Showtime went ahead and made the full episode of Dexter's Season 8 premiere available for free. Watch it above! And consider yourselves spoiler-warned for the first episode from this point forward! If you haven't watched the above season premiere episode of Dexter, read no further...
Not since Lois Lane took her kid onto Lex Luther's boat in Superman Returns have I been more disturbed by a fictional parent's poor judgment in mixing business with parenting by bringing their child into an obviously dangerous situation. Granted, I'm not an expert on the subject, but Dexter would probably fail even the most basic "fit parent" test if such a test existed and had any kind of scale that factored in serial killing as a steady hobby. But still, bringing his son to a seedy motel where his sister is holed up doing drugs and sleeping with an ex-con who may or may not be the target of a hit man called "El Sapo" is probably going to be a bad choice on any scale. And it looked like Dexter realized that after he murdered Deb's new boyfriend(ish) and returned to his car with blood all over his hand, only to find that Harrison had wandered into the parking lot where that murderer could very well be lurking. Whoops. Then again, it goes back to what I was talking about earlier. Harrison gets tucked into bed by a murderer fairly regularly, so maybe it's not so bad… grading on a curve, anyway.
We're getting way ahead of ourselves though. Let's start from the beginning. In the aftermath of LaGuerta's death, the Miami Metro PD is mostly content to accept that LaGuerta got herself killed pursuing Estrada. Even Batista - who appears to be back to work now - bought the story and has shrugged off LaGuerta's obsession with investigating Dexter before she died. Once again, Dexter has squeaked by another close call, and that isn't lost on him. The season begins with him sliding back into his old routine, flying a kite with Harrison, who actually talks (kind of), bedding beautiful women, while his potted plant from Hannah wilts nearby - I'm assuming that means he's gotten over her - keeping busy at work and pretending to be normal while bowling. Dexter is fine. He's even able to pretend like things are ok with Deb, when her name comes up. Only they aren't. While Dexter continues to present the illusion that he's a perfectly normal and happy single father, Deb has sentenced herself to a much darker fate.
Apparently, after killing LaGuerta, Deb could no longer continue to show up at work every day and resume being a cop, understandably so. She left the office for lunch one day and didn't come back. While her coworkers seem to think she took LaGuera's death hard, no one's reading too much into this. Deb's since taken a job working for a private detective named Jacob Elway. It's legitimate work, but it doesn't offer the most stable work environment for her and it seems to suit her self-destructive new lifestyle just fine. At present, she's snorting lines, chugging tequila and sleeping with Andrew Briggs, the guy she's supposedly investigating.
Deb's excuse for getting so close with this guy is because if she can find the jewelry he's trying to fence, there's a bigger take for her and her boss. But I think it's less about money and more about finding an excuse to spend time with a guy that's not only ok with enabling her downward spiral but also maybe not the best human being. Deb killed someone, and based on some of the things she said in tonight's episode, it's probably a lot easier for her to spend time with a criminal than it is to be surrounded by cops who didn't murder anyone. Maybe Briggs is the only person who doesn't make her feel like a hypocrite. Or maybe she just likes him because she knows he wouldn't judge her even if he did know she killed a woman. We don't really know, but it doesn't even matter, because Briggs was dead by the end of the episode.
Dexter seemed content giving Deb her space, but when he did try to track her down - using Deb's debit transactions, thanks to cracking her work password, or "fucking password" as it were - we saw the extent of Deb's contempt for her brother. She hates him for making her compromise everything she cared about. She wishes she shot him in that trailer. And she can't just go back to her life because she's not like him. Or that's what she's telling herself. Her words toward Dexter make me wonder if it really mattered who Deb shot in that trailer. I think she would've melted down even if she did kill Dexter instead of LaGuerta. Maybe in another life, that's what she would have done, but in this one, she killed a fellow cop, and now she's trying to live with that. Hating and avoiding her brother appears to be part of that process.
When Dexter found out that "El Sapo," the man who's supposedly looking to purchase the jewelry Briggs is trying to fence is actually a hit man, he headed to the motel (with Harrison in tow) to extract his sister. And that led to killing Briggs in a brief but bloody knife encounter. I don't think Deb was in love with Briggs, but he seemed like a distraction she was all too happy to cling to, and killing him didn't exactly earn Dexter any points with her.
Deb isn't the only person on the edge. Despite his talk about returning to his routine and everything being fine, Dexter seems to be very close to losing his cool these days. He flipped out on a guy who cut him off on the road, and later he snapped at Harrison when the toddler was squeaking his chair and eventually broke a vase. Dexter's erratic behavior just goes to show how crucial Dexter's relationship with Deb is. She's part of his balance, and with her pushing him away, Dexter seems to have trouble controlling his emotions, which could be a problem
There's also a new character in the equation. After a dead body turns up with his head cut open and part of his brain scooped out, specialist Dr. Evelyn Vogel (Charlotte Rampling) shows up to lend her expertise. Or that's what it seems. She took an interest in Dexter right away. At first it seemed like their mutual interest in murder was the only connection they had, until Vogel presented Dexter with some violent drawings he did as a kid. When he questioned her about it - roughly, I might add - she countered that he wouldn't hurt her because she doesn't fit his code. And that's where she left it. How does she know about the code? That's the question that leaves us hanging at the end of the episode.
Other slices of life (and death)…
LaGuerta got a memorial bench with an ironic view of the Bay.
Jamie and Quinn are having a secret relationship. Quinn doesn't seem to want Batista to know that he's sleeping with his sister - hence the secrecy.
Batista seems like he might have some chemistry with fellow Detective Angie Miller, but he's too busy offering her his dead ex-wife's clothing to notice. He also tried to give Dexter a vase that belonged to Maria, but Dexter was less subtle about expressing his wariness at accepting something that belonged to the woman who was pursuing him. Batista called things "awkward" between them. That's an understatement. The vase ended up smashed on the floor when Harrison knocked it over. There might be a metaphor in there, somewhere.
Read our review of the first few episodes of the season HERE.