Dexter, Season 6

Oy, I missed Dexter. It had been over a year since I’d left Miami, so to speak, and the instant I heard those first few scratches of the theme song, a big dumb smile (not an uncommon thing for me when I watch television) crept across my face, and I was back in. As though I never left, or something like it. Doubts be damned.

Doubts, yes. Over the years, I’ve begun to feel more and more guilty for loving this show so much. People have pointed out to me that the same thing happens every season: Dexter doesn’t get caught. Of course, this builds tension and all that, but up to a point. I get it. It gets harder and harder to suspend one’s disbelief. For some reason, though, I can just do it with this show. Michael C. Hall continues to captivate me, and convince me that Dexter Morgan is a real person that I’m not afraid of. How’s that for screwed up?

The other guilty thing–or maybe it’s not guilt, just a small shred of shame–is that I’ve found myself drawn to very similar shows. It’s like I’m not seeking variety anymore I began watching Dexter Season 6 whilst simultaneously watching the first seasons of The Following and The Americans, and there were definitely times when the plots of all three got tangled up in my head. Both Dexter and The Following deal with twisted serial killers, both Dexter and The Americans deal with leading a double life, and both The Americans and The Following deal with the FBI being just incompetent enough to always be a couple steps behind. I thought I liked comedy, but I guess not?

Back to Dexter, though. This season definitely had its weird, absurd moments: the Dex/Deb thing, which was spoiled for me long ago, was about 86 steps too far; the absurd painting of Dexter by DDK shown in Episode made me laugh out loud; the fact that Edward James Olmos was not even one bit scary; the heavy-handed, stringalicious soundtrack that seemed way more noticeable this season than ever before; the dumb interns plot line, the fact that Harrison’s nanny is always availble, and, of course, the way that Hall says “Dark Passenger.” It’s never not funny.

But I stuck with it, because (pardon the pun) this season, with all its religious imagery and whatnot, proves that the writers are really putting Dexter on a path. He has an arc, and there’s an end to that arc, and the stakes are suddenly back as to whether or not he gets caught. I know I’ll have two seasons left to watch by the time I get around to it, so I can’t actually speak for the most recent season, but seeing Deb walk in (from where, it was never explained) as Dexter was killing someone was a huge revelation. This whole time, we’ve been thinking about what would happen when that happened, but we never knew if he’d have anything prepared to say, if he had been rehearsing that moment his whole life, or if Harry had simply neglected to train him in that part of his life. Despite his extensive, anal preparations for everything else, it appears he neglected this, perhaps because he was so delusional about his own Dark Passenger that he forgot about the fact that he’s living in the world.

Having an adorable son helps Dexter come back to reality, especially as he grows. Dexter was more intense this season than ever before, and less even-keeled as before, experiencing high highs on the family front with Harrison, and on the murder front when face-to-face with DDK, the Doomsday Killer, Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks). Now, I love Colin Hanks as much as the next guy, but he was a little too good-looking to be the DDK. His face looked too nice, even if they made him wear dad jeans. But even if he didn’t appear the part (or have any chemistry with EJO) he brought out something mysterious in Dexter, and that is what made the season interesting. Of course Dexter is an Atheist, but it’s more interesting knowing how he came to compare those thoughts with others he had heard outside of his immediate world.

Speaking of immediate world, Jennifer Carpenter did some work this season as Deb. Watching someone experience two awesome things on the same day is something you might want to do, unless it’s getting proposed to and getting a giant promotion. What a stressful day, which lead to a stressful season, which lead to therapy for her. As I said before, the whole love interest thing was royally fucked up, and part of the therapy plot line, so I’m just going to leave it out and focus on the Soprano-ness of it all. In one brief moment in the church in the finale, Deb became the main character, the most burdened character, in the whole story, just like Tony Soprano. She even cusses a lot and carries a gun. I can’t wait to see what happens next with her, especially given her proactivity in changing up every single one of her primary relationships. She knows Dexter’s secret, she covered up her mentor’s secret, she became LaGuerta’s (Lauren Velez) bitch, she dumped Quinn (Desmond Harrington), and she got promoted. Damn. I wouldn’t want to be her. LaGuerta though. Wow. I have never hated her more, and I feel sort of bad for Velez for having to be the villain the entire season. What a fun but sort of repetitive role for her to play. I do wonder how close to home the divorce storyline plays out for Hall and Carpenter. I couldn’t help thinking about how awkward it must have been to marry, then divorce your coworker and still have to do basically every scene with him. I wouldn’t want to be her in real life, either.

Oh, and Rudy showed up again? Okay. Weird. Wasn’t okay having him back, especially because he seemed os friendly before he died. I just wish James Remar were in the show more often. Maybe in the finale, it’ll be revealed that James Remar is actually the Dark Passenger, and that Dexter has been carrying around a real person this whole time. Ha.

One final thought: I really did not care for the snakes, or the fact that most episode recaps contained the snakes, too. GROSS.

Season 7, please.