Dexter – Off the Rails

dexter season 8The last few years of Dexter have been, at best, hit and miss. After the thrill of the “Trinity” season – season four, which I consider to be the best work the show has done – the series has floundered.

I’ve always felt that the end of season four would have been a suitable series finale for the show, or that the series could have pulled off one final, thrilling, conclusive season after that.

Instead Dexter has been spinning its wheels, up until a very big reveal at the end of season six. If you’re caught up on Dexter – including last night’s season eight premiere – click through for a review.

I was relieved when Deb discovered the truth about her brother at the end of season six, because it injected some much needed energy back into the show and distracted viewers from an unfortunate storyline about Deb being in love with Dexter. (Something I’ll never completely be able to forget, or forgive. Ugh.) Season seven was a definite improvement from seasons five and six, because it actually addressed some of the bigger questions the series has presented instead of relying on very formulaic “Big Bads” and the “Kill of the Week”.

In the season seven finale, Deb was faced with a choice – arrest/kill her brother (I’m sure Dexter would have preferred kill) or shoot LaGuerta, who’d discovered the truth. She shot LaGuerta and immediately knew she’d made a life-changing mistake.

Season eight picked up about six months from that moments. Deb has quit her job with Miami Metro and is totally off the rails, working in private security as a bounty hunter, doing lots of drugs, sleeping with criminals. Jennifer Carpenter played Deb’s misery and self-loathing very well.

Deb is estranged from Dexter now, and without his sister around Dexter is losing control. She was always the most important person in his life, even if he was never capable of actually loving her. Without that grounding force, Dexter is grabbing guys at the throat for cutting him off on the highway.

In six months Harrison has grown up an astonishing amount. I *hate* when TV shows replace babies or toddlers with older kids. The age leap is disconcerting, and I much prefer silent, onlooking toddlers to speaking children. I assume that Harrison’s age was increased as a plot device. It’s harder for Dexter to do his thing with a walking, thinking, talking kid around – and we saw that in the season premiere when Dexter foolishly brought his son along on a dangerous mission to rescue Deb.

Batista is back on the police force, apparently re-inspired to fight crime after LaGuerta’s murder. Was it so necessary for him to retire? I feel like this is backtracking a little, but I guess I’d rather have him around than not. Quinn is sleeping with Jamie, Batista’s beautiful sister and Harrison’s nanny. I don’t hate them together.

There’s also a new character at Miami Metro that I think could be very interesting. Evelyn Vogel is a neuro-psychiatrist who used to work with Miami Metro on some cases – and she knows about Dexter. She helped Harry develop his code for Dexter, and the episode left me with a lot of questions. What relationship did Harry and Evelyn have? They must have been close if she was willing to help him create a code of honor for a serial killer.

I assume Evelyn has returned because she wants to study Dexter. But when she’s done, what will she do? Reveal him and have him arrested? Or will she let him continue on? Harry couldn’t live knowing the truth about Dexter, and Deb didn’t fare much better. It will be interesting to see where Evelyn falls.

Overall, I’m looking forward to seeing how this series wraps up. I’ve always assumed it would end one of two ways – Deb would kill Dexter, or she’d put him behind bars. I’ve also wondered if the series would end by flashing forward to a teenaged Harrison blossoming into a serial killer. Whatever happens, I hope the show delivers a satisfying conclusion.

What did you guys think of the episode? Tell me in the comments. (Please keep the comments section completely spoiler free. If you’ve read any news about the plot of this season, or casting, keep it to yourself for those who like to go into each episode blind. Thanks!)

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