For those of you coming down from two and a half months of Game of Thrones and Mad Men, the transition to Dexter might feel like a tough one. The show is going into its eighth season, and while the idea of a dark drama centered on a serial killer seemed novel and unique eight years ago, the television drama landscape has passed Dexter by. Now, it feels more like something you might see on network television (in fact, NBC’s Hannibal is much darker and far more gruesome). It doesn’t hurt, either, that Dexter has never been a great show at hiding its cards: The shocks (with the exception of the Trinity Killer) are rarely that shocking, and there’s no subtext. It’s a straightforward show, not really built for theories.
Nevertheless, there is a certain excitement heading into the final season, if only because we want to know what happens to a character we’ve spent the last eight years with. The season premiere — much of which was sadly given away in previews — set the stage for the rest of the season. There’s a new serial killer, and a new character that knows Dexter’s secrets, but as always of late, it’s Dexter and Debra’s relationship that is driving the plot.
Here’s what we learned from the season premiere.
1. Six months after LaGuerta’s death, Dexter’s life is going great, or so he thinks. He’s flying a kite with his kid. He’s a great soccer coach. He bowls. He sleeps around. “I’m a survivor!” Hooray for killing LaGuerta. And LaGuerta did get a bench dedicated to her honor. IT WAS ALL WORTH IT.
2. Debra quit the force and became a private investigator. She’s doing coke, smoking cigarettes and pot, drinking, screwing randos, the whole shebang, just in case you didn’t get it that she was f**ked in the head. There really is no subtlety or nuance in Dexter, is there? It’s spelled out for us. She’s thrill seeking, taking crap smash-and-grab cases, and sleeping with a target, Andrew Briggs, better known as Billy Walsh.
3. Debra and Dexter are estranged. They haven’t seen each other in two months, and when Dexter seeks her out, she says, “My life is none of your business.” Debra totally hates Dexter now because he forced her to give up everything she ever believed in.
4. Thanks to LaGuerta’s death, Batista is back on the force, hungry again to take down bad guys. LaGuerta’s belongings are still in his apartment, and may offer clues connecting Debra/Dexter and the Bay Harbor Butcher. Batista also has a new partner, a black woman who replaced Debra.
5. Quinn is sneaking around and screwing Harrison’s nanny, who is Batista’s sister. I’m not sure where this is going to go, but I hate that anything good is happening to Quinn. So is last season’s shooting just forgotten?