Previously on Dexter, our titular murderous hero married Rita, but not before he knocked her up. He fretted for a whole season about how he could possibly be a father, but ultimately he got cool with it. He also befriended Miguel Prado, learned they both enjoyed killing people, learned Miguel enjoyed it a bit TOO much, and killed Miguel. Deb started dating her informant, then learned from Dex that their dad wasn't always faithful to their mom, and since Deb has both daddy issues and can't-leave-shit-alone issues, she decided to dig into it. All in all, a hell of a lot better than all that crap with the crazy rehab girlfriend.
To kick things off in Season 4, we get juxtaposed scenes of Dexter, driving at night, flashing some intense eyeballs and voice-overing about "tonight's the night" and intense primal needs, interspersed with scenes of a naked John Lithgow (and yes, let's all get it out of our systems right now, because it looks like it'll be happening a lot) preparing a bath and laying extra towels around the tub. This being Dexter, I trust we can dispose of the pretense that this might not be anything but purely foreboding.
Turns out Dexter's ominous talk of primal needs is referring to the primal need of a good night's sleep. He pulls the car over, opens the back door, and sees baby Harrison, still awake. Seems the midnight ride hasn't made the kid any sleepier, much to Dexter's chagrin. Naked Lithgow, however, is not up to anything so innocuous. A young brunette closes her medicine cabinet to find Lithgow standing behind her in the mirror. He grabs her in a choke-hold, and next thing we know, they're both naked and submerged in the tub, her back to his front, his forearm still across her throat. He keeps trying to shush her, coaxing her to fall asleep. On its own, it's a horrifying image of perverse paternalism. Juxtaposed with daddy Dexter trying to get his kid to sleep, it's even creepier. The woman passed out, Lithgow reaches for his straight razor and slices it across her upper thigh. That gets her struggling again, but with the femoral artery gushing blood into the water, it's futile. Lithgow then grabs a hand mirror so he can see her face as she dies. Sick, sick stuff.
So, you know: Good morning, Miami! In a cute bit, the opening credits music starts, and that familiar mosquito starts sucking on Dexter's arm. Only this time, his swat misses. Dex is clearly off his game. The faux credits sequence continues: he pulls the t-shirt over his face, a scene that is disturbingly appealing in the real credits, but is robbed of any latent sex appeal by the spit-up stain on the shoulder; he breaks a lace tying his shoes. Before we can see just how wrong the juicing of a blood orange can go, a yawning Dexter catches the sound of Cody playing Marco-Polo in the backyard. Because also in the offseason, Dex and Rita bought a fancy new house in a fancy new neighborhood with a fancy pool in the yard. Rita's trying to wrangle him into his school clothes, while Astor blasts her music from her bedroom. "If I had an iPod," she says, Rita wouldn't be subjected to her crap music. Rita says that's no way to lobby for an iPod. Man, putting a serial killer under the same roof as a teen girl entering her bitchiest years? Recipe for disaster.