Dexter Review: “Are You…?”

It was the first Dexter premiere where the first few moments had been anticipated for the entire lead-up to the new season. Yes, there have been gripping finales, and we all wanted to see what happened next after say, Rita’s death, but this? We’ve never seen anything like this before.

We left Deb as she just witnessed her brother stabbing Travis in the heart in one of his famed killrooms. The question was immediately, how does it change things now that Deb knows?

Maddeningly at first, Dexter turned on his trademark bullshit machine, one that had to work overdrive to spin a lie that she would believe. He was doing forensics, Travis attacked him, he snapped and killed him. Annnnd happened to wrap him up neatly in plastic beforehand and stabbed him in a ritualistic manner with a full set of carving knives a few feet away…

Deb initially buys the lie, and in her shock helps him burn the evidence away (save for one blood slide). But  fortunately for us, the show wasn’t content dragging out the full discovery all through the season, which seemed like what was going to happen.

“You seem awfully calm and collected for a dude who JUST STABBED A GUY IN THE CHEST.”

But it couldn’t. Dexter, for all his previous hiding skills, came up with THE WORST cover story told in the LEAST CONVINCING manner he could possibly muster. I know he’s foreign to human emotions and such, he could have at least PRETENDED to act like the murder affected him after the fact, something he didn’t even attempt.

That wasn’t even the biggest clue of course, as Deb started putting the pieces together all throughout the episode. The plastic, the knives, his clothes, the fact that he outright told her “he knew what he was doing.” Then there was catching him lying about working late, and realizing it was a recurring occurrence.

She recalled her own time being wrapped in plastic on Brian’s table, and I was a bit confused about that part. Did she remember repressed memories of what the two of them had said to each other? And also, wasn’t it a known fact about the Bay Harbor Butcher that he wrapped his victims in plastic? Of all the connections made, how was that not one of them?

But I suppose that doesn’t matter now. She tore his house apart, found all his super secret serial killer shit and he copped to it. We have to wait until next episode to see if he truly tells her the full story, but I don’t see why he would deny being the Bay Harbor Butcher, as it’s pretty goddamn obvious, despite the fact that the case was barely mentioned this episode.

When it was mentioned, it was when La Guerta was trying to get info about the blood slide found at the church scene that Dexter left behind. Upon hearing that only Doakes, the Butcher, did such a thing, she promptly swiped it out of evidence for…what reason exactly? It’s not like a two day old murder was going to get pinned on a long-dead Doakes. Does she now know he really was framed? Will she be launching her own investigation? Woudn’t she want  to bring attention to a piece of evidence that would help exonerate her friend?

I should probably just touch this without gloves on. 

We got a glimpse of what looks to be the “big plot” of this season…I think. There’s always a big time killer to be hunted, but with Quinn and Batista (best buds again) taking the lead, maybe it could be in the “stupid subplot” category?

But I kind of doubt it. Dexter himself is already involved, and once the big man (Ray Stevenson, nice!) checks airport security feeds to see what happened to Viktor (great cameo by Enver Gjokaj, who played another Victor in Dollhouse), I think that he might see Dexter wheeling his associate away unconscious. And was his bracelet some sort of tracking thing? They seemed to focus on that pretty heavily. And when is Yvonne Strahovski showing up?

What’s in the bracelet, bro?

I liked this episode because I thought it was smartly done the way they had Deb unravel everything by the end of the hour. She would have had to have been really dense to make it drag on all season, but conversely Dexter spending the first twenty minutes explaining everything outright in the church probably wouldn’t have felt very realistic either.

What was NOT smart this episode however was Dexter. He was a hilariously bad liar, when that’s something he’s always been good at, and then as his sister is hunting down his secret, he goes an bashes some guys head in inside a lost baggage claim. Seriously man?

The last mystery to address is of course Lewis, who looks to be shaping up to be a major character this season. I don’t know why exactly he decided to delete all Dexter’s bank accounts for any reason besides making the first minutes of the show a suspenseful red herring, but either he’s a serial killer, or he’s about to become one. Batista’s sister is not long for this world. Frankly, I’m surprised she survived last season. She outlasted Mike, a character so forgettable I still can’t remember why exactly he showed up in the first place. Rest in peace guy, I’m sorry you weren’t interesting enough to stick around.

This should be a great season with the added dynamic of Deb knowing Dex’s secret, and it will likely be unlike anything we’ve seen from the show before. I already can’t wait until next week. And the week after that. And the week after that…

  • Chris

    Unlike anything but the book series that had Deb knowing his secret a long time ago. While the books and show have had a loose relationship – with some characters dying in the book, some not – they both end up mirroring each other like a carnival hall of mirrors, slightly distorted. So if you’ve read the book, you know Deb adjusts quite well to the news and ends up creating an interesting new dynamic to the characters.

    Although I don’t remember Dexter giving a cheesy lie about his actions in the book. I think Deb had enough suspicions that when she found out, she was more upset with Harry’s relationship with Dexter than anything else.

  • Randy

    I’m pretty sure there’ll be lots of talks of The Bay Harber Butcher

  • T.R.

    The Bay Harbor Butcher connection seemed an odd one for Deb to overlook. I’m glad you asked that question too; it did bother me a little last night. I’m also in agreement that they did a good job balancing her disbelief, shock, with her need for answers, sense and order.

  • James

    @Chris… Thank you for completely ruining the way that Deb handles Dexter’s issues. They may have a loose relationship regarding the characters and such but this is too huge to keep change from the books. Please try and refrain from divulging huge plot points in the future out of repect for the content and people who actually enjoy looking forward to not knowing what will happen each week. However, I appreciate the input and I enjoy reading other peoples opinion about one of my favorite shows.

  • Spleenfarmer

    As a side note, did you happen to catch Homeland? I’d be interested to hear your take on it. My wife and I found ourselves more interested in Homeland than Dexter last season (heresy, I know.)

  • David

    Considering the TV show is over after next season, combined with the radical changes they have made from the books (I disagree that they even remotely images of each other at this point.) I don’t think he’s spoiled anything. The TV show can go in any direction from here, and if the past is any indication, it’ll be a huge leap from where the books went.

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    How could you miss Yvonne? She was the stripper doucheface was questioning who claimed, (in perfect English) to not speak any English.

  • Ugo Strange

    I liked Mike…u.u

  • Great review!

    Regarding the pic of La Guerta picking up the blood sample slide at the church, right after your screen grab, she removed a hair ribbon and picked it up using that.

    Not exactly by the book as hair would probably contaminate the slide worse than finger oil, but at least she tried…

  • Nick D Pags

    I guess Dexter is an idiot this season too.

  • nigel beanspoon

    @Chris, she actually has a really tough time in the books (the 4th one especially) where she needs to be stabbed (almost to death) where she didn’t even feel like herself, or if she even wanted to be a cop anymore before she could accept who dexter is and that harry did well to teach him what he did.

    @James, don’t worry, the books are so far from the series, apart from the first of both (which are still very different), that i’m sure the series will be nothing like the books portrayal of her finding out…