Dexter Season 7: Premiere Review & Thoughts

September and October are pretty much my favorite time of the year. Football is back, hockey is (supposed to be) back, TV shows that I watch religiously each week are back for another season.. and  here in Australia, the weather is starting to warm up. It’s all coming up aces for Mackk.

6 seasons of Dexter have graced our TV screens so far and no doubt there have been highs and lows. Critics have been right to criticize Dexter in the past few seasons, as the plot seemed to be repetitive and fans grew tiresome of the same old present, just wrapped differently. We could go on and on about plot-holes, weird turns & story arcs, Deb falling in love with Dexter, the whole Lumen thing after Rita’s death etc but what’s done is done and nothing could prepare us for the season ending finale of season 6, where Deb walks in on Dexter during his kill of Travis Marshall. The shit is really going to hit the fan in season 7.

I was anxious all offseason. I couldn’t wait. We knew that Deb would have to find out eventually and there had been some close calls that teased us in seasons past. We wanted this day to come, we wanted the one “bad person” that Dexter would have to face to be Deb; his own sister. When it finally happened everyone was still shocked, but also a little excited as we knew it would flip the show on its head and put Dexter into deep, boiling, hot water. As we know the show is at its best when Dexter has to dig his way out to avoid being found out & arrested.

It’s like any sporting event; the best action is in the 4th quarter when a team has to rally from behind to win. It’s the classic underdog story.

From the opening scene of the premier episode “Are You…?”, it looks to be an emotional and thrilling season and hopefully one that provides us with the best material to date. However the writers at Dexter best save some of the good stuff for season 8 which has been confirmed that it will be the last and final season for HBO’s Dexter.

In my opinion, fair enough. As a fan you don’t want the show to end because you’ve followed the show for so long where it’ll be weird not having Dexter there every Sunday night. But you can only run a show for so long before it becomes unrealistically long, drawn out and diluted to the point people stop watching and it ends up getting cancelled. (See Scrubs , Lost and many other shows.)

Many fans and critics would say that the show should’ve ended 2 seasons ago. That this season should’ve happened post-Rita. I’m indifferent. The back story provided in the past 2 seasons has been like a long prologue for what should be the best season to date. You have to know when to quit and I applaud the executive producers and HBO for knowing when to say, “It’s been a great ride.”

The amount of awards and accolades the show has collected along the way is enough to have the team walk out with their heads held high, no regrets.

The season kicked off with a bang last Sunday, as season 7 of Dexter started with Dexter, racing towards Miami International Airport, as if he was on the run. He’s low on gas, stops at the gas station to re-fuel on the way, only to find all his cards declined. He opens a bag with passports, money and phones in it, grabs some cash that has been saved for a rainy day and continues onto the airport. Budapest is where he’s headed and the immediate viewer’s assumption is that everything has gone pear-shaped following Deb walking in on him. However, it’s merely a flash forward further along in the episode and a flash in Dexter’s mind, about running as soon as Deb has witnessed his kill. From there, we resume inside the church where we left Dexter at the conclusion of season 6. There Dexter stands, opposite his sister and standing over Travis in his serial killer uniform, holding a knife and trying to pick his jaw from the church floor, as his sister Deb has interrupted the kill.

Fans everywhere, critics, haters and casual Dexter-watchers were captivated and sucked back in to an outstanding first episode. Redemption time for many.. finally. A return to form of season 1 & 2.

We see Deb holding a gun, asking Dexter to step away. Dexter pleads with Deb, “Deb, it’s me,” as if to re-assure her that it’s not a dream.

Dexter tries to explain himself to Deb, lying about how Travis is the only one and that it was a ‘moment of temporary insanity.’ A classic self-defence story but Deb has a hard time believing it, wondering why Dexter has plastic sleeves, a set of knives, an apron and a change of clothes. “It’s a kit every blood spatter analyst carries with them,” Dexter later explains. Deb observes after Dexter’s story, “..it still doesn’t explain why he’s wrapped up like that.” Dexter tries anything and everything to get Deb to call off the dogs, including using the family card of his son Harrison and the death of Rita, as ways to shake Deb off his tail in the discovery that her brother is a murderer. After trying to get Deb to go home so he can finish off his killing routine, the 2 eventually agree to cover up the scene with a fire, make it the Final Tableau for the Doomsday Killer, an apparent suicide. We see Deb offer to get some fuel for the fire, linking her as an accessory to the murder and slowly, pulling her into Dexter’s dark world.

