“What is this, Horseville? Because I’m surrounded by naysayers!” – Tracy Jordan

The blessing and the curse of a show like Dexter is its inevitable season 4. Every show worth anything has one: the game-changing season, the one that’s obviously the best and no one can ever top it. For the rest of the time the show’s on air people’ll be like, “Yeah, but it’s not as good as that one season,” longing for the good old days of that one season, like it’s Mom’s recipe for cookies and while other cookies may be acceptable and even delicious they’re just not like Mom’s, and therefore, they suck.

I read an article before season 5 of even began production suggesting season 4 was so goddamn good that it had jumped the shark. By being too good. Because you could never ever top it. At the time I thought it was a silly notion, but as more time passes, and more people grow critical of the show for reasons I can’t understand much of apart from “it’s not as pants-pissingly amazing as the last few episodes of season 4,” I’m starting to believe it.

As fans, we’re not always quite sure what we want. On the one hand, lots of Dexter fans love the show the way it used to be; on the other hand, they understand that you can never go back to the beginning or it’ll all have been futile. Shows have tried and failed at this before (Heroes). And now Dexter is in an awkward position of being damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t. People are growing tired of the formula, tired of Dexter still confronting problems with himself that he had in season 1, but at the same time, when he evolves and grows and learns from his mistakes, people complain that he’s not like he used to be. How can he possibly be both things? And yet we want the opposite of whatever we get. The grass is always greener, etc. I think sometimes we long for a time machine, so we could go back to that time before we knew and were used to Dexter, and still be surprised and amazed that it even exists at all. I think a lot of the complaints people have with the show are based in some inherent desire we all have to be, I don’t know, younger again.

But when you have a mind-blowing life-altering experience, you’re not going to be the same person you were before. And when you live in the universe of Dexter Morgan, one in which literally every day is a harrowing battle of life and death and also bath time (in the best and worst ways), the stakes are always high, and sometimes things change. We’ve seen Dexter morph from a single serial killing bachelor to a serial killing widower and dad. He’s seen consequences for what he’s done. He’s seen love and loss. What kind of show would Dexter be if, after all these years, and after all these things that Dexter has done, and that have happened to him, he has never been punished, or never changed, or ever questioned himself? So stop asking for the old Dexter again. You cannot have him back. You can never go home. It will never be the same. Move on.

I won’t disagree that season 6 has had its share of problems. I practically shat myself on more than one occasion but I still didn’t feel the religious fervor for it that I felt in season 4. (And you know what? Season 4 had ITS share of problems, too, it’s just everyone forgot what they were in retrospect.) And when I did some soul searching and asked myself exactly why that was (for me this is heavy soul searching), the answer was exactly what I said above: it’s like reading Harry Potter for the 13th time (this applies to almost anything you’ve read or seen excessively). It could still be the most amazing book you’ve ever read, but no matter how hard you try, you can never go back to the first time you read it. And you want to. You remember the feeling of magic, the excitement of its newness, the disbelief that something so cool could exist. But now it’s a part of your life. If someone came up to you and said, “Hey, you should check this book out. It’s about a boy who goes to a wizard school,” you’d be like, “Yeah, and?”

So stick with me while I try to understand the negative reactions to season 6 when I don’t really feel that way, and then we’ll speculate a bit on the lasting repercussions. (Which, by the way, was one gripe I heard people going on about with this season. “It was pointless.” Only inasmuch as TV as a whole is pointless, but apart from that….)

If you wanna check the other two posts I’ve made about this season for Nerds in Babeland, check them right here for the most recent (surprisingly not wholly outdated) and here for the earlier one. And if you’re super curious and want to know the thoughts of several, check out the Dexter podcast I run, Let’s Talk About Dex. (Actually last week we interviewed Dexter‘s costume designer, which was amazingly illuminating and inspires and defines some of the points made in this post.)

There are spoilers up to and including 6×12 after the jump. (There are also links to individual sections so if you just got here by Googling, Eliot’ing, or Netrangling one thing, you can skip straight to that part, since I am well aware that this is the size of a novel. But get over it. Anyway I’m just not putting the links before the jump because they are spoilers in and of themselves. Except this one: Louis Greene.)

