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Ep. 6.1 “Those Kind of Things.”

We’re thrown back into Dexter’s world as he stumbles, presumably stabbed, around a warehouse district in the middle of the night. After calling 911 and collapsing, he is met by a pair of paramedic’s who promptly receive a shot M99 to their necks. It’s a nice fake out and an exciting way to get us back into the show. While dispatching the organ snatching paramedics, Dexter’s voice over informs us that it’s been a year since we’ve seen him last and “All is well in my little corner of the world.”

Back at his apartment we meet Dexter’s new nanny Jaime, Sergeant Batista’s sister. Thanks to a recommendation from Batista, Dexter’s son Harrison has an interview in the morning at an exclusive Catholic pre-school. In touring the school with his sister Deb, Dexter is asked by a nun what he believes in. To which he awkwardly mumbles “Uhm, nothing?” Later he explains to Debra that while he doesn’t have a faith he does follow “a set of rules to keep [himself] out of trouble.”

Moving forward seems to be theme this episode. LaGeurta has blackmailed herself a promotion, Batista has inherited her former position and Detective Quinn is ready to take the next step with Deb, with whom he is now living. In a merciful bit of expository housecleaning, we discover Batista and LaGeurta are now divorced and back to being friends. In a sub plot set up, Batista takes Jaime out to dinner where she remarks on Dexter’s strange hours.

Meanwhile Dexter and his dark passenger are making plans to attend his high school reunion. An unpopular nerd in high school, Dexter recalls the one girl that was nice to him and the abusive jock she dated. The pair married after high school and she recently killed herself. But blood was found under her fingernails and Dexter believes the husband staged the suicide. Hoping to retrieve a DNA sample and prove the husbands guilt, Dexter appears at the reunion.

But an obstacle prevents Dexter from stalking his prey. His work as a blood splatter analysis has made him popular with his former classmates. After a pep talk from his long dead father in the men’s room, Dexter finds himself in the unusual position of enjoying himself. A former Prom Queen is giving him the eye and he’s pulled onto the dance floor for M.C. Hammer. Ever the serial killing egg head he laments “I’m not familiar with Hammer Time or how it differs from regular time.”

Dexter eventually gets the DNA proof he needs to kill the abusive husband but is interrupted by the former prom queen. She drags him into their old science classroom to deliver an oral “gift” for all the tests she copied from him. Dexter tries to talk his way out of it but his inside voice appeals “Shut up Dexter.” Afterward, Dexter snatches her cell phone from her purse and uses it to lure the abusive ex husband / football captain out to a ground keepers shed that’s been transformed into a kill room. After espousing some religious advice to Dexter, he’s brained with a hammer. Hammer time indeed.

In the morning Dexter returns to the pre-school and explains to the sister that his father had different “priorities” when raising him and that he wants a different life for his son Harrison. One without a “dark passenger.” Impressed with Dexter’s character the Nun relents and accepts Harrison into the school.

At dinner Quinn is about to pop the question to Deb when an armed gunman begins shooting up the restaurant. The shooter is taken out by a quick thinking Deb as diners capture the footage on their cell phones, poising Deb for Internet stardom.

And we’re introduced to this season’s Big Bad and it’s a duo. A mysterious theologist played by Edward James Olmos and his apprentice, Colin Hanks. Olmos directs his protégé as they collect a pregnant snake and later, kill and disembowel a fruit vendor. The vendor later washes up on shore with a Greek letter carved into his stomach. As Dex and the Miami homicide team examine him his stomach begins to move and 7 CGI snakes slither out of the wounds. Dexter rises and looks happily 11 episodes into the future to when he’ll get to kill the person(s) responsible.

The Good
Not a great episode but a substantial improvement the previous season. The producers have cast better guest stars and the plot holes are not as evident. Batista and LaGeurta’s dull, time consuming and ill conceived relationship has been swept aside. Dexter’s Irish nanny and her go-no-where plot have also been exercised. Dexter’s journey has always been about a killer wearing a mask of humanity. Now his struggle is to be a father and prevent his son from following in his, lonely, footsteps. It’s an intriguing start to the season.

The Bad
I don’t expect this show to be a police procedural ala CSI. But Dexter works as a blood splatter analysis, so there is some element of science and deduction inherent in the premise. Dexter should know better than to leave his voice on a 911 call that’s going to be tied to the disappearance of two paramedics. Also if an abused married woman dies a suspicious death with blood under her fingernails, you would assume, even hope, that DNA would be tested against her husband. And finally when the abusive husband fails to appear alive, his phone and text messages will most likely be searched. The trail would lead back to the prom queen and then to Dexter. In the real world he would be caught in a week.

Next Week
I’m looking forward Deb’s YouTube success, the noisy nannies and more gruesome imagery from this seasons bid bad duo. I’m also hoping to understand Quinn and Dexter’s relationship after the developments from last season.

What are your thoughts?