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Dexter

Dexter Review: Are You a Serial Killer?

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Let's face it: over the last couple seasons, Dexter had grown stale. Each set of episodes followed a basic pattern:

Dexter would question his capacity for humanity, his ability to permanently shut the door on his Dark Passenger, only to realize this could never come to fruition. He'd conclude the season by accepting the monster inside of him and putting the latest Big Bad on a table.

Rinse, stab, repeat.

Dexter Season 7 PRemiere Photo

But the Dexter Season 7 premiere offered up a fresh, fascinating twist on this cycle: What if Dexter is the Big Bad?

Season 6 was atrocious. The Doomsday Killer was more comical than dastardly, with the supposed twist of Travis hallucinating his mentor more transparent than Miami Beach water on a hot summer day. It concluded on an even more contrived, ridiculous premise: Deb somehow falling in love with her brother.

But that final scene provided promise, and it would be nearly impossible for any long-time fan to avoid tuning in for the this episode in order to see how the show would depict the only real card remaining its deck: The truth. Revealed. To Deb.

After one utterly gripping hour, the answer is an emphatic: very, very, very well indeed.

From the opening confrontation to the shocking final few seconds, I may have taken two breaths. This was pure tension from beginning to end. Dexter is at its best NOT when the main character is questioning who he is... but scrambling because of who he is.

We've seen it in the past - from Doakes to Trinity - the series makes for suspenseful television when Dexter must work to stay one step ahead of whoever is closing in on his secret. But the stakes are raised infinitely higher now: that someone is Deb, and she isn't closing in. She's already figured it out.

Deb knows Dexter is a serial killer. And I legitimately have no clue what will happen next.

Yes, there were some holes in the details: I don't know why Deb would call Dexter's apartment line instead of the cell phone we've seen her dial a million times before; it seemed WAY too easy for Dexter to drug that Ukrainian mobster in the middle of an airport; and why would LaGuerta be secretive about the slide instead of simply ordering Masuka to run it?

But those are quibbles when compared to the big picture. Michael C. Hall was his usual brilliant self on the premiere, oscillating from an angry Dexter to a scared Dexter to an emotionless Dexter so well that it was difficult to tell when he was acting and when he was acting as DEXTER acting.

And Jennifer Carpenter was equally mesmerizing. The callbacks to her time on Brian's table and even the flashbacks to the siblings as children were both executed perfectly, adding to the story instead of distracting from it.

Just a terrific premiere all around, enough to help me forget all about Professor Gellar and Deb's psychologist-based epiphanies of love and even those six seconds when Batista and LaGuerta were married. The following bears repeating because it changes everything we know about Dexter, mixing up its formula and setting the stage for an epic run of episodes...

Deb knows Dexter is a serial killer. And I legitimately have no clue what will happen next.

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (167 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Yeah, sometimes characters on Dexter are gotten rid of too soon,and some of them stick around too long. (Quinn/LaGuerta/Harrison/Jamie) Brother Sam needed to stay on longer in the sixth season, Mike Anderson should have stayed longer, Louis should've had more to do before he was offed. I will forever love how Doakes was a regular and was shockingly offed. It was a master stroke. Oh, well. Harry scared me twice in 'Chemistry', I was not expecting him to be standing just above Dex in two scenes...creepy!

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I'm not sure about the slides, was there an actual instance where the slides were connected to Doakes? I don't remember an exact moment where any slides were discovered during that era and connected to him. Does anyone know off hand?

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....btw, i apologize for my posts below not only being long,but containing SHOCKING grammer!

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ofCOURSE some episodes are gonna feel they like they drag, the writers can't be orson wells every week! but for the most part the seasons on the whole have been great and -for me atleat- unpredctable! lithgow was brilliant, as was the storyline about his son 'taking on his mantle'-hisfacial expression! jimmy smits is great in everything, and now we have the best setup for a new season, especially one at least 5 (7) seasons in,i've ever seen. i think people need to makeup their own mind about things instead of following all the critics- ''that was obvious, saw that coming 2 minutes in'' - and judge it for themselves. i cant have been the only one dumbstruck when dex opened the freezer and we saw prof. gellar in there!?? we all agree is a great show. you cant say that if you only liked 2 of the 6 seasons!?
... btw, my opinion is the first season with it being his brother is the best yet, but this one has massive potential to outdo. lets hope it continues! my rant over.. :p

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this is about the 8th review of the 'are you..' episode i've read because it was so good i wanted to hear the feedback - which has been great! BUT, for the first time i HAD to post a comment on this.
i love this show; sons of anarchy, ncis, the wire etc are amazing, but i love the twists in this. from season 1 killer turning out to be dexter's brother to deb finding him in the church.. literally paused and rewound those scenes to take it allin. but i disagree MASSIVELY about the criticism of the last season.hope its not just me but i had NO idea the old guy, hank's mentor, was already dead! maybe its me but this was a massive twist, and is one of, if not thee, biggest reason i love this show. you see and think the left is coming for you, and you get hit with a right instead! awesome shocks, e.g doakes actually getting killed off in that way (when i was sure dex wouldn't kill him-i no HE didnt, but symantics!) ofCOURSE some episodes are gonna feel they like they drag, the writers can't be orson wells every week! but for the most part the seasons on the whole have been great and -for me atleat- unpredctable! lithgow was brilliant, as was the storyline about his son 'taking on his mantle'-hisfacial expression! jimmy smits is great in everything, and now we have the best setup for a new season, especially one at least 5 (7) seasons in,i've ever seen. i think people need to makeup their own mind about things instead of following all the critics- ''that was obvious, saw that coming 2 minutes in'' - and judge it for themselves. i cant have been the only one dumbstruck when dex opened the freezer and we saw prof. gellar in there!?? we all agree is a great show. you cant say that if you only liked 2 of the 6 seasons!?
... btw, my opinion is the first season with it being his brother is the best yet, but this one has massive potential to outdo. lets hope it continues! my rant over.. :p

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It is amazing to hear all the so-called fans rip the show (years past and now this episode). Go away Boyd crowder - not wanted. This was an amazing opener. His acting in the last 12 seconds alone should win an Emmy!! (great call Miranda)

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The fact that Deb called Dexter's land line instead of his cell wasn't a plot hole at all. She called it to see if Dexter was home. Had she called his cell, he could have easily picked up and lied about his location.

Strawberry-fields

Hell, yes. This is the show I love more than anything else in the world. I agree with a lot of people here that the airport kill was way too easy, but other than that - the premiere was awesome. Michael C. Hall is so amazing, he makes my heart go insane every time I see him. It's scary how many things we have set up this season. We have that Russian mob thing, whatever the hell that is about, we have Louis the Creep, whatever the hell he wants, we have BHB case coming back, because the freaking slide had to be found by the only person who never believed Doakes was guilty... and on top of all that we have Deb... Wow, Dex has a lot to deal with this season. The last scene is my new favourite scene. @Miranda, I totally agree with you - there definitely was a sign of relief on Dexter's face. Finally came the moment, when he did what he wanted to do as a kid. To tell Deb the truth.

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