Dexter: Season 5
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The Showtime Original Series Dexter™ is back with an all-new season, and this time America's favorite serial killer has gone from freewheeling bachelor to responsible husband and doting dad. Maintaining an average-guy facade while satisfying his need to kill has never been easy. But now, with wife and kids in tow, Dexter's got more to lose then ever, as he gets drawn into a deadly game with a killer every bit as dangerous — and conflicted — as he is.
When executive producer/showrunner Clyde Phillips exited Dexter at the end of the fourth season, he left the remaining cast and crew with a puzzle worthy of a cackling supervillain: not only find a way to top John Lithgow's stunning performance as a Big Bad, but also somehow rebuild the main character's life after the season finale's devastating ending. While this subsequent season definitely shows some signs of early fumbling, it sports more than enough twisted drama to keep viewers firmly on (or behind) the couch. Picking up scant seconds after the previous episode, the story arc follows the conflicted sociopath Dexter (Michael C. Hall) as he struggles to uphold his newly amplified role as a family man, while fending off his increasingly demanding killer urges. Salvation, of sorts, comes in the form of a brutalized female victim (Julia Stiles), who enlists him to take down her tormenters. As the duo circle in on their targets, Dexter's sister (Jennifer Carpenter) investigates a gruesome string of ritualized murders and starts an awkward romance with a fellow homicide detective (Desmond Harrington), who has some growing suspicions about how Dexter spends his off hours. Fans of the morally ambivalent tones of the first two seasons may have difficulties with the increasingly human tendencies of the main character (unlike Lithgow's disorienting charisma, the bad guys are so over-the-top evil here that it's difficult not to root outright for their gory demise), but Hall's beautifully subtle performance makes the leap. While his character's situation has definitely changed over the course of the show, Hall still chillingly manages to illuminate his central inability to connect, especially when paired with Stiles, who does a terrific job of balancing vulnerability and righteous bloodlust. Dexter can be a frustrating show to follow at times--especially when dealing with the increasingly flat antics of the supporting cast--but when Hall and Stiles are onscreen, the possibilities seem freakishly infinite. --Andrew Wright
- Californication : Season 4, Episodes 1, 2
- Interviews with: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Julia Stiles, and more!
- Reflecting on Season Five: Julia Stiles
- THE BORGIAS : Episodes 1, 2
- EPISODES: Episodes 1, 2
- HOMELAND: Trailer
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Top customer reviews
After the great Season 4 run with John Lithgow and the stunner finale, I couldn't wait to start on Season 5 (via instant play from Amazon). Unfortunately, Season 5 is (so far) anticlimactic and even (however briefly) boring in some episodes. Some great production and storylines are still there, but...
-The writing isn't nearly as good: Dialogue is cliched and story lines jump and jerk from high-energy action to plodding explanatory material. E.g. the Fuentes murders story with Debra is engaging but gets put on hold while the "informant's" (frankly more bothersome than worrisome) acute interest in Dexter Doings alternates with the more interesting (but unevenly developed) Barbie in a Drum plot. The languishing Fuentes subplot is abruptly resolved and morphs into a cop's Wrongful Scapegoat storyline that has LaGuerta acting out of character.
-How much longer can we suspend our disbelief? The messy murders are piling up and it's hard to accept that Dexter has the time or resources to make all the crime scenes spic and span before the "good guys" arrive to take evidence. Why is everyone doing the, "Oh, ya, that Trinity killer thing -- that we've apparently dropped as an investigation, even though we're cops with axes to grind"...? How is it that hotel guests don't notice gruesome activities in a hotel room with a busted-down door? (Who fixed the door so that a kill room isn't discovered?) Why are nefarious activities on a boat taking place within (albeit long-range lens) camera-capture distance if Dex's Code includes safely dispatching bagged-but-not-tagged evidence 20 to 30 miles offshore into the Gulf Stream? Why isn't Dexter's former neighbor noticing odd goings-on next door? And who the heck wears a snappy suit to the clandestine cleanup of a swampy dumping ground?
-What happened to our characters? There's a distinct lack or distortion of character development. The Season 5 guest actor's role is just not as interesting as characters portrayed by past stars. Not sure if it's the acting or the lines or both. Furthermore, we are Masuka-deprived (and far less depraved) this year. He deserves more time to provide comic relief in juxtaposition with occasionally serious, human insight. And I miss Dexter's dad's lectures, which are few and far between until near the end of Season 5. Then there's the LaGuerta personality disorder topped by Dexter's lengthy and humiliating exposition in front of an audience of hundreds. It is just plain wrong.
Unfortunately, we can't get Showtime at our house and Showtime no longer allows Netflix the privilege of renting Dexter-time to us customers. We'll have another year-long wait for the presumed August 2012 release of Season 6. But unless Season 5 picks up (I just finished Episode 7 or 8), it might not turn out to be a hardship.
Keeping fingers crossed that Showtime returns to exceeding Dexter addicts' expectations...
Addendum: I just finished the last episode of Season 5 and am sorry to report that, although it wasn't a waste of time, Season 5 was a big letdown. I've moved my original (above) review to the DVD series rather than locate it at an individual episode.
I agree with reviewer "R. Recchia" that the first episode, "My Bad," was more like the fare we're accustomed to, except for the messy loose end of Dexter's "emotional outburst" and the FBI apparently having no problem with an extremely tardy interviewee. The last few episodes were like watching a 1980s version of The Young and the Restless (if the Y&R starred a serial killer and used buckets of blood and profanity). Some of the lines were real clunkers, and even the fine actors couldn't lift them without visible pain. Until I saw the last episode, I never thought I'd associate the noun "maudlin" in any way with Dexter.
On positive notes, Quinn's character, although a bit flighty mid-season (as if the writers were arguing about how to develop it), ended up being more interesting (and likable), in part because Desmond Harrington really developed some acting chops by the end. The finale has some of the characters reverting to more familiar personalities. And Dexter's adorable baby is a hoot.
Let's hope that the Season 6 Dexter production gets more studio support and confident, skilled writing. It will elevate actor morale and lead to a better series. And I'll be first in line to buy it.
9. Make Your Own Kind of Music
Dexter investigates the murder of his protégé. Dr. Vogel gets the surprise of a lifetime when someone returns from her past.
TV-MA CC Runtime: 55 minutes Release date: August 25, 2013 Watch with Showtime Paid but unable to watch. Rip off!
(Alert: Possible Spoiler Ahead) If you're reading this, you probably know by now that Season 4 ended with the shocking (if textually convincing) murder of the character of Rita, Dexter's wife. I wondered for a long time, waiting for Season 5 to arrive on DVD, how on earth this series would continue. It seemed to me the show's creators had done just about all they could with the bizarre character of Dexter Morgan, and that there was little else to say following that bitterly ironic murder at the end of Season 4. It amazes me that they not only found a way to move the story forward, but quickly developed an entirely fresh direction in the person of Lumen Pierce (Julia Stiles) which dominates Season 5.
Michael C. Hall is fantastic as always. Lauren Velez and David Zayas (i.e., LaGuerta & Batista), are not only terrific as always in this season, but they continue to find nuances of character that are absent elsewhere in television depictions of Latinos. Much as the character of Deb is over-the-top potty-mouthed and temperamental, I never tire of watching Jennifer Carpenter's work; she manages to make me care about Deb precisely as one would about a sibling whose heart (and mouth) are sometimes bigger than her brain. Best of all this season, though, is the guest star, Julia Stiles, who makes the unthinkable seem terrifyingly real.
I loved the heck out of this season, and I can't imagine anyone who enjoys the series not being glued to every episode as well.