Dexter Recap – Season 8, Ep. 1: “A Beautiful Day”

by Sophia Madana


America’s favorite serial killer returns in the final season of “Dexter,” and it seems as though he and Deb have gone off the rails in their own way. We haven’t seen Dex this distraught since he found Harrison in the symbolic pool of blood after the Trinity Killer had his way with Rita. Now, with Hannah’s last flower hitting the ground and Deb nowhere to be found in the first 15 minutes of the episode, Harrison is the only thing that keeps him anchored, though–as we learn later–even his own son can’t get him to stay focused.

The beginning of the episode puts us at LaGuerta’s memorial service and we see that Batista has abandoned his restaurant endeavor to go back to lieutenant duties in Deb’s absence because she has moved on to the private sector (they have services like this? Who knew?).

Though he explains to us that his life is in order (getting the bowling team back together, coaching Harrison’s soccer team, meeting new “friends,” etc.), Dexter is beside himself trying to find Deb’s whereabouts, not quite realizing that she has no desire to be found.

We are introduced to new, scary Deb by watching her doing lines of cocaine in a seedy hotel room with none other than Billy Walsh from Entourage aka Rhys Coiro. It’s clear to us why she’s so strung out as he states the double entendre, “It’s funny how something so simple as you opening the door at the exact, right moment can change everything.”

Don’t we know it.

Dexter finds his sister in a convenient store in Fort Lauterdale begging him to leave, when she finally flat-out tells him that she hates him for all the terrible decisions she’s made ever since she discovered who he really was. Quinn, of all people, is the only link he has to Deb at this point, who we all know cannot be trusted as a reliable source, but hopefully this will create a unique bond between the two characters that I’d like to see play out in the final season.

The prior season finale leaves us assuming Jaime and Quinn would be getting it on, and our assumptions prove to be correct. It’s more than safe to say that Quinn is a complete idiot if he thinks a) Batista isn’t going to find out about him fucking his baby sister and b) Batista isn’t going to punch him in the throat when he does inevitably discover what’s going on with them. Also, doesn’t Jaime feel a little grossed out that the guy she’s screwing is his boss’s sister’s ex-almost-fiancé? Yeah. Wrap your head around that one.

Back at work, Matthews is once again on board as captain of Miami Metro and his apparently good friend Evelyn Vogel is going to help him crack this cranium murderer case (can’t wait to hear what nickname they come up with for this guy/girl(?)). She takes particular interest in Dexter and asks him about the Bay Harbor Butcher and his “moral guidelines.” I don’t know about you, but I always get terribly annoyed when someone is on to Dexter’s murdery ways. It gives me particularly tense emotions, specifically in this situation because right off the bat we realize Dexter is not himself without his anchor, Debra, to put him in place.

Dexter mentions a couple times in this episode that he knows he is not a better man than he could be. He knows a better man would just let Deb be, but he can’t shake the feeling that he needs to come to her rescue when he finds out that Andrew Briggs (Rhys) is about to deal with a hit man. When he shows up at her hotel room and tries to convince Deb to come home with him, I’m actually surprised that his whole, think-on-my-feet-in-dire-situations skill doesn’t kick in as he resorts to stabbing Briggs in the stomach, and let’s Deb see him as nothing but a killer. I’m assuming that was counter-productive in making the argument that she would be safer with him instead of the shady, jewelry-stealing guy he just murdered in front of her.

Debra admittedly puts herself in her own personal hell because that’s her way of coping with shooting LaGuerta, and she claims to hate Dex for everything he’s put her through, but the fact that she calls in the stabbing and tells him to run leaves us to believe that there is still a glimmer of adoring emotion for her adopted brother/person she was subconsciously in love with for all the seven seasons we’ve followed this story.

One of my favorite moments in this episode was when Deb says that all this time she thought she needed Dexter to protect her (which she kind of did… does she not recall the Ice Truck Killer or that crazy dude at the beginning of last season with the bull horns who made the maze in that abandoned house and chased her through it?), but it was the other way around, and that he really needed her for survival. Without Deb, Harry’s code is all out of whack–Dexter nearly kills some guy who cuts him off in traffic–and even though in the beginning of the season premiere he says that LaGuerta’s death solved all his problems, it created the worst problem of all: ruining Deb’s life and her perspective of him as her go-to guy. It clearly throws him enough off his rocker to bring Harrison on a “road trip” and get Brigg’s blood all over his son’s white stuffed animal dog. Surely this alludes to some sort of tainting the innocent, Jesus-y reference that I’m too lazy to iron out for the time being.

I wasn’t expecting much for the ending to this first episode as they’re still laying out the plotlines for the season, but when Evelyn hands Dexter his drawings from when he was a child I started panicking. Really? Already? This stuff usually happens somewhere in the middle of the season, certainly not right at the beginning. Luckily those who caught the preview for the next episode soon realize that she is on “Team Dexter” and the more who are on our side at the culmination of this series, the merrier.

Random associated thoughts:
I’m really bummed they killed off Rhys. I always enjoy his cameos. Aspiring actors should find out who his agent is because he shows up in some high-profile shit.

I’m wondering what the deal is with El Sapo since he stuck around the crime scene. Did he see the killing go down? Shouldn’t he just take the credit for the work that Dexter did and be done with it? What does he want with Deb?

If Jennifer Carpenter doesn’t get an Emmy for this season, I’ll flip a table. She’s fucking amazing and needs to be recognized for this role.

Is it just me or did Harrison hit a crazy growth spurt in six months? I wonder if they made him grow up a little more to add to the story line.

Will we see Hannah McKay again? It would be interesting to get her woven back into the plot.

Great moment—when Dex tries to figure out Deb’s password to her bank account and types in “fuckingpassword,” because, of course.

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