter was just totally off kilter and it irked me.

Best Episode: Those Kinds Of Things
The first episode of this season was the best. I won’t go into detail because I would just be repeating what I wrote in my earlier review. Suffice to say this was an almost perfect episode with a Dexter that seemed to be returning to his serial killer roots, Harry was back as Dexter’s full-time Jiminy Cricket, a glimpse at what looked like a truly formidable Big Bad in the Doomsday Killer duo and ample amounts of funny thanks to Dexter’s high school reunion.

Worst Episode: Nebraska
While I was all for Harry being replaced by Brian The Ice Truck Killer as Dexter’s imaginary friend I was hoping for so much more to come of it. Instead of exploring how having a malicious, cold-blooded killer giving him advice disrupts Dexter’s relationships (especially with Deb and Harrison) we were taken on a silly road trip that completely upset the apple cart in terms of any momentum the series was building with the main DTK storyline. Involving the son of the Trinity Killer didn’t help. It was just an oddly bad episode of TV that really served no purpose since Harry as Dexter’s conscience was such a non-presence for most of the rest of the season.

Best Moment: Deb finding out Dexter’s secret
It’s about damn time. Deb in the books has known about Dexter since the second installment and the balancing act that the two of them have going on is one of the best aspects of the books. Hopefully the two of them can come to some understanding about Dexter and how he is using Harry’s code to only go after bad guys. Of course I would also be fine if Deb feints upon seeing Dexter killing Travis, bangs her head on something and gets short-term memory loss that makes her forget that Dex is a monster but also all of this nonsense about being in love with him.

Worst Moment: Deb realizing she is in love with Dexter
Deb in therapy is a good path for the character to go down and it gave Jennifer Carpenter a lot of meaty material to work with. But coming to the realization that she is in love with Dexter is just wrong for a million reasons. Primarily the fact that they are siblings and please spare me the crap about Dexter being adopted. Harry brought Dexter home when he was three so all Deb has ever known is that Dexter is her big brother and to take their relationship down this incestuous path is disgusting. Besides the show has been making it perfectly clear since day one that Deb’s issues are with her father. She never felt she got Harry’s full attention or his approval so she focused her energies on police work to prove a point to her dead daddy. And the stuff about her sabotaging relationships or choosing bad guys because she really wants Dexter is just stupid. The only truly bad guy she ever dated was Rudy; Quinn is an asshole but he isn’t a horrible person, Anton was a good dude, and Lundy was straight as an arrow. Also the closest she ever got with any of her relationships was with Lundy who was old enough to be her father which leans more towards her having daddy issues. This Deb loves Dexter stuff is just dumb and smells like a Jump The Shark moment to me.

Final Verdict:
Season 6 was a lesson in how to come up with intriguing concepts but not on how to actually see them through to a satisfying conclusion. The Doomsday Killer could have been a great adversary(ies) for Dexter but the ball was dropped almost immediately; Brother Sam could have been a wonderful addition to the cast and created some real doubt in Dexter over an extended period of time but the character was killed in a hurry for reasons I don’t quite get; Having Dexter’s biological brother Rudy (The Ice Truck Killer) supplant Harry as Dexter’s conscience could have made for a really good season long arc but instead it was used as part of a rushed and haphazard one off episode; Deb in therapy should have revealed the huge amounts of anger she feels towards Harry for neglecting her and Dexter for being the reason for that neglect.
This season was not a complete disaster and when things were done right they were done very well (Deb discovering Dexter’s secret for example) but so much of the bad stuff overshadows the good that when taken as a whole the season was a disappointment. C-

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