TV on DVD: Dexter, Season Three (2009)

dexterOkay, let’s get right to it.  I’m a super-duper big fan of this series.  Season one completely blew my mind, season two was an absolute blast, and I’ve been looking forward to season three for months now.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, I found season three pretty disappointing.  For several reasons, but the primary one, and I’ll just say it flat-out right here so you have time to shake off the shock as you go, was JIMMY SMITS.

Now, Jimmy is an ex-Boyfriend of the Week, so when I heard he was joining the cast this season, I was naturally athrob with anticipation.  But no, no.  No, it simply did not work.   Not workage.  Workage of not.  NON!

As the season opens, Dexter is on the prowl for his next victim, a drug dealer and all-’round bad guy named Freebo.  He gets to Freebo’s house intending to kidnap and then kill him, as per usual, but finds someone else already there trying to do his job for him.  That guy immediately attacks Dexter, and in the process of brawling, Dexter kills HIM.

The next day, he learns the man he’d killed was the brother of District Attorney  Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits).  Covering his tracks, Dexter casts blame on Freebo, and is then forced to cover THOSE tracks by killing Freebo as well.  But, oh no!  Prado catches him in the act!   Which scares Dexter half to death — until he realizes that Miguel is grateful he’s taken out the man he thought killed his brother.  For a while, the two become friends, but then Prado becomes obsessed with using Dexter to take out other bad people the system is failing to take proper care of.  As that spirals out of control during the season, Dexter is forced to distance himself from Prado.  In what way, I’ll leave for you to discover.

The problem I had with this storyline was that I never really believed Prado’s character’s nonchalance about murder.  Why he might want Freebo dead, I get.  But for him to want some of the other people he puts on Dexter’s hit list taken out implies that he too is a sociopath, really (or at least an acute psychopath — dude, what, like I’m a psychologist?), and that just didn’t feel right or make sense to me.   I sort of blame Jimmy’s acting skills for that, too.  Though I can’t tell you specifically what it was that struck me as off about it.

Of course, Dexter’s sense of relief at finally meeting someone who seems to understand him only furthered my theory that he’s not a real sociopath — that he thinks he is, that he was raised to believe he was, but that he is actually not.  (For more on this theory, see reviews of Season One and Season Two, both of which are now available for Watch Now at Netflix, by the way.)  Because, tell me this, would a real sociopath care about being  understood?  Feel a sense of relief upon finding someone who gets him?  Hell, I’m not even a sociopath myself and half the time I don’t give a good goddamn.

Anyway, I’m a little uneasy about the introduction of a BABY to all this as well (no offense to babies, but: blah).  And though I love Jennifer Carpenter’s character (Dexter’s sister), they’re not using her correctly either.   Unless this series truly is headed in the direction of uncovering a much more complex psychology for Dexter, it’s just not going to work for me much longer.  It’s too easy.  It’s chicken (no offense to chicken, but: bwak! bwak!).  No, sir, no good.

[Netflix me (if you insist) | Buy me (what are you, mad?  I said no good!)]

Genre:  Drama
Cast:  Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Carpenter

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5 Responses to “TV on DVD: Dexter, Season Three (2009)”

  1. Lorraine Says:

    Ok, I didn’t read this but I will when I get through the season. I Netflixed way too many movies in Aug/Sept so I’m being seriously throttled and they won’t send me Dexter. I’ve never been a Smits fan – never understood the appeal.

  2. Florence Says:

    Have been reading you for yearssss-and this is my first time responding-becuase I had to wholeheartedly agree-Anyone who hasn’t seen season one of Dexter needs to buy/rent it immediatley-I thought it was powerful, funny, heartnreaking-and extremely well done. Season two was a great ride as well. So do yourselves a favor and if you are looking for something great to watch, seasons one and two are a no brainer. And I concur that season three was pretty much jumping the shark-which is too bad-becuase I do love Michael C. Hall.

  3. megwood Says:

    Man, nothing makes my day like when a long-time lurker peeks their head out. Thank you, Florence. I’m glad you agree too!! I think season four just started on Showtime this week — I wonder if it sucks? Anybody watching it?

  4. Liz Says:

    Meg, I think you must be right about Dexter not being a “real” sociopath. From what (admittedly little) I know about sociopathy, it’s something you are or you aren’t. If Dexter was traumatized into acting as if he’s a sociopath (because of the murder of his mother), then I think it sounds more like a condition that can be treated. I agree – why would he even care if someone else “gets” him or not. I also have my suspicions about his foster father, and that whole “code” business.

    I’ve only ever seen Season I, when it aired on CBS, and I must tell you, this woman, who loves vampires and zombies – thought “Fido” was hilarious, and watched “28 Days” (they WEREN’T really zombies!) and “Dawn of the Dead” twice, because they were awesome – was very creeped out by Dexter. The part that scared me the most was how successful he was in “faking” his colleagues out. I haven’t seen the rest of it, but I have read about it, and Season III does sound disappointing – if just because I don’t like the idea of Dexter being “used” by someone else for his own agenda.

    The baby doesn’t worry me as much. I read that he says to the child, during a late-night feeding: “You want to hear a secret? Daddy kills people!” Now doesn’t that sound more like the old Dexter?

    BTW, Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter are now married – they eloped!

  5. Aidan - knight rider rocks Says:

    Aidan – knight rider rocks…

    I’ve only seen a couple of minutes of the show, but i did read that Debra is in a relationship with Frank in season 2. Are they still together in season 3 as I heard that Keith Carradine is going to be in season 4……

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