Naturally, I have to start this article with the disclaimer that there will be spoilers ahead. But if you’re not watching the final season of Dexter, why not? It’s damn fine programming and it might just turn out to be the mindfuck that the advertisements have been promising us.
Stephen Wilds wrote a great article a few days ago outlining the general reasons why Dexter is an awesome and underrated series, so right now I’ll just go over a few very specific reasons why I think the first two episodes are just dandy indeed, and hopefully indicative of a mind-blowing season to come:
By now we know the routine: Dexter wearing his smock, standing over a victim that’s been wrapped in cellophane, showing them pictures of their victims before he drives a knife right through their stinkin’ hearts. Well, this staple of the show has been noticeably absent from the first two episodes. The two kills we’ve seen so far have been crimes of passion, and only one of them has been committed by Dexter. Passion is definitely something that has been missing from the show, and for good reason: Dexter is a cold sociopath who has to go through this murder ritual because he has no choice. We might still see one or two of these ritual kills later in the season, though. Episode two has given us a villain for Dexter to pursue. But maybe we won’t, either. Showtime promised Dexter fans that this season would break all the rules. And so far they’re doing a great job of making good on that promise.
For nearly the entire run of the series, Dexter’s non-biological sister, Deb, hasn’t been much more than a series of quips, insults and potty mouthed decadance. But she also had a moral code, a sense of honor and duty that led her to following her father into police work. Now, within a span of months, she’s committed murder twice. It’s safe to say that her moral code has pretty much been blown to shit. We don’t know if she has completely lost her moral center or not. We’re left wondering if it’s possible for Deb to become a serial killer herself, something that would have been nearly unthinkable in previous seasons. So far her murders have all come from emotional stress and have been crimes of passion. Not only does this make her the mirror opposite of Dexter, but it sets up the potential for some pretty gruesome kills later in the season.
Though she’s nearly 70 years old, Charlotte Rampling, the actress who plays Dr. Vogel, is still quite the fox. When my wife and I were watching the second episode, I remarked that there seemed to be some weird sexual tension between Dr. Vogel and Dexter. She didn’t think so. I don’t know, though. There’s definitely a Harold and Maude vibe going on. Though she’s just revealed herself to Dexter, she’s known about him since he was a boy, when she helped his adopted father Harry craft the Code that Dexter lives by, whereby he channels his urge to kill into taking the lives of people who deserve to die. Other serial killers, for example. So she’s kind of like a mother figure to Dexter. Which makes the sexual angle even more creepy. Together they’re trying to hunt down a serial killer who Vogel suspects is a former patient of hers. Dr. Vogel is about as interesting a character as the show’s ever produced. We’re left having no idea what her true motivations for establishing a connection with Dexter are, and I suspect we won’t find out until the series finale. Just ten episodes to go.
So, yeah, I’ve been quite impressed so far. If the producers and writers can keep this same pace and momentum, we might be in for a hell of an exciting season.