The Fifth Season
CBS / Showtime
In each of the previous seasons, Dexter has formed a relationship with someone that shares some aspect of his personality. The killer, the addict, the hero, and the duel personality. In season five, he meets a fellow victim. Dexter is a victim twice over. The first was the murder of his mother, which was the defining moment that made him what he is today, and the second was the murder of his wife at the end of season four.
Dexter’s first victimization crippled him emotionally, a fact which becomes very clear after his second victimization; resulting in two problems that plague him for the rest of the season. The first is Detective Quinn, who is suspicious of Dexter’s lack of emotion following Rita’s (Dexter’s wife) death. The other officers, including Dexter’s sister Debra, who have worked with Dexter longer are perhaps more familiar with is personality, and reject the idea that he could be involved out of hand, the irony, of course, is that it’s one of the few murders he didn’t commit.
The second problem his lack of emotions cause involves his family, specifically Rita’s kids. There’s a great scene early on where Dexter goes to a funeral home and is impressed by the director’s ability to feign sympathy by saying ‘sorry for your loss.’ After telling the kids that their mother was murdered, Dexter, unable to share their emotions and not knowing how to deal with them, simply repeats the funeral director’s ‘sorry for your loss,’ which the 12 year old Astor is much less impressed with.
Dexter’s fellow victim this season is Lumen Pierce, who was abducted, tortured and raped. Dexter’s character arc for the season is essentially procreation, as he slowly (though unintentionally) turns Lumen into another him, but she’s not exactly the same. Dexter’s turning point happened when he was a baby. Something fundamental changed and he developed wrong from the start. Lumen is different in that she feels the change. She knows what she used to be and what she is now, and her motivations now are a result of extreme emotion, rather than a lack of it. Also, her rage is directed at specific targets. She knows who she wants to hurt, then figures out how to do it; unlike Dexter who decides he wants to kill someone, then looks for someone appropriate.
Each season of Dexter has a central serial killer case. The one for this season (involving Lumen’s attacker) is well plotted and multi-layered. It builds up at a good pace, and there aren’t any deus ex machina invoked to move it along. One of the neat things about the series is that each mystery has to follow two paths; that of Dexter and the police. Dexter has to remain slightly ahead so that his targets aren’t arrested before he can kill them, but he can’t be so far ahead that the police cease to be a dramatic threat to him. Conveniently, Dexter has the only eye-witness to the crime working with him.
This was a great season, with a solid plot and a character arc that expands Dexter without killing anything we love about him.
Like previous seasons, there’s a complete lack of extras included on the BDs, though video and audio quality are great.