Dexter: Season Five [Blu-Ray]

Dexter: Season Five [Blu-Ray]
Where do you go after the tightly plotted, exceptionally horrific events of Dexter's fourth season? It would be damn near impossible to continue raising the "serial killer of the year" stakes after the physical and psychological brutality of John Lithgow's Trinity Killer. This doesn't mean Dexter's showrunners are prepared to tinker much with the established formula, even while folding in a few fresh wrinkles and reacting to the blow to the status quo of TV land's favourite vigilante. As usual, but for new reasons, Dexter Morgan is feeling lost and frustrated by the factors keeping him from getting his kill on. Now a single father, it's harder than ever to indulge in his irrepressible impulse – a trustworthy nanny who'll stay late while you plastic wrap a murderer isn't an easy find. The guilt and anguish eating away at his fledgling conscience over not eliminating Trinity when he had the chance throw him off his game, with an uncharacteristic, uncalculated violent outburst in place of the typical grieving process. Once he begins to get his killer's groove back, an unexpected relationship with the survivor of one of his victims complicates things and leads Dexter to the most honest relationship of his life, at least since his father first guided him in the morality of murder. Julia Stiles does solid work as Lumen, and her interactions with Dexter and fellow season guest stars Shawn Hatosy (Alpha Dog) and Johnny Lee Miller (Hackers) form the spine of what continues to work about the show. Miller's sinister self-help guru employs motivational speaking of the most nefarious kind, revealing another view of deplorable, manipulative monsters hiding behind acceptable, respected public faces. Outside of the main bent of Dexter's personal mission, the police procedural drama aspects of the series are becoming increasingly tired. It'd be a minor quibble were so much screen time not dedicated to the tangentially-related personal and professional politics of a handful of characters that seldom feel like more than unwitting chess pieces in Dexter's game of subterfuge. His sister, Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), makes the greatest strides, in terms of character growth, gaining a mature confidence to go with her impulsive instincts, but don't worry, her mouth is more prodigiously foul than ever. A romance between her and partner Quinn (Desmond Harrington) exists mostly to introduce private investigator Stan Liddy (a fantastically slimy Peter Weller, Robocop) as a new threat to Dexter's secret hobby. As well acted and interesting as some of this season is, all the plot threads are wrapped up a little too ramification-free, stopping short of taking any brave steps towards an evolved perspective on the capital punishment-supportive agenda being toyed with. Frustratingly, the special features for this collection are only accessible via BD-Live, which means, if you're having any issues with your Internet connection, you're out of luck. (Paramount)