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Review: Dexter shows us that the more things change, the more they stay the same

Dexter Season 7, Episode 1 “Are You…?”

The last few seasons of Dexter have been rather mediocre. What once was an engaging, captivating show tumbled after the fantastic fourth season with guest star John Lithgow. Season five with Lumen was a slip; season six with Colin Hanks was terrible and obvious in its “twist.” Also, shame on the producers of this series for going with the whole “Deb LOVES Dexter” storyline – a ludicrous storyline plunge that felt like a desperate attempt to throw something at the wall, no matter how idiotic.

Nevertheless, Showtime’s marketing has drawn me back in for this season. The trailers leading up to the season premiere showed a frantic, hectic Dexter we had not seen before. Things seemed to be closing in on him and it seems like there is no happy ending in store for Mr. Morgan, which is how the show should end – I mean, the guy is a freaking serial killer!

I went into last night with high hopes that, with the decision for this to be the penultimate season and with Deb finally seeing what Dexter really was, that last night would be the start of something great.

Would it?

SPOILERS from here on.

The continuation of last season’s ending with Travis on Dexter’s table felt really, really poorly acted to me. I have never found Jennifer Carpenter to be anything special as an actress, but that felt like low-hanging fruit that she should have been able to snatch.  The dialog between her and Dexter there felt really, really hollow. Dexter easily guides her towards his desired result – no police called and they agree to burn down the church and frame Travis’ death as suicide. Dexter carelessly drops one of his “trophy” slides, which Captain Maria LaGuerta magically notices, as none of the debris from the fire covers the grate in the floor.

Which leads to one of my biggest criticisms of this show in the last few years – it does not flow. Instead, we go from plot point to plot point, without any gestation. Instead its plot point, plot point, foreshadowing, plot point, etc. This episode had that in spades. When Mike Anderson gets out of the car to help the guy, did anyone not think he was going to be murdered? Of course not, because why would the show be showing us that. That bit of business felt entirely like a diversion to get Deb’s head off focusing on Dexter 24/7.

Now, what followed really left a bad taste in my mouth. Ryan Chambers is apparently snooping on Dexter’s computer, during which he gets all of his credit card information, for the purpose of shutting them down. Apparently. Dexter comes home and sees this. Ryan tells Dexter that he was checking basketball scores and he is sorry (although later the heavy-handedness of the show tells us that he sure as hell is not sorry and that he is going to be a thorn in Dexter’s side). Now, the serial killer who apparently does not password protect any of his computers does not check his internet history to see what the guy was really looking at? Horse shit. That does not fit his profile at all to me.

Fast forward past the dead Ukrainian stripper stuff (hello Ray Stevenson!) and to Dexter’s kill. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Maybe that is the point – that Dexter is losing it, but if your sister – a police detective – was freaked out by catching you murder someone, would you then go to an airport (thank God there are not any video cameras at them), drug the killer, take him to an empty baggage area and do your entire ritual? Dexter finishes him, in a nastier manner than usual, and takes him on his boat. During which Deb calls his house and finds out that he lies about working late a lot. They work in the same freaking office! How would she not know that he is not working when he tells (in past seasons) Rita or Jamie the babysitter that he has to work late into the night? Another poor writing choice – they have made the story fit where they need the plot to go, no matter if it feels natural or not.

And of course Deb’s reaction is to come to Dexter’s apartment, smash the place, find all his murder tools and slides, and get a full confession. I just…I mean…wow.

Dexter really should not air before Homeland, because it just highlights how poorly it is done in comparison. I give this episode a D+ and my faith for this season is rapidly swirling around the drain.


- Dexter
- Jennifer Carpenter
- Michael C. Hall

Written by: Hamatosan
Sep 30th, 2012, 10:16 pm

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