Well the first episode of Dexter's new season was leaked so I thought I'd check it out and save myself a little time later on when things get... crowded.
There are heavy spoilers for the first two seasons of this ahead and light ones for the episode itself. So I'll go and put up a spoiler cut right here.
A little light bloodshed and pancakes after the link...
The previous two seasons of Dexter have been seminal affairs that managed to pack so many ground breaking events into them that even now; on the rewatch, they are staggeringly brilliant. But there have been issues with the show, not in quality but in peaking early. I am still surprised and a little saddened with the decision to kill Rudy at the end of the first season, this deviated from the book's decision - which I feel was a better choice. Having Rudy/Brian out there still alive and potentially interacting with Dexter from time to time would have provided a potential returning hook. It also would have helped later on because the scenes between Michael C. Hall and Christian Carmargo were fantastical intense and reigniting those would have been interesting. It could also have kept viewers hooked because you could have a copy-cat Ice Truck Killer fake out leading into the return of Brian.
There is a similar problem with the loss of Doakes at the end of season two. It was phenomenal and gut-punching, but I still maintain that the second season would have been better served if it was the third season. I would have liked more time to see an escalation of the conflict between the pair and more screen time for Erik King who is brilliant. The second season is still brilliant, but I just wish they had pushed that storyline back a year. Or at least jailed Doakes for the crime to allow some interaction between Dexter and him, oh well. Killing Doakes was genius, but I can't help but feel the show has lost something now.
As such; at the start of the third season, Dexter is in the safest place he's been since the series started. There are no hooks in him right now at all and that's a problem, unlike the start of the previous season Dexter has a pretty good life right now. He has Rita, he has no problems killing, Doakes is down for the Bay Harbour Butcher murders and Dexter has refined his dumping methods to avoid suspicion. Life is pretty good for him.
And the hook for this season doesn't seem to have enough of an impact, in a struggle Dexter kills the wrong man and violates Harry's code. A man who turns out to be the brother of Assistant District Attorney Prado (Jimmy Smitts), Prado is billed as 'changing Dexter's life' over the course of this season and to be fair, Smitts is very good. It's just that his younger brother has already turned out to be more than a little shady and as such I'm expecting Dexter to discover that he didn't break Harry's code.
It's still Dexter, it's still brilliant. But as far as opening episodes go this one was the weakest of the three we've had so far. But I can forgive a weaker first episode if it turns out to be the calm before the storm and I'm sure it will be.
One name in the opening sequence always stood out in the previous season, it's the place that was held by Erik King. His name was the only one that blinked out of existence instead of just vanishing. I wondered about that choice for a while and came to the conclusion that his time was numbered. C.S. Lee is in that spot now and his name likewise blinks out - does this mean that Vince will bite it this season? Or is it just a decision to keep consistency?
Dexter losing his tooth/crown was close to pointless if he was going to just pick it up and pocket it in the crime scene immediately afterwards. It does serve to highlight how he can be so effective at evading capture, but we already know that so I'm not sure it was needed at all.
Jennifer Carpenter (Debra) looked better with longer hair, she has quite a long face anyway and now her hair is shorter it's even more obvious. But it's not terrible and I'm always (childishly) pleased with the quantity and quality of her swearing.
The new policeman, the one who's under investigation (I can't even recall his name that's how little an impression he made on me). Man he was awkwardly inserted into this episode. But his inclusion has nothing on his haircut, I have no idea what they were thinking with that one but his scalp looks terrible.
Batista gets his promotion, yay! He's one of the more endearing characters in the show; hard working, inept with women, but a good mate and he's already proven to be an effective choice as Sergeant as he dealt with Debra in exactly the right manner.