28
Sep
2009
Dexter: Season 4, Episode 1
Living the Dream
Jordan
The cliché of the quiet, lone wolf serial killer has never been more alive in the mind of Dexter Morgan. Gone are the days when he had his own apartment, a sense of privacy, or the time to sleep. With his newborn son Harrison (clearly named after his dearly departed father) keeping him up all night in his new suburban home, Dexter is feeling a little distracted. All of this leads to him bringing the wrong notes to court, and his screw-up lets the defendant, Benito Gomez, walk. Worry not, denizens of Miami, Dexter Morgan, resident killer of killers is here to clean up his own mess"¦if he doesn't fall asleep first.

Dexter is sleep deprived throughout this premiere, as many new father's are, yet it almost feels tacked on to a pretty rote story for the series"”Dexter knows he has to kill someone to feed his "Dark Passenger", he kinds a killer and tracks him until he can catch and kill him. Something has to get in the way to spice up an idea that would grow old otherwise, and this year it seems like that something is little Harrison. I have no problem with the idea of the show examining Dexter the father"”quite the contrary, I think the idea of Dexter, a man with serious father issues, as well as serious psychological problems (and, let's face it, a pretty large bevy of felonies under his belt) trying to parent a child and not traumatize him is the stuff of compelling television. The premiere, however, used the storyline as if it was just another hoop for Dexter to jump through.

This episode showed a lot of the problems that can and do plague Dexter as a series. The plot of each season can be pretty easily summed up as "Dexter wants to kill people. Things get in his way and he almost gets caught. Annoying subplots are thrown in for other characters. Dexter lives to kill another day." In addition to that, I'm starting to think that Miami is the most dangerous place on the planet, with something like 5 serial killers living and working there in the last 4 seasons (Ice Truck Killer, Dexter "Bay Harbor Butcher" Morgan, The Skinner, and Trinity, and that's if you don't count Lila and Miguel Prada as potential serial killers). Plus, every subplot this season seems ripped from the book of boredom and cliché. Deb is going to have relationship troubles, Quinn is going to bang that reporter (which, God willing, will have some relevance to the plot at large), and Bautista is banging La Guerta (I'm willing to offer a cash reward to whichever of Miami's multitude of killers can get rid of La Guerta before she annoys me for another 12 episodes) which makes him a whole lot less interesting as a character.

To be fair, the show occasionally takes time to build its plot and may begin using all of the disparate and intriguing threads they have thrown out in some very cool ways in weeks to come. John Lithgow's Trinity already scares the bejesus out of me, so that plot is likely to be worth its weight. And the supporting player's on the show have never been anything more than filler between Dexter scenes. This is Michael C. Hall's show, and he is still one of the most incredible, compelling actors on television. There was a lot of negativity in this review, but most of it came from a place of love. I hope to see Dexter tackle the complexities of its central character and his new challenges in some multifaceted, interesting ways in the season to come. But even if we are left with a pretty rote story and some pretty solid cliffhangers like this episode's car crash, I'll still be along for the ride, and enjoying every Michael C. Hall filled minute of it.

Grade: B

Notes:

-Keith Carradine's Lundy is back! Considering he is the only character on this show to ever come near Dexter in my mind, I am very excited for his return.

-I loved the riff on the opening theme tonight. Dexter's mornings don't go as smoothly now.

-"Talk about your blood bath." Masuka continues to make me laugh hysterically.

-"I'm killing for two now."
Tags: Dexter
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