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REVIEW: Dexter, episode 1, season 7. How does Dexter Morgan spell relief?

- September 30th, 2012

Jennifer Carpenter, Michael C

Relief.

That’s what Dexter Morgan was feeling. He closed his eyes. He exhaled. He was relieved. That sounds bizarre. But I’m sure of it.

That’s how the first episode of the seventh season of Dexter ended on Sunday night.

SPOILER ALERT: This is a review of the episode and is meant for people who saw it. If you don’t want to know what happened, now’s the time to bail.

Okay, so the previous season ended with Dexter (played by Michael C. Hall, pictured above right) and his foster sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter, pictured above left) having reached a crossroads in their relationship. Deb had walked in on Dexter just as he was completing one of his patented kills.

So for the entire first episode of the new season, Dexter was trying to limit the damage. Or contain the damage. Yes, Deb knew the truth. But she didn’t know the WHOLE truth. Dexter was determined to keep Deb in the dark about that.

It didn’t work.

The final scene has Dexter entering his apartment, only to find his place torn apart, and Deb sitting there. In front of her is all of Dexter’s killing equipment and paraphernalia and souvenirs, including his blood slides.

“Did you kill all these people?” Deb asks coldly.

Dexter has no choice but to come clean.

“I did,” he says.

And then the big question.

“Are … are you a serial killer?” Deb says.

The entire run of Dexter has been leading up to this moment.

“Yes,” he answers.

Finally, there it is.

And I swear, Dexter is relieved. His life as he knew it is over. But being a serial killer, even one who’s trying to live by a code, is a lot to carry around on your own.

That big story line is the reason Dexter still is on the air. But other plot paths were set up as the seventh season began, with some of them having the potential to link up with the overriding arc as things proceed.

The “unrelated crime angle of the season” involves a dead stripper, a strip joint with mob connections in Ukraine, and, notably, a dead cop.

When Detective Mike Anderson (Billy Brown) stops to help someone with a flat tire, he finds the dead stripper in the trunk and instantly is shot dead. Mike always was a secondary character, but still, his murder – especially in the first episode of a season – was a shock.

Dexter later tracks and kills Mike’s killer. It’s a risky move by Dexter, given the Deb situation, but Dexter feels he needs to “centre” himself.

Ironically, that effort to return to normalcy helped lead to Deb’s wider discovery.

She never bought Dexter’s explanation at the church. So she was watching him closely. She learned that Dexter had told his omnipresent babysitter Jamie Batista (Aimee Garcia) that he was working late, when he clearly was not. “Does that happen a lot?” Deb asks, as she starts to put two and two together.

Two other noteworthy plot lines:

Dexter rightfully gets the creeps from Jamie’s boyfriend Louis Greene (Josh Cooke) – and vice versa, right? – but Dexter doesn’t yet understand what a threat Louis is.

And La Guerta (Lauren Velez) found one of Dexter’s blood slides at the church. This raises the spectre of James Doakes again, since the accepted wisdom of the Miami Metro Police Department is that one of their own, the now-deceased Doakes, was the Bay Harbor Butcher. And the butcher is associated with blood slides.

But we know – and Dexter knows – that it wasn’t really Doakes.

God, I wish I had a photographic memory of Dexter’s early seasons, since the show is doubling back on itself for key developments more and more.

All things considered, there was a heck of a lot going on as Dexter returned for season seven. You know, in the real world, I still think Deb would have “called in” the crime right away when she saw Dexter commit murder.

But hey, this is Dexter, so we left the real world behind a long time ago. If you want reality, watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

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9 comments

  1. Dark Passenger | October 1, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Last scene could have been a dream

  2. palmettoparrots | October 1, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I had to pause the final scene where Deb had all of Dexter tools on display because I was in complete shock. Just as their father trained Dexter to be great killer, he equally trained Debra to be great at CATCHING killers. Sick dichotomy that had me holding my breath through that last scene. Great stuff!

  3. Brian Moser | October 1, 2012 at 10:04 am

    It’s the only direction this show could go…at some point this interaction needed to occur and that was only emphasized during season 6 with the promotion of Deb. The more important/prominent she becomes within Miami Metro, the more tenious the situation becomes. Obviously, finding out your step brother is a serial killer is traumatic enough but even still, as head of her department the situation becomes a bit stickier.

    One thing that really stuck out last night was the lack of concern for Harrison. As Dexter is grabbing is ‘get away’ bag, I found it odd that he only stopped to think about Harrison for a brief second. Granted, it’s the first episode and many more twists and turns are coming…just an observation!

    Happy it’s back.

  4. joe | October 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Deb isn’t going to survive the season. It will end with Dexter’s stalker killing her. The show is gettign stale and running out of plot lines. Dexter can’t kill his sister.. so they will have his stalker do it.

  5. Max | October 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    @ Dark passenger:

    No, that’s impossible. It’s hard to explain why, but I’d say it’d be against the “basic rules” of television. Cliff hangers don’t work that way. Within one episode, “unmarked dreams” are a legitimate means of creating moments of surprise, but the snap back to reality moment has to happen within the next few minutes, not one week later. What you saw is what you saw – I’d bet money on it

    @ Brian Moser and joe

    I also think that the show is moving towards its end, but even though I’m sure about how the game is being played, I cannot forsee the result. Here is what I think:

    Deb loves Dexter with all her heart. She despises his killing, but she’ll never despise him. The dead are dead and even Deb can’t change that, so she’s not going to turn him in. She is like Luke Skywalker and he is like Darth Vader. She won’t give up on him. She will try to bring him back to the Light Side. <- This is how the game is played.

    Now how could this end?
    1: Deb dies trying, the dark passenger wins.
    2: Deb dies saving him, he won't ever kill again.
    3: Deb succesfully defeats the dark passenger but is not able to save Dexter from the electric chair.
    4: Deb cannot defeat Dexters dark side, she has to kill him in order to prevent him from killing somebody who's innocent
    5: Deb accepts Dexter the way he is, they both survive
    6: One of them dies, the other commits suicide
    etc.

  6. Betsy Ross | October 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I believe Dex will kill LaGuerta.

  7. Ha Khieu | October 3, 2012 at 2:55 am

    I think the show will work out like the book, Deb will accept the Dark passenger somehow, after all, she’s Harry’s son. La Guerta will be killed in action like in the book too, maybe the Ukraine mob will do that job for us, and maybe Dex will rescue Deb from the mob or something like that, showing Deb how Harry saw him: A good man with a twist.

  8. Ha Khieu | October 3, 2012 at 2:55 am

    I think the show will work out like the book, Deb will accept the Dark passenger somehow, after all, she’s Harry’s daughter. La Guerta will be killed in action like in the book too, maybe the Ukraine mob will do that job for us, and maybe Dex will rescue Deb from the mob or something like that, showing Deb how Harry saw him: A good man with a twist.

  9. Sid | October 22, 2012 at 3:21 am

    This is how it will end.

    Dexter will convince Deb that he has actually defeated the dark passenger. That he doesnt have to kill anymore. But it wud just be a play to keep deb safe and he will finish the season with another high profile kill. That wud be the end of the Dexter Series.

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