Dexter returns to TV this Sunday and by the time he does, the Syracuse Orange will have either defeated or have been defeated by the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
At that point the Orange will either be 4-1 (1-0) and well on their way to another bowl appearance and a solid standing in the Big East or 3-2 (0-1) and the red alert will officially be on, injuries be damned.
Win and the Orange will have put the Toledo mess behind them while also taking care of business in the Dome against a hated conference foe. Lose and the Orange will have lost 2-of-3 (and almost 3-of-3) and will have once again lost a conference game at home.
Meanwhile, the show Dexter has a lot of the same issues heading into season six. It's first five seasons have been filled with a lot of highs and a lot of lows. They're coming off arguably the weakest season in the history of the show (Lumin = Toledo) and face a crossroads. Kick ass this season and you re-establish yourself as one of the premiere shows on TV. Sputter and the show's officially "in decline."
I'm not gonna sit here and do a whole character comparison, though I think we can all agree that Doug Marrone should ABSOLUTELY be Angel Batista for Halloween this year. But I will say that both the show and the team need to come out big this weekend to prove to everyone that they're the real deal. To do otherwise lets doubt and fear seep in.
So here's what season five of Dexter should have been...The Trial of Dexter Morgan. Oh the irony that Dexter goes on trial for the one murder he didn't commit. It would have hearkened back to season two where every week looked worse and worse for Dex. Everyone would have started to see him differently and wonder about his peccadillos. His late night boat trips. The way he always seem to have something to do. His strange ticks that didn't seem strange before.
Most importantly, Deb would eventually start to wonder. And then, when it looked like he was going to prison for the rest of his life, somehow, miraculously, it would have been averted (maybe by some kind of serial killer devotee that tracked Trinity and Dexter) and all would have been right. Everyone would have gone back to knowing Dexter is a good guy...except Deb, who began to finally wonder about her brother, leading to a season six showdown.
What's so weird to me is that everything was set up perfectly for this to happen. The neighbor would have testified about his kiss with Rita and Dexter punching him. Dexter was erratic in the days leading up to the murder, including getting arrested after assaulting an officer the morning of the murder. Deb had just found out about Dexter's birth mother and what happened, which would have opened that door for her. Trinity's family could have ID'd Dexter. The fact that there was camera footage of Dexter and Trinity in the police station together!
And then...they just forgot about it and swept it under the rug.
Instead, Julia Stiles came and did what Julia Stiles does, turned what could have been an amazing character into a kinda-boring, one-note walking metaphor. When Deb confronts Dexter and Lumin in the final episode but lets them leave, it just felt like such a cop-out (not to mention the fact that everyone forgot about the car Dexter flipped just minutes earlier). I remember the episode ends with an elaborate birthday party on the beach (who set it up?) for Dexter's son that's full of strangers (who are these people?). It was just all so sloppy.
The cavalcade of guest stars seemed to just be an attempt at distracton. And ultimately, it just felt like the entire season was a buffer. If they could have turned the entire thing into a bunch of webisodes and then gone directly to this season, I would have been fine.
And so, I have high hopes that Dexter gets back on track in season six. Edward James Olmos is involved and whenever Edward James Olmos is involved, good things happen. Colin Hanks is a bit of a wildcard but I like the idea of him as a creepy, preppy killer. The religion theme is a good one to tackle and could go down any number of roads.
The real questions will be, what happens with Dexter and Deb's relationship? Where does the fact that Quinn knows about Dexter go from here? And, most importantly, what is the show going to do to kick things up a notch? Like, "Trinty Killer murdering Rita" kicking things up a notch. Dexter needs a game-changer like that. Be it Deb investigating Dexter or Dexter getting caught by someone for real or whatever...it's now or never.
Oh and if there's some weird way to bring Doakes back, that would be cool. He was awesome.