**** Spoiler Warning ****
Wow. Yeah, that's the word for Edward James Olmos' debut on Showtime's DEXTER.
Talk about freaky-awesome scary. His introduction as a brilliant and charismatic professor of religious studies was both exhilarating and unnerving.
After five years of William Adama, a man whose heart was as big as his will was strong, it's jarring to see the Old Man apparently masterminding murders with undisguised religious overtones.
Mr. Olmos plays his part brilliantly, revealing just enough to entice you to want to know more -- even if you're not sure you really do -- while simultaneously setting your teeth on edge.
With the season just getting started, we don't yet know exactly what Professor Gellar and his apprentice (Colin Hanks) are up to -- nor do we know their motivations -- but at this point, it's hard to believe that it's anything good.
Here's how they're introduced: Two men in a boat, in a swamp, quoting scripture and looking for a pregnant snake.
Okay, that's just weird, but the creep factor skyrockets when we see them next, an eerily calm and satisfied Gellar waiting in a car nearby as his disciple relieves an (unsuspecting?) roadside fruit vendor of his intestines. If you've seen the previews for the first episode, you know the baby snakes end up inside the poor victim's corpse and are sealed in with a stitching of alpha and omega symbols.
That's seriously disturbing, and Mr. Olmos later cranks up the creepiness with a happy, little smile and laugh in his final scene of the episode.
Still, despite the chilling nature of what I've seen so far, I'm unbelievably excited about future episodes. Why? Mr. Olmos' trademark intensity hasn't been unleashed yet, and all I can say about that is God help Dexter Morgan (and anyone else in his path) if/when it is.
As Battlestar Galactica fans know, Mr. Olmos not only has presence but, like Adama, can be something of a force of nature on screen. Hurricane Gellar, anyone?
The next episode, "Once Upon A Time," airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.