DEXTER: SEASON 5: EPISODE 1: MY BAD
A Review By Ross Hughes
Dexter season five starts with much negativity for our fans in Britain, with news coming from over the pond that this series in particular is not very good! After four glorious seasons, this is supposed to be a massive misstep, thee one that starts to show the first creaks of tiresome plots that all great long running series go through. Well, I am going to make a statement right here from the off. The fantastic, quite brilliant Season 4 will never get beaten. Not only was it Dexter at its very best, but it was quite possibly one of the greatest TV Seasons ever shown on American TV. It had everything you could want, most notably John Lithgow in one of his greatest roles has the killer Trinity, who just loved to lure woman into a bath and kill them, while he soaks in their blood. The stand off between one serial killer and the other was TV gold and I still have shivers when I remember that scene where Trinity meets up with the man who he thought was Kyle Butler and uttered the words, “Hello…….DEXTER MORGAN!”
Of course it was this moment that led to the tragic outcome of the finale in which Dexter having won the battle, went home to find his lovely wife dead in the bath, with his son covered in blood. He may have killed his ultimate prize, but he had lost everything that mattered to him and it was here where Season five picked right up from, Dexter holding his son while the entire police force crowd all over him, with Dexter uttering the words “It was me!”, which we the viewer know what he means but those around him may believe something else.
The final shot of Season 4 is up there for me with the ending of Se7en, a truly gut wrenching shock that took me days to recover from. Rita was an important part of the show, it was she along with his sister Debra that brings Dexter to the human world, otherwise this psychopath could really forget the cord he follows and just kill anyone in sight. Her death has paved away for a much darker tone not yet seen in this long running series. Maybe the criticism of this series is that her death overshadows the entire show, well if it does who cares? We are seeing a side of Dexter not yet seen before, and a one that many do not like.
The anger that seems to coming from the fans is the lack of remorse he seems to display throughout this episode. Even the flashback of how he met Rita does not help because we find out that he was there to stalk and kill someone and just used her as an alibi. Even when she phoned him for the very first time to arrange another date he was in the process of chopping a body up. But how can we criticise when this is the man who is just cold to normal human behaviour. No matter how much the fans love Rita, we knew from the off that he was only with her so it enables his true self to be hidden from the world. We the viewer along with Dexter himself accepted that he was a monster but his relationship with Rita complicated his life emotionally. He could have ended it many times has seen with the season 2 story arc, but Dexter was always a man with a plan and marrying Rita eventually fitted into that plan, as it gave him the cover of a responsible father and husband.
With her previous life in the hands of an abusive husband, the two lost souls seemed a perfect fit, but now she has been taken away, her young life gone due to Dexter getting involved with one of TV’s greatest Serial Killers, the fans want to see some justice, some remorse from the man, but to do that we rid the essence of the character that makes him so loved and different.
The horrible way he told the kids that their mother was dead was a scene that typifies the horror and black comedy that ripples through the show. Dexter sitting there with Mickey Mouse ears on his head while calming telling the young duo “she was murdered, I am sorry for you loss” was an awful way to let them know, but the image had me laughing because it was so twisted and surreal.
The only time when we saw any emotion was when Dexter killed a random stranger in a toilet which is the first time we saw him lose control over a kill. No planning, no following the code, it was straight murder which again hints at the dark path this season might be following. Nothing much else happened with the main focus being this tragic aftermath, Quinn is setting himself up to become the new Doakes in which his suspicions of Dexter grow more and more, while at the same time he manages to get off with Debra, adding a new plot layer to the triangle of the three characters with Dexter not going to be too happy that his sister is now involved with his new apparent nemesis.
The final scenes had Dexter at the funeral saying his goodbye, but for this fan it was a case of hello and welcome back, there may be negativity surrounding this season, but I for one did not notice nothing out of place in this opener.
Episode 2: Hello Bandit
The title suggests that the show is moving on but the death of Rita still lingers over the entire show. Once again nothing much happens in this epsiode, there is no plot drive or direction, we are still with Dexter and his difficulty in trying to deal with what has happened and for that there is a sign that maybe the problems the Americans had with this season is that there is no pull or a season bad guy. I know I may be jumping the gun and that all TV shows have a slow build up, but Dexter only runs for 12 episodes and with two already in the bag, this season is still yet to show us where its heading.
The best part of this episode is the removal of the kids, Cody and Astor
who decide to live with their Grand Parents after the death of their mother. This for me was a sensible move by the writers who have removed the problem of seeing Dexter trying to be a single parent. The show has a slim running time as it is and to see Dexter getting bogged down in family life would have ruined the show we love.
Instead he has eyes on a new serial killer in town and he comes to him like fate.. While renting a moving van to move back into his old flat with his sister Debs, he discovers some crime evidence in the back of one of the vans. He does some lab tests and concludes that it’s human blood. He tracks down the person who last rented the van and pretty soon he’s found his next victim. Unlike the usual trend, we do not see Dexter do the kill but his investigsation leads him to a river full of containers that contain dead women inside. Maybe here we get the medicine Dexter needs to move on from his loss!
In other parts, Quinn’s continued to investigatie the death of Rita’s and has his hands on a photo fit of the mystery Kyle Butler who he believes looks a lot like Dexter (he is right of course), a new murderous cult was introduced along with a new female cop who works the neighborhood and is familiar with the cult. I already have my doubts about this character but could it be misleading direction by the writers?
Otherwise there was nothing else to write about. So far its all about a new direction for Dexter, a man who was always in control and now not. His life is heading in no direction, he is confused and lost, a bit like the show’s opening episodes. It will get better, I have no doubt, but at the moment the show is simmering instead of bubbling, maybe its not just the death of Rita that is overshadowing this great show, but that of the perfect season 4 that so far Season Five is struggling to compete with…..