by Gary Redrup
As soon as the eerily captivating theme music floated from the speakers to my eagerly-awaiting self, curled in a corner of the sofa with a pillow covering my eyes, I knew that could only mean one thing – Dexter is back.
Yes, Season 6 exploded onto the screens of bloodthirsty viewers everywhere last week, promising a series of twists and turns like no other.
And the first episode certainly did not disappoint. Almost immediately introducing who we can only presume is Dexter’s new arch nemesis, this new killer is surrounded by deeply religious connotations, mental questionability, and rock bottom self-esteem, like we’ve never seen before. Seemingly torn between his moral and ethical standpoint, which is pushed to extreme schizophrenic boundaries of course, and the instruction of a mysterious, religious master; Colin Hanks [yes that is Tom Hanks’ talented younger brother] pushes his minimal family away in favour of cruel and sinister acts, all in the name of God.
On a parallel, Dexter is yet again on the fence between his role as perfect father, and that of his true self – a killer. Having covered this ‘father’ idea to an extent last series, I was worried that the storyline would grow tired and repetitive, but was pleasantly surprised by the marrying of themes, and the contrast between good and evil – Harrison and Hanks – appearing in this episode.
Harrison has reached nursery age – they grow up so fast! – and Dexter must choose the right school for him to attend. The best option, it seems, is a supremely religious Catholic school recommended by Batista. Dexter expresses that he has no persuasion toward religion of any kind and doesn’t see the point of believing in something so questionable. This begs the question whether we are being led to believe that religion can be the bad guy, hence the murderous motives of our killer, and atheism can be the good, in the form of Dexter’s justice. The obvious concentration on religion is clearly a key theme for the season, and one that we should welcome with relish!
My favourite scene of the first episode also happened to be related to creed. It came in the form of a murdered fruit-seller, hollowed out, and filled with slimy water snakes. Seven, one for each of the deadly sins. Ironic? Yes. Morbid? Of course. Sick? Completely. But such a powerful and oddly moving image.
Michael C. Hall and cast gave a stellar performance. We saw a side of Dexter that we haven’t much seen – vulnerability – and that gave new dimension to the show. Jennifer Carpenter was ever-hilarious, and my only criticism is that her enviously athletic physique, brilliant one-liners, and excessive cursing, were not featured more. Prepare yourself for less LaGuerta (yay!), more Angel (hurrah!), and the fact that Masuka has an intern. And no, they are not male.
Oh Dexter, how we’ve missed you and your pastel coloured shirts.