Dexter Season 4 Premiere Review & Discussion

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dexter season 4 header Dexter Season 4 Premiere Review & Discussion

Dexter‘s season opener attracted 1.5 million viewers, proving that it’s still one of the strongest shows on a cable network.

We’re a few days later than most on reviewing and discussing the premiere episode of Dexter, but here we are nonetheless. Be warned before reading the rest of this article that it will include MAJOR SPOILERS so unless you either watched the premiere yourself (and why would you really be interested in reading this if you didn’t?) or if you just don’t care about whether or not you’re spoiled, you might want to stop reading.

Good to go? Let’s begin then.

Episode one, entitled “Living the Dream,” picks up roughly a year (give or take a few months) after the end end of season 3, with Dexter’s wife, Rita (Julie Benz), having had his baby. We catch up with our favorite serial killer now trying to cope with the sleepless nights and tiredness of being father to a young child.

The opening sequence was particularly chilling and memorable, with the introduction of John Lithgow’s serial killer who we see preparing to and subsequently murdering a woman in a bathtub. What was especially creepy about this scene was not only did Lithgow’s character kill someone, but he was lying in the bath (naked, as was the woman), holding the woman in front of him before slicing her leg open until she bled out. Okay, I apologize if you’re eating while reading this, I’ll leave the rest of the gruesomeness to the show itself…

This sequence was intercut (no pun intended) with footage of the familiar sequence of Dexter driving his car with his, “Tonight’s the night,” narration. We assume he’s about to kill someone, as he usually does, but we find out that, “Tonight’s the night,” is referring to him hopefully getting some rest from his new baby son (an early imitation of the title sequence showed off Dexter’s tiredness in a very funny way). This is one of the key points of season 4′s first episode, and I assume those to come, in that Dexter’s time now belongs to his family (along with Rita and his new baby, he also has Rita’s kids, Astor and Cody to deal with) and thus he can’t kill. However, family duties are also taking away from his job as a blood-spatter analyst (something which he’s usually unrivaled at).

dexter season 4 family man Dexter Season 4 Premiere Review & Discussion

Dexter the family man.

Dexter’s fatigue gets serious when, as he’s giving evidence in a murder case in court, he actually confuses cases, causing the defense to deem his work (and the entire prosecution against the killer) incompetent. Of course Dexter, being the decent guy he is (when not killing), fully admits to his mistake.

Other than Dexter, we of course have his sister, Deb (Jennifer Carpenter – Michael C. Hall’s real-life wife, FYI), who’s still dating “The Skinner” victim, Anton Briggs (David Ramsey) and is still trying to find out who her father cheated on her mother with (Dexter’s biological mother, if you remember). Detective Angel Batista (David Zayas) is no longer dating Gianna, but in quite a surprising turn of events is now sleeping with Lt. Laguerta (Lauren Velez), behind the back of everyone else (obviously…). And Detective Joey Quinn (Desmond Harrington – a welcome addition to the cast last season, as he continues to be) is still working with Miama Metro (he starts to get on Dexter’s back after the “mixing up of cases” incident mentioned above).

Of course, the opening sequence of Lithgow’s killer chillingly murdering someone in a bathtub wasn’t for nothing, and Dexter is assigned to the crime scene because of the buckets of blood (“Talk about your bloodbath,” the ever sarcastic Vince Masuka remarks at the crime scene). We start to see hints of just how much of a professional Lithgow’s killer is; he’s not just some idiot criminal who kills people and runs – he takes his time and thoroughly cleans up after himself.

Even if Dexter now has a family, that doesn’t stop him from eyeing up another potential victim: the man who got away with murder after Dexter mixed up his case (a perfect opportunity). He hasn’t killed someone in months which, as we’ve seen before, causes much tension and anxiety for Dexter. It’s like watching a junkie desperate for a fix, but with other factors (which now firmly includes a family) stopping him. Towards the end of the episode, we see Dexter setting up to kill in an area that we haven’t seen in the show before – a boxing ring.  He covered the boxing ring with his trademark plastic sheets, shrinkwrapped his victim to the table, quickly killed him (he had to rush as Rita called and asked him to pick up medicine for the baby ASAP) and after cutting him into pieces, put him in the car and rushed off.

