Dexter Season 5 Episode 1 Review: My Bad

by Sean on September 26, 2010 · 5 comments

in Dexter

Just as the goosebumps, onset from last year’s shocking season four finale, have finally subsided, Dexter returns tonight, with its seemingly sadistic play on the psyches of not only one troubled serial killer, but with us innocent viewers as well. It’s the emotional roller coaster that’s impossible to get off and the Season 5 bow, “My Bad,” finally comes as a fresh drink to quench the thirst Dexter fans have had for the past nine months.

Dexter Season 5 - Michael C. HallWith a season closer like that, where can you possibly begin? Without skipping ahead, of course. The writers did viewers a huge favor and continued the narrative right at ground zero; Rita (Julie Benz) lies dead in the tub, while son Harrison cries in a pool of his mother’s blood. As Dexter walks around in an unresponsive stupor, his colleagues and federal agents swarm this unlikely crime scene. In obvious shock by the disastrous turn of events, Dexter states, “It was me” to policemen on his front lawn.

The rest of the episode sets Dexter on a path to somewhat surface from this catatonic state and all of it is truly excruciating to watch. As troubling as it is to see Rita carried off the scene in a bodybag, it pales in comparison to seeing Dexter inform her kids, Astor and Cody, that they’re mom was killed by ‘some man.’ His hollow “I’m sorry for your loss” sounds about as fabricated and cold as possible. Of course, since the writers have a sick sense of humor, Dexter tells them this whilst donning Mickey Mouse ears from the kids’ trip to DisneyWorld.

Season 5 looks to be an expository of Dexter’s guilt, or lack thereof. Michael C. Hall, having (finally) garnered a Golden Globe for the role, continues his brilliance. With the gravity of this horrendous event weighing down upon Dexter, Hall perfectly strikes the balance of the hybrid the character has become: an emotionless monster attempting to be a normal human being. It’s no easy task to plan the funeral of a loved one, but Dexter has a harder time appearing to grieve like every one else. His inability to naturally feel these emotions causes him to reflect on all his machinations over the years, including all the deceit he’s engaged in at the expense of his now dead wife. However, by Rita’s funeral, Dexter finds away to pull it all together and deliver a heartfelt eulogy to his erstwhile lover.

Dexter Season 5 - Michael C. Hall

This dozen episodes will also give Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) a chance to shine as she not only reacts to the death of her sister-in-law, but steps in to help her brother out with the children. Deb has obviously been through her fair share of grief, though Rita’s death looks like it will have profound effects on her character. This season will truly test her character and Carpenter seems ready to rise to the challenge.

It also comes as no surprise that Quinn (Desmond Harrington) has picked up Dexter’s scent as the show has been grooming him as the next Doakes for a whole season. He’s the only one that at Miami Metro who finds Rita’s death, and more importantly, Dexter’s reaction to be a bit curious. As he picks at the innocent facade that Dexter has put up, expect others in Dexter’s inner circle to begin seeing the light as well.

Following up the amazing fourth season will be no easy feat, but “My Bad” is a great start to this very pivotal fifth chapter. Usually shows that are this far into their run have somewhat semi-cemented their legacy and the path of their protagonist. This is NOT the case with Dexter. The powers that be decided to completely break the mold of the show, taking it well off the beaten path, and that’s saying a lot for a show about a serial killer who takes justice into his own hands.

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What remains to be seen is if Rita’s death was concocted to truly drive the story ahead or was implemented all in the name of shock value. Many shows have offed a major character, leaving fans to lament said transgressions in the off season. More importantly, the developments over the next 12 episodes will, in many ways, define who this guy that we’re rooting for is. Relatable and curable justice avenger? Or murderous psychopath? Hall has gone on record to say that Dexter now has a thirst for vengeance that cannot be quenched, given that Trinity bested him in their faceoff (and this new impetuousness is on full display towards the end of the first episode). But how long can that last? As Dexter wallows and attempts to find his path to normal human emotions, we will see if he really is a hero truly worthy of our adoration. Or just another killer.

  • TrueDexFan

    You’re all wrong and right in a way.

    First I’ll start out with the fact that I think Dexter is and has always been human. His father raised him from like the age of 8 to think he was going to be a killer. He trained him to be one. No one knows what may have happened with Dexter had that not happened. But I think it shows through every season when he shows how much he cares for innocence. In season 4 when he finds guilt in killing an innocent man, you see him almost break down.

    Next, it’s worth mentioning that Dexter has gone out of his way for every major character in the show in one way or another. In some cases, probably just to keep his cover, but in others, I think it was him truly feeling the need to do good.

    I think Dexter, despite his dark urges, is truly a great man. I believe that he was raised to believe he was a serial killer before he even killed, which is really just a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I hope that this season will have Dexter found out. Because I believe after everything that has happened on this show that the people he is surrounded by will show their support.

    While I do agree that Quinn is the new Doakes, I also think he’s made himself an unreliable detective in many ways. Don’t forget that AI was investigating him. Also his grudge is really just that Dexter knows he’s dirty, so if Dex gets put away or found to be unreliable, then he gets off scott-free.

    “Link”, the reviewer, I find it insulting that you see Dex in such a dark way. After everything we’ve witnessed him do, especially for good, how could you even think that he’s just a murderous psychopath. Don’t forget, before Rita’s death, he had stated that he was going to rid, or try to rid, of his “dark passenger”.

    Maybe I’m the only one that see’s this show in this light, but I think, if that’s the case, then you folks are just not paying enough attention to the character growth that we’ve seen in Dexter over the last 4 seasons.

  • http://www.padsandpanels.com Bill Jones

    Nice write-up, Link. Personally, it always takes a few episodes every season for me for the vibe of the season to set in, as they all vary so greatly. I think the same goes for this. I’m not quite sure what to think yet. Part of me was hoping for that Dexter on the run season before he turned the boat around. I do, however, think his humanity is already showing through. I don’t think the eulogy was in any way faked. He finally found clarity and realized he loved Rita. And the bathroom scene showed the rage of having that taken away from him. I’m intrigued. If it can stay good, I want to see this show continue for seasons to come, but part of me wants to think the twist this season is that maybe Quinn finds out and gets Dexter, rather than paying for it. Could this be the year Dexter is found out? Also, wouldn’t it be cruel to see Dexter get put away for one of the few murders on the show he didn’t commit?

  • J.cole

    i have been lucky enough to watch the first 3 episodes of the season 5 (straight from showcase themselves…promotional reasons)..i will not spoil anything..but i can tell you that it will definetly get amazingly exciting by the end of 3rd episode. and not that anything happens to quinn..but hes pushing ALOT of buttons..and dexter has no idea..yet!..

  • shane

    it was great that they picked up things with the immediate fallout of Rita’s death. MCH was great tonight; you’ve gotta love how he handles the faked emotions.

    I’m looking forward to this season, it’s going to take him a while to be ‘normal’ again.

  • Jon B.

    I, personally, am ready to see Dexter go off the deep end, though I’m glad that he didn’t lam it like he was about to.

    The real question is when will Quinn figure out the puzzle and how fast will Dexter kill him!!

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