We prayed for it for years, but few of us probably expected to be affected by Rita’s death as much as we were. The season premiere of the fifth season of Showtime’s “Dexter,” picked up right where it left off at the end of last season, with Rita taking a warm bath in her own blood, compliments of the Trinity killer (R.I.P). Last night’s episode focused on the immediate aftermath, specifically how Dexter came to terms with it.
“It was me,” was what he told the authorities responding to his 911 call, a statement that looks to bite him in the ass all season long. That statement, along with his robotic 911 call, the fact that he didn’t cry upon learning of Rita’s death, nor has he offered the FBI a proper alibi, has placed the suspicion for Rita’s death on him, a posthumous gift from Trinity. It doesn’t help that his colleagues at the station now also know that Rita made out with the neighbor, and know that Dexter knew about it. Quinn and Masuka are already beginning to rule out Trinity (though, they wrongly stated that Trinity had never murdered a married woman before, right?), while Dexter remained stoic throughout most of the episode, to the dismay of Deb, who doesn’t know what the hell to think. Deb was not only taking care of arrangements for Dexter, but she was doing all his weeping, too. Dexter does get huge props for delivering the news that their mother had been murdered to Cody and Astor while wearing Mickey Mouse ears, and robotically parroting the funeral director’s words, “I’m sorry for your loss,” in a hilariously awkward attempt to sound human.
Deb was also left to clean up the crime scene, and in the process, she inadvertently polished Quinn’s knob, a grief fuck that Quinn clearly took to heart. Poor Quinn. If there’s one thing we know through five seasons of “Dexter,” if you sleep with Deb, your odds of being murdered jump astronomically. Quinn and Dexter have had a history of animosity, and Quinn’s relationship (one-sided or not) is clearly not going to help mend his relationship with Dexter.
Astor (a terrible child actor, by the by), after learning of her mother’s death, told Dexter that she wished it were him that had died. Dexter, feeling likewise, decided he couldn’t deal anymore and that Astor was right. So, he burned his files, jumped on his boat, and decided to skip town. Alas, a douchebag at a gas station finally elicited the anger in him, and the murder of said douchebag was not only bloody, but cathartic for Dexter and those of us at home, who finally witnessed Dexter’s emotional side. That’ll teach a guy to say, “Your dead wife can suck my dick.”
Who else was saying to themselves sympathetically, “There, there, Dexter. You get it all out,” while he was bludgeoning that gas-station hillbilly to death? It was cleansing, really, and it signaled the reappearance of Harry, who convinced Dexter to return to Miami. “That’s the first human thing I’ve seen you do since she died, Dexter,” Harry said. “It’s OK, son, to show what you’re feeling.” That was a decidedly un-Harry thing to say, while Dexter’s guttural, emotional yalp was decidedly un-Dexter like.
His sloppy humanity is going to get Dexter in trouble, and scenes from future episodes reveal how much of this season will play out. Both Rita and Trinity are dead, but it’s obvious that their lives will continue to affect Dexter, both literally and emotionally. It looks as though he’s going to be dealing with his grief a lot this season, which means piles of bodies, and probably a mistake or two (did he just leave the gas station guy in the bathroom? What about Harry’s second rule? Never make a scene.) What’s missing, unfortunately, from scenes from future episodes is another John Lithgow, or even Jimmy Smits. Not having a major serial killer adversary could be refreshing, though, and freeing for Dexter’s character, who will have mostly himself to contend with, as he adds to his blood-slide collection (and why didn’t the FBI search Dexter’s room during the crime-scene investigation)? I wonder, too, how many Rita flashbacks we’ll have to contend with this season. They were appropriate for this episode, as something of a tribute to the departed Rita and to book-end just how far Dexter has come as a human being, but if they continue the entire season, we may be reminded again of why many of us didn’t like Rita in the first place.
“She died a brutal death, and I can’t fix it,” Dexter said solemnly, in his somewhat narcissistic eulogy for Rita. And no, he can’t fix it. But he can fill the void left by Rita’s death with the blood of others.