Continue on to read discussion of the Premiere…

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

One of the nice little surprises of the episode was the return (much to the surprise of Deb) of Special Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine), who’s now retired but is in town investigating (on his own time) the allusive “Trinity Killer.” Although it’s never explicitly stated, we can gather that this is Lithgow’s killer that we saw at the start and towards the end of the episode. With regards to the latter, we had another chilling scene which showed Lithgow’s killer in a shower with the heat turned WAY up, as he looks up and screams. Creepy stuff and excellently played out (without barely uttering two words) by Lithgow.

dexter season 4 premiere episode john lithgow Dexter Season 4 Premiere Review & Discussion

John Lithgow "turns up the heat"

As a whole I am glad to say that Dexter season 4 so far has continued with the quality of the first three seasons, thankfully not degrading over time as happens with a lot of shows (*cough* Heroes! *cough*). Although it was the first episode of the season and thus still “getting into the groove,” as they say, there’s already plenty of stuff to chew on: from Dexter trying to balance his family, work and killing life, to supporting character dilemmas like Deb dealing with Lundy’s return and, of course, the introduction of, “The Trinity Killer.”

And like most great shows, the episode ended with a WHOPPER of a cliffhanger: Dexter, after rushing his kill to get the medicine for his baby and get home in time, crashed his car because of how tired he was. We assume he got rid of his victim’s body parts, so at least Dexter doesn’t have to fret when someone comes to help him after his crash (what an awkward thing to explain…). Of course, there’s no doubt our favorite serial killer will be fine, but it certainly gets your attention and makes you want to tune in next time.

What did YOU think of the Dexter’s season 4 premiere? Do you think the quality has been kept as high as the first three seasons? Tell us your thoughts and opinions on the episode below.

Episode 2 of Dexter Season 4, entitled “Remains to be Seen,” airs on Showtime on October 4th (this Sunday) @ 9pm.

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  1. My Co-worker just got me hooked on Dexter a month ago, and I caught up 2 season 4. When trying to watch it I was iffy on it until about half way through the first season, but now I love it. I love how the first episode has me craving more especially since there are 11 more episodes left.

  2. I randomly rented season 1 of Dexter at Blockbuster when I ran out of movies I wanted to rent near the end of the summer since I had nothing else to do(Except get ready for college). Wow was I hooked from the first episode, I quickly rented season 2 afterwards and then went out and bought them and then season 3 when it came out. This season premiere was a doozy and a great episode, I really wonder how they’ll continue this show week to week as it just keeps being great.

    Michael C Hall FTW

  3. I liked the seasons in the order they appeared, my favorite was season 1, then 2 and 3, and I wasn’t too happy with season three, because at times it was too… sunny? but season 4 seems darker again, which I like.

    I assumed he still had the body in the car btw, maybe I was wrong.

  4. I am not sure he did get a chance to dump the body parts. I am thinking he didn’t and he’ll have to do it somewhere close to the crash scene. Dexter (the show) rocks. While Hollywood chooses to remake slasher flicks from the ’70s and ’80s, TV is making interesting characters and stories. Film is dead.

  5. @Mycroft & Shannon,

    I’m pretty sure he did – remember he had the medicine that he was suppose to pick up. I doubt Dexter would go to the pharmacy, park the car and leave body parts in there while he went in to buy something :P

  6. After the first episode of season 4 I was so worried he still had the body in his car, he might have left it while getting meds, he left his mothers murderer chopped up in the cabin for a few days(i think) before he finally took care of it. But the hatch did pop open mid crash and not lil black bags flew out…
    One thing i was hoping to see at the end of season three was, just before he killed Miguel Prado, it would have been amazing for him to tell Prado that he was the “Bay Harbor Butcher” Prado always thought, like everyone else did, that Doakes was the killer, would have been a great moment for him to find out who he was trying to one up.

  7. I am a huge fan of Dexter and I loved the 4th season opener. I’m definitely excited to see how it all plays out. I loved the dynamic with him and his son Harrison. I was expecting the baby to just be something that gets in Dexter’s way while trying to kill people but he really loves the kid and showed an interesting fatherly aspect that I didn’t see coming.
    And if you watched the preview for the rest of the season, it shows that the body parts of Benny Gomez are yet to be collected and a certain bag has gone missing. Seems to be a big plot point for the next episode(s).