Word of GodPoint of ViewThe x09 TwistThe Rules of Travis & Gellar’s Arts & Crafts ClubDebra Discovering DexterDebsterLouis GreeneJoey QuinnBoomerang EffectEndgame

Word of God. By this I am not talking religiously, I mean as in the word of the show’s chief creatives. The problem with TV is that there’s always several and  these people seem to rarely be in agreement with each other and therefore frequently contradicting each other whenever they open their mouths, which is probably why shows like Dexter try really hard to regulate who can talk to whom and when and where and why. But the Word of God in this case has occasionally just come out as inserting one’s foot into one’s mouth. I am not going to name names, but I’ve read and seen a couple of interviews this season where I’m pretty convinced this person just didn’t think before speaking because I know some of the things this person made it sound like s/he meant to be flat-out false. Not just like I secretly believe it, like I know it. The problem is, sometimes as a result these people seem condescending of their critics because they didn’t think who would be reading the interview (THEIR CRITICS) later on when they were saying it, or they were making the audience feel like jerks for overanalyzing things and then saying “yeah, we have no idea what’s going on there!” (when that’s the thing I mean I know isn’t true). Sometimes a show’s creatives accidentally douche it up and then it reflects negatively on the show, and people feel insulted. I mean imagine someone says you look fat in those pants, and then asks you what you think about this story he wrote. What the hell are you supposed to say? It could be the greatest story ever and you’d still kind of hate it.

 

POV. This is actually an interesting narrative thing I didn’t even notice had happened until Tuesday when my friend Angeleena brought it up. The show has occasionally wandered into the lives of other people, and into their perspectives, though seldom with as much complexity or excitement as whatever’s going on with Dexter. I’ve actually personally always considered this the show’s greatest weakness up till this season–that the B stories can never hold a candle to the A story, and that I feel like I’m slogging through them occasionally. (That’s a strong word, but it gets the point across.) It was technically necessary to see a lot of Travis alone this season to pull off the x09 twist (see the next topic), but Travis had, in some parts of the season, screen time to rival Dexter’s. So did Deb. Usually everybody else is obviously supporting, but in this case, the other characters and stories held their own with much greater strength than I’m used to seeing them, which actually kind of stole Dexter’s thunder once I thought about it. I was much more interested in Louis than I was in DDK by 6×08, and not because the DDK plot sucked or didn’t intrigue me, but because the Louis story is so fucking intriguing I can’t even stand it.

I can see why this would make people dislike this season of the show, especially if they weren’t particularly interested by these B and C stories (although judging from the discussion and debate I’ve heard about them, I don’t think that was the issue). It is a pretty big change in format when the titular character of the show shares the glory that much with other people; I think, even if not consciously brought up in reviews I’ve read, it would account for an awful lot of the negative things people had to say about Dexter’s evolution as a character this season.

Also it’s important to note that this season really only took place in a period of a little over a month (assuming the numbers given to us are accurate). The first four episodes presumably happened in under a week. Since there is more content spread out over less time, there is simply less that each character can do in that time. People complain Dexter didn’t do enough slashing this season, but when you think about how many people he killed over the span of like six weeks, I think he did a pretty good job. Maybe this is why people complain about the pacing, and not because of this next thing:

 

The x09 Twist. Anyone who says that this show has dramatically inconsistent pacing is so full of shit I want to punch them in the throat. The pacing is so constant from season to season that you can fucking mark your calendar by it. Seriously. Pick a season, and I can point to you where exactly the action rises and falls. Also, don’t call it predictable. Literally almost every good movie or TV show you watch has to have a very strict routine to succeed.

The x09 twist actually doesn’t always occur in episode x09 of the season. Sometimes, it occurs at the end of episode x08. Maybe once it happened at the beginning of episode x10. I looked this up just to check and forgot already. I don’t think so, though. They’ve all got one: Rudy is the Ice Truck Killer!!! Doakes catches Dexter in the act!!! Miguel turns on Dexter!!! The Trinity Killer is Christine Hill’s dad!!! This season it was, Professor Gellar isn’t real!!!

The problem here, and I understand this criticism although I’m gonna tell you why I disagree, is that, unlike all of these other twists, a huge portion of us had already called this twist two or three episodes into the season, so pussyfooting around it for the next six episodes was mildly infuriating. Even I will confess I hoped it was something more complicated than that, or that if they were gonna pull that gag it was not the dramatic x09 twist.

HOWEVER, as time passed, and my certainty that Gellar was a figment of Travis’s imagination waxed and waned, it brought to mind that thing that Alfred Hitchcock says about the difference between surprise and suspense. Surprise, he says, is when there’s two people talking about something and then, suddenly, an explosion! Unbeknownst to you, the viewer, as well as the people talking, there was a bomb under the table the whole time! “What the hell!” you say. “I had no idea there was a bomb under the table! That changes everything!” And how could you have known? It was just an ordinary conversation those guys were having till then.

Suspense, he says, is the same situation, but the entire time, you, the viewer, know that the bomb is under the table. You see it counting down. Everything the characters say and do is recontextualized. “My god!” you yell at the screen. “There’s a bomb under the table! Save yourself!” It doesn’t really help, but the whole time you’re practically leaping out of your seat, going, “You fools! Don’t you see what’s going on here?”

With the surprising bomb, you get 10 seconds of shock. With the suspenseful bomb, you get 10 minutes of terror. Is one way necessarily better? It’s debatable. After all, it’s hard to top the delight of realizing you’ve willingly been had. It’s why magic tricks work. Sometimes, you want to be fooled. But sometimes, it pays out more in the long run with suspense.

Knowing that Professor Gellar probably wasn’t real peppered the entire season up until that point with predictions. Am I right? Why am I right? What is the evidence? What if I’m wrong? Every time Gellar appeared in public I was leaning around, checking to see if anyone even spared him a sidelong glance. I swear to god I nearly had a heart attack in 6×09 when Gellar walked through the courtyard and Dexter just missed him. “MY GOD!” I was screaming. “I HAVE TO KNOW! JUST TELL ME!” And even though I was pretty sure I did know, I was just dying, practically jumping out of my skin, to know what would happen the moment that Dexter realized he was chasing a ghost. My friend used the word “prick tease” to describe this. It totally was, but the question is, is that the sort of thing you happen to enjoy? My guess, based on the reaction to this, is that most people would say no. But I, personally, love it, and that makes all the difference.

 

The first rule of Travis & Gellar’s Arts & Crafts Club: You don’t talk about Travis & Gellar’s Arts & Crafts Club! The inherent problem with using the “oh shit, that guy has been fake all along!” device is, now that it’s happened in Fight Club, you can never go back. It’s tainted every similar device, whether or not it’s ultimately handled the same way, and even if it actually predates Fight Club. It’s the same thing: Fight Club had people pissing their pants so excessively that if anyone tries anything like it they’re like, “Oh yeah, but my pants are still relatively dry, so. It doesn’t hold up.”

But the thing is, and maybe it is a flaw that they didn’t make this very clear until 6×10, it was an entirely different animal. With Fight Club, you’re dealing with literally two separate personalities encased in the same body, and the struggle for control continues even when they know about each other. With Travis Marshall, Gellar was a delusion, one he had embraced perhaps because he preferred it to the truth, but it was an illusion easily shattered. The difference is that of dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia. People used to mix them up all the time but now I think we all know they’re not the same at all, it’s just occasionally they involve your brain coming up with people who aren’t really there in some capacity. Gellar is a device for Travis that he’s created to make what Travis already felt he had to do easier. After all, is it not some kind of relief to feel that the difficult decisions have already been made for us? It sure takes the pressure off to be able to think: I have no choice in this. This is what I am meant to do. Who means you to do it? It doesn’t even really matter. For Travis, he creates Gellar: This is what Gellar wants me to do, so I’ll do it, because I have faith in him. It’s the same with Dexter, really, but the illusion of his mind is much more benevolent: This is what Harry wants me to do, so I’ll do it, because I have faith in him. The difference is that Gellar is a demonic force and Harry is angelic (in shades of grey, when it comes to serial murder, anyway). These people exist in their beholders’ minds because the men imagining them don’t believe they’re strong enough to do these things without help. They are two sides of the same coin, and it’s beautifully ironic that Travis, who clings to religion and God, is the darker side of the coin. But Travis is weaker, and his delusion is stronger, like a seven-layered dip: even when Gellar delusion is gone, the God delusion remains. Gellar was just the pretty face he put on the notion that God wanted him to do this. When he was gone, it was only the messenger, but the message remained.

