A review of last night's "Dexter" coming up just as soon as we join a fantasy football league together...

Going into this season, the "Dexter" creative team said they couldn't possibly hope to top John Lithgow as the Trinity Killer. So rather than try by casting one prominent guest star to bother Dexter all season, they would bring in an army of recognizable guests. At first, it seemed as if they'd all be part of a group of small, interlocking stories, but as we head into the home stretch, it appears that all these diffuse parts - Lumen and Jordan Chase and Liddy and the rest - are all coming together to create some potential seismic changes in Dexter's life. And for the last few weeks, the quantity-over-quality approach(*) has led to some very interesting episodes.

(*) Which isn't actually a knock on this year's guest stars. Most of them have been quite good. Jonny Lee Miller was great in the creepy scene where Jordan assured his first victim that she was still special, and it's been a pleasure to watch Peter Weller chewing the scenery as Liddy. (I was also glad to see Scott Grimes, and disappointed he was dispatched in a single episode.) I just mean that the producers decided to attack the "How do we follow Lithgow?" problem with numbers, rather than trying to find a single actor who might be as good or better.

Of course, the show still has to deal with the formulaic expectations established by previous seasons. I've been burned too often on the teases about Deb finding out Dexter's secret that I never for a second believed that Dexter and Lumen would still be in the house when Deb and Quinn showed up, for instance. Similarly, I'm not too worried about either Liddy or Jordan knowing what Dexter is up to, since they'll either wind up killing each other, dead on Dexter's table or some other convenient combination.

The real wild card is Lumen. It's been a long time since Julia Stiles was expected to open a movie, so I could see her deciding this is a good gig. And the idea of Dexter having a real partner in every sense has worlds of potential. But I still have a feeling that Lumen either winds up on a bus out of town (having decided she's done killing after dealing with the men who tortured her) or else gets killed in the Dexter/Liddy/Jordan crossfire.

And I guess that's a problem a show this established - and, outside of the huge exception of Rita's death, with such an established pattern of resetting the status quo - can't get around. I can't just watch these crazy events unfold, but rather keep thinking about how the show's familiar pattern will apply to all the new characters in the climax.

What did everybody else think?

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