Writer’s Note: If you are reading this review it probably means you are familiar with Showtime’s hit series, Dexter. If not, then this upcoming recap of the sixth season (specifically the season finale) should be avoided, as it contains some pretty big spoilers. You’ve been warned.
Season five was a big turning point for the character of Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall). He was left as a single father of an infant, he was hunting a murderer who preyed on women, and he fell in love with a surviving victim of that same murderer. He became comfortable with all facets of himself for the first time, something he has been struggling with for his entire life.
It seems in every season of Dexter there’s another serial killer to hunt, and season six presents the most elaborate serial killers that our antihero has seen. One is Professor James Gellar (Edward James Olmos) and the other is his student Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks), and they recreate various stories in the book of Revelation through their killings in order to bring about the beginning of the apocalypse. For example, in a chilling scene, a man’s limbs are sewn together with department store mannequins to recreate The Four Horsemen.
While Miami Metro is busy trying to find the murderer, who they dubbed The Doomsday Killer, Dexter is one step ahead of them. He befriends Travis, seeing him as simply a blind protege of Gellar’s, and tries to use Travis to gain information.
Dexter is led to an ex-convict turned preacher named Brother Sam (Mos Def) whom he initially believes to be the Doomsday Killer. Sam becomes a source of inspiration to Dexter, causing him to become a better father to young Harrison (who is mostly absent from the season, save for a frightening scene in the season finale). Dexter begins to question his Dark Passenger and succeeds in keeping it at bay, until Sam is shot and killed by another ex-con and Dexter is compelled to retaliate.
The rest of the characters have interesting sub-plots as well, most of all being Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) getting used to finally attaining the coveted Lieutenant’s position and how she deals with the pressures from LaGuerta (Lauren Velez).
The sixth season of Dexter felt slow, especially given the interesting concept behind The Doomsday Killer. Episodes trudged along and barely gave any clues. Dexter’s story would quickly get interesting – the reappearance of his brother, conflicts with his sister – and then just as quickly get dull again. This season seemed to be the most unorganized season yet. Instead of asking enthusiastically, “Is it already the season finale?” you’re left asking, “Can it please be over already?”
But that season finale is quite a doozy, if you care anymore by that time. A showdown between Dexter and The Doomsday Killer should be nailbiting, but it’s not. Not until the final ten minutes of the season finale. Because of these final ten minutes, season seven promises to be much better than season six.
In order to be better though, writers need to shift away from the current, now predictable premise of Dexter hunting a serial killer that Miami Metro is also hunting. Dexter as a character needs to be explored more. He is calculated, interesting, dangerous, and manipulative, and this season portrayed him as more of a one-dimensional character.
Season six showed Debra becoming more developed as a character than Dexter, with her deciding not to get married, strengthening in her profession, and then her realization that she may be in love with her brother. The final realization being a bit too ridiculous for my (or many fans) taste, and hopefully gets dropped quickly within the seventh season.
Despite its flaws – and this season had more than any others prior – Dexter is still good television, and better than half of what’s out there now. The actors always bring their best performances, even if the writing might be slow at times. Even those who might be the most disappointed in season six will still turn out for the next; and season seven’s twisty-turny trailer provides just enough carrot to keep audiences at the end of the stick for another go round with America’s favorite psychopath.
As with all other releases of Dexter on Blu-ray, the audio/visual quality is excellent while the extras are sorely lacking. The only extras are only accessed through a clunky BD-Live portal that you can’t view unless your Blu-ray player is hooked up to the internet. The features aren’t even all that great either, with interviews from the cast about the FIFTH SEASON not the SIXTH, and episodes from other Showtime shows such as Californication, The Borgais, and House of Lies.
If you’re a Dexter fanatic looking to complete your growing collection of Blu-rays, then this is a must buy. If you’re looking for spectacular extras, don’t waste your money. Showtime has never put out any substantial extras on their Blu-ray releases. I don’t know why they haven’t utilized the technology like HBO has; HBO’s Blu-ray releases for seasons of True Blood are packed with more extras than the average person even has time to watch.
Showtime Entertainment presents Dexter: The Sixth Season. Directed by: John Dahl, SJ Clarkson, and more. Starring: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Edward James Olmos, Colin Hanks. Written by: several. Running time: 618 minutes. Rating: TV-MA. Released: August 14, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.