Somehow, despite its content, the show shies away from being too critical of religion, which I wonder if maybe that didn’t strike some people as kind of soft, though I thought it was kind of, I don’t know, altruistic of them to do that. They could’ve come down hard on the “see what monsters religion makes people!” issue. And instead it comes out as decidedly optimistic, despite Dexter’s skepticism. If only more people would be able to accept the beliefs of others the way that Dexter accepts Christianity: it’s out there, and even if it doesn’t make sense to me, as long as it is not causing people to do harm, it’s not too shabby. He even says something to this effect in the final moments of 6×12: “I’ve known people who believe in God,” he tells Travis. “They would never use their faith as a convenient excuse to kill ten people. You used God; it’s not the other way around.” Dexter understands that religion brings balance and peace to some when there’s so much outer turmoil, even if he thinks it irrational or nonsensical. He doesn’t condemn it just because he doesn’t feel it. But in Travis he sees, and he rules him the exception, how people use their faith as an excuse to do all kinds of damaging things, up to and including murder. As Brother Sam says in what is perhaps the overarching theme of this season, “Faith: put it in the wrong things, it’ll fuck you up.” Even Dexter is beginning to realize that, while his faith in Harry did not quite make him as monstrous as Travis’s faith made Travis, maybe he had too much. Maybe, Dexter begins to realize, he didn’t have to be this man, but because he had so much blind faith in Harry Morgan, he became that man, irrevocably and uncontrollably. Maybe the secret to it all is exactly what Dexter ultimately comes up with: give your kid the options, let him make his choice when he’s ready.

 

Debra Discovering Dexter! This is the bomb under the table of the entire series. We all knew this was going to happen, so I kind of want to punch people in the throat when they say, “Yeah, I totally called that.” Of course you did, you dumbfuck! Everyone fucking called it because we’re not fucking idiots! Some people are more specific, like, “I called that it would happen at the end of this season, though.” Okay, but I’m willing to bet that you’ve called it would happen at the end of at least one season prior to this season as well. Even I fucking called it in season 4. (And I was really, really wrong.) I also called it in season 5. I was so bummed by the last two failures I almost didn’t call it this time, but don’t worry: I DID. You were SUPPOSED to call it, guys. This was the inevitable train wreck of the series, where you could see it happening from miles away but the momentum was too strong and there was no way you could stop it, you just had to watch and wait, and the way that they pulled it off in this episode was a thing of beauty. Because of the Gellar thing, a lot of people have cried out, “They’re really starting to underestimate the intelligence of their audience!” (although honestly if you’d heard some of the questions people ask them at Comic-Con I may start to underestimate our intelligence as well), but this one took out loads of the intermediate steps and assumed you would understand that Deb was going to end up at that church at the same time as Dexter long before you saw her silhouette in the doorway.

Dramatically, Deb is also now no longer safe. There are only a few characters on the show that we knew could not be killed: Dexter, obviously, since the show is called Dexter (though if he died, I’d still watch Deb), and Harry, having been dead before we even met him (although we learned this season you can re-kill ghosts by hitting them with your car). And we knew Deb was safe because she had to find out, one day. It was the moment the series has been hurtling towards (toward? towards?) since day 1. Now she has found out, and once she has time to utter a few curse words, her life is up for grabs. Deb is no longer the winner of the Dexter immunity challenge. (Is that a thing? I haven’t watched Survivor for like a decade. I think that’s a thing.) Nearly everyone else who has discovered Dexter’s secret is currently sleeping with the fishes. LITERALLY. I just got so much joy out of realizing I LITERALLY MEANT THAT. Either that or they’ve taken a nice long trip out of town. While I have no idea how Deb will react and I just don’t envy the person who has to make that call, there’s going to be lasting fallout from this any way you slice it.