Honestly, with another season to go after season 7, the writers could’ve easily dragged this type of discovery for the end of season 7, then have the final season be the end game season, where Dexter has everything to lose and everything comes unravelled. But credit the writers, they went with the juicy content to start season 7 and had Deb grill Dexter where it made it believable and still, even after all his lies, she has an uneasy feeling, telling Dexter that it “Doesn’t feel right.” Dexter agrees with her, as if to reinforce the questions that would be circling inside Deb’s head over the next 24 hours.

The psychology that has been opened up by the writers after the one person who wasn’t supposed to find out in all this time, has now been exposed to this other side of Dexter, is fresh and exhilarating as a viewer. Dexter has now become even more sociopathic in his bid to try and cover up the real truth. He lies, but each lie falls flat when Deb digs deeper. Every word that leaves Dexter’s mouth, Deb questions. It’s the detective in her.

Deb’s psychology in this isn’t to be overlooked in all this either as she tries to come to terms with what she’s just seen in the church. Hours later, the 2 get called in to the crime scene of the now burnt down and smoldering church. Dexter offers his forensic opinion, manipulating and leading the team at Miami Metro to believe his every word that it was a suicide. Deb watches Dex closely, trying to understand how easily he just lied, getting himself out of trouble like that and wondering, how many times has this happened before?

Deb then digs herself deeper into the mess as she goes to the press stating that Travis Marshall probably committed suicide because he knew “Miami Metro were closing in on him.”

Midway through the episode, she goes to old case files from the Ice Truck Killer case and struggles with flashbacks of her on Brian and Dexter’s table, wrapped in plastic. From there, her thought process begins to get going. Wondering how Dexter could be so well prepared for a moment of self-defence and rage, it simply doesn’t add up for her. By the end of the episode, the first episode provides us with perhaps an even better cliff-hanger than the one at the end of season 6. After Deb questions Batista’s sister and babysitter Jamie about Dexter’s whereabouts that night and his work hours (knowing for a fact she knows he told Masuka he was leaving work early to start early the following day), Deb goes to Dexter’s apartment to find evidence to back up her suspicions.

Meanwhile, (hours before, moments after the crime scene of the church) Detective Mike Anderson is killed after trying to help a man on the side of the road with a flat tire. Mike opens the trunk to get the tire iron, only to find a dead girl. The man, who turns out to be a mobster (Viktor), shoots and kills Mike. The team gets called to the scene, which starts to eat away at Dexter who needs to feed his dark passenger, especially after all the stress. The suspect who killed Mike, would be the perfect target for Dexter’s next kill. Hours later and we re-visit the airport scene, as the mobster is on the way to the airport with Dexter actually pursuing him to catch him and kill him. He’s 3 steps ahead of Miami Metro as always and buys a ticket at the airport under an alias, so he can take matters into his own hands by bashing Viktor’s head in with a fire extinguisher.

What’s interesting in this episode is Dexter’s careless desire to feed his need to kill, despite being under the microscope from Deb and others, he manages to find a lost baggage area of the airport, set up a make-shift kill room and transport the body, all in the name to help with his stress. Classic Dexter, always finding places that people should walk-in on, yet don’t. Another intriguing part of the episode was Dexter, questioning himself and trying to move on by killing another bad guy, thinking a kill would be all he’d need to ease the stress, try and put it behind him. It had him wondering if maybe now, he should run. Get away from it all.

Killing Mike Anderson off was also an interesting sub plot, as he didn’t for a moment trust the idea that the church fire and suicide of Marshall was legit. He didn’t buy it and it was right after he hung up on Deb regarding that, that Anderson is killed off and the mob-world of characters is seemingly opened up, ready for season 7. Having Anderson not there to be suspicious of Dexter, opens up the possibility of Quinn taking over that role, perhaps he later discovers Deb has something to do with the scene.

LaGuerta is another wildcard in this season, as she discovers a blood slide that Dexter forgot to take from Travis Marshall, once again opening up the curiosity for LaGuerta that Doakes wasn’t in fact the Bay Harbor Butcher. She was once likeable, but in my opinion grew to be annoying and irrelevant in seasons past. Maybe she too can redeem herself or perhaps she’ll be on Dexter’s table by the seasons end, just like Doakes (sort of was.)

After disposing of the body as usual on his boat, Dexter returns home to find Deb sitting there, with his knives, blood slides and mountains of evidence that uncover Dexter’s big serial killer secret. She simply looks at the blood slides and asks, “Did you kill all these people?” “Yes.” Dexter simply responds, honest and open with his sister discovering the truth. “Are you a serial killer?” Deb asks, to confirm what she already suspected. “Yes.”

And that’s it. End of episode 1, but not the end of the questions that will be thrown around all season long.

What an episode. And that was only with 1 murder being discovered by Deb. I didn’t want the episode to end and immediately looked for episode 2 trailers just to feed my Dexter hunger, much like he feeds his dark passenger. A well-written, carefully layed out episode and a very promising start for what should be the first season of the goodbye tour for Dexter. Now we wait until tomorrow night. What now, that the whole truth will have to come out and the true identity of Dexter will be finally revealed to Deb? How does Deb cope? How does Dexter evolve and deal with this? Does she try to understand or does she let the cop inside of her come out and turn her brother in? Does he try and change finally or does he try and take Deb out? Can he control his desires? Can he outrun what seems to be an end game that he’s talked about in seasons past, of the outcome being of him in a chair, facing the death penalty? What becomes of Harrison? What becomes of Louis and past characters that have had inklings of suspicion about Dexter?

The ideas and prospects that loom for Dexter are mouth-watering. To think how suspenseful and thrilling this season could be.. I cannot wait. I’m positive, optimistic that this could be the best Dexter season to date. Dexter and Deb are the core of the show and are finally, all that matter now. There will be the usual sub-plots to help carry the season and fill in holes but the main story is on the right track and if episode 1 is anything to go by, the other 11 episodes of season 7 should not disappoint in any way. By the end of season 7, Dexter will hopefully have us wanting more, rather than less.

Here are some clips on the season, for your viewing pleasure.

Season 7 Trailer

Season 7 Sneak Peak

Season 7 Behind the Scenes Look

Some predictions for Season 7:

1. Dexter & Deb will team up and be vigilantes together, whilst carrying on with their day jobs.

It will be the only way Deb & Dexter can repair their relationship, as they work through it together, using Harry’s Code as the main baseline, having Deb buy into what Harry taught Dexter and helping her realise there’s more than the law-way of doing things. In the end, Deb will have an understanding of Dexter and be there to protect him from the FBI.

2. Someone from Miami PD gets killed and Deb wonders if Dexter had anything to do with it.

Before this episode, I would’ve said maybe Masuka, his intern Louis or Quinn gets killed from some nutjob. But it ended up being Mike. I can still see Quinn or Louis getting killed off, most likely by Dexter. I can see a department man hunt for Dexter, which Deb gets tangled up in and possibly LaGuerta gets killed because of this hunt, much like the Doakes ending.

3. Dexter will hook up with some hot girl who gets naked, only to send Deb into a jealous & weird rage.

I wonder if the step-sibling romance will come into play again & if it does, no doubt it will become a point of contention when Deb gets jealous as Dex has a love affair with a girl, only to have Deb scare her off (or kill her) which leads to Deb confessing the weird truth about her feelings for Dexter.

Notes:

-I wonder if Dexter’s step-kids will ever make an appearance again? Will most likely be there for a reunion of sorts in season 8, would be my guess.

-Looking forward to seeing what happens with Australia’s Yvonne Strahovski (from Chuck) throughout the season. We know she’ll be helping Miami PD with an old case and she was a suspect in the killing of her partner, which has Dexter intrigued of course. Do they hook up?

-The sooner they get rid of Louis, the better. I can’t stand him, and the writers probably are doing that on purpose, for a reason.

-I may have just eaten a whole bag of Skittles while writing this. I should probably see a dentist this week. 

 

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Dexter: Season 6 Premiere


I’ve been waiting all year long for the return of my favorite dark hero. It’s like the NFL season.. you only get so many weeks of entertainment and then it’s over, followed by a long offseason of waiting.

Finally, the premiere came and I was eager to see what kind of rebound season Dexter would have. It wasn’t so much that last season was bad, it’s just that the other seasons to precede it were better. After the titles and the 1st scene, I was smiling.. as was Dexter. In the first 2 seasons, the show was dark and funny. Almost a “perverse humour” to such violent and morally wrong acts. In the first episode, I felt those same ingredients of success as the episode seems to have set the tone for season 6; a lighter tone. And I loved it.

 The episode, “Those Kinds of Things” starts off with Dexter stumbling around a warehouse district, struggling to breathe & holding his stomach where an apparent wound appears to be. He dials 911 whilst holding a bloody knife in the other hand. Immediately, my heart races. “What the hell has happened?! How could he have gotten injured?” I then thought about something along the lines of maybe there was a scenario involving Miami PD & Deb, where he found himself caught and vulnerable to the point that he’s been shot or stabbed. Either way, it wasn’t the start I’d expected. Basically, it was a knee-jerk, “here we go again.”

The EMT’s arrive and attend to Dexter who is laying on his back. BOOM! With one quick, cat-like action, he strikes both EMT’s in the neck with his patented animal tranquilizer and we realize that this was all just part of the perfect setup to lure his victims. Wow, brilliant. We soon find out they’ve been a part of a ring that was harvesting human organs, killing their patients on purpose so they could do so. Dexter promptly puts them in the ambulance before electrocuting both of them with a defibrillator simultaneously. Dexter narrates and gloats that things have been great for him lately, a hint that things are moving forward for our dark hero and although we all loved Rita and the kids, solo Dexter is just much more fun to watch. No strings, just Dexter taming that dark passenger. And just like that, the show lifts off and it feels like classic Dexter again.

From there, the show hits many high notes and highlights – not all of which I’m going to list here. i rec

The whole theme of the episode is based around new and change and moving forward. We see Dexter has extended his apartment by buying the apartment next door and he has a new nanny, Angel’s sister who is way too observant of Dexter’s movements which I’m guessing the writers will do something with later on. Immediately as she was introduced, I did the, “Oh come on man.” Although she is quite attractive, you gotta think they’ll also do something with that later on.

As the show progresses, Dexter faces the religion theme. As Harrison is attending preschool, Angel has recommended a Catholic preschool, one that is ‘a breeding ground for Ivy league schools.’ Dexter has the question put to him upon the visit to the preschool with Deb, “What religion are you?” As we know, Dexter hasn’t had much experience in theology and lives by his own rules, not someone else’s. He admits to both the head nun that he doesn’t believe in anything except a “set of rules” to which Deb tells him that it’s like a puppy following rules and is “cold and empty.” She tells Dexter to think about this, as it’s not just about him anymore. Deb’s wisdom send Dexter into some deep thinking.

Meanwhile, Dexter is also getting ready to attend his 20 year high school reunion. A stroke of genius by the writers as Dexter is already an alien to society but now, he has to attend the most awkward of social gatherings. Dexter is thrown into the deep end, figuring he’d fly under the radar, swoop in and grab the kill as his targeted victim just happens to be a former classmate Joe – the high school jock; the main reason of course why he’s even bothering to attend the reunion in the first place.

However in a twist of events, he ends up being the opposite of what he was in high school.. popular. How? First off he’s suffered a tragedy which has everyone giving them their condolences and feeling sorry for him; secondly, he looks better than he was before and thirdly, he’s got a cool job that puts him in the paper from time to time.

The reunion is one of the highlights of the show for me. The setting and the creative ways that the writers used to create the environment for Dexter to operate is pretty impressive. It’s the awkward moments and humour that make it gold to watch. You’re right there with him as he awkwardly tries to get out of conversations with former cheerleaders and classmates, trying to get closer to his target. The look on Dexter’s face as he moves around the room,  before finally sending himself to a timeout in the bathroom where Harry gives him a pep talk and tells him to just have fun, to which Dexter does much to our amusement. He loosens up & pure entertainment follows. He gets dragged onto the dance floor, busting moves to MC Hammer much to my amusement. I could not wipe the smile off my face, as I looked on in wonder and happiness at what was happening.  A classic line that will be quoted for years to come, Dexter says about MC Hammer, “I have no idea what Hammer Time is or how it differs from regular time.”

