Dexter Season Five Blu-Ray Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, September 02, 2011
The fifth season of Dexter had an almost impossible task in having to follow the incredible season four in which Dexter went toe-to-toe with another serial killer known as the Trinity Killer and played with chilling perfection by John Lithgow. In the end, Dexter killed Trinity but not before the wily killer took one last victim…Dexter’s wife Rita. Season five picks right up where four left off with Dexter finding Rita’s body in a bathtub filled with blood and his life is turned upside down. Dexter now finds himself alone with his infant son. His stepdaughter Astor blames Dexter for her mom’s death as she and brother Cody go to live with their grandparents in Orlando.
A continuing plot throughout every season of Dexter is of another cop closing in on Dexter’s secret. This time it’s Detective Quinn who secretly begins to investigate Dexter without telling his superiors or his partner and Dexter’s sister, Debra. Dexter soon gets on the trail of a sanitation worker who is responsible for the deaths of a number of women. Dexter kills him but he is witnessed by one of the killer’s still surviving captives named Lumen (Julia Stiles). Dexter first has to keep her bound to gain her trust and in doing so uncovers a much more insidious plot and many more victims.
Dexter learns that there were several other men involved in the murders of the women including a wealthy and well-known motivational speaker. Lumen wants Dexter to help her track the men down and kill them. He refuses a first but soon finds in Lumen a kind of warped soul mate whose motivations mirror his own. Dexter and Lumen form a symbiotic relationship as they hunt the men down even as Quinn gets closer to discovering Dexter’s secret.
It’s not that season five was bad, but after Lithgow’s terrifying performance as The Trinity Killer, a serial killer version of Anthony Robbins simply doesn’t carry the same amount of menace. Despite the writer’s best efforts you never felt that Dexter was in much peril. The show continued its tradition of season long guest-stars by adding Stiles to the cast after having Lithgow, Jimmy Smits, and Keith Carradine on board the previous three seasons. It was a welcome change to have a female cast member be the lighting rod for Dexter’s work and Stiles brought a great feeling of empathy to her performance. You felt for her and you hoped that she might bring some peace to Dexter.
The main complaint about season five was that it was too soap opera-ish in its sub-plots. I didn’t care about LaGuerta and Batista getting married and cared even less when their marriage went on the rocks almost immediately. Debra’s hunt of the San Muerte Killer also fell flat. The only compelling sub-plot was Quinn teaming with slime ball copy Liddy (Peter Weller) to investigate Dexter. Michael C. Hall was as good as ever and you can’t blame him for a weaker storyline this year. He showed a tenderness that we hadn’t seen previously as he cared for his son even while his father’s ghost told him he could never hope to have a normal family life.
While season five was probably the weakest in the show’s history, a weak season of Dexter is still better than about 90% of the shows on TV.
The extras do not come on the discs themselves but rather are accessed through Showtime’s BD Live and I’d love to tell you about them but I can’t. When I tried to access them a message trailed across the screen that due to technical difficulties the various extras would not be available until August 29th. Problem is that it was August 30th when I tried to check these out. But the list of extras is as follows:
Interviews with cast members Michael C. Hall, Julia Stiles, Jennifer Carpenter, James Remar, Desmond Harrington, and more.
Reflecting on Season Five: Julia Stiles
The Borgia’s Episodes 1 & 2
Mania Grade: B-
Blu-ray: Dexter (Season Five)
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Julia Stiles, Jennifer Carpenter, James Remar, Jonny Lee Miller, Peter Weller, Lauren Velez, David Zayas, C.S. Lee, Desmond Harrington
Written By: Various
Directed By: Various
Original Year of Release: 2010
Extras: See Below