Some have suggested Dexter will attempt to convince her this was a one-time affair. I don’t think Deb’s that stupid. If Dexter’s obvious comfort with casually killing someone and the serial killer speech that she actually walked in on him giving Travis wasn’t a big enough tip-off, every other aspect of his ritual is. I realize Deb is no forensic psychiatrist, and sometimes she’s dead wrong (aren’t we all?), but even in the beginning of the first season she showed she had some aptitude for profiling and an inherent understanding of how serial killers work (remember when she wrote that startlingly accurate profile of Dexter unnowingly?). She’ll know well enough that you don’t do it like this when you’re killing someone just to get rid of them. This is a big test of Deb’s principles: we’ve seen that she’s all right with something like this in theory. She’s said it. She even let Dexter and Lumen go at the end of season 5. But what happens when it smacks you in the face like 11 times like Tyrion Lannister slapping Joffrey Baratheon?

But obvs, Deb’s reaction is gonna be heavily influenced by…

 

DEBSTER. Maybe you forgot this part. I dunno, it was just like this tiny thing. NBD or anything, but Deb decided she was in love with Dexter.

Many points can be brought up here. The first that many would say is, “Blaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgh.” What I personally would say is that I think Deb has a hideously irresponsible therapist (Michelle Ross, MD: you’re on the list!). The power of suggestion is very strong. It’s even come up in Dexter before, in season 1, when Dexter kills a shrink who’s subtly manipulating women into committing suicide. I don’t think Michelle Ross is doing this, but I’m not sure I’d say she has intentions pure as the driven snow. What do we know about this woman, anyway? Where did she come from? Have you ever even seen her talk to anybody else but Deb? No! For all we know, Michelle Ross is Deb’s Professor Gellar! I don’t trust her anyway. But there’s always been a debate when it comes to certain types of therapy. For example, childhood regression allegedly brings up loads of false memories, just because the therapist–sometimes even unknowingly–suggested it. All it takes to do something like this is to plant the seed in a moment of vulnerability, and then the next thing you know you’ve had a dream about it, and the feelings in the dream seem hideously and appallingly real. How many times have you dreamed like that, and woken up, and felt so strongly about whatever happened in that dream, feeling in your soul like it really happened even when your brain knows it didn’t? Haven’t you ever been mad at someone who betrayed you in a dream who never even did anything to you in real life, or disappointed in someone or scared of someone or something just because you had a dream about it?

"You talk about your brother a lot. Obviously you are in love with him." - Michelle Ross, M.D.

Maybe Deb’s feelings are real. I know lots of people who come down on this side of the argument despite their personal feelings on the “blech” scale. Interestingly, almost everyone I’ve talked to about it in depth has presented their own piece of “why I should’ve seen it coming” evidence now that they’ve had a couple weeks to think it over, which I think addresses the claim some people have thrown out that it came out of left field. I don’t think it didn’t. But maybe, just maybe, Deb’s crappy therapist unearthed an emotion buried deeply in there, as opposed to just making one up. But then, think about it like this:

From Deb’s perspective, she’s fallen in love with a handsome, charming, smart, stable guy with a nice apartment and a steady job and a cute baby and apparently an amazing stock portfolio and a boat. So he’s kind of a shitty driver. That’s not really a dealbreaker. And he doesn’t share his feelings a lot, but what dude does? Anyway, Deb doesn’t want to hear about your feelings. Think about every time anyone has tried to get “feelingsy” on her. She can’t get away fast enough. And yet, he still happily listens to her talk, and doesn’t really judge her or criticize her too much, even if sometimes he says dumb guy stuff. This is the guy she thinks she’s in love with. And who wouldn’t be? He’s perfect. I’m in love with this man. I think most straight women seeking a relationship are seeking this man.

