Season premiere review: ‘Dexter’ – ‘A Beautiful Day’

A quick review of the final season premiere of “Dexter” coming up just as soon as I get the bowling team back together…

I was really happy with season 7, particularly the material dealing with Deb learning about Dexter’s serial killing ways. This was the show finally, in its old age, grappling with questions of whether we should be rooting for Dexter, what really motivates him outside of Harry’s code, and all the other interesting questions the writers had ignored for years in favor of formulaic big bad story arcs. And it also gave Jennifer Carpenter some of her best material of the entire series.

So I was glad to see “A Beautiful Day” focusing so much on the estrangement between Deb and Dexter in the wake of LaGuerta’s murder, and to see that none of this is being ignored. The show is ending this year, and so the creative team can take the story to a real conclusion, whatever that winds up being, and if it wants us to hate Dexter by the end of things, that would be okay. Deb is, understandably, a wreck, Dexter is beginning to feel lost without his sister, even as he’s experiencing success at work, in his personal life and at his side gig as the Bay Harbor Butcher.

And we’re, unsurprisingly, revisiting that storyline with the introduction of Charlotte Rampling as Dr. Evelyn Vogel, who knows much more about Dexter than he was expecting. I’ve seen the first four episodes, so I won’t say more about this plot, save that it takes the show, and its main character, to some interesting places.

I also liked that Dexter wound up having to take Harrison with him to the motel in search of Deb, not only because he seems to live too charmed an existence, childcare-wise, but because anytime Harrison is in the vicinity of violence, it reminds us both of Dexter’s origin story and the murder of Rita. This show is better whenever it remembers its own history, and it seems like we’re going to get a lot of that before we cross the finish line.

I’ve found that “Dexter” is a show I enjoy more if I’m not writing about it every week, but I’ll try checking in from time to time across this final season, and at minimum write a post-finale review. In the meantime, though, what did everybody else think of the premiere? How much of an addition by subtraction was LaGuerta? Did you buy Deb’s new station in life? And do you, like me, begin each season of the show by being surprised that Quinn is still alive?