Warning: spoiler alert!
For the last three years, much of America has been involved in a love affair with a serial killer named Dexter Morgan. It’s a mystery as to just how they do it, but the writers of the television show “Dexter” have showed us a character, played by Michael C. Hall, who captures people, stabs them to death and then cuts their bodies up into little pieces, and they’ve made us love him for it.
But we’re meeting a new Dexter in season four. The character we thought we knew so well is changing, and viewers will have to decide if his good heart is still enough to buy forgiveness for his very dark deeds.
We spent the first three seasons getting to know about “Dexter Past.” He finds out about his early rescue from the scene of his mother’s gruesome murder. We learn about “Harry’s Code” (and see it in action). And Dexter discovers his long-lost (also serial killer) brother.
But this new season introduces “Dexter Present,” and incites viewer speculation about “Dexter Future.” With a new family, a newborn baby and a new serial killer on the loose, the usually so careful Dexter finds himself stepping into more traps than normal. Viewers winced as Dex seriously smudged on his first murder of the season. We gasped as Rita (Julie Benz) caught him right in the middle of a big lie about keeping his old apartment. And now we’re questioning his purpose as his own sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) and FBI Agent Lundy (Keith Carradine) get gunned down by the murderers he’s supposed to be protecting them from.
Dexter is unraveling and questioning whether or not he can continue to keep up his double life. Harry (James Remar), Dexter’s omnipresent deceased father, advises against it. It’s also worth noting that the last two killers (Zoey and Trinity) Dexter has pursued lead double lives with family as well. Zoey (Christina Cox) ended up murdering her family in cold blood and tells Dexter it’s only a matter of time before he does the same.
Trinity (played by a very creepy John Lithgow), on the other hand, is the most successful serial killer to ever get away with it. And he has a wife and two kids. So, who will Dexter end up like?
We forgive Dexter for what he does because he can’t help it. So what do we do when he starts making poor decisions that have little to do with his “Dark Passenger?” As Dexter’s carefully-structured life slips through his fingers, we learn more about his moral character and have to decide if he’s as good as we hope.
So far we have discovered that he’s a liar. And Dexter breaks the viewers’ hearts even more every time Deb reaches out to him and he looks the other way. But we have learned (and so, apparently, has Dexter) that he would rather risk his family knowing the truth than lose them. And that is the hope that we hold onto.
The writers have changed up the basic plot for “Dexter” from the first three seasons: thus far, Dexter has not found someone “just like me” to relate to. We haven’t had to listen to his tired internal monologue – “I’ve finally found someone who can accept me for who I am, blah blah blah.”
In season one it was his brother Rudy (Christian Carmago), the Ice Truck Killer. In season two it was Lila (Jaime Murray). In season three, it was Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits). In the end, they all proved untrustworthy, and in the end, he had to kill them all. Viewers are tired of seeing Dexter betrayed. However, this might not last long. In the most recent episode of season four, there was some foreshadowing that might lead us to the same place. The camera shows the Trinity Killer greeting his wife and children at home, and the scene fades to black as Dexter contemplates, “He’s a family man. Just like me.” Should this inspire hope in the viewer? Or just an exasperated sigh?
In other news, the geriatric Agent Lundy has sailed back onto the scene, luring the foul-mouthed Deb away from the dreamy Anton (David Ramsey) with his wrinkly-eyed Jimmy Stewart smiles and his cucumber sandwiches. At the end of episode five, however, he and Deb are gunned down after a midnight soiree at his place. Deb makes it; he doesn’t.
Deb is left reeling after Lundy’s murder. She blames herself, of course, and refuses to take pain medication for her wound. She looks to her brother, the only person she has left, for solace, and he, predictably, comforts her at arm’s length.
Deb’s partner, Detective Quinn (Desmond Harrington), starts up an ill-advised relationship with an ambitious reporter who equates pillow talk with criminal case updates. However, now that Deb is single, maybe he’ll get his act together and ask her out instead.
Lieutenant LaGuerta (Lauren Velez) is sleeping with someone again. Nothing new there.
Stay tuned next Sunday night to see if Dexter works things out with Rita, Deb and the Trinity Killer.
Dexter comes on Sunday nights at 9 on Showtime.
Let me know what you think in the comments section, and check back here next Monday where I’ll be talking more Dexter.