Dexter – Season 8, Episode 1 “A Beautiful Day” Review

Rating: 8.2

It’s finally arrived- the final season of Dexter. Much to my dismay, “A Beautiful Day” begins six months after the events of last season, where Deb shot, and apparently killed, her superior and friend Maria LaGuerta (who had been suspicious of Dexter and was trying to prove that he was actually the Bay Harbor Butcher, rather than Doakes). I really wish I could have seen the aftermath of LaGuerta’s death and everyone’s immediate reactions to it, but unfortunately the writers made this interesting choice to have a time jump.

Regardless of the time jump, we get the gist of what happened during those six months- everyone was sad and mourned LaGuerta’s death, Deb transferred away from Miami Metro and has not been keeping in touch with Dexter very much, Batista, inspired by her death, came out of retirement, and Dexter just continued living his life. Dexter’s life is the only one that improved after the murder of LaGuerta. He is now a lot happier and less stressed (who could blame him?), he is excelling at work, he’s hooking up with people, he’s killing regularly, he’s bowling again (random, but okay) and he’s even coaching Harrison in soccer. How adorable. Speaking of the little rug rat, the show changed actors for Harrison, so now he actually has lines and does things. Nothing major, obviously, but now he is like a fully functioning small child.

In great contrast to Dexter’s, Deb’s life is a wreck. She’s avoiding Dexter (and even her superior at work), she’s drinking and doing like five different types of drugs, and she’s made the perp she’s supposed to be snatching (Briggs, a wanted thief) her boyfriend. Her life is in shambles and it’s because, as she tells Dexter when he checks in on her, “You made me compromise everything about myself that I care about and I hate you for it.” She then boldly tells him that she shot the wrong person in that trailer. Yikes, that’s harsh Deb. Though Deb urges Dexter to stay out of her life, he can’t help but interfere and ends up stabbing and therefore killing Briggs, Deb’s new boyfriend who wasn’t actually that bad of a guy (at least to her), after Dexter finds out that the guy Briggs is planning to sell his stolen goods to is a hitman and Deb is in danger, yet refuses to go with Dexter. Deb calls in the murder like we would expect of her and Dexter flees. Once again, Deb enables Dexter and can’t rid of him from her life completely. Jennifer Carpenter gave the best performance in the episode because we really see how broken Deb is inside, and her constant struggle between protecting her brother and doing what is right.

Meanwhile in Miami, Quinn and Jamie (Angel’s sister and Dexter’s babysitter for Harrison) are hooking up, there is a new case where a man is found dead with part of his brain melon-balled out (gross…) and there is a new person helping out at the station. This person is Evelyn Vogel, a neuroscientist and the “psychopath whisperer” who is an expert on all things serial killer. She has an uncomfortable conversation with Dexter where she subtly alludes to the fact that she believes Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher. At the end of the episode, as Dexter sits on LaGuerta’s memorial bench, she hands him an envelope of disturbing drawings… done by a young Dexter. Dexter runs after Vogel and pins her to the side of a building and she calmly says, “You can’t kill me because I don’t fit Harry’s code.” What. The. Fuck. Friend or foe, I’m not sure what to make of Vogel, but I think this episode set up a lot of great storylines: the Dexter/Vogel relationship, the Deb/Dexter relationship, the murder case of the brain scooper, figuring out why the hell El Sapo is relevant and why they showed a shot of him watching Deb leave the crime scene of Brigg’s murder, et cetera. Right now, in regards to Vogel, I’m thinking that maybe Harry confided in her about Dexter’s ways and his drawings as a child and she may have helped him out by giving advice and forming the code. Maybe?

And my early shot-in-the-dark prediction is that Vogel is the melon-balling creepy serial killer.

Dexter airs Sundays on Showtime, and I suggest you all watch. I think great things are going to happen in this final season. “A Beautiful Day” was a solid start to the season.

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  1. Your comment \”…so now he actually has lines and does things. Nothing major, obviously, but now he is like a fully functioning small child.\” Can. Not. Stop. Laughing. Well done!

  2. Excellent review. I am on a podcast, The Dexter Cast, that is normally a rewatch podcast, but that is also doing season 8 episodes while it airing, so we just reviewed this one as well. My guess for next episode was that El Sapo, who was watching Deb from his car, thinks that she is trying to steal the jewels and will go after her, and Dexter will intervene to stop him, which will start (but only start) to improve the relationship between them. I hadn’t considered that Vogel might be the “brain surgeon”, interesting.

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