Dexter - Season Three

Category: , By Rev/Views

In case you're wondering, the picture is from the Showtime second season advertising stunt where they filled up fountains with dye to make them look like they were filled with blood. Just a little reminder of how cool Dexter was in the first two seasons.

So. Third season of Dexter. I can sum it up in one word and that word is:

Lackluster

There's no need to go into how great the first two seasons were of this show, you should have seen them by now and if you haven't watch out for spoilers. Now the third season, it should and could have been great. The show had come from an incredible high with a second season that was so laden with tension and gut twisting moments it could have been from 'The Shield'. At the time I did mention and write that I thought the loss of both Brian (from the first season) and Doakes (second season) was an incredible move for tension and storytelling but it might hamper them in the long run and honestly, right now I think it has.

Doakes is the element which the show has really been missing, this season attempted to build a credible threat to Dexter's cover life in Prado and to give Jimmy Smits his due he really nailed the part. We saw an incredible descent into madness that really did feel natural within the constraints of the story. But the end of season two promised us so much more than season three could deliver. We were offered a Dexter who was going to evolve and move beyond the scope of Harry's code, we even got that right at the start of the season (admittedly by accident) but things didn't end up going that way in the end.

Honestly the season feels like a transition point, I suspect they've set up Quinn, Anton and Deb for some future pay off in a later season. Likewise Deb's checking of the files is probably going to lead to some "Deb knows what Dexter really is" plot line. [Early bet, she ends up taking him down or shooting him.] Same with Angel's storyline. Dexter is attempting to give us some multi-season plot lines in the vein of (sorry I know I sound like a broken record here) The Shield and The Wire. But I'm just not convinced it's going to pay off yet. Sure Dexter as a family man is pretty interesting, likewise him fathering a child (not that we have time to see what happens here - unless they accelerate the timeline al la Desperate Housewives), but on the whole the show just lacked the substance and tension of the first two seasons.

Next season needs to introduce a credible and untouchable threat for Dexter. Someone or even some organisation/group of people that can provide a lasting danger for him. One he can't just easily off. I mused somewhere about a reporter type noticing a pattern and circling in around Dexter, someone with a hunch but no evidence, someone who's genuinely a good and likable guy. Someone who has no reason to be killed apart from the threat he presents to Dexter's existence. Can Dexter manage to turn this guy away, bring him in some how, set him (or her) up or will he be forced to kill a true innocent to protect his existence? Now that's a dilemma I'd love to see play out over the next two seasons.

Now, onto the actual final few episodes of Dexter. I can draw a direct and obvious parallel here for the show, it's borrowed ithe style of using it's big events in the last but one episode from another show. But instead of providing an interesting final episode/showdown with 'the Skinner' we get a short throwaway confrontation with a "Proceed directly to the wedding, do not pass any tension, collect on obvious metaphor." George King just hasn't been a credible threat this season and there is no doubt that they dealt with Prado and King in the wrong order. If the Skinner had been a more sinister overarching threat to Dexter or say Deb then it would have had more significance. But unfortunately Prado was always the individual who felt more interesting and dangerous. The viewer expected a final confrontation between Dex and Prado in the second half of the final episode. Now there are shows which have managed to throw the big "revelation" moment in a lot earlier than expected with great success - The Shield pulled this move at least twice in it's run and was amazing each time, it blind sided you by giving you 'that big moment' long before you thought it would happen - But this season of Dexter just didn't manage to do it right. So we ended up with a highly unsatisfying final episode that felt more like an epilogue instead of a genuine part of the tale. Tacked on so to speak.

Now this is not to say that the show was terrible, it certainly wasn't. But the big issue I have is the show consistently fails to make it's B rank characters interesting, we've got some great actors in the mix, I adore Vince and Angel. But they're either reduced to one line jokes, seemingly pointless story lines or plain annoyances.

I admire Dexter's writers for their season long story lines, but they need to go back and look at this season to see what didn't work. Right now the only reason to watch it is Michael C. Hall's blistering performance.

But one man can not make a show alone.

 

5 comments so far.

  1. MysterLynch 16 December 2008 at 03:22
    I enjoyed season three, but it def was the weakest thus far.

    I enjoyed the developing relationship between Miguel and Dexter, but it could have been some much better.

    It should have evolved over this season and had the collapse occur next season.

    I did like the final confrontation between Ramon and Dexter, it was very well done and showed some evolution of the character.
  2. Rev/Views 16 December 2008 at 09:54
    Yes, the moment between Dexter and Ramon at the end was very good. Easily the best moment in the episode.
  3. MysterLynch 18 December 2008 at 05:01
    There was enough solid things for me to still have hope for season four.
  4. Rev/Views 19 December 2008 at 11:21
    Agreed, season 3 was not a deal breaker for me. I will continue to watch.
  5. Sean 26 December 2008 at 12:22
    Great performances, poor writing.

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