I’ve been waiting all year long for the return of my favorite dark hero. It’s like the NFL season.. you only get so many weeks of entertainment and then it’s over, followed by a long offseason of waiting.
Finally, the premiere came and I was eager to see what kind of rebound season Dexter would have. It wasn’t so much that last season was bad, it’s just that the other seasons to precede it were better. After the titles and the 1st scene, I was smiling.. as was Dexter. In the first 2 seasons, the show was dark and funny. Almost a “perverse humour” to such violent and morally wrong acts. In the first episode, I felt those same ingredients of success as the episode seems to have set the tone for season 6; a lighter tone. And I loved it.
The episode, “Those Kinds of Things” starts off with Dexter stumbling around a warehouse district, struggling to breathe & holding his stomach where an apparent wound appears to be. He dials 911 whilst holding a bloody knife in the other hand. Immediately, my heart races. “What the hell has happened?! How could he have gotten injured?” I then thought about something along the lines of maybe there was a scenario involving Miami PD & Deb, where he found himself caught and vulnerable to the point that he’s been shot or stabbed. Either way, it wasn’t the start I’d expected. Basically, it was a knee-jerk, “here we go again.”
The EMT’s arrive and attend to Dexter who is laying on his back. BOOM! With one quick, cat-like action, he strikes both EMT’s in the neck with his patented animal tranquilizer and we realize that this was all just part of the perfect setup to lure his victims. Wow, brilliant. We soon find out they’ve been a part of a ring that was harvesting human organs, killing their patients on purpose so they could do so. Dexter promptly puts them in the ambulance before electrocuting both of them with a defibrillator simultaneously. Dexter narrates and gloats that things have been great for him lately, a hint that things are moving forward for our dark hero and although we all loved Rita and the kids, solo Dexter is just much more fun to watch. No strings, just Dexter taming that dark passenger. And just like that, the show lifts off and it feels like classic Dexter again.
From there, the show hits many high notes and highlights – not all of which I’m going to list here. i rec
The whole theme of the episode is based around new and change and moving forward. We see Dexter has extended his apartment by buying the apartment next door and he has a new nanny, Angel’s sister who is way too observant of Dexter’s movements which I’m guessing the writers will do something with later on. Immediately as she was introduced, I did the, “Oh come on man.” Although she is quite attractive, you gotta think they’ll also do something with that later on.
As the show progresses, Dexter faces the religion theme. As Harrison is attending preschool, Angel has recommended a Catholic preschool, one that is ‘a breeding ground for Ivy league schools.’ Dexter has the question put to him upon the visit to the preschool with Deb, “What religion are you?” As we know, Dexter hasn’t had much experience in theology and lives by his own rules, not someone else’s. He admits to both the head nun that he doesn’t believe in anything except a “set of rules” to which Deb tells him that it’s like a puppy following rules and is “cold and empty.” She tells Dexter to think about this, as it’s not just about him anymore. Deb’s wisdom send Dexter into some deep thinking.
Meanwhile, Dexter is also getting ready to attend his 20 year high school reunion. A stroke of genius by the writers as Dexter is already an alien to society but now, he has to attend the most awkward of social gatherings. Dexter is thrown into the deep end, figuring he’d fly under the radar, swoop in and grab the kill as his targeted victim just happens to be a former classmate Joe – the high school jock; the main reason of course why he’s even bothering to attend the reunion in the first place.
However in a twist of events, he ends up being the opposite of what he was in high school.. popular. How? First off he’s suffered a tragedy which has everyone giving them their condolences and feeling sorry for him; secondly, he looks better than he was before and thirdly, he’s got a cool job that puts him in the paper from time to time.
The reunion is one of the highlights of the show for me. The setting and the creative ways that the writers used to create the environment for Dexter to operate is pretty impressive. It’s the awkward moments and humour that make it gold to watch. You’re right there with him as he awkwardly tries to get out of conversations with former cheerleaders and classmates, trying to get closer to his target. The look on Dexter’s face as he moves around the room, before finally sending himself to a timeout in the bathroom where Harry gives him a pep talk and tells him to just have fun, to which Dexter does much to our amusement. He loosens up & pure entertainment follows. He gets dragged onto the dance floor, busting moves to MC Hammer much to my amusement. I could not wipe the smile off my face, as I looked on in wonder and happiness at what was happening. A classic line that will be quoted for years to come, Dexter says about MC Hammer, “I have no idea what Hammer Time is or how it differs from regular time.”
