"DEXTER: THE FOURTH SEASON"
Blu-ray & DVD Review
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: ***** (out of 5 stars)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)
Michael C. Hall as DEXTER MORGAN
Julie Benz as RITA BENNETT
Jennifer Carpenter as DEBRA MORGAN
Lauren Velez as LT. MARIA LAGUERTA
David Zayas as ANGEL BATISTA
James Remar as HARRY MORGAN
John Lithgow as TRINITY
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Showtime continues its groundbreaking and powerful series about sociopathic serial killer Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) as he exacts justice to the evildoers in Miami, Florida. In the fourth season, Dexter and his new wife Rita have a baby, who seems to be the only person that Dexter can tell his secrets to. While Dexter learns more about being human by finding new emotions inside him, a new killer has come to Miami. Known as Trinity (John Lithgow), he’s a man who kills three people by bleeding a young woman to death in a bathtub, then forcing a woman to jump to her death and then bludgeoning a man to death. Dexter tracks Trinity, but soon becomes curious about how this killer can keep a family and hide his secrets.
WHAT I LIKED
I have become a huge fan of “Dexter” over the years. I’ve never read the books, but I’ve seen the entire series, and each season seems to get better and better. There’s something ultimately relateable to Dexter Morgan, and that bothers me a bit. But using his “Code of Harry,” he manages to follow a better moral compass than some regular people in this world.
There are two aspects to this season that make it possibly the best one on record. First, there’s the obvious Emmy-winning performance by John Lithgow as Trinity. Lithgow, who has been brilliant both in movies and on TV, offers a foil for Michael C. Hall. Let’s face it, Jimmy Smits was good last season, but Hall did act circles around him.
Lithgow brings a level of empathy and understanding to the character. As heinous as his deeds are, I still could relate to him. And there’s something likeable about Lithgow as an actor, no matter how horrible his characters is.
The other thing that makes this season stand out is the development of Dexter Morgan as a character. Introducing a growing sense of family to his life, he’s no longer just playing parts in a play at home. In previous seasons, he used Rita and her kids as a mask for himself. Now that he has his own child, there’s a biological connection he has. Add to this the foreboding sense that his child might end up a sociopath like he did, and that makes the show even more interesting to me.
Finally, this season of “Dexter” shook things up quite a bit. The series was getting set to go in a rut after last year’s sociopathic bonding between Dexter and Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits). It threatened to do the same with Trinity, but things take a much more messy turn. And messy is the name of the game with this show.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
There’s very little I like about the series itself. The B- and C- storylines are vastly improved this season, giving Debra Morgan a little more connection to the overall plot and seeing Batista and LaGuerta actually have some meat to their story.
My biggest complaints with this release is more in the authoring of the discs. The Blu-rays look fantastic, as always. However, the DVD coding is optimized for a smaller screen. When played back on a hi-def television, it pixelates and looks terrible even with the up-conversion of a modern Blu-ray player. So, your best bet is to opt for the Blu-ray and only go for the DVD if you have only standard definition playback.
BLU-RAY AND DVD FEATURES
Like previous releases of “Dexter,” most (or in the case of the Blu-ray, all) of the special features reside on the internet. The DVD promises the use of “E-bridge technology” to bring you interviews and bonus episodes of other Showtime series. The Blu-ray has all of this content available through the BD-Live connection.
The features that are actually available on the DVD itself include the first two episodes of the third season of “Californication” and the first episode each of “The Tutors” season four and “Lock and Load” season one. There’s also a contest to win a trip to Miami (although you need an internet connection to enter) along with actor biographies and a photo gallery. Additional special features available through your computer with an internet connection include another episode of “The Tutors” and the slate of cast and crew interviews.
Were “Dexter” a lesser show, this annoying bonus feature availability would be a real strike against it. The only thing keeping the DVD and Blu-ray in high favor is the quality of the show.
There’s no reason to force viewers to put a DVD into their computer rather than their DVD player or to force them to access the often cumbersome and sometimes buggy BD-Live mode on their Blu-ray player. Isn’t there enough space on these discs to just include these features in a more portable format?
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who can relate to a serial killer.