Dexter Season Premiere Review: “A Beautiful Day” (Season 8, Episode 1)


All good things must come to an end, don’t they? It’s strange to think that this will be the final season of Dexter, especially since the titular character has become somewhat of a household name for fans of the show. Who would have thought such a large audience would cheer on the bad guy for so long? But we’ve reached the end, and as has been shown in the season premiere, nothing is going to be the same in Dexter’s world once we reach the final credits.

Season eight picks up six months after Debra shot and killed LaGuerta, and everybody is still learning to cope with her absence. A bench is dedicated in her honor, drawing derision from most of her co-workers for not being enough to remember her by. Angel, in particular, isn’t having any luck getting over her, as he tries to find ways to get rid of the things that were left to him from her. Dexter is happy to have the weight of her investigation off of his shoulders, but his relationship with Deb is worse than rocky at this point.

We find out that Deb quit Miami Metro and instead chose to work as a private investigator, taking “down and dirty” cases so she can numb herself with the work. She’s also become addicted to drugs (including, but not limited to: cocaine, weed, Xanax and others) and lives with one of her cases, a thug named Briggs who’s wanted for robbing a jewelry store. Although she claims to be sticking with him in hopes of finding the stolen goods, she finds herself falling for him and feeling more at home with him than with the rest of Miami.

Much of the episode is spent with Dexter trying to reach out to her to no avail. Dexter’s temper is beginning to boil over because of his sister’s absence and the lack of murder in his life, and none of it is being helped by Harrison, who still shows at exactly the wrong time to drive Dexter crazy. The relationship between the two is developing in a bad direction, especially since Dexter drags Harrison out into the middle of nowhere to confront Deb (we’ll get back to that) and gets blood on his toys. Slight foreshadowing, no?

On the murder side of things, only one corpse is found this time around, and what a corpse it is. The poor guy had half of his skull taken off and part of his brain removed with surgical precision. These details draw the attention of neuro-psychiatrist Evelyn Vogel (Charlotte Rampling), an asset who has helped Miami Metro with cases in the past. She’s an expert in child psychopaths, so you can probably guess what her role in this season will be. Towards the end of the episode, she hands Dexter a pack of disturbing, hand-drawn images done by none other than Dexter himself as a kid, even going so far to reveal that she knows all about “Harry’s Code” and other details about his life. How she knows all of this or why she’s just now contacting Dexter are still wrapped up,  but based on the preview for the next episode, her and Dexter are going to be working together rather than against each other.