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Dexter Review: “Those Kinds of Things”

Originally posted here.

The season premiere of  Dexter teaches us that religion is, of course, for the ignorant and criminally insane.

Dexter stalks a member of his former High School class he suspects murdered his own wife while he attempts to enroll Harrison into a pre-school.

Upon seeing promos for the new season of Dexter, I found myself apprehensive of season 6’s religion angle. By the end of the episode, the writers proved that they (hopefully) wouldn’t become too heavy handed with issues of faith. Instead, the episode delves more into Dexter’s curiosity with human behavior. Harrison is growing up, after all… and Dexter doesn’t have much left in his life other than him and Deb. Obviously, the show has restarted itself into something closer to season 1. Dexter as a show is incredibly frustrating, as it has the potential to be amazing but is afraid to shake up the status quo. Season 4 promised us an interesting new direction, but season 5 simply took proceedings back to business as usual, which became very frustrating. Worse yet, Deb had the chance to uncover Dexter’s secret using her budding detective skills, but let it slip by. I only bring up the series’ past failings to highlight the basis in which season 6 must be judged: will it finally take risks, or be the same old? For now, let’s just judge the episode on its own merits.

Dexter’s shenanigans at his 20 year (seriously? People go to those?) High School reunion was both interesting and surprisingly amusing. Dexter’s former classmates fawning over him proved to be a great source of amusement. It does make you wonder why everyone swarmed around Dexter because of his wife, but people didn’t do the same for his prey. It seemed people liked him for the jock persona, not the traumatic history. Still, it proved to be entertaining watching Dexter learning to mingle as more than a fly on the wall, right down to an inevitable but humorously useful blow job from a former prom queen. Dexter’s trickery with his class ring, despite it backfiring, was also quite clever. Lastly, while I hate Harry as a story device (he was played out by the end of season 3), his scenes at the dance and on the football field were actually rather fun.

As a side note… what exactly is hammer time? Obviously it’s a dance, but I’ve never heard of it before. It sounds extremely lame.

Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks had a somewhat cryptic, if important roll in tonight’s episode. It’s hard to judge them, as they were given little to do. It would be more pertinent to simply say that they were intriguing and it will be interesting to see how they tie into Dexter’s journey over the course of the season.

Looking at the changes in the last year… I admit I’m surprised that Angel and LaGuerta seemingly broke up between seasons. It seems like a waste of two seasons worth of drama just to have them revert to a single status. Now Angel is taking care of his sister? Once again, the writers show just how little ideas they have for the two characters, so they just reboot them back to square one. Wouldn’t it be best just to kill one of them off?

As for Deb and Quinn, they didn’t have too much time to shine, but the touches with Quinn’s nervousness in proposing to Deb were well done. It’ll be curious to see how she ultimately reacts, given what happened to her with the Ice Truck Killer. Will she freak out or embrace it? My money is on the former. Still, Deb will have plenty else on her plate during the season, as her gunfight at the restaurant will no doubt put her in the running to head up the department instead of Angel… much to LaGuerta’s disdain.

Overall, the episode itself was solid. Dexter’s adventure was great and the duo of Hanks and Olmos has the potential to be amazing. Despite the writers tripping up her development, Deb vs. LaGuerta could be a very fun plotline. It’s too bad Angel and Masuka are settled with half baked plotlines, as the actors deserve better. It’s just hard to take Dexter seriously as a show anymore, as it suffers from the same problem Smallville had: on an episode to episode basis it’s pretty good, but as a whole it just feels like it could be so much more. Here’s hoping the season will amount to more than a missed opportunity.

8/10

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