As season six opens, he worries whether his dark traits will take root in his toddler, but the arc of these dozen hours is tracking down the so-called “Doomsday Killer” — actually, killers plural: two end-times zealots (Edward James Olmos and a clench-jawed Colin Hanks) who believe God wants them to bring about the end of the world. They attempt this lofty goal by staging elaborate — and gruesome — re-creations of key passages from Revelations, using the corpses of the “whores” and various other “sinners” they “acquire.”
Among subplots that thread throughout, Dexter befriends an ex-con (hip-hop’s Mos Def, who should act more) whose religious faith perplexes Dex, despite them having homicide in common; and Dexter’s sister, Debra (Jennifer Carpenter, Gone), experiences immense changes, both personally and professionally, all in the same day.
As always, the show finds time for lighter humor, too, particularly with Dexter attending his high school reunion, Masuka (C.S. Lee) lusting after his new intern (Brea Grant, TV’s Heroes), and a terrific sight gag that echoes Grant Wood’s American Gothic. While I won’t reveal her role, Deadwood alum Molly Parker is at her sunniest in a supporting part that plays out over several episodes.
But Dexter the series lives and breathes on Dexter the character, and Hall is so comfortable with him by now that an excellent performance is all but guaranteed. I worried a bit that the real-life divorce between Hall and Carpenter might rear its ugly head in scenes between them, but it doesn’t show at all; ironically, this batch finds the two interacting more.
Some fans have called this season the worst yet; while I agree it’s not as compelling as, say, the Trinity Killer, it’s hardly bad. This remains — no pun intended — one of TV’s current finest hours. I even guessed its big twist six full episodes before its reveal, yet that did not decrease my enjoyment.
I might think differently if another storyline pursued near the season’s end had come to fruition. It would’ve been a shark-jumping moment for the show, but the creators flip it at literally the last possible seconds — a brilliant move that sets up the upcoming seventh and penultimate season. Just do not watch the Showtime promo that plays upon inserting the first disc, because it spoils the bit.
The Blu-ray set spreads season six across three discs. As with past season releases, it is slim on extras — or at least on extras actually housed on the discs. Sample pairs of Showtime fellow series House of Lies, The Borgias and Californication are only accessible through BD-Live. This continues to irk me since my current player refuses to connect, and you know that BD-Live has a shelf life, meaning that those “extras” may not exist decades from now, or even next year.
As for the main attraction, however, no complaints. Since its debut season, Dexter continues to be massively entertaining. —Rod Lott