  8. I just don’t understand why Dexter is the one constantly taking care of Harrison. Didn’t Rita get fired from her job? I’m all about women’s lib, but if she doesn’t have other responsibilities, why is she unable to take care of her son while Dexter does his job? Police work (let’s just work with the fact that she doesn’t know that he’s a serial killer) is important, and yet she constantly relies on him to stay up late, not get any sleep, and screw up his professional life. I don’t know, that part just really bugged me. I also think it’s great that Dex is turning out to be a great father – but does that mean that he can’t also continue to at least remain a successful Forensic Investigator? Great show, as always (I’m really glad that season 4 is getting back to the quality of season 1), but really – why is Rita putting all of the responsibility on Dexter?

  9. MSage, I agree with you. I was getting a little ticked with her last season, with all the pressure to buy a new house. She seems to want all this stuff (the bigger house, the perfect suburban life, etc.), but how does she help Dex so he can provide it for her? Even in this premiere, the neighbour is looking after her son in the pool. She’s a bit of a leech. I think this may turn nasty. Maybe Dex is overcompensating because he lacks that certain emotional connectivity that other humans have.

    Something is off about that neighbour, too. He’s either going to make a move on Rita or do something bad to the kids. Maybe I’m just paranoid.

  10. Unfortunity I’ll have to see Dex Season 4 on dvd, really love the show!

  11. He dumped the parts off and was going home after leaving the pharmacy. They have already been there with Dexter almost getting caught and there is too much going on this season for them to go back to that theme again.
    Regardless, I actually enjoyed the season premiere very much. It definately has gone back to its roots after slightly drifting away from them last season. Dont get me wrong last season was good but seaosn 1 and 2 were GREAT and I feel like that is what we will be in store for this season.
    I personally cannot wait till the cat and mouse games bewtween Dexter and the trinity killer begin; we all knwo its coming. They have finally introduced a trully sinister villain with Lithgow’s character. Its looking good so far to me

  12. Rita is clueless which is part of the reason Dexter is with her but yes, I thought the same thing…hey, you aren’t working, why the hay do you need Dexter to do everything. Wasn’t she a single mom??? I am sorry but a former single mom could handle these situations. She is again clueless but I think it will get old with him after a while. I loved last night when he said the neighborhood was going to kill him. His cutting humor makes the show worthwhile.

  13. It seems as though Rita is startin to clue up though… This next episode (5) shows that Rita actually catches Dexter in a lie.. hmmm

  14. the pink house is around the block from me on 1st street, long beach!

  15. I am still in shock, stunned wven!!!! Never saw it coming- looks like trinity got the last laugh. Amazing last episode. Many last episodes disapoint- this ones onw of the best!

  16. I never saw it coming. I am upset that they killed Rita off. Now dexter is a single father with 3 kids if killing was hard before i cant imagine the challenge he will have now. I keep hoping that it was all a dream. I have so many questions. Once he calls the police and they see the way Rita was killed it will raise so many questions. Did anyone see dexter w/Trinity at the police station? Trinity’s family still knows Dexter as Kyle Butler and a man by that name was killed will that come out? The fact that Dexter made it to Trinity’s house before the police did raises questions. Now the fact that Deb knows about Dexter’s past i wonder if she will question the fact that his son was found the same way Dexter was when he was a boy. It wouldve been nice if they showed Dexter crying when he found Rita.
    I wonder if Rita’s husband will be on Season 5. Maybe he will get out of jail and file for custody his two kids especially now that Rita is gone and he always expected Dexter of setting him up.
    I hate that we have to wait 9 months before the next season. Even though the ending was a shocker i still wish that they didnt kill her off

  17. I was shocked at the ending of season 4. I’m devestated. There’s a pit in my stomach. This show is very real. I guess you have to watch this show knowing that these things can happen. But that is why I have to keep watching. The writers are amazing and all the cast are wonderful and talented. My favorite show. Can’t believe I have to wait so long for next season.

  18. Isn’t Rita’s ex-husband dead? I wonder if that is why they have introduced his parents. Astor and Cody will go and live with them, maybe? I was wondering to how they would explain Rita’s Trinity death, but Arthur met Dexter at the police station so perhaps it will just seem like a random choice on Arthur’s part. Or maybe they will think that Arthur was staking out Debra and got the wrong house and when Rita returned he thought she would be good enough. Man, I thought Arthur’s ending was a little too simple, but I didn’t see that.

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