Oh yeah, but guess what else? He’s also a serial killer!

I don’t know about you, but my favorite show is Dexter, and even I would have to seriously rethink a relationship if I found out the guy was a serial killer. The man Deb thinks she loves, the handsome perfect upstanding citizen, is a myth. Deb has idealized him, idolized him, put him up on a pedestal, held him up as a picture of what a great guy ought to be. She did the same thing to Harry, except he was not as young and sexy as Dexter, and her therapist didn’t suggest to her that she was in love with him. It took her decades of reflection and proof staring her straight in the face several times over to understand that Harry was not the perfect father she thought he was. She seems unable to even subscribe to the opinion that he was anything less than a saint until she is able to prove, without a doubt, that he was messing around behind her mom’s back with multiple women. After that, she has no one left to believe in, to have faith in, except Dexter. So, she put her faith in Dexter, and again, as Brother Sam said, FAITH: put it in the wrong things, it’ll fuck you up. What happens when you realize that the last good man on earth in your eyes is a serial killer? If you’d been through everything Deb has been through, and you realize the last thing that you truly believed in–and who wouldn’t love and idealize that thing to death if it was all you had anymore–is an illusion, as sure as Professor Gellar was? If that’s not like a cold Debster shower, then what is, right?

It’s hard to speculate on exactly where this is going, because we didn’t even know that card was on the table until two episodes ago (and the timing can be no coincidence). I just think it’s going to kill Deb, to be presented with a conflict like this on so many levels. Hopefully not literally because I fucking love Deb. What happens when you fall for the perfect man only to discover he’s a serial killer on two separate occasions?

Of course maybe I’m totally off base here. Maybe Deb will cope by latching onto whatever excuse Dexter tries to present her to hang onto this blissful ignorance. Some people like their version of events so much that they will blindly accept whatever bullshit lies you tell them as long as it doesn’t conflict with what they want to hear. Deb has always been a little bit blind to Dexter’s darkness, and indeed to anyone’s, and it’s not because she’s stupid or has no concept of how the criminal mind works. It’s because she just doesn’t want to see it, even when she sees it reflected before her eyes in Travis and Lisa Marshall; even when Dexter explicitly warns her not to subscribe to that belief.

Plus, maybe I’m wrong here, too, because Dexter is a sexually unpredictable creature, but I can’t figure a universe where Deb decides to tell him she loves him anyway after walking in on what she walked in on and then him being like, “Awesome! Let’s be together!”

Not to mention, people complained because they weren’t shocked by anything on the show. Nothing got them outside their comfort zones after Trinity, a guy so horrific that most other terrible things fall by the wayside in comparison. But this was taboo enough to shock even Dexter audiences, so the moral of this story is, be careful what you fucking wish for, because it might end with Deb being in love with her brother.

 

Louis Greene. Guys, I love the fuck out of Louis Greene. He’s my new Dexter boyfriend. If he spun off into his own series I would watch the SHIT out of it. How can people not realize that Dexter has given them exactly what they’re asking for–the best of both worlds? On the one hand you have people who want Dexter to change. Well, he has done. On the other hand, you have people who want early Dexter, a Dexter with fewer rules and ties to the world and regrets and remorse, a young and exciting Dexter who wants to be a killer and wants people to throw a parade for him. THIS IS HIM. THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT. THIS GUY RIGHT HERE.

Louis is barely even on some people’s radars (actually, most of what I speculated in the last post for Louis is still up in the air because he’s pretty mysterious at this point), maybe because he’s not on Dexter’s. (One huge disappointment I had in the finale was that Travis Marshall robbed me of the chance to see Dexter open the box with the ITK arm. YOU MONSTERRRRRRR.) But I am of the opinion that what we’re seeing is either a serial killer in the making or somebody who already is one.

