The end has arrived: Dexter S8 – the final season – has begun and things are…tense (to say the least). Last season ended with a cliffhanger as Dexter’s (Michael C. Hall) sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) committed murder to protect him. Can their relationship ever be the same?
Let’s bitch it out…For the immediate future, the answer to that question appears to be “no.” A resounding “no”, in fact.
Since the finale, a substantial amount of time has passed during which the Morgan siblings have perfected the art of not seeing or speaking to each other. Or at least Debra has – Dexter is coming apart at the seams with worry because his sister refuses to see him or take his calls. Deb, on the other hand, is doing all she can to keep herself together, which in Debra-speak involves a deep undercover stint as a cocaine snorting, weed smoking, beer guzzling girlfriend to a bail jumper she’s meant to bring in.
It’s compelling stuff, so long as you thrive on Carpenter’s particular mode of sobbing line delivery. Last season gave the underused actress her best material yet and this year appears to be off to a good start. That’s not to say that ‘A Beautiful Day’ doesn’t occasionally drag as it recycles the same issues (Dex is concerned about Deb, he calls, gets her voicemail, tracks her down face-to-face, gets yelled at. Rinse, lather, repeat). There’s obviously a great deal of set-up/fall-out to address in this premiere, so it’s tolerable, but if we have to go through an entire season of Debra delivering this particular brand of confrontation, things will get old quickly.
Much more compelling is the introduction of Chrlotte Rampling’s Dr. Vogel, the so-called “psychopath whisperer” (there’s a party trick) who appears in-the-know re: Dex’s dark passenger. As new characters go, she’s a keeper. Rampling oozes an appropriate combination of menace and soothing comfort (perhaps it’s the accent?). Her interest in Dex likely doesn’t bode well for her long-term health, but it will be entertaining to see where she and her psychopath profiling skills go. If nothing else, she should be helpful since there’s apparently a new brain-stealing serial killer on the loose in Miami (naturally!).
- Bastista (David Zayas) is back and hungry to catch criminals now that LaGuerta is gone. Alrighty then – good to know that boring restaurant sub-plot last season was worth it
- Quinn (Desmond Harrington) and Jamie Batista (Aimee Garcia) are porking (or trying to in between interruptions). Alrighty then – good to know that stripper sub-plot last season was worth it
- Harry (James Remar) has always played the part of Dexter’s conscience, but he’s never seemed quite this antagonistic to his son. Perhaps Harry is a of Dexter’s repressed feelings regarding LaGuerta’s death and what it did to his relationship with Deb? See also: Dex sitting on LaGuerta’s memorial bench after he realizes that his life has gone into the crapper
- The scene when Harrison goes missing in the parking lot of the Pink Motel initially made me groan (child kidnapped by El Sapo – boo!), but when it was used instead to reveal just how off Dexter’s priorities have become (symbolized a little too obviously in the blood on the teddy bear), it was more tolerable
- There’s a lovely contrast between the bright, sunny montage that opens the episode when everything is going swell for Dexter to the dark, slick, neon-lit mise-en-scene of the Pink Motel parking lot when he realizes how messed up his life is
- Finally: welcome to the Dexter family, Sean Patrick Flannery. Hopefully Elway will get to do more than provide weekly Deb updates once the new season gets rolling
What are your thoughts on the beginning of the end of Dexter? Are you excited with the dark place the writers have taken Deb? Do you think Dex has lost focus? Excited to see what becomes of Dr. Vogel? Any subplots you actually give two cents about? Hit the comments below
Dexter airs Sundays at 10pm EST on Showtime