Dexter Season Premiere Review: A Man in Mourning

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From Miguel Prado to the Trinity Killer, Dexter has spent the last two seasons dealing with a single antagonist.

Producers have insisted that won't be the case on season five, but its opening episode proved otherwise, as Dexter has a new enemy with whom to do battle: himself.

At a Funeral

From the first words out of Dexter's mouth ("It was me.") to his concluding eulogy at Rita's funeral, the man whose Dark Passenger controls his life tried as hard as he could throughout this hour to act human.

At times, it seemed like Dexter felt legitimate guilt; at other times, he seemed like he simply wanted to. Whenever that emotion did set in, however, it wasn't due to any over-arching self-analysis. Dexter doesn't lament who he is, he accepted that a long time ago.

Instead, our favorite serial killer focused on the practical aspects of his mistakes, wondering why he hadn't killed Trinity sooner, thereby saving Rita's life.

As always, Michael C. Hall was simply outstanding at playing someone struggling with how to fit into a world with which he's wholly unfamiliar. I both shuddered and smirked at Dexter's cold way of breaking the news of Rita's death to her kids and parents: I'm sorry for your loss. But what, exactly, did Dexter here? It remains unclear whether he truly loved Rita, or simply saw her as a way to seem... normal.

What did you think of the flashbacks to their first date? These scenes made Rita seem like the most understanding woman on the planet. Who out there would actually call up your blind date a couple hours after he acted so strangely at dinner?

Overall, this was a necessary episode, but it wasn't exactly an exciting one. We do need to see how Dexter mourns, or attempts to, but I adore this show for the holes Dexter often digs for himself. I want to see him embrace his Dark Passenger... while trying to act like a regular human being... while trying to stay a step ahead of the police or his latest adversary.

It's safe to assume Dexter's connection to Trinity, along with the mystery of Kyle Butler, will soon be explored (likely by Quinn, if he can stop getting down with Deb on kitchen floors for a few minutes) and then the cat-and-mouse adventure will truly begin.

What did you think of this premiere?


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (62 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


here's an interesting thing to point out. isn't killing a guy with a hammer/type thing, also part of trinity MO? will the FBI investigate the murder of the guy dexter killed, as part of thier investigation of trinity? also, dexter "it was me" can quite easliy be writen off. the cop asked him "did you make the 911 call", he didn't reply until deb showed up, told her "rita is dead", and than replied to did you make the call with "it was me".


I think this episode was needed. All of those saying it was boring or they thought it would be something else needs to understand we needed to see how he deals with the grief and others around him before moving on with the rest of the show. Having followed the whole series, I expected the first episode to be exactly what is was. No disappointment. I would have felt like I was cheated or missed something if they did not explain these points somewhere, somehow. How awkward would it be if they just show him back to killing, life back to normal in a sense? Really, if you have not seen it from the beginning it is hard to understand. All of the character's stayed true to themselves, and it made sense. And of course Astor is going to act the way she did. She is a child, and she just started loving dexter, but she just lost her mother and she is lashing out. Completely normal reaction. I can not wait to see the rest of this season. I am sure it will be excellent. Really though you have to watch everything to get it. If you have and are still confused maybe you should refresh your memory about who dexter is, because the first show is a logical series of events that are not at all far fetched.


@Judy- Why are you being so rude borderline almost aggressive towards other peoples comments? You should be more respective of peoples PERSPECTIVES and opinions. The point of the show is also to get people to feel positive emotions for a killer, by the way a sociopath, not a psychopath. Also, it seems to me that you know, or think you know a little to much about people from this department. If non-psychopaths, as you call the people commenting can't understand the aspects and you can, what does that leave you. THE REAL POINT OF THE SHOW BTW IS ENTERTAINMENT, so go piss on someone elses parade.


eh, i read more comments and feel compelled to respond again. people -- dexter is a PSYCHOPATH. all of your comments about him "showing no emotion" after his wife died? good, the writers and actor michael c. hall did their jobs! that's the point. i can't help but shake my heads at you for not getting it. he doesn't process, deal with, and exhibit emotions the same way as normal (a.k.a. NON-psychopaths) do. if your relative/spouse/loved one died, you'd be crying, right? your sadness and devastation would be written all over your face, correct? well, dexter's seeming apathy throughout this episode WAS INTENTIONAL. it's one of (if not the) main point of the show. if it seems like i'm repeating myself, it's because i'm so incredulous that, four seasons deep, you're having so much difficulty grasping this concept, this main facet of Dexter. are we watching the same show here?


