TV REVIEW: Dexter Season 8, Episode 1 – “A Beautiful Day”

dexter 8Everyone’s favorite serial killer is back for one more season…

With LaGuerta gone, it’s time to check in on Dexter and Deb after the dramatic events that unfolded in last season’s finale.

Let’s quickly recap what happened in Season 7: Deb finds out Dexter’s darkest secret and spends the rest of the season figuring out how to deal with it; Dexter gets a girlfriend he thinks he can really be happy with; said girlfriend tries to kill Deb for investigating her; Dexter finds out and has girlfriend thrown in jail to protect Deb. While all this is going down, LaGuerta figures out that Dexter was the Bay Harbor Butcher. When Dexter goes to finish her off once and for all, it’s Deb that winds up doing the deed for him.

Messed up, huh?

At first, things seem peachy keen in Dexter’s neck of the woods. The biggest threat to his secret is gone, he’s playing soccer dad to Harrison (he’s getting so big!) and even dipping his toes back into the dating game. Thing quickly fall apart, though, when we see that Deb isn’t coping quite as well as her brother.

Deb’s left Miami Metro and is working for a private investigation firm. She’s hot on the tail of an escaped jewel thief, and getting a bit too involved in her cover. Dexter is concerned that he hasn’t heard from her in a while and he goes snooping. Of course, he finds her within minutes when no one else could (not even the head of the investigation firm) and goes to confront her. They have an argument and Deb tells him she doesn’t want to talk to him or see him – that she hates him for what he turned her into. Harry encourages him to give her space, but when he finds out that there is an assassin after the jewel thief, he tries to reason with her one more time. Things get messy, and the jewel thief winds up dead.

While Dexter is dealing with the crisis of realizing that he doesn’t know how to live without his sister, a new addition at Miami Metro is making things a bit uncomfortable for him. Brought in to help with a gruesome homicide, Dr. Evelyn Vogel is an expert on psychopaths. Dexter is immediately paranoid that she’s there for him – and he’s right. At the end of the episode, it’s revealed that she knows all about his secret, and has come to Miami Metro for him. When he threatens her, she tells him her cannot kill her, because she doesn’t fit Harry’s code.

Oh man, this show. I am going to miss it so much when it’s gone. I don’t know any other show that is so good at blurring the lines between good and bad when it comes to its characters. Breaking Bad does come to mind, but I think Dexter really nailed the whole anti-hero thing a while ago.

Deb and Dexter’s relationship has always been the focus of the show – the seemingly unbreakable bond they shared. Even last season, when Deb found out who her brother really is, she was unable to turn her back on him. And we’ve always been fed a specific version of their relationship: that it’s Deb who really needs Dexter to hold her together. Now we’re finding out that maybe that’s not the case at all. Maybe it’s Dexter who needs Deb.

It does make sense when you think about it – the only time Dexter ever really loses his cool (aside from when he himself is threatened) is when Deb is threatened. Now she’s cut him loose and made it clear she wants nothing to do with him, and he admits that he feels totally lost. It’s a powerful scene for someone we’re used to seeing (mostly) in control, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

And then there’s Dr. Vogel (played by Charlotte Rampling). I am already convinced that she is also a psychopath. Why else would she hunt Dexter down and provoke him? Dex never copes well when there’s someone who knows his secret, so it’ll be interesting to see what sort of relationship they develop.

A really solid opener for the show’s final season – here’s hoping that they go out with a bang.

Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Mirjana

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