Dexter season 5 episode 2 review: Hello Bandit

Our favourite serial killer tries to be the best father he can, when he'd rather be enjoying himself out on the prowl in the latest version of Dexter...

5.2 Hello Bandit

A good Dexter season must set its stall out. Hello, Bandit was exactly that, for this reviewer, although it’s still keeping the true antagonist (allegedly to be played by Wayne Hatosy) in the shadows. Or maybe the hint we should take from this is that season 5 is going to be a significantly different Dexter.

Continuing the themes that were so well presented last week about loss and grieving, this week the uneasy relationship between Dexter and Rita’s children occupies a good chunk of the action, and Dexter’s mindset.

I’ve never much cared for the two child actors who play Cody and Astor, if I’m honest, but here we got a hint that Christina Robinson, who plays Astor, has some real potential. We got a hint perhaps that later in the season she’ll be required to do some heavy duty acting work to evoke the bitterness that her mother’s death has left her with, but for the moment, they both leave the stage to allow Dexter to do what he does best.

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Unable to cope well with the nuisance of emulating human emotion, he’s distracted himself with a dead animal removal man who likes to collect hair samples from people he kills.

What’s nice about this whole sequence where he stalks ‘Boyd’ is the methodical way that Dexter takes a simple bloodstain in a rental truck, escalates it into a name and a place, and, after eventually finding irrefutable evidence that his prey isn’t innocent, we’re forced to wait till next week for the conclusion of that hunt. But all good things come to those that watch Dexter!

Much of what surrounds the hunt and Dexter’s fatherly responsibilities falls very neatly into category of ‘sand piling’, where the relationship between Joey and Debra doesn’t stop him trying to find the elusive Kyle Butler, and the strong personalities of Angel and Maria result in barroom brawl where even Vince Masuka gets punched.

I’d just like to say something about C.S. Lee, because I’m a huge fan of his work here, and as the entirely misogynistic Harry Tang in Chuck. The parts of this show where he’s trying to do Dexter’s job are laugh-out-loud funny, especially with Debra telling Angel that he’s really enjoying doing those tasks. It’s marvellous that this show manages to get some comedy wedged in amongst the carnage, even if it’s a very dark humour, and Charlie Lee is a great foil for that. Part of me regrets that he dropped being Harry Tang, but what he injects into Dexter on occasions is priceless.

I’d also like to say that I’m liking changes they’ve made to the Joey Quinn character, who’s had something of a personality transformation, and actually smiles these days. In season four I was always waiting for a deeper explanation of why he looked so down all the time, and needed to steal money from crime scenes, but it was never forthcoming. Since he had sex with Debra he’s seems an entirely different person, or rather he’s been written to be more accessible and a lot less uptight. I’ve got the feeling he’s going to work out who Dexter is pretty soon, but then not be entirely sure what to do with that information.

This wasn’t the best Dexter episode ever, but I accept there has to be ones like this to prime the season for later, enjoyable as it was.

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I can’t wait for the next one, where the road kill expert undoubtedly becomes another type of fatal statistic.

Read our review of the season premiere, My Bad, here.