Dexter Review: “Those Kinds of Things”

For some reason, I thought Dexter wasn’t coming back until the spring, so imagine my surprise when I learned I’d get to see it this weekend instead. I usually only review one show at a time, but with Breaking Bad and Dexter overlapping for a week or two, I think I can manage the pair of them for a bit.

There’s just something about this show that has an irresistible draw to it. Not many shows can inspire this sort of fervor after six seasons, but I’ll be the first to line up and say that season five was incredible, and I’ve no reason to lose faith now.

The premiere showed us a Miami a year after the events of last season, which means that for the most part, the slate has largely been wiped clean in a lot of ways, with Dexter not under suspicion from anyone, and LaGuerta and Batista even now being divorced. The pilot was in effect a fairly standard Dexter premiere with few surprises. I’m not saying that as an insult, but in examining its structure and you’ll see that’s the case.

Dexter expands his code to include douchebags.

Dexter goes into “procedural” mode by spending the episode tracking down one specific killer, this time an old football jock who killed his wife. Has Dexter abandoned his whole “must kill serial killers” thing and now any old murderer will suffice? I mean, it’s the same principle, but that was sort of his bag, and a lot more people probably qualify under those rules.

Interspersed throughout the episode was a look at the looming threat of this season, the dynamic (and strangely paired) duo of Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks as a pair of religiously inspired killers who have elaborate rituals that appear to be part of some master plan.

Religion was a heavy, heavy theme of this episode, as it dominated the small talk, the new serial killers’ mantra, and hell, even worked its way into Dexter’s procedural kill at the end. Presumably it will be a big focus of the season, as these killers on first glance appear to believe they’re on a mission from God or something of the sort. All we can really do now is speculate as to their motives, and I’m wondering what their non-killer alter egos will be, and if they’ll directly interact with Dexter with him not knowing their secret for a time, as usually tends to happen with these killers. I would assume yes, but it is rare that we get to see things so directly from the killer’s perspective this early. Why is the show letting us in on these guys so soon? And Colin Hanks kill that guy with a f*cking Roman gladiator sword?

Seriously, what is that thing?

After one episode, you can begin to see some of the subplots start to unfold. Undoubtedly there will be some romantic tension between Dexter and Angel’s sort-of-hot-but-nothing-too-special sister, but she seems like a pretty standard straightforward character at the moment. I thought there might be more to Dexter’s Irish nanny last season, but that never panned out, and perhaps Angel’s sister won’t either and just be a standard fling for him.

Quinn has moved on from suspecting Dexter of shadiness a year ago, and wants to propose to Deb, but is interrupted by a crazed gunman. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? What are the odds? Deb takes him down with patrons wielding cameraphones everywhere, and I’m guessing her being some sort of newfound “hero cop” will now be a plot point, and will probably drive a wedge between her and Quinn.

Part of the fun of Dexter is all about guessing what’s going to happen, but it’s a bit hard to imagine when you’re only an hour into the season. I like Hanks and Olmos as actors, so I’ll be curious to see what they can do,  but I hope their characters are a bit a deeper than “weirdo religious nuts,” and I presume they will be, as this show is usually well written enough to give both its heroes and villains dimension.

What’s your story, crazy people?

Lastly, hearing Dexter orgasm is probably in the top ten awkward moments of the show, with the other nine being Masuka-related.

See you next week.

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  1. I thought this first episode was very good. Not sure if you stick around for the “Next time on Dexter…” montage they usually roll through, but it looks like it’s going to be a very solid season.

  2. As the show started and I began to watch Dexter go through his usual investigation, hunt, kill ritual, I felt an odd sense of comfort.

    Then I felt a little strange being comforted by the idea of a serial killer (even though he only kills “bad guys”) doing his do week after week.

    Overall, it was a very good episode and I’m extremely excited for the rest of the season.

  3. Was happier with the first episode of this season than I was with the entire 5th season. So many things were better…they focused on Dexter so much more (hard to remember watching the 5th season that the show is called DEXTER, not Dexter and Company)…I was happy that they realized what a mistake Batista and LaGuerta’s relationship was…and I can’t wait to watch these guys try to bring about the rapture.

    This season also speaks to me as I have some of the same questions that Dexter has regarding spirituality…it is way too early to say, but this might be my favorite season yet.

  4. Agree with Ian, I feel as though they know where they started to lose it (and, potentially, their fan base) in the 5th season and deliberately came back strong with a fan favorite style to start the 6th. The black comedy, always a Dexter staple but something that usually gets lost as the seasons venture into more serious territory, was really on fire here, and that made me happy.

    Emphasis on Dexter, less drama going on with his supporting cast, and what appears to be a new pair of interesting villains to inevitably explore as we go. Good start.

  5. “… it is rare that we get to see things so directly from the killer’s perspective this early.”

    Season 4 opened with a Trinity Killer murder in the first scene.

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