this is in response to julian: first of all, there was nothing sloppy about this episode. judging by most of your comment, you’re either unfamiliar with this show/have trouble with deep analysis of human behavior. yes, of course, dexter’s behavior could be construed as shock. shock is a very common reaction among those who have just been dealt a devastating, emotionally-crippling blow. however – shock doesn’t last forever. MAYBE it can stretch into the next day, a few days on very rare occasion. but this episode seemed to span about a week (from finding rita dead, to investigating/gathering evidence, planning funeral, having funeral). shock (a.k.a. acute stress reaction) doesn’t usually last that long. a day or two of shock? perfectly normal. longer than that? definitely fishy. people deal with death and stressful circumstances in different ways. yes, this can even include deb sleeping with quinn, a man she dislikes, on her brother’s kitchen floor. dexter not noticing he’s still wearing a mickey mouse hat while he delivers the devastating news? don’t see what’s so weird about that. pretty much a moot point. and CERTAINLY astor’s reaction to dexter is completely within the realm of normal. dexter just delivered the news that her mother is dead, in an emotionally devoid and cold manner, ending with “i’m sorry for your loss.� she’s 10-years-old, dude. kids can, and often do, react irrationally when they’re emotionally and psychologically stressed. it’s not unreasonable for her to say things she likely doesn’t mean in this situation. she was lashing out, releasing a tidal wave of pain and devastation at the first opportunity she had. she was starting to love dexter, yes, but she just found out that HER MOTHER IS DEAD. her behavior was not supposed to be rational, and not surprising in the least. and finally, dexter breaking his code? it’s been pretty clearly established in the preceding 4 seasons that killing is dexter’s primary (and perhaps only) method of dealing with psychological trauma. he couldn’t face the situation until he released some of his pent-up emotions. he doesn’t cry, talk things out, or deal with his feelings in what any of us would consider “normal� or “healthy� ways. that’s kind of the point of the show, dude… OH, and to DexterLover... dexter is a psychopath. it's impossible for him to "love" another person the same way in which the average person would, or could. however, he is trying to live his life as responsibly as he can. if he truly thought his son would be better off being raised by deb instead of him, then yes, he could "give him away" to her. again, as a psychopath, he lives his life and views other people/the world a lot differently than a non-psychopath would. please try to keep this in mind while watching the show.


Thanks for replying to my post.
The thing is, his response to the kids, a bit surprising, but not totally. Keep in mind from day one, episode 1, Dexter claims to be "not human" and incapable of feeling emotions or even more importantly, not able to understand or relate to other peoples emotions. The sex on the floor of Rita and Dexters... that's Deb for you. She has been pretty tame, but than again Lundy just got killed. I mean, this is someone who was having sex with a CI. As for KCVT, you are going to hate this show if you dont go back and watch all the episodes from the first season. You are missing so much background info!


totally agree with julian. For me this is one of the first dexter episodes that i have watched from beginning to end, so i'm definitely not as much of a fanatic as the rest of you, but i really did not enjoy this episode. i was also very confused by the scene where he told the children about rita while wearing mickey mouse ears, and i don't know if this is just dexter's character, but he seemed so out of place and emotionless throughout the whole episode---your wife was just slaughtered in a bathtub!!!! his sister on the other hand...terrible acting in this episode and i did not appreciate her sex on the kitchen floor, hopefully the next episode will gain the show more of my respect


I'm not quite sure how I feel about Dexter's reaction. He's focusing more on "she's dead because of me" instead of "she's dead", which kind of makes sense but still up until the last minute I didn't feel like he realized what an impact Rita being gone would actually have on him.
I will miss Rita/Julie Benz greatly, though... And Michael C. Hall really is fantastic, I have a feeling we'll get some great acting out of him the season!


I agree with Redmond & Dexter lover. This was the first, sloppy episode of the series i have ever seen!
It was very poorly written, which sort of stunned me.
Any logical person would assume Dexter was in shock, not only finding his wife dead, but slaughtered in the manner she was.
Instead they are questioning why he's not shedding any tears & hassling him about dresses & funeral arrangements.
Then Deb having sex on the floor with a partner she barely can tolerate, in the deceased woman's kitchen!
Follow this with Dexter telling his in-laws & Rita's children, that she was murdered, while wearing Mickey mouse ears?
Was that supposed to be a stab at black humor?
Also, Astor's reaction was not in line with how much her & Cody loved having Dexter in their lives.
It made no sense.
Follow that with Dexter bludgeoning some random schmuch at a rest stop, with no rhyme or reason, except to act as some sort of catharsis or cleansing?
That doesn't follow Dexter's code. So many sloppy scenarios thrown out there, none of them logical.
This is the first episode where i actually thought, "Wow, that was just full of holes."
I hope it gets better (and smarter).


Ahaha Deb is always wearing those shirts, I hate it when she wears plaid, can you be more manly Deb??

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Dexter Season 5 Episode 1 Quotes

His wife just died; he's submitting a lab report.


I've watched 67 people die, and at the moment of truth I looked into their eyes and I knew - and they knew - they got what they deserved. But what if that's not what happens, if you don't get what you deserve?