Alex Hall Managing Editor
Dexter has been Showtime’s flagship show for almost a decade now and this season has done its best through the first two episodes to remind everyone why that is.
After a captivating season five focusing on Dexter Morgan’s ability to connect with another person despite his serial killer tendencies, the show went a bit off the tracks but it appears the show runners have found their way back on the path to multiple Emmy nominations.
The season seven premier picked up with the same exact scene where the audience was left with at the end of the previous. Dexter’s sister, Debra witnesses him execute the Doomsday Killer: Travis Marshall. In easily one of the top five scenes in the show’s history, Deb goes into full cop mode and questions her brother as to why he was so prepared to kill Marshall.
Dexter does his best to easily explain the knife collection, rubber apron and gloves to his sister but is unable to keep her off his trail throughout the episode. After 55-minutes of Deb snooping through the Ice Truck Killer evidence box, helping her brother cover up Marshall’s murder and interrogating Dex once again, the episode’s final scene gives us the epic moment that Dexter hoped would never happen.
The camera focuses in on Dexter opening the front door to his longtime apartment until it quickly pans the room and shows Debra sitting in a chair with his victim’s blood slides strewn across the living room table. She proceeds to ask him if he killed all of those people, to which Dexter confirms he had. To top it all off, Deb’s next question is “Are you a serial killer?” to which her brother says “Yes.”
There were several other subplots established during the premier, including the murder of Detective Mike Anderson by a member of a Ukrainian crime syndicate. Masuka’s intern Louis continues to harass Dexter by cancelling his credit cards after he sent him the plastic hand from the Ice Truck Killer’s evidence box in the season six finale. In perhaps the most intriguing of all three, Captain Maria LaGuerta discovers Marshall’s blood slide that Dex failed to take from the crime scene at the church. She easily makes the connection to the Bay Harbor Butcher case from season two when Miami Metro was unknowingly hunting Dexter before evidence lead them to believe the late Sergeant Doakes to be the Butcher.
The premier turned out to be the most watched episode in the history of the show, and that’s probably because it was arguably the strongest in terms of setting the season up. In just under an hour’s time, we see Debra discover Dex’s Dark Passenger, LaGuerta begin to reexamine the case that almost had Dexter in the electric chair, and an initial look into this mysterious crime family. There were some phenomenal scenes between the siblings Morgan, the fear of more people discovering Dex’s favorite past-time down the road, and perhaps the next big bad villain(s) all brought into play.
The second episode of the season was every bit as action-packed as the first. We get to see Debra lash out at her brother, even punch him, before deciding to attempt to cure his need to kill. The scene outside the station when Deb explains she almost arrested Dexter that morning shows the audience just how much she’s struggling with knowing his secret, but also that she truly wants to help him. Dexter is the only family Deb has left, and season six revealed she might even be in love with him, not just simply love him in a adopted brother-sister sort of way.
While there is some progression made in Louis and LaGuerta’s story highlighted by Dexter threatening the intern and the Captain confirming the slide to contain Marshall’s blood, the episode leans heavily on the interaction between Deb and Dexter, and works perfectly. Seeing Dex move into Deb’s place, and having him explain to her what actually happens when he gets the urge to kill was intense, but also humanizing for him in a way.
In the pilot episode of the series, Dexter says in one of his first monologues that if he had feelings for anyone, it would be his sister. He hasn’t always shown it, but Dexter truly cares about Debra and he’s attempting to control his urges for both their sakes. The best example of this is when he drugs Louis, feels the urge to kill him, but follows one of Deb’s first two rules and calls her to come talk him down.
Dexter sits on the edge of his car and tells his sister how badly he wanted, even needed to kill that night, but respected her wishes and made the call. Deb tells Dexter that “this is a good thing” and tells him that she now believes he can learn to control his need. For one of the first times in the season, we see her smile at her brother and begin to move past the anger of discovering what he truly is.
Seasons four and five were centered around this idea and the show has finally gotten back to it with Debra finding out the truth about her brother. Unlike the aforementioned seasons however, the show is not stuck with simply focusing on Dexter’s inner struggle, but also how he deals with Deb knowing and her attempts to help him fight his urges.
For as great as Dexter has been over the years, one of its strongest characters, Debra Morgan, has always been misused in a way. Without her knowing Dexter’s secret, she’s kept out of a huge part of the show which went on for too long. But now in season seven the show is much more focused on these two characters connecting and learning the whole truth about one another, which has produced the most memorable scenes so far.
With this season’s big storyline being the changing relationship between Dexter and Debra, along with some intriguing and ongoing side notes, this has the potential to be the strongest season of the decorated series to date.
Gianna Carchia Asst. Arts Editor
The premiere of Dexter’s seventh season was worth the wait. After season six ended with Deb catching Dexter indulging his Dark Passenger, viewers were hoping for a worthy payoff and a long-awaited showdown between the siblings. The Showtime series returned with a confused Deb and a worried Dexter at odds over the experience they had shared.
Dexter attempted a lie that caused Deb to become involved in the cover up of Travis Marshall’s murder, but the Lieutenant was smarter than that. Amidst flashbacks of their childhood, the episode featured a number of confrontations between the siblings. Deb searched for the truth while Dexter did his best to hide the dark secret from the person he cares most about in the world.
The seventh season not only came back with excellent writing and, as always, superb acting from the show’s main cast, it came back with a new look. The production crew on the series seems to have kicked it up a notch as the show featured a more serious and artistic look; one scene was filmed partially from above a ceiling fan as Deb searched for clues in a shadowy room, creating an anxious and dramatic tone.
The premiere ended with a crowd-pleasing scene in which Dexter comes home and finds Deb in his living room with his murderous gear laid out on the table. There is only one thing he can say when Deb asks if he’s a serial killer.
In the new episode, Deb is trying a rehab-like approach to Dexter’s sickness. After allowing him to describe the Code and explain why he can’t help killing, she instructs him to stay at her house and do everything with her so she can keep an eye on him. She even asks him to call her if he thinks he will kill again, a plan that comes through at the end of the episode when he loses it with co-worker Louis.
As always, there are side plots that keep the story going separate of what is happening with Deb and Dexter. LaGuerta investigates Travis Marshall’s blood slide that she found at the crime scene while Angel and Quinn are investigating the murder of their fellow cop. However, the side stories pale in comparison to the aftermath of the biggest shock since Dexter found Rita in the bathtub.
There has never been tension like this in Deb and Dexter’s relationship before, barring the awkward storyline of the sixth season when Deb’s therapist convinced her she was in love with her adopted brother. Although her inclination to help and support her brother is endearing and interesting, it’s hard to believe that the situation would play out like this in real life. Upon finding out that your brother is a serial killer, inviting him to live with you is hardly the first thing that would happen.
However, television is television, and in this case the outstanding series can be respected for the fiction it is. Dexter is unique and thought-provoking, and this penultimate season is sure to deliver.