Dexter was once, and still is in some ways, a great work of television. Unlike with most shows on TV right now, that fact is hinged largely on one person: Dexter Morgan. As a sociopath trying to fit into society, he is infinitely interesting, simultaneously frightening and reassuring, a murderer and a hero, possessed of a solid set of rules, but with room for change.
Unfortunately, the non-serial killer characters often threaten to drag the whole show down, and the more they’re allowed to take over the story, the more things go south. As much as it pains me to say this, it’s the focus on Dexter’s relationship with his sister Deb that constitutes some of the problem in this episode. Here are nine ways the season premiere demonstrates Dexter‘s shark-jumping.
1.) I know this is a hold-over from last season, but I’m still not over the moon at the revelation that Deb is in love with Dexter. This takes things to a cartoonishly messed up place that is not really in line with the show’s own internal logic. Viewers tend to react pretty badly to incest (sure, she’s not his “real” sister but adopted people are family too), and the justification for Deb’s suddenly “uncovered” feelings feels pretty forced and inauthentic. That said, Deb is kind of a crappy character, as well as being the least probable Lieutenant since ever, so maybe it makes sense.
2.) But despite her flaws, Deb is genetically and constitutionally a good cop, so her immediate willingness to help Dexter cover up a murder also rings false. This scene also reintroduces us to Deb’s habit of saying things that are just a little bit dumb. “How would we do that? It would have to burn so fast.” “If only there were some sort of flammable, easy-to-find liquid we could pour over it…”
3.) WHY ARE YOU LEAVING YOUR FINGERPRINTS ON THE GAS CAN, LIEUTENANT MORGAN???
4.) Why would Dexter leave a blood slide at the scene of a crime? Are we to believe the man who has flawlessly carried out dozens of murders of unpredictable killers, including John Lithgow in his most terrifying incarnation, would suddenly be super flustered over discovery by his little sister Lieutenant Obvious?
5.) Louis, Louis, Louis. Is this video game loving dorkus malorkus seriously Dexter’s main adversary now? As if it weren’t enough of a stretch already to accept him dating Dexter’s hot babysitter Jamie, now we must think he’s some kind of evil genius who’s going to last through a whole season’s worth of cat and mouse with Dexter? “I didn’t realize there were different sides, I’m like, super sorry.” TRY TO SOUND A LITTLE LIKE YOU MEAN IT.
5.a.) He’s already told two different reasons to Jamie and Dexter for why he was on Dexter’s side of the apartment.
6.) Jamie (who is wearing pink boxers and a crop top to bed): “You know, the more I get to know you, the weirder you get.” Would you climb into the bed of a guy you had just said this to in a non-sexual context and sleep tight for a full eight hours?
7.) Dexter doesn’t even bother to do his own forensics testing anymore, deciding to kill this new guy on the grounds that he is a shady Eastern European whose print was on the turn signal. He also had a little bit of blood on his collar and was about to leave the country. These things do sound pretty damning when added up, but what happened to being super sure?
8.) The shot of the English guy in a Dr. Evil style mansion in Kiev, talking on the phone to the strip club guy. Are we to believe the murder of this stripper is some high level, international conspiracy?
9.) Dexter gets through airport security with POISON SYRINGES. I couldn’t even get through with the tequila I bought in Mexico.
10.) I was going to put Deb’s constant, confused interrogations of Dexter on here, but she figures it out by the end of the episode, so congrats, Lieutenant. You get a gold star.
Honorable mention: I can understand why Harry wanted Dexter to hide his true nature from Deb. Still, this line, when isolated, sounds like hilariously bad parenting:
“Dex, she loves who she thinks you are. If she ever saw the real you, she’d never get over it.”