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Blu-ray Review: Dexter – The Sixth Season

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Oh, my little darkly dreaming Dexter — my, how you have grown since first coming into our lives in 2006. You’ve gone from being a minor cult item about a serial killer who targets serial killers to a record-breaking hit show with several awards and nominations under your belt. You even somehow managed to survive an entire season featuring Julia Stiles as your recurring guest star — something that very few series would be able to endure. Now, here we are with your sixth season at our sides, and I am forced to say that I am not entirely sure what to make of the direction you are clearly taking.

Dexter: The Sixth Season finds our antihero at a moral crossroads in life. Sure, he’s a pretty soulless individual, but his newfound single father routine has taken him to what one might call a higher level. The season opens with Dexter looking to enroll his son into a Catholic preschool, wherein a nun asks him about his religious beliefs. From there, Dex begins to look into the more spiritual side of existence — something he doesn’t actually believe in, but something that warrants further studying once a pair of devout Christian nutjobs (Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks) start to panic the entire city with several grisly murders they believe will bring about the end of the world.

Otherwise, it’s business as usual for the crew of the Miami Metro Police Department. Lab geek/perv Vince Masuka (C.S. Lee) is on the lookout for an intern, to wit he welcomes aboard two completely different candidates. Sgt. Batista (David Zayas) finds it hard to focus on being overprotective to his younger sister (Aimee Garcia) — whom we have never met before, and who also serves as Dexter’s nanny — since he is busy butting heads with his partner, Det. Quinn (Desmond Harrington), who turns into a raging alcoholic when his marriage proposal to Dexter’s sister, Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) goes awry.

Speaking of Debra, Dexter’s adoptive sister is having your average, routine workload here as well. Promoted to lieutenant after the division’s previous commander, Lt. LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez), advances up the rank to Captain via that timeless, surefire method of promotion, blackmail, Debra discovers being the boss isn’t all it’s cracked up to be — especially after she begins to realize the feelings she has for her adopted brother aren’t as wholesomely family-like in nature as she always suspected. And they say there’s nothing new under the sun.

As any good Dexter fan knows, one of the keys to the success of this particular series is the fact that its writers like to throw us for a loop. Quite a bit, in fact. At the finale of Season Four, the character of Rita, Dexter’s annoying wife, was written out of the equation completely. Interestingly enough, there’s barely a mention of her or her children here; they are only mentioned briefly in passing without so much as a glimpse of them in recap footage. That in itself suggests a new direction. Sadly, I’m not quite sure Dexter‘s writers knew where that destination lied, as it seems they are frequently pulling out the “Oh, no, we were just kidding” card — something we discover about mid-way through this season when one of our antagonists turns out to be a total red herring.

Although Dexter’s former family is nowhere to be seen, we are treated to a surprise appearance by another relation of his; a character who, while deceased, gets to ride side-by-side with Dex à la his ghostly step-father, Harry (James Remar). This two-episode subplot makes for a nice change of pace during an otherwise irresolute season, though it still seems out of place to me. Frankly, the whole season seems like an overlong introduction to the next one — as the finale of Dexter: The Sixth Season finally bridges the gap between our titular character’s two very different lives.

So, even though I wasn’t completely impressed with what this season had to offer, it’s still something of a requirement if you wanna keep up on the series in general.

Paramount Home Video, in collaboration with Showtime and CBS, bring us a stellar presentation of Dexter: The Sixth Season on Blu-ray. The transfer is a force to be reckoned with indeed, boasting some truly solid colors and blacks, strong contrast, and exceptional detail all-around. As it is a recent production, the possibility of grain and debris are unlikely, and Dexter: The Sixth Season is about as clear of any digital scrubbing or cleaning as can be. The accompanying DTS-HD 5.1 MA soundtrack is also a commendable one, and succeeds in bringing us in to this fictional world admirably.

Just like previous seasons of Dexter on Blu-ray, this set has no “in-house” special features: all of the bonus materials are available via BD-Live, which can be quite annoying if you don’t have your Blu-ray player connected to the Interweb. However, considering most of the extra goodies are episodes for other Showtime series (two episodes each from the latest seasons of House of Lies, Californication, and The Borgias), you might not be missing much. The only interrelated items are a few not-too-meaty interviews with select cast and crew.

Recommended for Dexter purists only. The rest of you might just want to rent it for the opener and finale.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.