Sunday, January 02, 2011

DEXTER: THE SPREAD OF DARKNESS

Dexter found a partner in S5, and Deborah’s character grew... Darkness, I’d say, was the theme of the season, and I have a few theories to share with you. Please let me know what you thought of another season of this fantastic series


At the end of S4 of Dexter, there was so much that the writers could do with the show. While there was scope for a lot of excellence, they could have easily slid down into something that didn’t excite us. Rita’s death made everything a big question mark, and we were looking for answers for almost a year, and then came along S5, and it was well worth the wait! After the ice-truck killer, the bay-harbour butcher, the skinner/Miguel Prado and the trinity killer, this season saw the barrel murders. Miami Metro Homicide was caught up with the drama of that, and we saw ups and downs in the working relationships of the entire department.

The Morgan Sister
Deborah and Quinn finally hooking up was something of a relief to me. Seeing their chemistry ever since he replaced Doakes, it was inevitable that they would. One thing I was afraid of was that Deb would be sent down that path of falling for all the guys that end up dead—the ice-truck killer, Anton and then Agent Lundi. When Quinn started snooping around, it seemed too similar to when Doakes did the same thing, which eventually cost him his life. Thankfully, Quinn’s feelings for Deb made him stop. But by then Quinn’s private investigator Liddy wanted to dig deeper, to fulfil his personal agenda. He became an unnecessary complication in Dexter’s ‘project’ for the season, but that was handled extremely well. Now, even though I feel that Quinn’s suspicions about Dexter might resurface, I think he might let it slide, given that Dexter did him a favour by not revealing that the blood on his shoe was Liddy’s, which took away the possibility of him having had anything to do with Liddy’s murder. Deb and Quinn finally moved on, without their relationship ending with someone dying; and I think this might be it for Deb. Who knows how serious those two will get; if it does get really serious, it’d be very interesting to watch.

Miami Metro
Last season’s surprise couple LaGuerta and Batista had their share of lows this season. The strain in their marriage, because of Batista’s impulsive behaviour and LaGuerta’s ambitious selfishness brought out interesting aspects of their characters, and gave more meaning to their purpose on the show. The friction between LaGuerta and her team in general (Quinn, Batista and Deb) made for some really good material. That added another dimension to the team dynamic, and added value to them working on the cases. Besides the barrel-murders, the secondary case, as open-and-close as it was, was quite gripping, with the encounters involved. The scenes when Deb saw Carlos Fuentes slicing a boy’s throat, and then when she shot him in the head, while he threatened to shoot another hostage, were absolutely chilling. It turns out that the latter turn of events brought out a side in her that I found very interesting—that she wasn’t fazed by having killed someone. It reminded me that she was Harry Morgan’s flesh and blood, and maybe there’s some darkness in her that’s been waiting to be expressed. I don’t know how they’d do it, but I hope they explore an angle like this in future seasons.

An Addition Extraordinaire
With all that said, the highlight of the season was definitely Julia Stiles, whose exemplary portrayal as Lumen Ann Pierce became a strong backbone for the season. Her phenomenal job playing a disturbed young woman had me in awe throughout the season. Of course, her character’s relationship with Dexter brought another strong element of intrigue to the table. It made a lot of sense, because after Rita’s death, it was only someone who Dexter could relate to completely that he would explore some kind of a relationship with. Not only was he able to open up to her, he even became her tutor and mentor, helping her find closure and fight the darkness from her past. A strong set of villains, led by Jordan Chase (Jonny Lee Miller) became their targets, and that gave us several thrilling scenes of Dexter working with a partner. Miller played Chase very convincingly, making himself seem truly detestable in character, while his chemistry with Stiles, as his victim, brought out a level of fear and anger that one could surely feel, even by just watching.

The Finale
As Dexter helped Lumen fight her darkness, their camaraderie and solidarity was endearing, and refreshing. It’s a pity that Stiles most probably won’t return to the show, because Lumen really seemed like the perfect person for him. However, even if she had to leave, I really think they could have handled her departure in a much better way. It was totally unconvincing when she overcame her darkness overnight, literally! I suppose they could have kept her till the S6 premiere, and had her leave when she saw Dexter kill again, while deciding that she didn’t want to be a part of that life any more. Whatever it would be, I’m sure they could have done something better!

Finally, Dexter was left all alone, once again, with couples making up all around him. My heart really went out to him, after all that he went through and all that he almost had this season. I was glad that he finally made peace with his stepdaughter Astor, and I hope there are nicer things in store for him next season.

And now, before I leave you to tell me what you thought of Dexter S5, I want to share another thought with you... Many believe that it was odd for Deb to have let Chase’s killers (Dexter and Lumen) go, after confronting them from behind a curtain, on arriving at the crime scene, during the climax of the season. However, it was understandable, I'd say, given her recognising that sometimes, you can’t wait to do the right thing, when you know that your timely actions could put an end to crimes and murder. Her theory of the vigilantes allowed her to let Chase’s killers go, as she knew that Chase only got what he deserved. A part of me thinks that at some level, Deb knew who was behind that curtain, because of some gut-feeling, and that part of me also hopes that they explore that in future seasons. I think making Dexter open up to Deb eventually would take the show to another level altogether, and that can only make it more exciting!


Please comment and let me know what you thought of Dexter S5, especially about the darkness that Harry Morgan’s children probably share in common with each other...

