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Dexter: Season 6

Dexter: Season 6

What She said:

She

Our favorite vigilante serial killer is back, and this season he’s getting a lesson in faith.  I know, it seems highly uncharacteristic, but now that Dexter Morgan is a single father, he’s wondering how best to prepare little Harrison for his future, and that includes learning about God.

Season 6 pits Dexter against Professor James Geller (Edward James Olmos) and Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks), coined the Doomsday Killers because their crimes mimic passages from the Bible’s Book of Revelation.  This season’s themes gingerly walk the line between questioning the rationality of religion, and being a proponent for its relevance. 

As with past seasons, Dexter is supposed to be growing as a person, although he sort of ends the season where he began, feeling like organized religion is not for him.  But it took a lot of blood shed for him to come to this conclusion.  The question here is whether or not Dexter has grown at all in recent years.  He loves his son, we know that, but we knew that back in Season 4.  He seems to have in some ways stagnated. 

Meanwhile, his sister Deb is promoted to Lieutenant, which triggers a psychological breakdown as she struggles to meet the demands of the job.  Like LaGuerta before her, Deb finds it difficult to have a personal life when acting in such an important role.  She begins seeing a psychologist in an effort to help her sort things out.  The bottom line: she’s really bad with men, including with her own brother.

Miami Metro does not look very good this season.  While they’re never too far behind Geller and Marshall, they also don’t seem to do anything right.  Literally, nothing.  Quinn and Batista in particular don’t seem capable of doing their jobs.  Dexter intentionally sabotages things so that he can advance his own agenda, but the rest of the department has no excuse for their incompetence. 

At the end of the day, Travis Marshall doesn’t quite seem smart enough to be as successful at killing as he is, and that makes you doubt the legitimacy of the storyline.  Too many elements of Season 6 are forced, including a late-season sub-plot involving Deb secretly being in love with Dexter.  It’s clearly a plot device of some sort, but it’s also extremely uncharacteristic, and downright shameful.

Despite all this, Dexter is still a fun show to watch.  We’ll see how it holds up over the next two seasons.  Ideally, Season 6 would have been the final one for the show, but we know that it’ll be around for a couple more years, so what will come next?  Let’s just hope that this divergent path that the writers have moved down doesn’t ruin the entire series.  The last two seasons have been pretty mediocre compared to Season 1 and Season 4.  Let’s hope that the makers put the show to rest properly.

Thumbs mostly up (although there are definite signs of deterioration)

 

What He said:

He

When it was announced that Edward James Olmos (AKA Admiral William Adama) would be guest starring in season 6 of Dexter, I was extremely excited. I was obsessed with Battlestar Galactica during its run and “the old man” was a big reason why. He’s simply a fantastic actor and I couldn’t wait to see him in another show I follow faithfully.

Unfortunately, his performance was quite forgettable. He was so flat and emotionless, that I can’t think of a single thing about the character that will make me remember him when the show is all said and done. Even worse is that his partner in crime Travis (Colin Hanks), was just as bland. It doesn’t’ help that Colin Hanks looks like a Woody doll (minus the hat) either.  There was nothing formidable about them and the big reveal wasn’t shocking at all.

I got the impression the characters were written this way. Despite being about as interesting as a cardboard box, I jsimply got this vibe it was intentional. Especially since I had followed BSG during its run and witnessed how impressive Olmos can be in an integral, recurring role. I do blame most of it on the writers and directors. However, the actors themselves brought absolutely nothing to the table in that sense. They were beyond bland. They weren’t necessarily bad, there was just nothing compelling about them at all. When the show finishes it’s run, I’d say they’ve got a good chance at being some of the least memorable characters or the entire series.

But this season managed to keep me interested for a few reasons. First is the characters themselves. I like most (lets face it nobody likes LaGuerta) of them and even the one’s I don’t are usually entertaining. This season was also quite funny.

First and foremost there’s Dexter himself. I like the growth of the character. I like the whole idea of taking someone who’s really screwed up and seeing what comes of them when you point their anger in the right direction. And speaking of that there’s Brother Sam.

Dexter is a very practical and logical individual. He’s not religious or spiritual at all. The very concept of faith goes against everything he believes. So when this ex-con turned preacher enters his life, it makes for some interesting moral stuff; which has always been one of the strengths of the show. Sam went from one extreme to the other. In his former life, he was your typical street thug, however in the present day he’s a man of faith. He’s a little too dogmatic for my tastes, but like Dexter I appreciate that fact that he is a good man. He may not convert Dexter, but Dexter recognizes the importance of some of Sam’s actions; which is something I can identify with. In a short time, Mos Def managed to create one of the better supporting characters I’ve seen on the show. I found the bond between him and Dexter to be genuine despite the fact that it’s a very recently formed friendship.

I also really appreciated Jennifer Carpenter’s performance this year. First of all, Deb is and always has been extremely funny. Characters with potty mouths run the risk losing their appeal very quickly, but there’s just something about the way Carpenter delivers the lines that sends me into hysterics. For example, her reaction to her promotion was hilarious. And speaking of her promotion, it works – despite the fact that the believability of someone so young being promoted to that level is questionable – for me on several levels. It forced her to grow up and I felt like I was watching both Deb’s character grow as well as Jennifer Carpenter’s talents as an actress. She was top-notch this season imo.

Aside from a very questionable writing decision with her character’s behavior towards the end of the season, I was quite pleased with her. We’ll just have to wait and see how that choice of direction for her character plays out.

Even some of the supporting cast steps up their game this year. Quinn and Batista were absolutely hilarious. They provided some of the funniest moments of the season. Sure Miami Metro boasts some of the most inept police in the history of law enforcement, but at least they entertained me. They show has always stretched this aspect a little far, but if they’re going to do it, at least they make me laugh.

I also got a kick out of the episode with Dexter’s deceased brother Brian. I know some fans didn’t care for it, but I thought it was an entertaining way of bringing back one of the most memorable characters in the show’s history.

I was surprised when I heard the show as renewed for two more seasons. There are definite signs of deterioration.  Dexter should have been caught several times now. The inability of Miami Metro to solve most cases would have probably gotten them all fired. The show has become very flawed in that sense. But in the end, it still entertains me and until stops doing that, I will still get some measure of entertainment out of it.

Rating: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was written on January 16, 2012.

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