TV review: ‘Dexter’ launches new season

By Courtney Warner

Daily Collegian, Penn State U. via UWIRE

The new season of the Showtime series Dexter brought some shakeups, some breakups and some foreshadowing elements that the show will be thrilling as ever.

What’s interesting about this season is that brother and sister Dexter and Deb Morgan — played by Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter — are going through a divorce in real life. Such intensity is reflected by the lack of interaction between their two characters in the premiere compared to previous shows.

Will this affect the overall chemistry of the cast and show? No. Granted, their relationship is vital to resembling what human is left inside of Dexter, the producers seemed to have reestablished such a relationship between him and his son, Harrison.

The real-life drama doesn’t affect other characters’ performances, either. Dexter is still someone you sympathize with for killing his victims because he’s just weeding the bad out of the world. Batista is still intimidating. LaGuerta is still power-hungry. Quinn’s still kind of a jerk, and Masuka is still — well, Masuka.

What will really set this season apart from others is Dexter’s battle with religion and the season’s headlining serial killer.

Season six’s criminal, played by Colin Hanks, mirrors Dexter as a youth. Hanks’ character is young like Dexter once was and has a mentor like Dexter had his father Harry. Though he’s new to the game, Hanks is taught to commit the most psychologically disgusting crimes that boggles the viewers’ minds in the worst way.

As the season progresses, viewers will see him grow into murdering for the wrong reasons, whereas Dexter does so for justice.

Hanks’ overall character encompasses all of Dexter’s fears, which will present his greatest challenge thus far in the series. His first murder of the season is gruesome and very suitable for religious cult films like “The Wicker Man” and “Carrie.” He disembowels his victims and sews them shut.

What’s disturbing isn’t how the stitches form a religious symbol, but when they are torn open the detectives find water snakes crawling out of the stomach rather than the blood draining from the intestines.

Dexter undergoes a religious conflict that will follow him for the rest of the season. Dexter enrolls his son, Harrison, in a Catholic preschool, which he’s hesitant to do because of the tragedies and evil he’s witnessed. He doesn’t understand how there could be such a thing as God. Though he refuses to accept such a concept, seeds of doubt are planted in his mind.

“How do we know there is a God?” he asks Batista.

“There’s a God in every one of us,” he replies. “It’s about faith and accepting something you feel, not something you can explain.”

Dexter’s first victim is his high school quarterback, Joe Walker, who murders his wife, a woman who was always nice to Dexter in high school and was the only one who acknowledged his existence.

The same subtle and dry comic relief persists in the new season and is shown when Walker is asked why he murdered his wife and replied, “Do you know how expensive a divorce is?”

The answer provokes Dexter to go in for the kill, but when he’s about to stab the womanizer, he notices a tattoo of Jesus on Walker’s chest and he justifies the murder with God’s everlasting forgiveness.

During his last breath, Walker emotionlessly says he repents, provoking Dexter to smash his face in with a hammer and then stab him in the heart for a double-tap insurance his scum will never pollute the earth again. This confrontation makes Dexter think there’s no God, but if there is one, he’s as much of a criminal as the people Dexter kills.

This season will be one of religious strife and a struggle to stay detached from society where Dexter either reaffirms the lack of any godly existence in the world, or maybe he might find some human quality of faith somewhere inside him.

Grade: A

Read more here: http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2011/10/04/dexter_tv_review.aspx
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