And now for the next exciting episode of “Everybody Loves Dexter!” Okay, so maybe that’s not the right title, though I for one certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Ray Romano on Dexter’s table. But since that’s unlikely to happen in an imperfect world, I shall have to entertain you instead with this review of ‘Sunshine and Frosty Swirl’, the second episode in the new season of Dexter.
As we enter into the new episode, we find Deb trying to come to terms with figuring out that her brother just happens to be the Bay Harbor Butcher. Dexter, for his part, is still desperately clinging to the hope that somehow the whole affair is going to go away. But it does not go away and Deb decides that since Dexter is an addict of sorts, she needs to form her own one-person recovery group. So Dexter ends up moving in with her and she begins to act as watchdog over him, keeping him from giving into those nasty urges that put them in this position in the first place.
In the meanwhile, the rest of the Dexter cast goes about their business, looking for Mike’s killer. LaGuerta follows her own suspicions about the blood slide she found, putting her one step closer to making some sort of connection to Dexter. The conflict between Dexter and Louis (that filthy hacker bastard) heats up rapidly. And the Russian mafia makes their own investigation, seeking out their dead friend and following a trail that will inevitably lead them to Dexter’s doorstep.
The first thing I noticed about this episode is that the pacing is damn near as perfect as you can get in a weekly show. They’re straying away (at least for now) from the “kill-an-episode” format that characterizes most Dexter seasons. The focus for the season so far is directly on the interaction between Dexter and Deb given their shared secret. This is, in my opinion, the best thing they could have done. All the meat of the story lies in this conflict and the writers are loyally pursuing every element of it. The goings-on with the rest of the cast are minor and all plot-driven. No longer are we subject to annoying and pointless sub-plots involving the secondary characters. The title of the show is Dexter and that’s exactly who it’s about this time around.
Once again I have to give a round of applause to Jennifer Carpenter. There’s no acting class in the world that you could take that would prepare you to be the sister of a serial killer that you also happen to be in love with. She pulls it off amazingly and her performance is the highlight of this episode as it was in the last. But honestly, it seems like all the actors have stepped up their game this time around. Even with their parts being small and their lines kept to a minimum, the rest of the cast are playing their roles perfectly. I’m finding it to be more immersive than ever before, which is a relief considering that I’d been ready to dump the show for the last two seasons (only Eddie Olmos kept me around for season 6).
I’m looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds and whether they can keep the emotional pacing through all 12 episodes. Whoever took charge this season has brought new life to Dexter. For once, a show may go out just as strong as it started instead of winding down and dying the slow death.
Tune in next Sunday for ‘Buck the System’ and log in to Nerdbastards the next day for my review of that episode, cause you know you want to.