Friday, September 18, 2009

Dexter -- Episode 4.01 -- "Living the Dream"

Dexter is back!

Better than ever? Who can tell?

Season 3 of "Dexter" was stellar, if uneven at times. After re-watching the season on Blu-Ray, I had a greater appreciation for its subtleties and character development.

So far, it seems that season 4 is working to combine the subtle elements of season 3 with the seat-of-your-pants explosive elements of season's one and two.

We pick up a few months after season 3 ended. Baby Harrison is born. The Morgans have moved into a new house in a sublime Miami suburb. Deb and Anton have cultivated a healthy relationship. And Angel has broken up with Barbara.

Oh, and one more important detail. We have a new killer: John Lithgow as the "Trinity Killer." Let me just say that his introduction is one of the best villain intros ever. He is absolutely creepy.

Dexter's biggest conflict is no longer trying to find a friend, or deal with his father's past; it's much simpler -- get some sleep. The baby is a night owl, keeping Dex up all night, causing him to screw up on a murder case at trial. This sets into motion the major events of the rest of the episode, which has such a shocking cliffhanger I was left speechless.

The episode is called, "Living the Dream." This title is very informative, and sheds light on what's to come this season.

What is the American Dream? Is it possible to attain it? I remember discussing this issue at length when I was in 10th grade, reading "The Great Gatsby." The American Dream we envisioned was one of a white house, white picket fence, children running in the sprinklers, new car in the driveway, and a beautiul wife standing in the doorway holding a pitcher of lemonade. The first ten minutes of season 4 shows us a similar image, with Rita telling Dexter that they are "living the dream."

The cost of attaining this unattainable dream, though, is high. Nothing comes free in this world, and for Dexter what must be sacficed is his privacy. He tries to hold on to his apartment, but nonetheless has become a visitor to the world he once lived in. And the ending of the episode puts Dex in a spot where the two worlds he lives in seem poised to collide.

So, can Dexter have it all? Of course not, but season 4 is going to show us how much he's willing to try, and how far he's willing to go.

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