Starting a new season of Dexter always feels like starting over. There’s never really a fresh-start in a drama like this, but each season of the Showtime series has its own unique rhythm, and it usually takes more than a few episodes to pick up the beat. Like seasons past, things begin in a new place for Dexter in Season 6, but the early episodes hint of big and extremely dark things ahead.

I’m not going to go into specifics on what happens within the first three episodes of the new season. If you’re looking for major spoilers, you won’t find them here, however if you’re trying to avoid knowing anything about Season 6 of Dexter, you should probably turn back now.

After five seasons, fans should know that serial-killing can prove to be a tricky task for Dexter, but he makes it work. Season 6 resumes with Dexter (Michael C. Hall) juggling his job as a blood spatter analyst, his role as a single father, and his hobby of moonlighting as a vigilante serial killer. The season premiere picks up with things not looking so great for our anti-hero, but rest assured, he survives the episode. Four other people aren’t so fortunate, though not all of them have Dexter to blame for their recent demise. The season premiere also has Dexter attending his high school reunion, which offers us a fresh look at the contrast of teen-Dexter to adult-Dexter.

Things at Miami Metro Homicide are shifting in new directions, with certain characters receiving promotions, which will change the dynamic of the work environment for everyone. Masuka, meanwhile, is teaching forensic science to a bunch of aspiring-Masuka-types, one of which is played by Brea Grant (Heroes, Friday Night Lights). The perky blonde proves to have the same flare for science and gore as Masuka, which could make her a good match for C.S. Lee’s character. He’s certainly due for some real romance.

Between Dexter enrolling Harrison in a Catholic pre-school, and a set of new serial killers (played by Colin Hanks and Edward James Olmos) performing strange, ritualistic killings, it’s evident that faith, religion and God will be playing a big role this season. Forget what you may remember of Olmos as the trusted, confident, brave leader on Battlestar Galactica and wipe the image of the sweet, cuddly version of Colin Hanks you may recall from films like The House Bunny and Orange County from your minds. The versions of Hanks and Olmos featured in Dexter are dark and menacing, which naturally makes them a good fit for this series. The first few episodes do a fine job painting a small portion of the picture that will reveal whatever their end-game might be. On that subject, the third episode ends with a scene that may be the most visually disturbing thing ever shown on Dexter. Yes, it’s that dark.

I’d love to talk about Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), Batista (David Zayas), LaGuerta (Lauren Velez) and Quinn (Desmond Harrington), but there’s virtually nothing I can think of to say that wouldn’t spoil what’s to come for them. To put it as vaguely as possible, the first few episodes dig into their stories as much as they do Dexter’s and while not all of it is what you might describe as “happy,” none of it feels like filler either, which is a good thing, especially if you’re as into their stories as I am.

Mos also joins the cast this season, playing a former criminal who has turned to God and is looking to lead a better life. “Brother Sam” and Dexter’s paths cross eventually, but, while Hanks and Olmos’ characters seem to be rooted firmly on the side of evil from the start, Mos’ character isn’t quite so easy for us to read, which makes him even more interesting in some respects, though far less creepy (so far).

Just as each season of Dexter has its own rhythm, each season tends to follow Dexter as he examines some aspect of his existence. What began with Dexter going through the motions of pretending to be a normal human, has evolved into a series about a serial killer who, through personal choices and growing connections between people he cares about, is coming to understand and connect with his own humanity. In that respect, Dexter appears to be moving forward with the lead character exploring his spirituality, which ties into his “work” as much as it does his role as a father. Where this will lead, I couldn’t say, but from the first few episodes, Dexter appears to be headed down another dark, exciting path and fans of the series won’t be able to resist following.

Dexter Season 6 premieres Sunday, October 2nd at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

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