Dexter: 8.01 - "A Beautiful Day" - Review
For years now, Dexter fans have been all "End it! End it! Bring it to an end!" This year, they're finally getting their wish, as the long running serial killer serial comes to a conclusion with its eighth season. The last season wasn't perfect, but still probably the best year of Dexter since the well-regarded fourth run with Trinity.
So, with LaGuerta dead at the hands of Deb Morgan, hopefully the stage is set for another year of that quality. Can our hero escape death or incarceration? Should he? Spoilers, obviously, so stop now if you're troubled by them...
Miami Metro - Failing Assessments Since 1900Life is good for Dexter, it seems. Domestic life is good, Harrison is growing up nicely, he's sleeping around and coaching football, but something's missing. Well, someone. Namely his sister Debra, AWOL ever since the death of LaGuerta, and our hero soon realises that without her, his life is a mess and he's dangerously unstable. It's an odd beginning, beginning with a montage, then an even longer exposition-pause, all to tell us everything that's happened in the interim. Angel Batista's decision to open a restaurant is quickly clawed back, and good, to be honest, it was silly. But moments like that do give us the odd feeling that the writers are just making this up as they go along.
As ever, the scenes not featuring either Dexter himself or Debra feel a tad needless - in particular, every time Quinn is on-screen, I find myself wondering why he wasn't killed off at the end of season five, the last time he was relevant. LaGuerta's death appears to have inspired no investigation whatsoever, both Matthews and Batista are laughing off her theories about Dexter as the mad ramblings of a crazy, Quinn's own past investigations of Dexter still haven't stirred in him - I don't know what I was expecting from the worst police department in the world, really. The selective amnesia in that office has always been terrifying.
Debra Morgan - Competent Character And Complete FailureSo, yes, the old problems are still there, but newer developments have promise. I did enjoy the developments with Harrison, though, as he finally reaches the age where he won't just lie there mewling so starts poking daddy's serial killing gear. And Dexter himself has been... drawing disturbing pictures as a child. Is Harrison next?
And then there's Doctor Evelyn Vogel, here to help investigate a brain-scooping serial killer. At the moment, it seems inevitable that she will turn out to be said killer, but for now, looks like she's going to become the next in Dexter's long line of mentor figures. Poor lamb, forever searching for someone to show him the way. Charlotte Rampling is fun in the role though, basically playing it as a female Hannibal Lecter.
The most exciting part of the show, though, is Debra Morgan, as she flies off the rails after the death of LaGuerta. She's both the most unpredictable and most sympathetic person here, leaving we viewers in the odd position of kinda hoping Debra just cracks and brings Dexter in, because his continued existence is fucking her up. Certainly rather that than blame herself, which seems her current trajectory. Dexter himself can only really watch and hope she doesn't take him down, which can't be good for his control festish. Basically, this is still the best plot, so happily it remains compelling. Liked the "FUCKINGPASSWORD" joke too.
So I'm interested in where a couple of the storylines go, namely the Deb and Vogel arcs - got to say, though, considering this is the final season, this was quite a casual, slow-paced first episode. I was hoping they'd use the cliffhanger to get some momentum and tension going, as seen in last year's excellent start, but they didn't quite go for that. Nonetheless, they've got plenty of time to get some speed up in the eleven weeks remaining.