Dexter is so violent, sweary, stylish and smart that it’s been adopted as a nerd show, despite zero spaceships or demons (apart from Dex’s Dark Passenger, which is sort of like Angelus, I guess. If Angel wanted to murder all the time and had to be reminded not to slaughter puppies). Series seven started on UK TV this week, on the newly-rebranded Fox, picking up right where we left off, with sister Deb finding Dexter in the middle of a murder.
Dexter is a show that can have an off year, only to return in storming form. Series three seemed to ring the death knell for the show, but series four, with the Trinity Killer, was possibly the show’s strongest series to date. Series six was one such off series. The religious killings lacked a hook and the subplot of Deb falling in love with adopted brother Dexter was icky in the extreme. Hopefully series seven will forget that ever happened.
On the basis of episode one, series seven looks like being an ‘on’ year for Dexter. The obligatory Kill of the Week felt by-the-numbers and convenient (and completely wasted the talented Enver Gjokaj, who comprehensively stole every single episode of Dollhouse), and the introduction of the Ukranian mafia is just… odd. But everything else about the episode just sings. It feels like a direct sequel to series two, with LaGuerta finding one of the blood slides that proves that Doakes wasn’t the Bay Harbour Butcher after all.
The real meat of the episode lies in the back-and-forth between Dexter and Deb. Just when you think the show is going to wuss out and have Deb fall for Dexter’s story, she starts to show her police chops. She puts two and two together and comes up with ‘Holy shitballs my brother’s a serial killer’. The final moments of the episode, with Deb holding his knives and blood slides, and Dexter admitting to being a serial killer, is a solid gold start to the series.
I’d be happy as pie if episode two was a two-hander, just Dexter and Deb hashing it out as he’s finally forced to tell her the truth. I love it when a show suddenly lurches in a different direction, something that forces everything to change and puts its end-game in motion. It happens surprisingly rarely. Dexter isn’t a show to shy away from seismic shifts. The murder of Rita was one of the most shocking endings to any series ever, and the show always takes Dex to unexpected places, either showing us a surprising facet of the humanity that he doesn’t believe he has, or reminding us just what a monster he is.Tags: Bates Motel, dexter, Hannibal, michael c. hall, Staying In, the following