NOTE: If you have not seen season 4 of Dexter, or the season 5 premiere episode, go watch them now, as there are SPOILERS ahead!
With such a dramatic end to the previous season of Dexter, many people were worried exactly how the show was going to proceed after Rita’s death at the hands of the Trinity killer.
For most shows, they will skip ahead (or at least briefly show) the preparation for the funeral, and most likely pick it up after that. But not Dexter. No, Dexter decided to pick up right mere minutes after the finale ended, with Dexter discovering the body and calling the police. The writer’s decided to show us the process of grieving and burying someone you loved, but not like a normal series. We had the pleasure of seeing this rather emotional experience through the dark and deformed lens that is Dexter Morgan.
But, that’s why we watch the show, isn’t it? To see a life that is so outside of our own, but yet, also similar?
Dexter, being a serial killer, is a very difficult man to like. But, one of the joys of the journey of the series, is seeing Dexter slowly learn to embrace his humanity, through his relationship with Rita, Astor, Cody and Harrison. With Rita, the linchpin of his humanity gone, where does Dexter go from here?
The answer, is that he basically shuts down. He reverts almost completely back to the character from season one, where he fakes all of his emotions. The conversation where he told Astor and Cody about their mother was heart-wrenching to watch, as delivering that news to kids is very difficult. But Dexter just lays it out there, and you cannot help but just feel for the kids who have to be told like that. On a side-note, the actress who plays Astor, Christina Robinson, for such a young actress, she really did quite well with such emotionally heavy material.
We also got to see pretty much every other character’s reaction to Rita’s death, and some were quite touching, while others can have some ramifications down the road – like with Deb having sex with Quinn in Rita and Dexter’s house. Deb seems geared to have a more active role this season, and that is perfectly fine with me, as Jennifer Carpenter is a great actress (who in real life is married to Michael C. Hall, who plays Dexter).
And with no work to keep his mind focused (as Rita’s death is under the FBI’s jurisdiction), Dexter decided to do the only thing that he thought would be the best for everyone – run. He said, “I’ve disappeared so many people. My turn now.” But, of course, we knew that wouldn’t take.
All it took was the killing of some no-nothing jackass at a gas station to clarify things for him. I thought it was very well done that the first time Harry speaks to Dexter, is to say that killing that man was the first truly human thing that he did after Rita’s death. It was almost lie Dexter was reborn in that moment, and realized that what he was doing was hurting the ones he loved.
I am still confused as to where this season is going, but it looks like fallout from Rita’s death is going to be haunting him, and it may very well be the catalyst for some people discovering Dexter’s secret other life.
But, I would give this episode, seven and a half blood-smear slides out of 10, for setting up a potentially interesting season for Dexter.