Dexter is like an old friend. A quality one, too. Not one of those raggedy ass college buddies who calls you once every five years for an awkward catch up. No, a player for life like the gentleman Tupac is addressing in the homoerotic love letter I Ain’t Mad At Ya. Solid, reliable and often inspired. No it’s not The Shield, Breaking Bad or Veronica Mars but it’s absolutely Prison Break, 24 or Lost. Dexter is good people and its fourth season, featuring John Lithgow as the Trinity Killer, was a glorious triumph. Expertly wrought suspense, biting dark humour and an authentically scary Big Bad combined to deliver a storming season of television culminating in a bloody and shocking finale with Mrs Dexter dead like a dead hooker in the bath with her throat cut. Goddamn you should have seen that shit and maybe did. If so, you know what I’m talking about. A so-so fifth season followed and we waited for the show, in true Dexter form, to come out swinging with a doozy of a season six. What we got was one of the most catastrophic train wrecks this side of the Quintinshill rail disaster.
"A so-so fifth season followed and we waited for the show, in true Dexter form, to come out swinging with a doozy of a season six. What we got was one of the most catastrophic train wrecks this side of the Quintinshill rail disaster."
It was in trouble from the start. Religious nutjobs as agents of vengeance are a busted flush dramatically and it needs great writers on their A-game to make it work. Instead, the Doomsday Killers (or DDK), were as phone-it-in boilerplate as they come. The deeply unthreatening Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks), teams up with maverick theologian Professor James Gellar (Edward James Olmos) and together they stage a series of murderous tableaux that they believe will bring forth Armageddon as predicted in The Book of Revelation (As Revealed to St John the Divine as Half Man Half Biscuit fans know).
"The deep freeze was cracked open and there was Adama lodged between Iceland Mini-Kievs and Ben & Jerry’s limited-edition Atlanta Olympics themed Rum and Raisin (expiry date: 03/01/1997)"
Culturally, we’re all somewhat familiar with Revelation. Something about a dragon with a head of a lion, four Horsemen, a whore and a lake of fire and we learn nothing new here. Gellar is the twisted genius behind the epic plan, Travis his willing disciple. Travis wasn’t interesting for a tenth of a second and the shocking revelation that Gellar was in fact Ghost Gellar, a figment of Travis’s fevered imagination, the excitable undergrad having crammed his mentor in a freezer after doing the killing to him, was brutally telegraphed, flagged up and signposted with the subtlety of a neon sign above the TV screen reading HE’S KEYSER SÖZE!
You would have had to have watched no thriller, suspense or horror films over the past 30 years to have not seen this coming. The only tension building in the run-up to the reveal was the idea lurking in your mind "they’re making it so obvious maybe it’s a double bluff? Maybe Travis is Tyler Durden!" but that quickly dissipated in the church once the deep freeze was cracked open and there was Admiral Adama lodged between Iceland Mini-Kievs and Ben & Jerry’s limited-edition Atlanta Olympics themed Rum and Raisin (expiry date: 03/01/1997). Could it have been any cornier?
"I don’t buy Michael Hall and Jennifer Carpenter wanting to fuck each other in real life and those freaks married each other but I’ll still be fucked if I buy Debs foaming at the gash for Dexter here."
But let’s not lay it all on Travis and the frozen theologian. There was excellent supporting douchebaggery from Debs who was promoted to lieutenant, forced into therapy after plugging some scrote in a shootout and in the course of those sessions discovered that she was wet as a seal for her brother. I don’t buy Michael Hall and Jennifer Carpenter wanting to fuck each other in real life and those freaks married each other but I’ll still be fucked if I buy Debs foaming at the gash for Dexter here.
So where does it go from here? I’ll tell you where: to another guaranteed two seasons. Dexter will clock up eight seasons making it one of the longest running cable shows of all time. It’s a world people have always felt comfortable with and even when it was shit – and this season was colossally shit – it was watchably so.
The verdict on Dexter Season Six: From here, the only way is up.
Marks out of 10: 3
Imagined: Tuesday, 16 October 2012