[Update: Be Sure To Check out our Dexter Season 5 Premiere Review!]
Each season of Dexter has challenged the show’s title character to delve a little bit deeper into the depths of his psyche, his past and his humanity. Season 1 gave audiences an entryway into the mind of a serial killer “with a conscious.” Well, perhaps less of a conscience and more of a “moral compass” of sorts, for this was a serial killer who only kills “bad people.”
Dexter’s conscious comes in the form of a hallucinated version of Harry, the man who raised him and taught him to kill “the right way.” The trajectory of the first season was an exploration of what made Dexter who and what he is.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating questions the series raised was whether Harry made a killer out of a boy who could have otherwise healed, and gone on to a fully-functioning life. The show also looked at how a killer functions in a society where he is completely other. Dexter was a man without a genuine connection to his humanity – a man who lacked a fully-functioning emotional body.
The ensuing years have brought Dex deep into the realms of human feeling. In the coming season, Dexter will be forced to face the most complex of human emotions — guilt and grief. Take a look at the heartbreaking recap of Dexter’s relationship with Rita and his shocking discovery at the conclusion of season 4.
Over the last four seasons Dexter has faced the disillusion of his faith in Harry and “the code”, and his struggle to understand himself beyond who Harry made him. He has also developed an increased desire and ability to satisfy his “dark passenger” and maintain a “normal life.” His normal life culminated in his marriage to Rita and the birth of their son Harrison. There are always conflicting desires that live within Dexter. He possesses many of the standard human desires: The desire to live up to his father’s expectations, the desire to excel in his career, the desire to be a “good” brother to Debra and eventually a good husband and father. Dexter is faced with the extra challenge of managing all those human desires against his inability to experience or express emotions normally, and his constant urge to kill.
Perhaps his most acutely felt desire (other than not getting caught) is the desire to find a “partner in crime.” He seeks a kindred spirit who can understand and accept the reality of his “dark passenger” and also accept the self imposed limitations of “the code.” This search informed his relationship with John Lithgow’s “Trinity Killer.” It has consistently lead to disaster for Dexter, and has now caused him to face his deepest challenge yet – the murder of his wife Rita and his subsequent guilt over his part in her death.
Take a look at this clip from the Dexter season 5 premiere episode, in which the police arrive at the crime scene and Dexter makes a spontaneous, if not entirely accurate, confession:
With Rita’s death Dexter must come to terms with his failure to reconcile the two parts of himself – the monster and the man. Rita receives this posthumous confession from her husband, “I led you to believe that I am a human being, but I’m not.” Dexter asks himself how a man, who is not a man, can function without that which made him close to human? Take a look at this season 5 sneak peak in which Dexter talks to Harry about how to move past Rita’s death:
Season 5 of Dexter explores some familiar story arcs –the fellow cop who suspects the icy of blood specialist, the investigation that hits to close to home. The most emotionally rich storyline, however, promises to be Dexter’s confrontation with grief and his immersion into the full scope of parenthood. For the sake of his children he must reconcile himself to loss and still fight to keep his freedom.
In case you missed our previous post take a look at the Dexter season 5 (comic-con) trailer HERE:
Dexter premieres on Showtime Sunday September 26th @ 9PM ET/PT.