Dexter season 6 episode 1: Those Kinds Of Things
Is Dexter back on track after tripping up on season five?
Air date: 2 October 2011 Showtime (US)
Over here at Fan Can HQ we think it's generally accepted that last year's Dexter mistepped a bit, yes?
Lacking a strongly-flavoured Big Bad and fumbling its narrative pace by stretching itself out over a larger time frame, it seemed that Dexter may be running out of puff.
With that in mind, season six's premiere episode, Those Kind of Things, seems impatient to let us know that it's back with the formula. Well, kind of.
Edward James Olmos's killer-in-charge appears to have a padawan in the shape of Colin Hanks, and their murders have a grisly theatricality to them that makes the Trinity Killer's look like some cheap back-alley stab job.
From the lurid trailers for this season, it's obviously "the religious one".
And despite never having even skimmed the subject before, it's here, left, right, and slap-bang there in the centre.
Dexter mulls over signing Harrison up for a Catholic school at the suggestion of Batista, while Debs, of all people, chastises him for having no beliefs (the episode oddly - or perhaps not - runs shy of the word 'atheist').
And then there's Dexter finding out that this episode's victim-of-the-week has a massive tattoo of Jesus across his left tit.
Also, of course, there's Olmos and Hanks, whose motives seem drawn from the more nutzoid side of religious fundamentalism. And we haven't even met Mos Def's born-again killer yet.
It's laid on rather thickly for a first episode and you just hope they can dial it down a little after this.
That's not to say there weren't enough lighter moments scattered around.
Dexter's initial discomfort at the high school reunion and his realisation that he was now the coolest ex-pupil on campus was nicely done. As was his awkward joining in for MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This.
It's always difficult to judge a Dexter season on its first episode. Lumen Pierce and Jordan Chase defined the last series, but were nowhere to be seen in the first two installments.
Maybe Olmos and Hanks will turn out to be red herrings? And presumably Heroes' Brea Grant, spotted only fleetingly in the premiere as one of Matsuka's forensics students, will turn out to have a fatter role?
If there's anything we've learned in the past five years, it's that Dexter seasons rarely run the way you think, and wrong-footing us is part of the writers' game.
See the season six trailer here:
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