Dexter: My Bad (S5E1)

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

"My Bad" starts moments after the unnerving season finale in which Dexter discovers the horrific bathroom scene: Rita's body lays lifeless in a blood filled bathtub as Harrison sits crying on the red stained bathroom floor – "born in blood" like his father.

Dexter's emotions have always been stunted - after all, he is a psychopath - but in this episode, they are especially coarse and disconcerting. From his calm and technically sound 911 call to his stoic demeanor when telling Rita's children that their mother is dead (while wearing a Mickey Mouse hat, no less) it is becoming increasingly hard to explain away his behavior. As viewers, the beauty of the show is our inclination to constantly forgive Dexter for the most extreme indiscretions. But the aftermath of Rita's death brings the reality of Dexter's inhumanity to the surface, making it difficult to sympathize with him.

Those around Dexter act out in their own ways to cope with the shocking news of Rita's death: Astor scathingly blames Dexter for not protecting her mom, Laguerta unyieldingly shuts down Miami Metro's participation in the case and Deb has dirty naked sex with Quinn on the kitchen floor.

Though he never sheds a single tear, Dexter does feel something – incredible guilt. Convinced that he only brings pain to those around him, he decides to leave everything and everyone behind. However unintentional, he did ultimately play a hand in Rita's death. This realization drives him to point where he believes all those in his life would inevitably suffer a similar fate. Running away seems to be the best solution. However, it was colder than usual for Dexter to just leave his son with a crazy cat lady, yet make a point to take his trophy blood slides. There better have been a picture of Harrison in his wallet else that's super harsh...even by serial killer standards.

The whole episode we are waiting for a reaction from Dexter – a hint of humanity to let us know that Rita's death meant something to him. This finally comes when Dexter kills the man in the gas station bathroom. As poignantly pointed out by the Ghost of Harry, this abhorrent, inhumane act was his first human response since Rita's death. For the first time, Dexter disregarded his precious code and acted violently, uncalculatingly and emotionally – something we have never seen him do. The animal-like cries of pain as he bludgeons this man with that badass contraption were so...WOW. There is Michael C. Hall's Emmy reel right there.

This episode was a solid start to the season – the Rita flashbacks weren't overtly cheesy and played a nice tribute to the simple beauty of their relationship. And it was great to see Julie Benz again sans bloody bathtub. Quinn looks likes he's gearing up to be Doakes 2.0 with his growing suspicions about Dexter (and we all know how well that ended). This should add an an interesting dynamic to his relationship with Deb as will the aforementioned dirty, naked sex. Speaking of Deb, she seems closer than ever to finding out who her brother really is.

Tags: Dexter, My Bad, Season 5, Episode 1, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Julie Benz, Premiere

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