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.


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+.


Gotta wonder what's going on with Louis, is he going to become a much bigger character? How much does he already know about Dexter? Given his computer skills and overall creapiness/obcession with Dexter, he seems like a guy who could cause some serious problems.


felt very much like the 1st couple seasons of Dexter. loved the
flashbacks,no overly stupid Quinn & Batista! very satisfied with how
it started,just hope they keep it it up!! i also loved how
they got rid of Mike quick b/c we knew he was gonna die 2 be on "Sons"
& how they didn't drag out Deb finding out all of it for 6 or 7
episodes. very well done!!!

C f ohara

@joseph...great line here:
"I'm really looking forward to seeing the new dynamic develop from this point and how the Dark Passenger can continue on when he's now in the spotlight."
Well put my man.
So what was the deal with the bracelet Viktor the Ukranian took off the dead stripper and put on his own arm? They made a point of showing it again when Dexter was getting rid of his body. Dexter using the surf board bag in lieu of his usual glad bag method might come back to wipe him out I think. There definitelyt is some significance to that piece of jewelry.

C f ohara

@miranderwicker, I thought the same exact thing about the airport and Matt you toally nailed the episode when you noted how tension filled it was. I think for me the hardest thing to get over was that I have become so accustomed to Dexter's, Stab Rinse Repeat, that to see him make so many mistakes was unnerving. The blood slide, that is his treasure, his trophy. The thing serial killers covet. How does he forget about it. The plastic in the toe. How does he miss that let alone how it even made it through the fire. All these things tied in with Miranda's comment about the airport cameras left me a little frustrated but the confession scene more than made up for it. I was like "this has to be a dream," it was so unreal.


It was a good opening for season7. It was about time to show Dexter side that we grown to love all these years. I just hope that Deb don't give him up or turn him into the police until she understands what he's all about. He can do both and can be a father at the same time. I love how they brought him back as a tracker and how he's ready for any situation. love it and plan on watching more of Dexter.


No way Laguerta keeps the blood slide secret, as much of a ladder climber as she is she never ever believed Doakes was the BHB. Now that she has that slide she's not going to let it go until she clears his name. I loved the episode but it drove me nuts how long it took for the BHB to come up. And Deb never brought it up at all. Didn't they find the knives when they were investigating BHB? And Deb saw Dexter's whole set in the church, the same one. Also, agree with all the questions about the airport kill. Diabetics don't use needles that huge and I think he would have to show a script anyway. Definitely cameras all over the place, too.
One last thing, what is the deal with Masuka's assistant? And what was the point of canceling Dex's cc's?


After 60 perfect episodes.....last season was a BOMB.....and already , i am very annoyed with Deb et al.....going after Dexter...... Where is Lithgoe when we need him !!!!!!


I think the reason for the airport kill was to set up the opening scene of tricking the audience into thinking Dexter was running from the law. He was driving in a hurry, his credit cards got declined, and it looked like he was fleeing the country. It added another layer of suspense and mystery at the start of the episode.


I agree with Miranda. The airport kill silly; I agree, no cameras??! Or are there and we find out about it later?? Perhaps sloppy. Otherwise, absolutely terrific.


When Laguerta asked Masuka who takes blood slides he said the only person who did was Sergeant Doakes, who was convicted as the Bay Harbor butcher and is now dead. That case was done and dusted with a huge serial killer put away. Not to mention the serial killer happened to be a cop. All this happened under Laguerta's run as Lieutenant. If we know anything about Laguerta she is nothing if not an ambitious career climber and the last thing she wants is to dredge up the possibility that not only may they have not caught the Bay Harbor Butcher but they may have falsely blamed a cop. I have a feeling she'll look into those slides discreetly on her own and/or make them disappear all together.

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