COMING SOON: TV TALK BEST OF 2010 – THE RESULTS

4 comments:

  1. Well, firstly, I loved this season. I agree with you on most of the points you've made, such as Deborah and Quinn's relationship blossoming instead of reaching a 'dead' end and the relationship that could have (and I feel, that should have) been between Dexter and Lumen. I really hope Lumen returns.

    What I loved: The way Dexter, for the first time, completely bares his 'serial killer' side to someone, and the immense sense of peace you can see in him when he's with Lumen. My heart sank when she said she's leaving. It was great to see him so happy and peaceful.
    I was glad to see the manner in which things get settled with Astor and Dexter; how he dealt with Barry and how Harry says "I'm proud of you son."
    Guest actors Julia Stiles and Johny Lee Miller, both performed brilliantly. I still remember getting goosebumps when he calls her and says "Tick, tick tick; this is the sound of your life running out." Julia's performance was flawless; I could feel her pain and fear.

    What I didn't like:
    I found it very unreal that Lumen's darkness disappears so suddenly and she decides to leave.Agreed, she did get redemption and closure, but her exit was a bit random and hasty. It was almost like the writers saying to us viewers, "She was only here for this season, so please don't be so surprised at her exit."
    I also found it odd that Deborah let Chase's killers go, simply because of the manner in which she lays emphasis on being a serious cop. However, it was still acceptable eventually (for the aforementioned reasons).
    I also found Liddy's death being wrapped up without any hassle for Dexter a bit convenient.
    Lastly, when the previews for Season 5 began, I was expecting a lot more to happen with regard to Rita's death, but I was slightly disappointed that it didn't fall through; it could have added a lot more excitement to the series.

    Overall, the season was superb and action-packed, and I of course loved it! Every episode made me want to see the next one instantly. Looking forward to the next one, as we don't know what to expect, there being no cliffhanger this time around :)

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  2. i love this season almost as much as i did the last (with Trinity). It's amazing how much Dexter changed in just one season. Dealing with Rita's death, and then his stepkids and a nanny was intense. But what i liked most of all in the way his character evolved was his relationship with Harry. When Harry tells him (after he threatened Olivia's dad) that he didn't know Dexter had anything but darkness, it was basically just Dex's subconscious talking. And to admit to himself that he's more than just a monster was huge, by narrow-minded Dexter's standards. I say narrow minded because he's never acknowledged his human side - his love for Rita, and protective feelings for Deb and later fatherly feelings for Astor, Cody and Harrison.

    Another huge deal for someone as intensely private as Dex, sharing a bit of his dark side with Lumen was intense. I also feel that Lumen getting over her darkness overnight was a bit forced. The writers needed to give her closure so the dumped it into the plot. That sucked.

    This season also brought out Michael C Hall's acting skills like none other. I'm talking about the light twitch when he saw Deb watching the CDs or when Jordan gave him a 'small package for Harrison'.

    Deb's transition from black and white to grey was also noteworthy. The show has always had strong women characters and Deb's transition made her much more likeable. Especially since she just proved that unlike the rest of Miami Metro, the woman actually has a brain and what they call the 'cop instinct'. i love Deb's dark side.

    Which just makes it kind of sad that Jennifer Carpenter and Michael Hall are breaking up. It was weird at first, but seeing the two bond on screen, i was kind of happy for them.

    Anyway, can't wait for SEASON 6!

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  3. I think you've got it spot on again. I think Julia Stiles was great but at the end of the day she just got Dexter to help her out and get her demons out of the way for her
    I think this season of Dexter was a good one, I still think season 1 and 4 were way superior though. But picking up the pieces after Rita's death I think they did a good job

    The things I like this season
    1. Dexter found a partner in crime in Julia Stiles and someone he opened up to and spoke to but at the end of it all I felt like she just used him to get her dirty work done. I did like the chemistry between the two of them though. I did find it very odd that she jumped into bed with him after killing someone. I mean she was a victim was has been traumatised, raped and tortured, so that she got over her issues so quickly I found a little bit odd and off. It was heartbreaking to see Dex making breakfast and wanting a normal life when Lumen popped in and said she was going to leave.
    2. Family being so important to Dexter how he spends time with his Harrison and even trying to help out Astor who was annoying yet again.

    I think the character that evolved the most this season was probably Deb. I think it made sense when she let the killers off the hook. We saw her conscience didn't come into play when she shot Carlos point blank and felt that was a build up to a change in Deb.

    Quinn is the only cop who seems to have good instincts in the entire office barring Deb and even he gets shot down time after time. Liddy was a real sleazebag and hopefully they'll tie up the loose ends regarding his death next season.

    LaGuerta was totally annoying this season and I think they should go back to making her a strong character and not a whiny selfish boss.

    Jordan Chase probably was the highlight of this season. Who ever had to follow the trinity killer knew that they had a hard act to follow but I thought it was played brilliantly. Jordan was just so cold and detached and just plain scary. All in all another great season.

    At the end of the day Dexter never ceases to surprise me and it still has me hooked after five seasons. I can't wait for season 6

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  4. AGREE! RT @wildcherry28 Jordan Chase probably was the highlight of this season. Who ever had to follow the trinity killer knew that they had a hard act to follow but I thought it was played brilliantly. Jordan was just so cold and detached and just plain scary. All in all another great season.

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