From there the show cuts to a dark swamp where it’s not all what it seems. 2 men, paddle in a boat (because let’s be real, what else are paddles used for?) at night, looking for a pregnant snake. Eerie enough as all that sounds, the camera then zooms into the snakes belly where you can see the baby snakes move inside the pregnant snake. You know that’s probably never good in Dexter. One of those guys, Tom Hanks’ son Colin, is assumed to be the apprentice of the master. As daylight comes around, they head to a roadside fruit stall, whereby Hanks’ character proceeds to take a large machete and give him the business. Soon after, the police department turn up to the fruit stall, where a large amount of human intestines are found sitting in a scale, with no trace of the body but with a blood trail that leads to nowhere.
Not long after, a body is washed up and found on the beach. Sure enough, it’s our fruit Joe, as the police find out when they check out his ID. They check his chest & sure enough, 2 from 2.. his intestines appear to have been removed, as he’s been cut open and sewn back up. However, the stitching is in the shape of Alpha and Omega, some weird religious cult – again, tying in with the religion theme that season 6 looks to heading for. As the team inspect the torso, they notice something moving inside, under the skin of the deceased. Promptly, they cut open the stitching, only to find snakes crawling out of the opening. Deb freaks out and takes a step back, Dexter jumps in and the look on his face says it all – he is astonished at the craftsmanship and uniqueness of the crime. The contrast is humorous, as everyone around him (including Vince’s intern who faints) is horrified.. but not Dexter.
Next we see Dexter back at the office, studying up online, terminology of football and football plays.. trying to get the X’s & O’s of football down before the flag football game he signed up for – all so he could get a blood sample to match Joe to the crime; a positive match needed, just to be sure. We then see Dexter take part in the reunion flag football game, with Dexter not exactly knowing which way to move (& getting owned, to my surprise) but more so just wingin’ it and following the QB around. I was laughing, until the defensive lineman came on through and knocked Dexter down. He loses his needle that he was planning on using to get a sample of the Joe’s blood, so Dex calls in some coaching advice from Harry. Harry tells him that as an offensive lineman, his job is to protect the quarterback and in the process, to “accidentally” elbow him. Dexter does just that, allowing the defensive lineman to push him back enough where Dexter pulls back his arm and WHACK, smacks the QB in the nose and drawing blood. Dexter grabs his wristband and tries to be the on-field medic, discreetly obtaining a blood sample to which he does match to the suspect back at the department HQ. Joe angrily asks Dexter, “Who taught you how to play football?” & Dexter responds “My Dad.” I smiled and remembered just why I fell in love with this show.
As Dexter roams the hallways of his former school ready for the night to “the night”, he runs into the former Prom Queen, Trish. She tells him what the go is straight up and pushes him into the science lab where she proceeds to strip and give him some action. Instead of awkwardly trying to excuse himself, Dexter loosens up and just enjoys it to the point where he lets out some loud moaning, almost a primal release. As soon as the deed is done, Trisha thanks him and Dexter pockets her phone, hoping to lure Joe to the football shed with a single text message. Joe takes the bait, where Dexter is lurking the shadows ready to tranquilize him. Before Joe can figure out what’s going on, despite a fight – like many others before him, he ends up wrapped up, on a scoreboard (an awesome touch by the writers) and under Dexter’s final interrogation. During the questioning, Dexter sees Joe’s cross on his neck and a tattoo on his upper chest of Jesus, to which Dexter starts asking questions about faith and trying to understand, just how Joe could justify murdering his wife. He asks about forgiveness and repentance & for a moment, it feels like Dexter might let him go, as Joe pleads Dexter to do so. But what kind of start to a season would that be? Dexter going soft.. awful. But he doesn’t, and that made me happy. Before Joe can say anymore, Dexter smashes him with a hammer and finishes him off with a knife before dumping his body into the ocean as usual. Dexter gets his man, and we get Dexter back for another season.
There are a lot of high expectations for season 6 and a lot of questions to be answered going forward. A lot I left out, eg. Deb and Quinn (a minor storyline in the season opener) but no doubt, in the next few episodes, the structure will be built for what I’m hoping, will be on the best seasons to date, since season 4 with Trinity. Will Dexter meet a girl or fly solo? Will someone find out his secret again? Will Deb find out his secret, this season? What will this new serial killer (Hanks) be like & where will Mos Def fit in? And this religion thing.. will Dexter be a believer, or will he just be more open to other ideas and possibilities for his son?
One thing about Dexter is for sure & that is that it’s great to have Michael C. Hall and the crew back on the box, doing what they do best. As a fan, all that matters at the end of the day is having him back, making me smile as he smiles along with us.