Dexter Review: A Tale of Three Stories

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Through three episodes of Dexter this season, it feels as though I'm watching three different shows.

In the first, Debra Morgan is the new, young, driven police lieutenant who fights with her ex-boyfriend and struggles to both please her boss and remain independent from her boss. I actually find myself enjoying this angle, as LaGuerta just sucks and I'm rooting for Deb to show her up.

Deb's First Hire

In the second, two shady characters are obsessed with religion in some dangerously fanatical manner. One is a professor, the other his loyal, yet somewhat hesitant student/protege and, together, they take extreme measures to... re-create deaths from the bible? Issue a warning of the coming Apocalypse?

It's unclear at the moment, but that final image was certainly haunting and I remain a fan of both Colin Hanks and Edward James Olmos. Their storyline just feels a bit heavy-handed so far.

Finally, in the third, we have our damaged hero. Dexter's arc really didn't do anything for me this week. The takeaway is that he'll one day be too old to kill and will be faced with the conundrum of what else there is in life? Okay. But won't we all be faced with that dilemma? Isn't that way a majority of the population is scared of arthritis, dementia, everything that comes along with being a senior citizen?

I don't think any message imparted by Dexter's latest victim is unique to serial killers. No longer having the physical ability to do what one loves is something with which we all need to deal. The show seemed to be trying to go for something profound and special to Dexter here and missed by a wide margin.

Where is the cat and mouse game I preach about almost every week? Dexter has spent too much time on his own so far this season - which is still young, I know - just tracking targets and doing what we've seen him do a million times before. He's wondering what lessons he'll pass down to his son, but that's all he's really done: wonder. We listen to that occasional narrative, but there's been no practical application of it yet. Dexter continues to do his usual thing, sporadically talking to Harry and reminding viewers/himself: Hey, I have a son!

So, no, "Smokey and the Bandit" didn't really bring anything together. Clearly, at some point, Travis and Gellar's actions will become the focus of the Miami PD, which will tie in Dexter's arc and Deb's arc and make the series feel like less of an unattached mess. I just hope that point arrives next Sunday, as previewed HERE.


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (61 Votes)

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

Strawberry fields

I love Deb. And I hate LaGuerta. The bitch seriously gets on my nerves. She always kind of did, but now she shows up every five seconds to humiliate Deb, sometimes in front of everybody. She's pissed off at Matthews so now she will do anything to prove he was wrong? Grow up, woman! Extra points go to Angel for not turning his back on Deb. Deb's first meeting with the new cop was awesome. Go Debra! As for Dexter - I agree with Derek. It wasn't really about getting old. It was more about the father-son relationship. That is why the blood slides scene was so powerful and symbolic (at least to me). If you let chaos into perfectly ordered Dexter-land, all you get is just one big mess. That is what anyone would see if the truth about Dexter ever came out. He doesn't want that for Harrison.


Here I was celebrating the fact that Ep 2 "Once Upon A Time" was so well-meshed together and you find you're watching 3 different shows. I guess it takes all kinds to people a planet.
I totally agree with Derek. It's not about us knowing that Dexter will eventually become an old, ineffectual serial killer. It was that Dexter had never given it a thought. Frankly, neither did I ever dwell on it. I liked the fact that Dexter was given something to think about along with the usual weekly episodic kill.
I'm glad there's some genuine unforced conflict in various scenarios, the dark humor is back, there's some snap in the dialogue again (Dex and Deb)and joy of joys! Dexter's voice over is regaining it's drollness. I think for the most part things are moving in the right direction.


I feel as though Dexter is getting sloppy. First the incidence in the first episode of this season with the paramedics and the high school reunion phone. And now, he gives a victim his number? Very sloppy.
As for him being alone, it's very unlikely. He has Harrison and Deb. He also has Astor and Cody. Granted they're not his parents, but Dexter is the only thing they have closest to a parent. So they're always gonna be in his life.
I pity Deb. She's being undermined, because of her age. It's her skills for Christ sake! I wanted to hit Quinn and LaGuerta for prying in her job. Quinn is just an insensitive prick for how is acting and LaGuerta needs to either take her job back or piss off!
As for Brea Grant's character, I don't really trust her. There is something up her sleeve. Watch out Masuka!


"Finally, in the third, we have our damaged hero. Dexter's arc really didn't do anything for me this week. The takeaway is that he'll one day be too old to kill and will be faced with the conundrum of what else there is in life? Okay. But won't we all be faced with that dilemma? Isn't that way a majority of the population is scared of arthritis, dementia, everything that comes along with being a senior citizen?" You completely missed the point. Dexter is specifically afraid of having lived for nothing of any real meaning that he can pass on to his son. Everything in his life is just a cover. It's fake. The only thing real are a few relationships with people he's "fond of" like his sister, and his love for his son. But everything he has done in his life is fake... half assed. Meaningless. The only thing he has done that has any real significance is kill a lot of people and not get caught. If Dexter were real, he'd probably be one of the most successful serial killers of all time... But what does that really matter when it comes to his son? What you failed to notice was that Dexter didn't focus on the whole "getting old" thing at all. He focused on this man and his broken relationship with his son.... and the fact that all he had left to pass on to him was a box of teeth. He will never allow his son to discover what he was if he can help it... So then, what does he have to show for his life? A box of blood slides he'll never let anyone see? And if anyone DOES see them... he couldn't bare to pass on that pain... And then we have the image of Dexter's blood slides falling on the ground... he does not know whose they are now that they are all over... Once they were individual trophies, but now, they're about as distinguished as Walter's box of teeth in that box, all piled together in a mess... Dexter then remarks that there is no order anymore... Clearly, Dexter being afraid of growing old has nothing to do with this.


I agree that it seems Dexter isn't partnered up with anyone this season but that isn't exactly true. His partnership is with his son now that he is getting older. Just like how Deb is trying to figure everything out with her promotion and her feelings for Quinn, Dexter is trying to figure out what to do with his son and the dark passenger he is carrying around. Last nights episode showed us that Dexter made a decision and that was he did not want his son to ever bare that burden of knowing his dad was a serial killer, even after he dies just like Deb made the decision to go with her gut. This Seth Lord (yes, I Star War's you) made a decision but his pupil (Luke Skywalker?) is still in the decision stage. The master is trying to do right for his student just like Dexter is trying to do right with his son. Since S1, there has always been an adult relationship for Dexter but I don't think we will be seeing that this year. IMO, they are focusing on Dexter's role model as a father and how he will handle that aspect of his life. I'm not sure how interesting of a season this will be with that said but it is something that needs to be covered as his son gets older.


I actually was happy with this episode. I am enjoying Deb's storyline more than I thought I would, and the writers are at least trying to throw some twists in to Dexter's life (who saw Walter pulling a gun on Dexter?) This episode felt much more like seasons 1-3 than it did season 5, which is a good thing.
As always, I would like to see more Dexter being Dexter, and they could drop one of the sub-plots to focus more on him. Unless Brother Sam has a major impact later on, I'm not sure we need to even know of him.
Two little things I enjoyed that enhanced this episode were Deb's reaction and response to Mike's insults and how Walter told Dexter he "goggled" his name on the internet.

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