This is a none spoiler-free recap of Dexter season two episode one through eight. It contains spoilers from season one (spoiler-free review here) so beware.
I like it that the end of season one of Dexter didn't leave any major cliffhangers. Sure more questions were left dangling than answered, but the crucial aspect of the "Ice Truck Killer" story arc was finally resolved and put to rest, so to speak. Dexter killing his own brother was one of the most pivotal milestone in his journey to self discovery and I was glad the writers didn't fudge it.
Season two begins with a couple of crisis for Dexter (Michael C. Hall) meant to create an overall arc for the next twelve episodes. Convinced that Dexter is connected to the "Ice Truck Killer", serial angry copper Sergeant Doakes (Erik King) starts stalking him. Also his dearly damaged sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) decides to crash over at his place while she attempts to recover from her failed relationship with Rudy Cooper. Combined with the stress from killing the only person who would ever accept the monster within, Dexter even botches up two separate night killings. Lastly his underwater graveyard was uncovered by a team of treasure hunters. Yes, it has been an awful awful awful start for our favourite fictional serial killer.
Dexter attempts to pass off as human
Again Dexter is in a perfect position within the Miami Metro Police Department to throw off the investigation and at times he does succeed. Some other times he doesn't and paints himself dangerously close to being revealed as the media dubbed "Bay Harbour Butcher". For quite a number of time we find Dexter close to revealing his humanity, which when arises would cause him to lose grip and control. Dexter's investigation into his foster father's dark secrets and his role in the death in his mother's death also introduces more turmoil to the already conflicted character.
Like season one the supporting characters aren't really as interesting as Dexter Morgan. But it is pleasing to find the writers giving them more prominent roles this season with more character driven side-plots. Doakes is as usual the angry copper who is onto Dexter's and if episode eight is of any concern to you, he does find Dexter's blood trophy case. Girlfriend Rita (Julie Benz) is less damaged than before but her transformation from a lame-duck to someone who manages to set her mother in her place is vivid. If only she knows she is dating a serial killer. Deb on the other hand is now seriously as damaged as her brother and dates a man who reminds her of her father. You can't blame her though - her fiancée did attempt to slice and dice her.
There are a couple of new recurring characters for season two. First up is Lila (Jaime Murray of Hustle), an annoying British junkie whom Dexter meets when he attends a twelve step drug addiction recovery program. Dexter develops a close relationship with this sociopath (who is equally as crazy as Dexter) and his relax attitude to the Code of Harry this season is partly thanks to her interference. Personally I find her a bloody annoying character and if there is justice in TV world her chopped up body would be swimming through the gulf stream by the season finale. Also drafted in is Special Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) whose relationship with Deb may prove to be the downfall to Dexter. That and bringing a sensible dose to the reality of office politics.
Twisted as he may be, Dexter remains a character that viewers will find truly captivating, alluring and possibly sympathetic - and these are partly because of Michael C. Hall's performance. While season two has yet to equal season one in terms of suspense, the stakes has risen dramatically for Dexter just as he is trying to be 'normal'. Subsequently the emergent of the Dark Defender from within adds another layer on the complex character that is the 'new' Dexter, one that even disregards the 'Code' - as highlighted when Dexter threatens Lila so tastefully. Emotionally he is at his weakest point with him struggling to juggle his secret life with his false one. Despite the lack of clear villain this season, judging by the quality of episode one through eight, Dexter season two so far is undeniably brilliant TV.