Dexter — still bloody good

By ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  September 25, 2012

FREE AS BIRD Is Deb going to bust Dexter for his dastardly deeds? Don't bet on it.

When we saw Dexter last, his sister Deb had walked in just as he plunged a knife into Travis Marshall's chest. Quite the kerfuffle for our man Dex but, really, this moment has been a long time coming. Every slapdash kill, every bag of dismembered body parts dumped off the back of his boat with all the care of a fisherman unloading a bucket of chum, every time he strolled out the back door of a murder scene as a colleague burst in the front, has been leading up to Dexter's undoing. Or has it? Because if there's one thing we've learned from the last six seasons of Dexter, it's that he just may be the luckiest serial killer of all time.

What we found ourselves wondering, as Deb and Dexter's eyes met in mutual horror, was not if Dexter was going to get out of this, but how. It seems impossible that he might, after all this time, be forced to meet with repercussions, that Deb could slap a pair of cuffs on her brother's blood-spattered wrists and march him off to jail like any cop worth her newly minted lieutenant badge. And, not-so-spoiler alert for the new season of Dexter (beginning on Showtime this Sunday night at 9): she does not. Recent seasons of Dexter, which began as one of the most compelling, original shows on television, have begun to reveal, if not plot holes, tiny tears in the fabric of plausibility.

But perhaps that's apropos, since we've similarly borne witness to Dexter's gradual unraveling. To be certain, the Dexter of past seasons, and particularly of season 6, is a far different character from the cold, detached alien among humans we met when the show first aired. Here was a serial killer who sublimates his murderous tendencies through his work as a Miami police blood-spatter analyst and through killing other serial killers. That was a creature who mused, not unhappily, that "If I could ever have feelings for anyone, I'd have them for Deb." But feel he could not; it was a capacity robbed from him long ago, drowned in the pool of his mother's blood in which dad Harry found him. (Harry's ghost was mercifully absent from most of last season, but he reappears now to admonish Dexter in typically tedious form for this latest misstep.) The old Dexter couldn't feel much of anything past the bloodlust that gnawed at his psyche. He gives form to this urge for the first time, when describing his "Dark Passenger" to an appropriately aghast Deb. "You're a sick fuck, Dexter, Jesus Christ," she tells him in disgust. Still, she finds a way to, if not accept Dexter's sick fuckery, reconcile with it. If it's like an addiction, she reasons, maybe Dexter can put himself through a sort of serial-killer rehab program. Twelve little steps toward no longer needing to wrap Miami's scummiest in plastic and put a blade in their chests. Clearly, this is not going to work.

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