And in many ways a lot has changed at Miami Metro (Batisa has un-retired and taken over as Lieutenant) and around the station (Quinn is bedding Jamie), with characters forging ahead and moving on (and winning adorable soccer championships!) in the wake of LaGuerta's death.
Except Deb, that is. In a major, significant, shocking, coke-snorting way... except Deb.
Kudos to both the writers and Jennifer Carpenter for taking the character down such a disturbing path. It was an eerie pleasure to watch such a twitchy, energetic, drugged up Deb in her new life, undercover and out of control.
It brings gravitas to a series that was once a dark comedy but is clearly now headed down a merely dark path, with Deb unable to recover from her actions inside that trailer and Dexter realizing more and more than he has no idea who he is without his sister as a support system. Correction, actually:
Dexter does know who he is without Deb. But it's a picture he does not want painted, one of a serial killer who has no remorse and - as the fascinating new character of Dr. Evelyn Vogel outlined - no empathy. LaGuerta did not deserve to die, she did not fit Harry's Code... but Dexter doesn't care one bit. She was a problem that's now been solved and he's had no trouble forgetting she ever existed.
So he's the opposite of Deb in that regard, someone whose emotions have always spilled over into her love life and her personal life; who care barely order coffee without cursing out the barista or capture a perp without, well, cursing out in joy.
And Dexter has always found safe haven in this connection. If he's at least loved by Deb, if he can at least be there for his sister, he can't be all that bad... right? Wrong, he's starting to wonder.
The tear and rage-filled exchange between Dexter and Deb while both squatted over Briggs' corpse was perfect in how it summed up this evolved (devolved?) relationship. Deb doesn't see herself as lost. She's perfectly in tune with her deeds and the punishment she sees as fit for them. But Dexter? Who is Dexter Morgan? Can he actually be a responsible father and a successful murderer? Where does he turn for any semblance of comfort if the one person who always viewed him as her savior now sees him as the complete opposite?
I shot the wrong person in that trailer. I mean... ouch.
And while Deb was stuck in the past, the premiere did an excellent job of setting up the future. We have a new murderer on the loose and new psychologist in the building.
What the heck is the deal with Vogel?!? It's clear she has more than just a passing interest in Dexter and, based on her age and experience working with the police force, we can assume she knew Harry. But how intimately is the question? And how does she know about The Code? Might she have assisted Harry with it? It's not a stretch to think someone in her position, with her knowledge base, would come in handy when molding a psychopath into a productive member of society.
So I'm fully on board. I despised Dexter Season 6. I was blown away by the recovery of Dexter Season 7 and I'm impressed with one hour so far of Dexter Season 8.
Despite Batista dismissing the notion of a bench as a tribute, the series is taking LaGuerta's death very seriously. It's using that event as a jumping off point for its final run of episodes, tearing Deb and Dexter apart - to bring them back together later? To prove that Dexter cannot continue with his charade of a life and force him to make a decision one way or the other? Between his life as a family man and his long-time Dark Passenger?
I have no idea. But with the mystery of Vogel looming large and an in-depth examination of Dexter's way of life on tap this season, I'm excited to find out.
What did everyone else think? Grade the Dexter Season 8 premiere now: