When I first heard I had to choose between a stack of selected shows to blog about for a class, I would have never thought the experience would have been as exciting as it has. As most people feared the thought of writing an entry in a self made blog after watching a number of different episodes from a show, I, on the other hand, did not. In fact, the thought of taking on such a project made me feel determined and almost thirsty for creativity.
Although Dexter was not my first show of choice, it came in on my list as one of my top five picks. Before this assignment I had never seen a single episode of the show and I thought this factor would actually help. Because I was seeing everything for the first time, my reactions to each episode were completely real and fresh. Before continuing on to a new episode I would always blog about what I had seen, with the exception of one time where I tried to watch two episodes back to back and then blog… bad idea in my opinion. I noticed that writing directly after watching an episode was the most effective way to understand an episode in its entirety without confusing the timing of the story line. But enough about me and my writing process. This isn’t about me. This is about Dexter.
Our first impressions of Dexter are of a man who has a lot of control over his actions with a systematic lifestyle. He seems to be somewhat of a neat freak who has his own way of doing things with very little room to change. But we soon find out the true fears and insecurities of our leading man when we start to see kinks within what we thought was a well oiled machine of a man.
We are immediately shown that Dexter is a hero by day and a killer by night but the enthusiasm of the show is not just based on this one fact. The bigger mystery of the show is not who Dexter Morgan turns out to be, but in fact WHY Dexter Morgan is who he is? As each episode goes by, we watch Dexter kill others who have killed but struggle to understand why he has the desire to do so.
Throughout the entire season we are on a wild goose chase to find out about a specific case regarding the Ice Truck Killer, who has been leaving items at his crime scenes that tie in with Dexter’s childhood. In time, we start to realize that the ITK is not only haunting Dexter with his past, but in fact is a part of his past. When Dexter realizes that the ITK knows about his secret life he is even more thrilled to find out who the master mind behind all of these killings are. As the ITK continues to kill and leave memories for Dexter to see, we watch Dex fight to start to understand why he thinks the way he does.
By the end of the first season it is revealed that Dexter’s past has a huge force on the lack of normalcy in his life. Eventually all of the memories fall into place and the biggest mystery is discovered by Dexter and the audience together. Unknown to Dex, as a small child, he was a witness to the brutal murder of his mother where he was left waiting in the blood until the police found him days later. He watched as she was literally cut into pieces with what seems to be a chainsaw after a drug-deal went wrong. While Dexter is discovering his tragic past, he begins to discover himself.
As if learning about the horror events of his biological mother and being present for the murder isn’t bad enough, it is also revealed that his biological father had been alive, after all this time thinking he had been dead. The biggest shocker of them all would have to be the discovery of the Ice Truck Killer first being revealed as Rudy, Dexter’s adopted sister, Debra’s boyfriend. The second biggest shocker was when it was revealed that Rudy, the Ice Truck Killer, is really Brain, Dexter’s long lost biological brother. In my opinion, the bigger of the two shocks was that the Ice Truck Killer was Debs boyfriend Rudy. Before it was revealed that “Rudy” was Dexter’s real brother I had a hunch so it wasn’t too surprising.
Aside from our main story line of killings and crimes based off of Dexter and his past, there are plenty of other story lines that help the season flow with movement and passion. For me, one of the best characters on the show was Debra Morgan, Dexter’s adopted sister. I felt like her role helped us see the lack of feelings within Dexter on many different occasions along with adding comedic relief. Another relationship that helps us see another side of Dexter is the one he has with Rita, his girlfriend. The relationship between Rita and Dex starts off as a distraction to help him appear “normal” but soon enough the kind hearted Rita takes his heart by surprise.
Although Dexter has his sister Debs who always seems to want more of his attention as well as his loving girlfriend Rita, he still seems to keep who he truly is to himself. The only person throughout the entire show who we believe knows who Dexter really is, better than Dexter, is his adopted father Harry. From the beginning we are introduced to him as someone who seems to have molded Dexter into the person he has become. Whenever Dexter thinks back to crucial moments in his life it always involves Harry teaching him a lesson. Originally I was under the impression that Harry understood Dexter and was only trying to help him live the best “normal” life he could, under whatever circumstance he was under. After watching the first season in full, I am now left wondering why Harry kept Dexter’s past such a complete mystery. Could it be because he knew that if Dexter remembered, he would have turned out to be just like his traumatized brother Brian? I’d hope it were for reasons to protect Dexter.
Overall, I thought ShowTime’s Dexter was a real treat to watch. If it weren’t for this assignment and the luck of the draw of being assigned this particular show, I don’t think I would have ever given it a chance. If I had to rate the show in it’s entirety of a season I would rate it a 4. Aside from the mystery factor, some of my favorite parts of the show were the supporting plots that helped the main story move along with ease. I felt like there were a lot of good side stories with an awesome cast to deliver them. Although the show is focused on the character of Dexter, I believe the cast of the Miami Police Department helped bring laughs and a lot of color to the show as a whole.
For the record, I’ve always been one to record things down whether it be in a hand written journal or a document saved on Microsoft Word but never an assigned blog. The thought of having to dissect something in my own way and sharing it with the world made this assignment out to be a hobby rather than school work, except for the deadlines of course. I found myself writing to an audience rather than a professor somewhere critiquing my work. Either way, I hope you liked it.