Here is a list of things we don’t know about Louis: basically everything. We know he is a creepy guy who collects murder memorabilia, makes murder video games, takes forensic pathology classes for fun, and spends most of his time alone in his apartment. We also know he has great taste in music. If I had to guess, I think what we were seeing was a guy with murder envy, who wanted the balls to go out in the world and be a serial killer, but hadn’t worked up the courage to do it until he met Dexter. Interestingly he’s also clever enough to already be covering his tracks. The only person who knows the dark side of his video game is Dexter. Everyone else thinks he’s just making a game about solving crime. Nobody, it seems, knows he’s the buyer of the Ice Truck Killer arm, as only two other people even know that the arm was stolen in the first place, and he went back and removed any traces of where the arm could have gone, so even when it’s eventually discovered by Dexter, Dexter won’t be able to follow the trail backwards. Louis is such a blip to Dexter that it’s likely he would never even occur to Dexter as a suspect, even if he happened to be standing in front of Dexter while Dexter was trying to figure out the answer. And as far as I could tell, that was the only piece of murder memorabilia in Louis’s apartment, so it’s most likely not like he’s a collector and red flags would be sent up all over the place.

At this point I just assume Louis knows Dexter’s true identity. His Google-fu probably led him to the discovery that Dexter was Brian’s brother, although whether he knew that before or after he met Dexter I couldn’t tell you, because I went back and watched it and he didn’t seem particularly drawn to Dexter until after Dexter had wowed him with his work at Brother Sam’s crime scene. The sheer level of coincidence going on here if he didn’t know who Dexter was, though, makes me think he must have known. Or maybe he just had a special serial killer boner for the Ice Truck Killer–after all, why that piece of memorabilia over any other piece?–and wanted to work in the department that had seen all the action, where, unbeknownst to him, the Ice Truck Killer’s brother currently worked. Dexter simply popped onto Louis’s radar by effortlessly excelling at his job, and Louis eventually connected the dots. Of note is that Louis does NOT appear in the first episode, as far as I could tell, with the other students in Masuka’s class. His first appearance is as Masuka’s intern in episode 6×05. (BUT, possibly Louis simply hadn’t been cast yet when they started filming, which I honestly think is the most likely scenario here.)

For all of the pride Dexter has in being able to see the monster in other killers, though, he kind of sucks at it. Dexter has been face-to-face with killers on multiple occasions, and unless he had actual evidence suggesting their true identities, never seemed to be able to look at a guy and be like, “Yeah, he’s a killer!” I mean, the dude hung out with Brian like twelve times without ever noticing anything was off. I do find it interesting, however, that after his confrontation with Louis, Dexter stopped using Eliot as his search engine of choice and instead switched to one called Netrangler, which leads to a hilarious website if you type it into your browser in real life. Whatever the case, Louis is like a girl at the prom who longs for a boy’s attention but he just won’t notice her no matter what she tries. So he’s taking matters into his own hands, and he definitely has something up his sleeve, but what’s his endgame? It’s hard to say at this point. I’m guessing even Louis doesn’t quite know. Whatever the case, Dexter unknowingly gave Louis the push he needed to become proactive in his quest. He has some kind of thirst to prove himself (yeah, I quoted the Sorting Hat), and I believe now he won’t stop until he’s made his point.

Anyway, my point is that here we not only have the seeds of a flower that I expect to blossom splendidly in the upcoming seasons, perhaps into a formidable foe. And that, by the way, would be a first for the show if it does happen–the villain for one season has never been introduced in any of the prior seasons, and to actually see the genesis of a new killer on the screen could be the interesting change in format people are asking for. After all, we want Dexter to succeed because we see into his mind, and into his life, and we feel like we’ve been there since the beginning. What if Dexter creates the monster this time, and what would it be like to feel that same sympathy for his opponent?

 

Joey Quinn. Joey Quinn has been a ticking time bomb since season 4. That he hasn’t gone off yet basically astonishes me. Considering what a douche he is and the fact that he seems to have turned to alcohol as his life partner over the last season, I can’t believe that, knowing what he knows, and being the jerk that he’s been, he hasn’t yet sunk low enough to expose the truth about Dexter.

