Knowing when to bow out is one of the most important ways for a show to ensure that it is fondly remembered, so can Dexter‘s last season live up to expectations?
On the basis of this first episode, it probably can, but equally there are already signs that making this eight season the last one is the right decision.
Season 7 had felt to me to be a bit of a disappointment, given the game-changing cliff-hanger that it was given to kick things off. Having Debs find out the truth about Dexter was a huge moment, but the rest of the storylines seemed tame after the gruesome events of the previous year.
However, it did end well, with LaGuerta‘s confrontation with Dexter ending badly for her and horrifically for poor Debs, and it’s the fall-out from that shooting that we pick up on in this episode.
Dexter is feeling good, spending time with his son, enjoying the Miami sunshine, killing people, etc, but Debs has quit the force and is having drug-fuelled sex with someone she’s meant to be ‘bringing in’ in her new private sector role.
She’s also not talking to her adopted brother at all, blaming him for her fall from everything she believed in. She’s right, of course, and he starts to realise this, even while he’s trying to get her back on the straight and narrow.
But can he follow the ‘if you love someone, let them go’ philosophy, or will he keep blundering back into her life, leaving a trail of corpses as he goes? Clearly that’s going to be a theme for Season Eight.
There’s also a killer on the loose, of course, and this one likes to remove bits of brains because… well, he’s got to do something gross hasn’t he? This is the eighth season, after all.
And there’s Charlotte Rampling, a mysterious expert in serial killers who has turned up to help them solve the case. So, basically Lundy again. But she’s smarter – and creepier – than him and already knows what Dexter is.
If this wasn’t the final season, that plot development might have seemed a bit tiresome – after all, how many living people now know his secret, I can think of at least four – but with the sense of finality looming, it will be interesting to see where they take it.
The same can be said for the Debs storyline. She’s now so far from the character she started out as, can there still be a happy ending for her? The stakes are high for everyone, and that can only be a good thing for the show.