Dexter Season 5 – My Bad (S05E01) – Episode review

Everyone’s favourite monologuing serial killer returns for an amazing fifth season! I was sure [[Dexter (TV Series)|Dexter Morgan]] would be dead by now, or finally caught out. Especially after his sloppy, sleep deprived fourth season. But no, there’s been a turning point – his wife/camoflage Rita has become collateral damage resulting from his double life spilling over into real life.

And that’s where season five’s My Bad picks up – in the moments immediately following Dexter’s discovery of Rita, bled out in the bathtub. What’s immediately obvious is that Dexter’s genuinely shell-shocked. From the numb, zombie-state he retreats to, and his clumsy blurting out of “It was me”, it’s clear that Dexter isn’t the cold, calculating killer when it comes to Rita.

Almost as if to emphasise the difference in Dexter’s handling of the situation, we’re given a series of flashbacks to Dexter’s first date with Rita – where we discover that he was disconnectedly stalking a man while eating a meal with her. It’s a flashback to what Dexter was, in stark contrast to what he’s become.

Much of My Bad revolves around Dexter struggling to come to terms with Rita’s death. His awkward breaking of the news to Astor and Cody and Rita’s parents is all the more tragic because he clearly doesn’t realise he’s wearing a pair of Mickey Mouse ears. Astor in particular rages at Dexter, though her words sting more than they should, since Dexter is already blaming himself.

Elsewhere, Quinn is setting himself up to be the next James Doakes (RIP. I miss Doakes.) He’s got some niggling suspicions about Dexter’s involvement in the murder, and he’s already got an axe to grind, since he got caught stealing money from a crime scene last season. Luckily (so far) LaGuerta is insisting that Miami Homicide stays away from the case.

For part of the episode, Dexter toys with fleeing Miami altogether – giving himself a fresh start and leaving the children to a life without him. He shreds his files, torches his container and sails down the coast. But it’s a skeezy guy in a bar who brings his feelings to a head. It’s almost poetic how Dexter gets in touch with his feelings while pounding on a man’s head with a rusty anchor.

Sadly, nothing can match the thrilling Season 4 première where Dexter overturned his car while en route to disposed of a body. My Bad, fittingly, is far more low-key. But it sets the scene for this fifth season beautifully – Dexter is once again under scrutiny from a colleague, he’s acted so strangely that even his sister is a little curious about his lawn-front confession. He’s facing an interview with the FBI now, and he still hasn’t provided an alibi for where he was on the night of Rita’s death.

After an incredible thrill-ride last season, it’s clear that the fifth season will be more slow-burn. And we haven’t even got to the point where Dexter has to act as a single parent and carry out his job and satisfy his inner demons. Michael C. Hall has drawn great praise for his portrayal of Dexter in this episode, and rightly so, because as Dexter’s emotions creep in, they make him a far less effective serial killer, and he has so much trouble dealing with them.

Quotes from My Bad

  1. Dexter: “I’ve watched 67 people die, and at the moment of truth I looked into their eyes and they knew and I knew they got what they deserved. But what if that’s not true?”
  2. Masouka: “I imagined her naked many times, but never like this.”
  3. Battista: “Rita’s one of ours. She’s family. We should be working on this for Dexter.”
  4. Debra: “FBI? F*cking Bunch of Idiots.”
  5. Dexter: “So this is how normal people do it. No hefty bags, no diesel fumes.”
  6. Astor: “Where were you? Where were you when someone was killing her? You should have been there to protect her. That was your job.”

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