- The thing about Dexter is he's a moralistic serial killer (only preys on other killers, obsessive compulsion over finding the evidence), but he wants so desperately to be also normal, and much like the guy in Fight Club he meets his perfect equally broken girlfriend through a self-help seminar. They have an entirely believable relationship until she suddenly snaps to normalcy in season 4 and becomes an irritating soccer mom socialite. Now that's only 20% of the show so it wasn't too bad, they will probably bring her back around next season after fan complaints I reckoned, but they have him face off against other serial killers in the first four seasons masquerading as 'normal' and he wants to try and learn how they handle it, and two of them eventually snapped (well snapped further, and put him in must-kill-or-x-innocent-dies situations) (S1 and S3) and so he put them down, and he had to kill the one is S2 because she became hyper possessive and wanted to murder everyone he knew including his adopted kids so they could make happy killy wub wub serial murdering babies. (ie she was too batshit for even other serial killers to stand)
- In S4 he meets a minister whom he can tell immediately has a dark side and finds he has a pathological need to kill because of how his own family died. (He repeats how his mother and sisters were accidentally killed, similar to how Dexter came upon the idea of carving up and disposing of bodies piecemeal due to his own mother's murder.) The first 7 episodes were really good at painting him as the 'perfect family man' and how his kids love him and the community adores him, his ex-wife never even gave up his name when she divorced him. Everything points to him being the ideal Dexter wants to be, because he found 'the perfect balance.'
- All of this 180s on the Thanksgiving episode when out of nowhere (there's literally no lead-up. Prior to this episode, you believe even his 8 year old daughter would jump in front of a bullet for him, he's just that good a person outside of the whole unavoidable need to mimick his own family's murder, he's even shown crying and talking about being possessed). Essentially this episode states everything we saw up until now doesn't actually exist and it was all an act. But most of those good-natured things we saw him do or others do for him _CANNOT BE ACTS_. He has far too much respect from everyone else to be the insanely controlling Dickish Fauxrmon he gets painted as. It simply doesn't work because there would have been noticeable signs from _someone_ bristling around him if he were as much of a prick as he became later on. It's like the dad from Leave it to Beaver suddenly turned into Jerry Falwell in the same show. It felt forced.
- They simply stuffed every terrible Hollywood religious stereotype into the guy in a single episode (controls family through fear and beatings, yet there are never any marks in previous episodes even at the beach, the congregation is so loyal because Pavlovian ritual conditioning, is a pederast, doesn't actually adhere to his moral codes and mental tics we spent six episodes setting up when choosing people to kill, etc), and it's just all too much OOC edgy at once. It's a grimdork overload. Despite all this new evidence Dexter still waffles about offing him because I can't even really remember why, it was just silly and bad. Literally I was so astonished by the complete writing 180 I didn't really pay attention the two eps after the first time around, it was a literal mindsnap. It would have worked if there were any indication he actually did these things, but there aren't. I rewatched the rest of the season the next week and combed over it. No hints at all. Like I said, WAFFy hugfest whenever he's with his family prior to the thanksgiving dinner episode. His character didn't just 180, the _ENTIRE CONCEPT BASED AROUND HIS CHARACTER, INCLUDING EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN HIS CHURCH_ 180'd without warning.
- And the amusing thing is no writers were let go, or added to, during this time. Yet the reversal feels that way. It's like a terrible game, you can't understand how so many people who worked on the show so long said 'yes' to this bad idea until it got to the point you see it. And then they have him disrupt his ritual again in order to kill Dexter's wife (a second bad idea on nearly the same level), who seems to have been written to be hated on this season only just to make us get less angry at the abrupt and irrational death.
- And then Season 5 gives him a Mary Sue girlfriend that utterly and completely accepts his badness because it's hawt and kinky and she needs to avenge herself against a rapist anyway, and oh is this how you stab a man, i really dig this, and lets just fucking throw out everything we knew the past four seasons because now we're gonna be sexier and edgier. (The only non Sue-ish thing was that after she had her revenge, she said she felt complete and had no more urge to randomly kill, and so they simply parted as friends.)
- I basically just shut down at this point. I kept watching for one more season (go fig S6 isn't mentally challenging in the least, a clear departure from the first four, he is racing against the police department to catch a simple nutball EndTimes killer and nothing more) but...I just kind of knew it would never be the same, and never recover that spark, the series I was watching now felt like the producers were being countercultural hipsters that wrote episodes by consulting Tvtropes. What really made me angry was how S4 was shaping up to be really goddamn cerebral, explore a whole bunch of sideplot stuff, give Dexter some tangible conflict in his killing and tease that he could not only control it but be happy in both spheres of life at once, but then they figured out good writing is too hard and takes too much time, especially when it involves kid actors, so fuck it, lets just turn him into White WASP Riddick. And as if to confirm and mock that, S5 scrubbed every single subplot that didn't involve the two latino detectives. (Who're always dangerously close to finding out his secret) Everything else ended with no resolution and became irrelevant, and the kids got dumped with their grandparents for the whole season to excuse giving him and his new fuckpuppet free reign. It was so much infuriatingly wasted potential.
- As of 10 episodes ago, Revenge hit its 'Thanksgiving Episode,' and while it wasn't so drastic a change as Dexter, and not so aggravating to watch, the writing is suffering from the constant introduction then murder/jailing of 'new people who might accidentally expose me' and of course they're taken out just before they can. The show is now literally centered around commercial break willthey/won'tthey cliffhangers. Both shows are in the same rut largely because of the same writing fumble. They killed an incredibly major lynchpin, not realising how much each episode actually hung around said lynchpin, without a truly believable backup handy. They also don't seem to realise how utterly comical murder-a-day makes a sequential series centered around very high profile people. The first two seasons of the show seemed way more intense because of all the crafty maneuvering required, various betrayals and sellouts within the same close circle, everyone having to remain and appear civil to one another because ears and the eyes and ears of reporters are always watching and snooping because they're all high-flying business people, and could lead to undue speculation and rumour...so when two people per season died, and the cops wall off their mansions, and the investigating keeps having them run around hiding documents, weapons, it was actually a lot more interesting than the current murder spree, in which 2-3 are dying an episode and the cops no longer seem to give a damn about the morgue overflowing. There's so many twists and random introductions and murders that need the screentime now that the police presence has been entirely written out, making it look like there _ARE_ no police at all anymore. "Oh, those rich annoying fucks are killing each other again. Lets ignore this until they finish it'll save on our paperwork." It's like they realise there's a big hole they need to fill, but when the newbies don't work out, they knock'em off.