Review: New season of Dexter makes a killing
November 15, 2011 • Jaclyn Mizdrak, Entertainment Writer
Filed under Entertainment
“Tonight’s the night.” The season six premiere of Dexter opened with the traditional line and brought with it all the traditional elements of the show, from dark humor to drama to Dexter’s chilling monologues.
Six years following Miami Metro forensic scientist (and, on occasion, serial killer) Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) probably makes it hard for the writers to come up with something just as hooking as other seasons, but the shady cult-like antagonists of season six, played by Colin Hanks and Edward James Olmos, are unpredictable and keep the suspense rolling.
Olmos’ character directs Hanks’ to perform a series of grotesque murders and set up the remaining evidence in ways that herald passages from the Bible (such as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse). Not only is their method of killing sinister and downright creepy, but the relationship between the two ends up looking like a master manipulating his faithful pawn.
“The versions of Hanks and Olmos featured in Dexter are dark and menacing, which naturally makes them a good fit for this series,” Kelly West said in the Cinema Blend review of the premiere.
Dexter faces a series of new trials and tribulations other than the set of mysterious murders, including his most pressing issue to date: the struggle between being a father to his son Harrison or being, as he calls it, a monster. Much of Dexter’s inner monologue this season revolves around Harrison, as well as the legacy he will leave him, which is a side of Dexter the writers have been playing with the last few seasons but ultimately left as a side thought.
The supporting characters also uphold their share of the plot, and the show gives their story arcs plenty of focus without getting dull. The writers ultimately use the year of time between this season and the last one to further develop characters, especially those who were left lagging behind with season five’s focus on Dexter’s relationship with his newfound accomplice, Lumen.
“The producers of Dexter decided to make one of the most earnest uses of a ‘time jump’ ever seen on television by completely redefining each character and clearly representing that evolution has occurred, even though we were not witness to it,” Anthony Ocasio said in his review of the premiere on ScreenRant.
The performances given by the cast of the show, including the new additions, rise above the writing standard as usual. Hall continues to capture his character in a way that gives him a balance of his socially awkward charm and the respectable calculating intellect he is known for. In one particular scene in the premiere, Dexter is shoved to the ground by an old classmate – and his current target – during a football game at the class reunion, and without saying a word Hall dons a subtle expression that shows just how deep his disdain for the man reaches.
The new season is innovative with its plot, but the show still works in a very formulaic way. Any fan can tell a stranger the show will start with a new target, probably include drama within Miami Metro’s internal workings, and end with a murderer on a surgery table ready for Dexter to take his ‘trophy’ (a small collection of blood from the victim).
This doesn’t hinder the show too badly though, and the new issues presented by the antagonists as well as new supporting characters, including Mos Def’s character and ex-con turned preacher Brother Samuel, make the sixth season worth looking into for fans who prefer a show focused on Dexter instead of his companions. Dexter’s curiosity in religion creates some of his most entertaining and thought-provoking monologues both during his free time and his murders, and seeing relationships Dexter uses instead of abuses is refreshing.
Season six does the show a lot of favors by returning the focus to Dexter and his network of relationships instead of giving him a sidekick. Dexter again struggles with his own Dark Passenger, the part of him responsible for his urge to kill, instead of trying to appease anyone else’s. With the new season revolving around the delicate balance of Dexter’s paternal role and his personal issues, season six looks promising.
Brother Sam (Mos Def)
An ex-convict turned into a preacher, most of Dexter’s new understanding of the spiritual side comes with Sam’s help. Mos Def is spectacular in the role, turning Sam into a character the audience can root for in his struggles and providing a real friend for Dexter and his son.
James Gellar (Edward James Olmos)
One of the two new antagonists of the season, Gellar is a retired professor who leads his pupil in several killings which are meant to herald the end of the world.
Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks)
Marshall plays the pawn to Gellar, following his instructions for the murders despite his own wavering faith. Although the two villains work together, there are hints toward a conflict of interest between them.
Mike Anderson (Billy Brown)
Anderson is a new cop hired onto the Miami Metro Homicide team from Chicago. He’s incredibly top of the line and professional, and his attitude towards the cast usually involves being condescending while doing his job. He provides a nice mesh with new lieutenant Deborah Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) and his involvement in the case gives the station most of its major leads.
Jamie Batista (Aimee Garcia)
Detective Batista’s sister, Jamie plays a role in the new season babysitting Harrison for Dexter. When Deb moves back into Dexter’s home, tensions rise between the two of them over Jamie’s responsibilities while housesitting.
Ryan Chambers (Brea Grant)
Chambers is a new intern in the Miami Metro forensics department. While she seems relatively harmless and even hints at a potential relationship for lead forensics investigator Vince Masuka (C.S. Lee), her fascination with the Ice Truck Killer case from Dexter’s first and second seasons seems to be hinting towards a darker part of her personality.