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Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday's Four Words: Dexter


After watching the sixth season of Dexter...

Review in four words: Dramatic tension never stops!

Review and then some: I've been watching everybody's favorite serial killer for six seasons now, and it has yet to disappoint me. Just when I think they can't take it in any new direction, the writers manage to keep tensions for our boy Dexter running at a full speed, kicking you in the pants with a full-on adrenaline rush. Dexter is the potato-chip of TV—you can't watch just one episode!

Still, I've been unable to convince some people that this is a worthwhile show to catch. Probably because our intrepid hero is a killer—a serial killer. Why do we love him anyway? Outwardly, Dexter Morgan is a highly skilled blood-splatter analyst (and lab geek) with Miami Metro's Homicide division, as well as an all around good spirited member of the Homicide team, understanding brother to Debra, his adoptive sister, and great boyfriend and dad-figure. But inwardly, Dexter's greatest struggle is with his need to kill, held in check by a rigid Code taught to him by his detective father—only kill other murderers.

We watch as he struggles to connect to humanity, to emotions that he doesn't understand, to hold his outward façade in place while he hunts those who have escaped the justice system, and yet tries to cling desperately to his normal life. The core of the show is in Dexter's struggle with his Dark Passenger—his need to kill—while we as an audience gets swept up in caring for him and those around him: his sister, his police buddies, and his girlfriend and her kids.

Each season tracks Dexter's relationship with his Dark Passenger. We can excuse Dexter's horrific need for several reasons, and one is that he doesn't want to have a Dark Passenger. We see him constantly struggle to be normal, to fit in, to connect more deeply with people despite his handicap, and yes even to be a better person. We also like Dex because hunting other evil-doers who've escaped justice is a little more justified. Don't we always root for the good guys killing the evil guys in everything from war movies to superhero flicks?

But Dexter isn't just bad vs. badder. Each season gives him a mirror of himself—a killer that is much more horrible and uncontrolled, yet each new killer brings to light many of his internal struggles, pitting him against his dark tendencies and his want for normality. We can like Dexter because he tries so very hard at love, family, and work, even though he sometimes fails as often as he succeeds. His Dark Passenger is an addiction he fights against time and time again.

 Add in the fact that we get to hear Dexter's wry internal comments, deadpan one-liners that are darkly funny, and his confusion with elements of humanity that should be obvious to everyone else. Add in the antagonists who are as fascinating as Dexter himself, brilliantly complex and grisly homicide, as well as a roarin' good detective story, and you have the awesome mix that is Dexter.

Catch it, watch it, love it.

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1 Comments:

At June 10, 2012 at 7:14 PM , Blogger Carmen said...

Ooh, good choice of pictures! This review explains better than I ever could why this show is so good. Next time I try to explain Dexter, I'll just have to redirect people to this post.

 

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