Dexter Season 6 Review – So Far, So Boring

Posted by on October 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm

It pains me to say this because Dexter is one of my all-time favorite shows, but Season 6 of Showtime’s serial killer series is off to a terribly slow start.

I’ll explain why after the break (contains some spoilers)…

Season 5 ended with the departure of Dexter’s girlfriend and serial-killer-in-training Lumen (Julia Stiles). Dexter remained free to kill another day, miraculously keeping his secret from Deb, Quinn and the rest of Miami Metro for another season.

Season 6 picks up a year later, with nearly everything that was happily resolved at the end of Season 5 now turned on its side. Deb and Quinn’s relationship is now on the rocks and LaGuerta and Angel are divorced. In an obvious writing shortcut to explain why single father Dexter is able to hunt serial killers at all hours, Angel’s young sister Jaime now lives next door as Dexter’s nanny.

Because of these changes, the first three episodes have been all about setting up Dexter’s new equilibrium. Dexter’s son Harrison is now two years old and Dexter finds himself wondering what he will pass down to his child. Time is being spent with Dexter doting on Harrison, Quinn and Deb breaking up and Angel and LaGuerta fighting. Dexter is still making his kill-of-the-week, but these feel like they’ve been shoehorned in at the last second. Why do we have so much set up six seasons in? The theme this season is faith, but so far the show has been about as exciting as 3-hours in church.

Part of the problem may be that the villains aren’t very interesting (yet). The usually compelling Edward James Olmos is so understated as religious zealot Professor Gellar that he is utterly dull. He whispers his lines about faith and the apocalypse in a mumbling monotone, and I’m having a hard time caring about what he has to say. Colin Hanks fares better as his young protégé. Hanks actually emotes from time to time, but we’re 25% of the way into Season 6 and their religious killings already feel like well-trodden territory. I keep waiting for Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman to pop up and say, “Boo!”

I’m also not a fan of the new direction they’re taking with Dexter’s kill rooms. It feels like a group of hipsters got their grubby thrift store mitts on the script and decided, “Hey, let’s crank the irony up to 12!” (because 11 is too mainstream). It’s not enough for Dexter to kill the killers while surrounded by artifacts of the victims. No, now the rooms have “themes.” Dexter kills a former high school jock atop a football scoreboard, for example. And this last episode, Dexter offed an old serial killer in his barcalounger. C’mon. Really? Do we need to add theming? How soon before Dexter shows up wearing twenty pieces of killer-appropriate flair on his suspenders?

On the plus side, Mos Def is doing a stellar job as murderer-turned-preacher Brother Sam. He steals every scene he’s in. And they’ve introduced a hot blond intern for Masuka to stare lecherously at (she is surely going to play a vital role in threatening Dexter’s secret later on). As of episode 3, Deb is now officially the new Lieutenant. Deb butting heads with LaGuerta is starting to make them both interesting again.

Dexter’s exploration of faith sounds interesting in theory, but so far it’s not amounting the usual suspense and thrills that we’ve grown accustomed to from the show. I’m hopeful that this is just a slow start and the season will pick up. Last night’s Episode “Smokey and the Bandit” ended with a promisingly macabre sequence referencing the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Of course I’ll keep watching. As much as I might complain about Season 6’s leisurely pace so far, I’ve been hooked on Showtime’s serial killer show since Season 1. I’ll keep watching Dexter ‘till it kills me.

Don't Keep This a
Secret, Share It

  • DexterRyan

    I feel the exact opposite at this point. While Dexter normally starts slow, and has in the last five seasons I’ve enjoyed how the writers started off. Angel and Maria are through, Deb is the new LT, you’ve got a lot of moving parts going right now. I’m with you that Olmos isn’t doing a lot, but after seeing the theories that it’s all in Travis’ head I really do like that idea and it helps make things a lot more clear. Call me crazy, but the idea of not knowing as much as normal makes me want to tune in even more.

  • Ryan in L.A.

    I agree about the slow start.  The premiere episode (the high school reunion) was riddled with bad comedy. And the characters played by Olmos & Hanks seem terribly one dimensional.  The Trinity Killer was compelling because he could be so very charming.  And the Icetruck Killer, well, he wasn’t even revealed to us until mid-season!  But the Season Six villains come off like the bad guys from He Man cartoons: always shrouded in darkness and some menacing music, we check in with them periodically to see what sort of evil hijinks they’re up to.  I’m also really distracted by Hanks’s uncanny vocal resemblance to his father.

