This last season of Dexter however, has been like watching a music box wind down. The moving parts are slowing down rather than speeding up, the sound is slurred and droning. There is no urgency, even the 'bad' killer is one-dimensional and uninspired. Like a bland version of Norman Bates.
Dexter himself is surrounded by characters who accept his dark passenger, seemingly without qualms. No longer is he hiding, he has become invisible because nobody is looking for him anymore. The houses of the killers he has dispatched lie empty and nobody notices. The police force investigates bicycle accidents.
He is no longer improvising in life and death situations, no longer a calculating professional who keeps a cool head and a steady hand. Even the frequent voice-overs seem at loss for interesting topics. It's like a diary entry for a person with nothing going on anymore. He wants to talk, he just has no material.
The writing is crude. The dialog in particular - which used to use every word with crushing intent is now full of throwaway lines, most of which only serve to narrate what the audience is already fully aware of. For our years of loyalty to these characters we are being rewarded by having them re-explained to us. Without subtlety.
This season of Dexter had the opportunity to start off with a bang. It's the last season - pull out the stops already. Episode one could have focused on the LaGuerta cover up, Dexter's collection of bodies (currently sitting under the sea) could have washed up, Deb could have confessed. Instead we have a brand new character appear from his past to conveniently re-write his history, so that we can sit in on Dexter's counseling sessions. We have Hannah show up, now Carol to his Mike Brady.
We wait patiently for the writers to let the cat out of the bag, to challenge Dexter, to make him fight for his life. We hope the tension will build so the audience can root for him (or against him). Instead we watch him forget his strengths, drop his nature, acting like this is his first time following a person, hiding from the police, we watch him make a travel list. Next episode may have us watch Dexter pack his suitcase.
Our patience turns to frustration, are these really throwaway episodes? Could the last four episodes have been squeezed into a single one? Is this building up to something? If so - when do we get the pay-off?
Even Harrison's treadmill accident - so much blood - and for what? A single tiny band-aid? Really, that could be a metaphor for the whole season so far.