Each season, Dexter Morgan has to track a different serial killer. Season Four has him tracking the Trinity Killer. Each season, the different serial killer gets close to Dexter and ends up affecting his life. The Trinity Killer probably ends the season affecting Dexter more than anyone else.
Even though Dexter is himself a serial killer, Dexter only murders other murderers. He's the ultimate vigilante. Except, he's also a cop. He works for the Miami police department as a blood-splatter analysis and forensics specialist. His scientific knowledge and attention to detail makes him the best detective in the state, as well as the best murderer on the eastern seaboard.
Emmy-winner John Lithgow plays Trinity with chilling precision and sinister charm. Trinity's introduction is sick, twisted and literally a blood-bath, but it comes at an appropriate time in Dexter's life.
Considering Dexter's personality and what he does in his spare time, you'd think it would be impossible for Dexter to maintain a family, a wife and kids, and the whole normal, average, suburban life. Yet, at the start of the season, that's exactly what Dexter has. He has a wife and kids, and the whole normal, average, suburban life. He's playing the perfect dad, but of course it's all a lie.
As was evidenced in the first season, Dexter is still socially awkward. He still struggles with his freedom versus being there for his family. Dexter still narrates the show via darkly humorous, inner monologues. Unfortunately, they're not as snappy, witty or novel as they have been for three seasons. They're predictable, but despite Dexter's dark passenger his thoughts are still loveable.
The only interesting thing was that it seemed as if Dexter was cracking under the pressure. No matter the trouble Dexter faced in previous seasons, rest-assured he'd always find a way out of it. Often times, it was through sheer luck but mostly through Dexter's cleverness. At the outset of this season, Dexter's cleverness seemed to be slipping and due to large part by mere fatigue.
The balancing and juggling act that Dexter has to do to maintain his family life and his work life as well as his dark life are exhausting. It was messing with Dexter and causing him to actually mess up. He started to doubt that he could do it, that he could have this normal, average, suburban life. Then enters Trinity.
At first, Dexter thought him to be your typical serial killer, but what Dexter discovers was a shock. Trinity is also doing a balancing and juggling act. Trinity is also trying to have the normal, average, suburban life. Not only does Trinity have it, but he seems to be not struggling and totally able to handle it. As strange as it, Trinity becomes like a mentor to Dexter.
In fact, the best episode of this season is Episode 9 titled "Hungry Man." Dexter actually goes over to Trinity's house for Thanksgiving and takes a peak into Trinity's family and see how things are for a family who unknowingly has a serial killer for a patriarch. It's probably the weirdest and most demented Thanksgiving ever portrayed on television. It also provides a wonderful stage for a great up-and-coming, young actor named Brando Eaton who plays Trinity's son.
The episode that immediately follows that one titled "Lost Boys" was brilliant in that it had an energetic, ticking time-bomb feeling where Dexter had to chase Trinity and stop him from killing again.
Beyond those two episodes, there was nothing else truly memorable about this season. Yes, it ends with a very surprising moment, but I almost felt like it was an easy ending to what felt like a slack tide season, as Dexter describes in one episode. The season rolls out some soap opera-like twists that felt lame and hokey. There was also a lot that felt really recycled.
Yet, I'm still really excited about this show and how long the producers intend on dragging it out and once it's time how they'll end things for Dexter. Seasons like these don't inspire much confidence, but it's still miles above most dramas, especially cop dramas on TV.
Four Stars out of Five
Running Time: 1 hr.
Airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime