‘Dexter’ Recap: “A Beautiful Day”

By July 1, 2013

If you haven’t seen it yet, the season 8 premiere of ‘Dexter’ is now available (though slightly edited) on YouTube.

How badly can Dexter muck up his own life…and his sister’s? It’s possible we’re about to find out.

Dexter’s final season begins six months after Deb murdered Police Captain Maria LaGuerta. Deb’s quit the police force, and made her way into the private sector, where she’s free to indulge in as much cocaine and illicit sex as she desires. Meanwhile, she hasn’t spoken to Dexter in over a month.

Batista’s lieutenant; Maria’s death hit him particularly hard, and he’s struggling to give away her things. Meanwhile, Jamie and Quinn are sleeping together…and no one knows it.

For Dexter, it’s business as usual on the outside. But on the inside, he’s coming undone. Never is this so poignant as when, in a fit of road rage, he leaves his car and begins to strangle a man for cutting him off…only to stop when he sees his victim’s frightened son peeking out from the backseat.

With his carefully built facade unravelling, Dexter has no patience for Miami Metro’s latest arrival: Dr. Evelyn Vogel, an expert on psychopaths. She’s come to study Miami’s latest serial killer: a man who cuts open his victim’s skulls and scoops out a piece of the brain…the part responsible for empathy. Her work on profiling is well-renowned, and she seems able to see right through Dexter. What was the Bay Harbor Butcher like, she wonders? When Dexter tells her that James Doakes had a short fuse, she makes her doubts clear: A psychopath has no emotions, and is thus always calm, cool, and collected.

But is that true of Dexter anymore? Eight years ago, when the show started, Dexter hid his dispassion behind a mask of (subdued) human emotion, expressing fondness for only one person: his sister. Now, estranged from Deb, dispassion has been displaced by sorrow and rage. Dexter is both more human and more monster than ever.

He drives to Fort Lauderdale, where Deb is working a case–and sleeping with her target, Andrew Briggs. Twice, he confronts her…the second time with the intention to save her. Andrew is planning to sell his stolen jewelry, but the fence is actually a hit man for the mob. Deb doesn’t care; at this point, death might be a relief. She’s compromised everything, and is wallowing in a nightmare–a hellish punishment she thinks she deserves. “I shot the wrong person,” she hisses when Dexter comes to call.

Andrew interrupts them, and all hell breaks loose. He and Dexter struggle, and Dexter plants a knife in his chest, killing him instantly. Deb cries; she felt okay around him. She calls the police, and sends Dexter on his way.

Dexter’s carefully constructed, compartmentalized world is collapsing. Harrison disappears from the car–Dexter took his son with him to Fort Lauderdale–and when he finds and scoops the child back up, he mars Harrison’s stuffed animal with his blood-stained hand.

Back in Miami, Dr. Vogel approaches as he sits on a park bench dedicated to LaGuerta. She hands him a manilla envelope, filled with disturbing pictures he’d drawn as a child. He lashes out, pinning her against the wall. “You can’t kill me,” she says, and, much to Dexter’s shock, concludes: “I don’t fit Harry’s Code.”

Who is Dr. Vogel? How does she know about Harry? An educated guess, or personal experience? And where did she get Dexter’s childhood drawings?