The decision to pick up immediately after last season’s finale shocker turned out to be a brilliant one, because it forced Dexter (Michael C. Hall) to react to Rita’s death, even if that reaction turned out to be no reaction at all. It also gave those closest to him a window into his dehumanized nature for perhaps the first time.
Unable to ‘fix’ Rita’s murder, Dexter had no place left to bury his emotions. His only recourse was to completely shut down. He had no chase. No rush. No problem to solve. No way to trick himself into believing that he too, could be human.
When your mask is ripped off, what happens if you discover there’s nothing underneath? It’s far easier for Dexter to believe that everything he had with Rita was the real lie. He spent the majority of 5.01 trying to convince himself that it was the lies he told Rita, and not the lies he was telling himself after Rita’s death, that made him less of a human being. The only recourse he had to relieve his guilt was to convince himself that he truly is a monster.
Rita made Dexter feel as if things could be different. And they are. He can’t go back now to the unfeeling killer he once was, as much as he might want to. He recognizes that yes, he did love her. And this scares him. He doesn’t run away to avoid the guilt of Rita’s death so much as to avoid the guilt he feels over having any emotions at all. So he does what any good serial killer would do to get back in touch with his feminine side: he bludgeons an obnoxious redneck to death in a gas station bathroom.
It’s far too early to determine if the suspicions of Quinn (Desmond Harrington) will amount to a retread of past seasons or something completely unique and engaging, but we’ve seen this before and it will be a challenge for the writers to take this someplace new. It will be interesting to gauge public reaction to the Quinn/Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) hookup. Just because something is inevitable doesn’t make it any less gross.
If Dexter had continued with a new life on the run, where do you think he would have gone? Let us know in the Dexter forums. Wouldn’t this have just made it completely obvious that he was guilty? The very notion didn’t seem like a very Dexter-esque logical thing to do. But then again when you’re trying to bury the very first real emotions you’ve ever had in your life, you can’t really count on your killer instinct.