    But I also agree with you about the promising final scene in “Smokey and the Bandit.”  The image of that poor guy’s dismembered body bobbing around on the horse gave the villains a deeper and darker dimension.  That is, these guys are some really twisted f*ckers.  So I’m into it now.  

  • superdexter

    I feel like the problem is Dexter has become less creepy.  We don’t see the monster takeover anymore.  Killing other killers has become to routine for him.  When he’s performing his ritual, it doesn’t feel like he’s satisfying a need.  It doesn’t look like a drug addiction anymore like it did in season 2.  The coolest part about Dexter was that no matter what, he seemed more insane than his victims.  But that feeling is gone.  The way the show is being written now has Dexter in to much of a superhero role, trying to rid the world of the evil serial killers.  But I still have hope and season 6 has already surpassed season 5 and 3 in my eyes.  But it’s hard to continue being original when the best season was the first.

    • Mapleleafs_111

      Well after last nights episode, you should be pretty happy. lol.

  • jaysonsargent

    I disagree. As was said above, there a lot of moving parts gearing up. I think we are going to be blown away by the story this year (see freaky looking dead people on horses in the promo). It’s going slow to establish the multiple new characters. I’m not even sure I would call it slow. The third episode mini-story with the Tooth Fairy was very satisfying IMO because it made Dexter question his own role as a father and wonder what would happen to him when he got old.

  • Dan

    I think the trouble is that this series, like “Battlestar Galactica,” has a natural life span and story arc.  Dexter’s continuing escapes and his continuing evolution as a human being while continuing as a serial killer are becoming more and more improbable and will one day make the series “jump the shark.”  Last season, he was separated from Debra over a kill with a shower curtain and got away clean?  In the beginning, his internal stream of consciousness asserted that he had no feelings (“if I had any feelings, I’d have them for Deb”), and was very good at faking having a personality.  By now, he is an authentically doting father, grieving widower, supportive brother and many other things.  Is it really probable that someone like that would still be a compulsive killer, whether channeling his urges or not?  The intrinsic flaw is that his character had to be developed to make the series succeed, but that very character development makes his continuing obsession/compulsion unlikely.

  • Richard Mcmillan43

    As season V ended, I was GLAD TO SEE IT. I missed two episodes by an error-we closed and returned it to Netflix by mistake, and I do not intend to re-order. I think the show is about to run its limits. As most programs more is not necessarily better. The priginal story lines/plots get over worked, and all becomes mundane. Not a fault of the Actors, nor writers, but shows do outlive their focus and value as entertainment. Time for closure on Dexter!

  • Wanda

    I SO agree. How could this formerly brilliant show lose the mojo so utterly. It’s just so odd.

    • Violetsandguns

      Aparently all three original creators are gone. By season five all of them had bailed. No coincidence in my opinion that season five and six have not been up to par.

  • curlykale

    The show is now very mediocre. The plots are all over the place and the killers less and less scary.

  • Beans

    I actually don’t think Mos Def is a good actor, and I think his role detracted from the season. Good thing they killed him off. *spam removed*

  • Chromeflow

    I dub Dexter Season Six, ‘One Track Mind’. All the main characters follow the same path, each and every episode, it’s mind numbing. If a character’s path does vary, it is made from a  themed cookie cutter story line with which we are all familiar. The DDK — Doomsday Killers — are absolutely absurd, these guys are best suited to appear on Buffy. In the past, the actions of serial killers on Dexter have been believable, even if their motives seem strange; a couple who traffic humans, men who torture women for thrills, a person who ritualises the death of innocent people to mimic the lost lives of his own kin and the list goes on but the DDK are just laughable. So much so, that I did laugh out loud when the theme introduced to end episode nine was revealed. All this makes me wonder what has happened to the writers? Are they under paid, over worked, bored, frustrated, lacking creative control , finding Dexter’s world to dark? I can only guess all of the above given how bad season six has been. I own all Dexter Seasons on DVD, season six regrettably won’t be added to my collection.