From there the show cuts to a dark swamp where it’s not all what it seems. 2 men, paddle in a boat (because let’s be real, what else are paddles used for?) at night, looking for a pregnant snake. Eerie enough as all that sounds, the camera then zooms into the snakes belly where you can see the baby snakes move inside the pregnant snake. You know that’s probably never good in Dexter. One of those guys, Tom Hanks’ son Colin, is assumed to be the apprentice of the master. As daylight comes around, they head to a roadside fruit stall, whereby Hanks’ character proceeds to take a large machete and give him the business. Soon after, the police department turn up to the fruit stall, where a large amount of human intestines are found sitting in a scale, with no trace of the body but with a blood trail that leads to nowhere.

Not long after, a body is washed up and found on the beach. Sure enough, it’s our fruit Joe, as the police find out when they check out his ID. They check his chest & sure enough, 2 from 2.. his intestines appear to have been removed, as he’s been cut open and sewn back up. However, the stitching is in the shape of Alpha and Omega, some weird religious cult – again, tying in with the religion theme that season 6 looks to heading for.  As the team inspect the torso, they notice something moving inside, under the skin of the deceased. Promptly, they cut open the stitching, only to find snakes crawling out of the opening. Deb freaks out and takes a step back, Dexter jumps in and the look on his face says it all – he is astonished at the craftsmanship and uniqueness of the crime. The contrast is humorous, as everyone around him (including Vince’s intern who faints) is horrified.. but not Dexter.

Next we see Dexter back at the office, studying up online, terminology of football and football plays.. trying to get the X’s & O’s of football down before the flag football game he signed up for – all so he could get a blood sample to match Joe to the crime; a positive match needed, just to be sure. We then see Dexter take part in the reunion flag football game, with Dexter not exactly knowing which way to move (& getting owned, to my surprise) but more so just wingin’ it and following the QB around. I was laughing, until the defensive lineman came on through and knocked Dexter down. He loses his needle that he was planning on using to get a sample of the Joe’s blood, so Dex calls in some coaching advice from Harry. Harry tells him that as an offensive lineman, his job is to protect the quarterback and in the process, to “accidentally” elbow him. Dexter does just that, allowing the defensive lineman to push him back enough where Dexter pulls back his arm and WHACK, smacks the QB in the nose and drawing blood. Dexter grabs his wristband and tries to be the on-field medic, discreetly obtaining a blood sample to which he does match to the suspect back at the department HQ. Joe angrily asks Dexter, “Who taught you how to play football?” & Dexter responds “My Dad.” I smiled and remembered just why I fell in love with this show.

As Dexter roams the hallways of his former school ready for the night to “the night”, he runs into the former Prom Queen, Trish. She tells him what the go is straight up and pushes him into the science lab where she proceeds to strip and give him some action. Instead of awkwardly trying to excuse himself, Dexter loosens up and just enjoys it to the point where he lets out some loud moaning, almost a primal release. As soon as the deed is done, Trisha thanks him and Dexter pockets her phone, hoping to lure Joe to the football shed with a single text message. Joe takes the bait, where Dexter is lurking the shadows ready to tranquilize him. Before Joe can figure out what’s going on, despite a fight – like many others before him, he ends up wrapped up, on a scoreboard (an awesome touch by the writers) and under Dexter’s final interrogation. During the questioning, Dexter sees Joe’s cross on his neck and a tattoo on his upper chest of Jesus, to which Dexter starts asking questions about faith and trying to understand, just how Joe could justify murdering his wife. He asks about forgiveness and repentance & for a moment, it feels like Dexter might let him go, as Joe pleads Dexter to do so. But what kind of start to a season would that be? Dexter going soft.. awful. But he doesn’t, and that made me happy. Before Joe can say anymore, Dexter smashes him with a hammer and finishes him off with a knife before dumping his body into the ocean as usual. Dexter gets his man, and we get Dexter back for another season.

There are a lot of high expectations for season 6 and a lot of questions to be answered going forward. A lot I left out, eg. Deb and Quinn (a minor storyline in the season opener) but no doubt, in the next few episodes, the structure will be built for what I’m hoping, will be on the best seasons to date, since season 4 with Trinity. Will Dexter meet a girl or fly solo? Will someone find out his secret again? Will Deb find out his secret, this season? What will this new serial killer (Hanks) be like & where will Mos Def fit in? And this religion thing.. will Dexter be a believer, or will he just be more open to other ideas and possibilities for his son?

One thing about Dexter is for sure & that is that it’s great to have Michael C. Hall and the crew back on the box, doing what they do best. As a fan, all that matters at the end of the day is having him back, making me smile as he smiles along with us.