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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About Jill

Pop culture junkie and TV aficionado. I write sharp and snarky TV recaps at www.couchtimewithjill.com
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4 Responses to Dexter – Off the Rails

  1. Bud says:

    One of the things that I felt better about last season is that the acting improved again – there was a return of that elusive chemistry that is so important, and I think it’s still present in this new season. Like you, I can’t get past the “Deb in love with Dex” subplot, or the zombie-esque feeling to seasons five and six. I’m still seeing the actors behind the characters. I’m wondering what Jennifer draws upon when Deb tells Dex (Michael) that she hates him! She is certainly throwing herself whole heartedly into her character’s plight this season.

    Did you see the prelude where all the actors from past shows weigh in on their time in the series? It was a nice touch, and I found myself missing so many of them. When the series is over and done with, Dexter and Doakes will be forever battling wherever great characters go.

    I’m on board. The first episode was good enough to keep me going.

    • Aaron Sirois says:

      Bud, they were married at one point. She’s probably got LOT of hate to draw from. All she has to do is replace “Michael” with “Dexter” and she’s bound to earn an emmy nod.

      • Bud says:

        I know. I was alluding to that. I could really see it in the convenience store when she says, “I hate you” to Dex! I’ve often thought how hard it must be, especially in a series, when actors have to watch their spouses do love scenes with others. I guess it’s the actor’s lot in life – not for me!

  2. Jose says:

    I was actually a little disappointed with the direction that they are taking Deb. We’ve seen her fall apart on the show before, so quitting her job and moving into a motel with a criminal and doing coke with him when she should arrest him just feels out of character. Not to criticize Jennifer Carpenter. She does a great job, but it just seems wrong for some reason. It is probably too early to judge, so I’ll and wait to see how this story plays out.

    I’m glad that this is the last season, though. Apparently, I liked season 5 more than a lot of people, but 6 was bad and nearly took the series off the rails. Season 7 took it back from the edge, but I think they’ve just about run out of things to do with the series besides wrap it up.

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