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'Dexter' Season 8 premiere recap, 'A Beautiful Day'

By Cassandra Berube

10:28 AM EDT, July 1, 2013

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The premiere of the final season of "Dexter" starts off with a beautiful scene of Dexter flying a kite with his son, Harrison. And it’s all downhill from there.

Although Dexter’s life seems to have improved since LaGuerta’s death, there are several indications that this is untrue. He glances forlornly at the orchid his former lover, Hannah McKay, left him before she disappeared. Dexter increasingly has outbursts of anger, even going so far as to choke a man for simply cutting him off on the road.

Dexter’s relationship with Deb has also deteriorated. They haven’t spoken in a month. Our first glimpse of her is as she snorts cocaine before hooking up with a guy who’s clearly up to no good.

The good news? Harrison is finally speaking! And he’s just as adorable as before.  

But it seems that Deb and Dexter’s separation has run its course because Dexter begins to dig into her disappearance, more and more worried as he finds both recreational and prescription drugs throughout her apartment.

I would be worried too if my sister started mixing drugs. But I would have been more worried if she killed a woman. Sometimes, you just have to be normal to get things. Like why murder in cold blood might bother someone. But Dexter doesn’t give up.

He goes to her work, a private investigation agency, only to find out that she’s been taking cases scooping up people who skipped bail, the real down and dirty work. But then again, Deb always did like things a little outside normal (she was in love with her brother last season).

But Dexter can’t play hooky all day as murder and mayhem never take a day off. He rushes off to a crime scene and takes a new case where the victim is missing part of his brain.

“People are crazy,” Dexter said. Is he speaking of himself? Of Deb? Or the serial killer? Or maybe it’s everyone else for thinking that normal was possible to achieve.

Angel has taken Deb’s position as lieutenant, driven by LaGuerta’s death to chase bad guys.

But Dexter works diligently tracking down Debra in his free time (apparently his Dark Passenger is finally taking a back seat to his love for Deb), following the case she was supposed to have taken. Surprise – the bail jumper is her new up-to-no-good boy toy.

Dexter attempts to butt in but things get ugly quick. Her adoration for Dexter has shifted into hatred, making her regret her decision to shoot LaGuerta.

The show finally cuts us a break, relieving the dizzying tension with a scene with Quinn and Angel’s little sister, Jamie. Things have clearly progressed as they’re both more than half-naked, but clearly not to the point where they’ve told anyone, as Quinn has to sneak out the back when Angel comes home. 

Dr. Evelyn Vogel, a neuro-psychiatrist, appears at the police station the next day to assist on the new homicide (Dexter’s actual case though he doesn’t spend much time on it). As she talks about psychopaths, she has a weird moment with Dexter. Can she spot him as the psychopath he is? Or is she speaking about herself? It’d be quite ironic if the neuro-psychiatrist was the killer dissecting brains.

Dr. Vogel asks to see Dexter in the morgue. Overly interested in our normal blood analyst, Vogel questions Dexter about the Bay Harbor Butcher, that is, Doakes. She points out the interesting contradictions, questioning the accepted version of Doakes as psychopath.

Captain Matthews has taken LaGuerta’s job. Not really sure why Dexter had to pop into his office to chat about Dr. Vogel. Dexter seemed way too uncomfortable and Matthews seemed way too comfortable. No one has explicitly stated how Dexter covered up LaGuerta’s murder, though it is implied to have something to do with Hector Estrada, the man who killed Dexter’s mother. My secret hope is that some sort of karmic evil befalls Matthews – he doubted LaGuerta, even though we were all rooting against her, and it got her killed.

Back on Deb’s trail, Dexter figures out that she’s in danger. Long story short – her bad new boyfriend is wanted by someone even worse – El Sapo, a hit man for the mob.

A moment’s time is given to show Harrison accidentally break the vase that was LaGuerta’s, and Dexter’s anger escalates as he yells at poor Harrison. What happened to the earlier peace between them? Where is Dexter’s cool and collected Dark Passenger? Where is the controlled actions that have led him to his point? His rage seems out of place – could Dexter be reverting back into a human, regaining his empathy?

With Harrison in tow, Dexter takes off after Deb to warn her of El Sapo.

Deb ignores the warning. She hates herself for the dark path she let herself amble down last season and is dwelling in her misery. She claims that she doesn’t need him and that his dependence on her was the problem.

The savior attempt goes awry when the bad boy toy walks in on the argument and Dexter kills him. Deb freaks and forces Dexter to leave. He comes back to an empty car, searchingly wildly until he finds his son, picking him up with his bloody hands. While this echoes back to when Rita was killed and Harrison sat in her blood, it also hints at foreshadowing of a further loss of innocence. Although, it’s hard to lose innocence if you didn’t begin with any. Maybe we’ll finally find out if psychopaths can be born and Harrison’s fate has already been sealed as dark and dangerous.

Rejection isn’t something Dexter’s used to since most of his relationships end with murder. But, sadly, it certainly is part of being a normal human.

As Deb pulls out of the hotel lot though, El Sapo now sets his eyes on her. Trouble is afoot (insert thriller music here).

But as Dexter is struggling to figure out just where that leaves him, he runs into Dr. Vogel. She hands him a packet of papers, art that looks like it was drawn by a child. It clearly paints a picture of Dexter as a serial killer. Dexter confronts the good doctor, but she’s starting to seem not so good after all. She walks away without fear, claiming she doesn’t fit Henry’s Code. It’s clear she knows way too much about Dexter. But is she an ally or foe? Prey or fellow predator? Only time will tell.