Final Thoughts: Dexter Season 6

The only way I’m able to reconcile myself to this season of Dexter is to consider it a waste of time. These twelve episodes were, at their unusual best, fairly entertaining and, at their regular worst, an insult to fans who’ve stuck with this series over the years. Whatever you may think of them as entertainment, there’s no denying that they didn’t actually take us anywhere. With one God-awful exception, each character ended the season in much the same place that they began it. The primary purpose of this year seems to have been to get us to where we should have been at the end of season five. It’s best to just ignore how lazy and contrived Dexter’s been recently and focus on the story telling potential of Debra knowing about Dexter. I’ll be happy to put DDK behind me after this write up.

What Worked

I have my issues with the season premiere but I’m still going to give it a passing grade.  While Dexter’s high school reunion ultimately proved to be weightless (like everything else this season) it was a fun departure for the series.

Brian’s return gave us what was definitely the standout episode of the season and had the virtue of showing us the fascinatingly dark places that Dexter’s psychosis could take this series.  I really wish they’d had the courage to stretch it out over the season, but that doesn’t change how awesome this episode was in itself.

I rolled my eyes when I heard that Mos (at that time still Mos Def) had been cast, but he proved to be one of the only pleasant surprises.  Brother Sam was a well executed character all around, but Mos’ performance help elevate him to something special.

Walter Kinney was definitely the standout kill-of-the-week this season.  The procedural elements of this series are quickly becoming the only thing it still has going for it.

The Dexter/Brother Sam relationship was our stand in for a season arc during the DDK snooze fest.  While I felt their friendship was somewhat forced, it was still great to see Dexter interacting with a positive role model for once in his life.

What Didn’t

“The Twist” was pretty much ill conceived from the get go. Once you caught on to the fact that Gellar wasn’t real there was absolutely no drama left in his interactions with Travis.  I can respect the series for trying something this bold, but hinging the entire season on one moment required a vastly superior execution.

Nothing against Collin Hanks, I’m sure he’s a nice guy.  In fact, I’m so sure he’s a nice guy that I never really bought into him as a murderous psychopath.

The exposition this season was incredibly grating.  Dexter used to be a smart show that expected the audience to keep up.  Now it’s an obvious show that still feels the need to explain itself every episode.  Standout piece of awful, “He still thinks Gellars alive!”

Dexter really looked like an idiot for much of this season.  Part of what makes the series work is the fact that Dex is always two steps ahead of everyone else, it’s the only way to explain his getting away with a triple digit body count.  Among his more grievously stupid mistakes: letting Travis go just because he said he didn’t do it; not anticipating Travis’ betrayal; sending Travis a threatening video of himself; assuming “Gellar” somehow eluded him on the second floor of the church; and not realizing Travis has his keys and wallet.

I could go on about what else went wrong, but I’ll conclude with Debra’s suddenly romantic feelings for Dexter.  Does this need any further explanation of why it’s the worst decision the writers could possibly have made?

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2 responses to “Final Thoughts: Dexter Season 6

  1. I agree with most of your review. I would add that the season as a whole was poor, but when divided into sub-sections the real source of the season’s shortcomings are evident: the first 1/3 of the season was pretty good, not as great as season 1-4 but ok, The 2/3 had some great moments, like Brian, and the death of Sam, Kinney. It was the 3/3 that took the season down all on its own: Cartoon villainy, Deb loves Dex; all came out in the last 3rd.

    But I do 100% disagree with why it was “the worst decision the writers could possibly have made” – As I wrote in a prior episode’s review, an incestuous relationship (like the one Deb has in mind) was portrayed very well in Lost season 1 with Boon and Shanoon. What was the worst decision IMO, was how they executed this change in character for Deb. And I think the 2nd worst decision awaits us next September when Deb will likely let Dexter go because of her conflicted romantic feelings such as “I’m in love with another murderer?” (side note, will Deb notice that how Dexter is killing Travis, the naked body under the plastic wrapping, was very similar to how Brian held her in S1?) rather then because of the established mutually supportive sibling relationship who have shared many hardships and grown together as siblings and co-workers or because without Dexter, Deb’s emotional support centre is mortally threatened.

    Dex is always two steps ahead of everyone else – disagree. Dexter benefits from the lack of information, and lag time involved in investigations. Dexter’s intelligence, while impressive, is often two-steps-ahead and one step behind due to his over-confidence in his abilities and thoroughness.

  2. I don’t think we 100% disagree on why Deb’s feelings for Dexter are the worst decision possible. I agree with your previous comments and made some similar ones myself, I just thought I’d already ranted enough in other posts but, since you brought it up, yet another reason this shift in their relationship is utterly stupid is how quickly Deb comes to accept her feelings. As we’ve pointed out, this is out of nowhere and while it’s a big stretch for Deb to suddenly have a romantic interest in her brother, it’s utterly ludicrous for her to come to terms with that interest in the space of 2 days. The show has indicated countless times that her relationship with her BROTHER is the only consistently positive force in Debra’s life. IF we actually bought into Debra’s attraction to Dexter then the storytelling potential is in watching her struggle with her quasi-incestuous feelings, basically the way Boon did on Lost. Instead, it was used as a cheap shorthand for the profound bond between these two characters.

    While Dex is often tripped up by overconfidence, he’s never been portrayed as stupid before this season. The Code is rooted in caution and certainty and Dexter just seemed to ignore these things when the plot needed him to. What’s more, his mistakes weren’t portrayed as the result of hubris, they were merely glossed over.

    Thanks for all your comments this season, BTW.

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