Trinity actually surpassed The Ice Truck Killer as Dexter’s greatest foil. Overall, I’d still say that the cat-and-mouse games of season one remain unmatched, but in terms of actually pushing Dexter’s character into new and interesting places Trinity is the best big bad the series has given us.
Lundy’s death was not just a great shocker early on; it remained a compelling subplot throughout the season. Far too often, television shows throw big moments like this at us without making them sufficiently relevant to the story.
Some good kills overall this year. The table-talk was great and I’m glad to see some tools besides the knife employed again.
Dexter’s been giving us striking images since season one and didn’t disappoint this time. Personal favorites from this season include Trinity holding his first victim (and later his wife) in the bathtub, Dexter peering into Trinity’s home from behind a tree, and Harrison crying in Rita’s blood.
Jennifer Carpenter’s performance really was top-drawer this season. I’ve always thought she ranged from ok to good, but there were many people out there that couldn’t stand her. The crying scene alone should be enough to silence those critics, even if they can’t admit how good she was all season. Where’s her golden globe nomination?
The pacing of this whole season was really excellent. Tension is what we tune into Dexter for, but each episode just seemed to start turning the screws earlier than previous years and not let up. More importantly, the writers gave us truly satisfying payoffs for all the edges we has to sit on.
I’ve rave plenty about Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow this season, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention just how much their individual performances and chemistry made this season work. It takes an awful lot to sell characters this big, but they both did so, admirably.
Rita and the kids were great this years. Go ahead and bitch about it in the comments but it’s true. Yes, many of Rita’s scenes seemed to stifle the plot and grate on our nerves but that was the point. As Dexter was feeling smothered, so was the audience. And the kids? They were better utilized here than in any previous season.
Angel’s love life, a fixture of each season, perfectly encapsulates what does and does not work in Dexter subplots. In seasons one and two his romantic troubles were viewed through Dexter’s eyes, either thematically in his collapsing marriage or dramatically in his involvement with Lilah. Here and in season 3, Dexter’s on the periphery and the audience doesn’t care. The consequence of having such a compelling main character is that the supporting cast must revolve around them. The writers need to accept this and move on.
I’m borderline on Christine and, while I think she’ll play better on dvd, I need to put her in the negative column right now. The fact that I spent most of the season asking what she brought to the show should’ve been a clue that another shoe needed to drop, but that really doesn’t speak in the character’s favour. She should’ve been given a better red-herring than being Quinn’s manipulative squeeze.
Dexter killing an innocent was a horribly wasted opportunity. While they did come back to it a couple of times it was ultimately dwarfed by the Trinity storyline. Done properly, this could’ve been a season arc, or at least a subplot. Here we seemed driven to forget about it.
Deb’s search for Laura Moser had a surprisingly positive payoff in the end, though the whole thing was drawn out for too long. We often watch Miami Metro look for things Dex is trying to hide, but the difference is that he’s actually working against them. Here, Debra’s hurdles seemed to be limited to uncooperative CIs, not the best way to build tension.
Harry was really hit or miss this season, emphasis on the miss. Since the end of the flashbacks, Harry has become an almost purely limiting force in Dexter’s life, which is fine, so long as he’s limiting Dexter in new and interesting ways. Far too often he brings up the same old arguments that we’ve heard before or, worse, makes some obvious commentary on how Dexter has screwed up this week. It’s hard to have a figment of Dexter’s imagination evolve, but something is definitely going to need to change with Harry if he’s to return to being a productive part of the show.