Part of it is I think that, even now, he still hopes he has some ghost of a chance with Deb, whom he clearly loved much more than she loved him. After all, even after his hot season 4 girlfriend turned out to be the daughter of a serial killer and then shot herself, he only beat himself up over it for like a week. He didn’t go on a drinking binge that lasted months and turned him into one of the most pathetic creatures ever. Whereas Deb, after dumping him, spent roughly 47 seconds feeling bent up about it. I think, even after the confrontation in which they both acknowledged that their relationship was, in fact, over, Quinn is still clinging to the belief that it’s not.

Someone presented to me recently a theory that everyone at Miami Metro is currently attending therapy with Michelle Ross and being subtly manipulated into bizarre behaviors. I’m not sure that this is the case, but she did bring up something that I do think may come up in the future: When cockblocking his transfer to another department by pretending that he was a legit alcoholic and not just a sleazebag, Quinn basically signed up for the treatment to alcoholism. Will he take it seriously? Probably not (at first). Will he do it to stay in homicide? Of course. Homicide is the elite department. I’ve met very few people who went into the police force whose ultimate goal was not homicide. And Michelle Ross appears to be the department therapist, so it’ll be interesting if he ends up going to her and she, too, gets enough information from both Deb and Quinn combined but separately to connect the dots about the elusive Dexter she’s heard so much about. Quinn can’t just know and never do anything about it, but the guy’s such a loose cannon with such difficult-to-understand macho guido feelings that I can’t honestly predict what will come out where. But deep down inside, I don’t think Quinn is a bad man.

 

Boomerang Effect. My last point has something to do with my first: the Word of God. I’ve read, in more than one interview, with more than one creative on the show–but particularly Sara Colleton (I’ll name this name because I think she handles this stuff with aplomb from what I’ve seen)–that lots of that shit you thought Dexter got away with you maybe shouldn’t think that about, and that lots of these threads are not dead but dormant.

I’ve seen several pieces of evidence to this effect, but this season should be a huge kick in the pants for anyone who didn’t believe they were serious. The fucking season one villain reappeared. What is that? The season one villain. That’s awesome. Of course he was never really gone–after all he has blood ties to Dexter–but the Ice Truck Killer was, in many ways, a major plot point in this season, and will most likely continue to be into the next one due to Louis’s mancrush on him. You thought the guy was gone, but he was so far from it. There are a lot of plots that were kind of abandoned, and believe it or not I feel like half of them were LaGuerta who has lots of terrible information on Dexter if she pursues any of these leads she’s found over the past six years, but, due to the fact that she is a selfish creature, hasn’t done so out of fear of political backlash. What’s gonna happen when one day she gets fucked over and decides, to borrow some words from Miguel Prado, to fuck them back in ways they never even imagined? She knows Doakes wasn’t the Bay Harbor Butcher. She knows Miguel Prado was a killer. She knows Quinn thinks that Dexter is Kyle Butler.

And somewhere out there are Lumen and Jonah, just wandering around, knowing all about Dexter. Add to that the high number of forensic fuck-ups Dexter has made over the past six seasons. Fortunately he is often able to be present at his own crime scenes so he can sabotage them or something, but sadly for him, Masuka is not bad at his job, and now Masuka has peons. And if Louis is Masuka’s third smartest peon, woe betide the killers of Miami if Masuka’s internship program continues. That could be some bad news for Dexter. Oh yeah, and he keeps actively interfering with police investigations, which eventually is going to get him caught, and lately he’s just been lazy, like he’s not even bothering anymore. Over the course of season six he killed three people in the heat of the moment. That’s more than he’s done like that over the entire five seasons preceding. And once, a bunch of people saw him, and he didn’t even give a shit. He was just like, “I’m tired. I want to go home and eat a banana. Go fuck yourself.”

 

Endgame. The series can end one of three ways–in Dexter’s continued happy murdering existence, in his capture, or in his death. And I think we’ll get a pretty good indicator of which thing we might be looking at when we see how Deb reacts to Dexter.

In the meantime, what? What? What? What? That’s what I thought.

 

* * *

 

 

COUGH: