Sunday, September 27, 2009
Welcome Back, 'Dexter'
PTR Senior Staff Writer
A new creepy and clever adversary.
The return of Special Agent Frank Lundy.
Rita's back in charge.
Deb's doing good.
Harry's guiding light has returned.
Can we just forget the third season of Dexter ever happened and pick up the series from here?
Seriously? Can we?
I never like it when my favorite shows decide to take a creative left turn, and I was less than impressed with the direction Dexter took during its third go around.
I know I wasn't the only one.
It was, by far, the weakest season. I didn't get it. Nor did I buy it. And after the third episode, when the whole show should've been renamed Miguel Prado's My New BFF, I wondered whether I would even be back this season.
But Jennifer Carpenter saved it for me.
I'm so glad she did.
The fourth season premiere got the show back to its basics. As in, repackaging the best of the first two seasons.
1) A new, more impressive, more creepy serial killer adversary in the form of the Trinity Killer (played by the can-be-a-baddy-in-the-best-of-ways John Lithgow). Jimmy Smits' I'm-a-serial-killer-DA-and-I-need-to-share just didn't work for me. Lithgow is a huge improvement considering he CAN be a bad guy, not just a third rock from the sun. We may not be at Tobin Bell's Jigsaw character from the Saw film franchise as yet, but quiet, calm, steady and ice cold works for me. Just like Dex's brother in season one. Go.Trinty.Killer.
2) The return of Special Agent Frank Lundy - who was, is and always will be the best thing to happen to Deb Morgan. I am thrilled he's back in town - albeit retired - to track down the Trinity Killer as his one "special case" that seemed to have gotten away (all good cops seemed to have one, eh?). Lundy's presence creates that very subtle sense of unease with Dex as he once again is set to help the one guy (outside of Sergeant Doakes) who could figure out his secret.
As such, I think these two elements alone make for a great fourth season premise.
Dexter was at his best when he was opposite his own brother in that first year, going tit-for-tat with someone cut from the serial killer cloth. Not in rehab. Not showing up for golf lessons and lunch dates. Not playing house. No teaching someone how to be a serial killer.
Moreover, Deb was at her best when she had the cool, steady, supportive and guiding hand of Special Agent Lundy in her life - personally and professionally. There is fantastic chemistry between Jennifer Carpenter and Keith Carradine. His character's return to the show is a huge plus not only for the potential love triangle that will likely arise between Deb, Lundy and Anton (one of the few good things to come out of season three), but also for what will surely bring more growth for the Deb character all the while creating uneasiness in the Dexter character.
All that said, I have to say I'm also happy to see Harry Morgan resurrected from being last season's roadkill. Seriously. I wasn't happy when he was turned into the bad dad who had a fling with a confidential informant (CI), which suddenly found Dexter wanting to ditch anything and everything that had to do with Harry. I'm all for flawed characters and getting out from underneath the parental shadow, but that whole approach just didn't work for me. Besides, James Remar is one of the best things about this show, so sending him to Davy Jones' Locker wasn't a good idea in my eyes.
And the lovely Julie Benz was so ridiculously wasted last season that it was insulting. I got tired of seeing everyone's character development pushed to the side so the entire show could revolve around Miguel Prado's family, his obsessions, his whatever. The character of Rita, in my opinion, was sacrificed the most as part of the Prado/Dexter BFF routine. Thankfully, Julie's Rita is back in the forefront in the fourth season, being the wife, mother and confident woman we love her to be.
The other steady hand in Dexter's life.
Some office hanky panky between Batista and Laguerta should be interesting. Didn't see that one coming. Probably will see that end before it really begins UNLESS the writers decide to do the opposite and make it work. In some strange way, I'd actually like to see that.
After all, these writers still have a way of surprising me.
Even in my discontent.
That's the sign of a good show.
All in all, a strong fourth season premiere that had me feeling like the real Dexter is back in town.
And possibly better than ever.
New episodes of Dexter air Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime. Check out the official Dexter Web site for the inside scoop on the series. You can follow the show on Twitter: Twitter.com/sho_dexter; or, become a fan on Facebook: Facebook.com/Dexter.