Breakfasts at Frary are getting uncomfortable. Whenever I see a blood orange, I get this sexy urge to slice into it and spill juice all over the table. Then I want to stick pins into my bacon and dump my toast into my coffee, letting it sink to the bottom of the mug where the cops won’t ever find it. It’s Dexter Morgan’s fault! Why does he have to make serial killing look so cool?
One of the gorier programs out there, Dexter has garnered a loyal cult following, of which I am most certainly a member. It’s a strange show, one that glorifies murder as a careful and noble art and makes its audience root for an antisocial, sarcastic sociopath. Dexter is a fascinating protagonist—he performs the act of normalcy by day in order to keep his shocking evening escapades a secret. Dexter treasures his “me” time and imagines he is executing street justice as he picks off local bad seeds and fellow killers. The fifth season premiere last week came on the heels of season four’s explosive finale—Dexter’s beloved fiance Rita lost her life at the hands of his enemy, a rival serial killer. This incident nearly ripped away Dexter’s careful facade and shoved his dark side into the spotlight, setting up this season’s premiere for the shit to finally hit the fan.
is not yet ready to feed its hero to the wolves and disappoint the devoted fans who keep rooting for Dexter’s triumph in spite of their revulsion. This season is starting off slow, focusing on Dexter’s decision to attempt to raise Rita’s children on his own. The FBI thinks for a hot minute that he might have been involved in Rita’s murder, but after a kooky and implausible interview, Dexter convinces the Feds to clear him. Within the very first episode of the season, the repercussions of the entire traumatic event have been erased from the storyline, leaving only Dexter’s pain and mounting pressure to further divide his two lives.This tactic worked in the last few seasons because watching Dexter evade law enforcement while working as a blood-spatter analyst was fun. Although he often made errors in judgement that resulted in real danger to either of his occupations, he was, by and large, a master at screwing with the status quo. Dexter never lost anything of value through his machinations. He was an accessible sort of evil, a helpless doer of awful things who consistently denied his own humanity in order to avoid his obvious guilt. Then real harm came to Dexter’s loved ones, an eventuality which had been set up in previous seasons as Dexter’s breaking point.Rita’s murder was the prime moment for the show’s writers to turn the tables of justice, to force Dexter to take responsibility for his very human mistakes as well as his dark urges and the dishonest measures he took to control and hide them. The fact that Dexter has escaped culpability once again betrays the smart and savvy viewer by revealing the show’s formula. Although we might root for this charming killer, we all know when a series gets stale and it’s time for a twist. Unless season five quickly brings its A game, I’m afraid that for this loyal fan, it might be time to throw in the bloody towel. And also, maybe, to quit making murderous mush out of my breakfast.