Dexter Season 5
Director: various

Cast: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas
Review by Brian M. Sammons

Dexter can now be added to sex and pizza, that is … even when it’s not great, it’s still pretty good. Yep, that’s Season 5 of Showtime’s mega hit serial killer TV show in a nutshell. Now it’s not just a comparison of this last season with the amazing one that came before it. You know, the one that had John Lithgow portraying a truly terrifying monster and ended with the mother of all season cliff hangers? Yeah, if you haven’t seen season 4 of Dexter then you missed out big time. But we’re here to talk about the season that had the unenviable task of followed it. So grab your knives and your plastic wrap, its Dexter time again.

Oh and SPOILERS for the aforementioned epic season 4. If you don’t want some surprises ruined, stop reading now.

So Season 5 starts of right where the last one left off – with deeply disturbed and deadly Dexter coming home to find his wife Rita dead and his infant son covered in her blood. That means the first couple of episodes of this season are spent with Dexter picking up the pieces and trying to get his family life in order. And while later Dex will get back to doing what he does best, and honestly what everyone really wants to see, this theme of Dexter the family man plays out through the entire season. And if I had to pick just one reason while this season feels lackluster in comparison to all the others that came before it that would be it. While it’s nice that Dexter is a fully fleshed out character, this season seemed to have lost sight on what made Dexter so unique, compelling, and addictive, and instead replaced it with some of the typical melodrama that can be found on any other TV show. And just in case you think I’m being unfair when I say that, both the creators and the actors have said as much in various interviews and on multiple talk shows since the end of Season 5. They have even promised that the upcoming Season 6 will be a return to form. Let’s hope that they’re right. I mean, everyone can make a mistake; the trick is learning from it and not repeating it.

Oh well, enough of that, let’s get back to it.

After taking care of Rita and what’s left of his family, Dexter is back on the hunt. But again, comparisons between this season’s main villain and last season’s amazing badie played by John Lithgow are bound to rise up, and that’s when Season 5’s evil Tony Robbins impersonator falls flat. This choice of antagonist is not truly awful, but neither is he memorable. Maybe it’s because Dex has to slice through a lot of proxies before getting to the chief creep? Whatever the case may be, this nemesis just sort of felt “meh” to me. He is no Ice Truck Killer, let alone the Trinity Killer.

Another misstep was the addition of a tortured rape victim becoming both a love interest and serial killer partner to Dexter. Not only was that a stretch to believe on multiple levels, but her inclusion seemed to totally go against Dexter and all we had learned about him since the start of the series. Now some have placed much of the blame for this season’s shortcomings at the feet of actress Julia Stiles who played the tortured woman, but I am not among them. While I was not blown away by her performance, I didn’t think she did a bad job, she just did what was written for the character, which was sadly none too great.

As for special features, that’s where this Blu-ray gets a completely failing grade. Sadly, that has always been the case with all the Dexter seasons. There are a handful of short interviews with the cast and … that’s it. Yep, that’s the whole enchilada. Oh there are a few free episodes for two of Showtime’s other shows, but that’s not “special features,” that’s nothing more than blatant advertising. Sorry Showtime execs, but if I wanted to watch The Borgias I would; how about you someday give us some real special features on these discs? That would be nice. So as far as extras go, these Blu-rays get a big thumbs down. Thank God the show is good enough to still warrant a buy all by its self.

So Season 5 wasn’t the highpoint of this critically claimed series, but it had enough good parts to keep me watching. Besides, if you have the other seasons of Dexter in your home library, can you really let yourself pass on one? No, I didn’t think so.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.

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