Recurring Cast: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Julie Benz, Erik King, Lauren Velez, David Zayas, Jaime Murray with Keith Carradine and James Remar
Dexter isn’t having a good time of it lately. His serial killing urges are about to reach boiling point with Sgt. Doakes tailing him in his free time, making sure that he cannot slip off unnoticed to off any bad guys. When he does finally get a victim on his operating table, he finds himself burdened from the fact he murdered his own brother. This affects his home life and Rita begins to suspect that Dexter is succumbing to a similar fate as her ex-husband, who was a recovering drug addict. Dexter decides to use this as an alibi for his serial killer tendencies and begins spending his time at rehab. However, when Dexter meets up with a new sponsor, Lila Tourney, he decides that maybe rehab can help him get over his need to kill altogether. As he tries to go cold turkey, he ends up relying on Lila, who may have ulterior motives. On top of that, coming clean might not really matter, because deep sea divers find where Dexter stashes his bodies and the FBI are called in to hunt down the man, known as the ‘Bay Harbour Butcher’.
Season Two marks the point where the series abandons the books and makes up its own story arcs. Some argue that this was where the show began its downwards spiral (there are many theories about when this was which I will mention in accordance with my own opinion as I review each season). There is a niggling feeling in the back of the audience’s mind that Dexter is the kind of show that works for a first season, but can it really be a lasting fixture on Showtime’s network? The first season could have easily been a clear cut ending, but it was so good a second season was demanded. My personal opinion is that this second season works really well. It takes some of the key ideas of the overall series and applies them to the story much clearer than any other season I have seen of Dexter. There are several character arcs here and as the season hits its second half, it becomes almost impossible to figure out where the narrative will go. Dexter becomes very good at juggling all of these stories and making them affecting each other in seemingly miniscule ways, yet there are moments when one character’s small part equals a horrendously brutal point in another arc. The ending is sure to leave several fans reeling, showing that Dexter is not afraid to take risks.
The aspect that makes this season so well-made to me is the fact that it never forgets that Dexter is truthfully the main villain of the series. We spend this show siding with the bad guy, which puts us in a strange place morally. It is swept under the rug with Season One, and almost every other season, because there is always a much worse bad guy out there for Dexter to look good against. Dexter might kill people, but compared to his brother in Season One, he is an angel. In Season Two, the bad guys are the cops after him. Of course, there are other villains, but most of them are relatively small-time and the other requires wandering into spoiler territory. However, they never take away from the fact that Dexter is the show’s monster. The interesting thing here is that Season Two sees him try to change his ways. Before Dexter managed his need to kill, but now, he is on his way to losing his serial killer tendencies altogether, which makes it ironic that any at any given moment, he could have the FBI knocking on his door and sending him to prison. When the show hits its final few episodes, we have no idea how far Dexter will go to hide his secret and by the ending, you might find yourself wondering how we have come to like this cold-hearted murderer as much as we do. It is a credit to the writing and Michael C. Hall’s acting that Dexter never wanders too far into the ‘unlikeable’ side of the character, the balance that makes this show so great.
Final Verdict: People argue that this is the point where Dexter began to lose its charm. I say this is the best season the show had.