...I shot the wrong person in that trailer."
The final season of Dexter kicked off Sunday, reminding us of the overarching theme of its great seventh season:
Actions have consequences.
And the severe actions that Dexter and Deb took at the end of last season have had, and will continue to have, severe consequences.
We saw some of that in the season opener, titled "A Beautiful Day", which picked up six months after the events of the Season 7 finale.
The ripple created by LaGuerta's death has impacted the police department, as Batista, who had been looking to retire last year, is now a lieutenant at Miami Metro Homicide. That was, of course Deb's job. More on this in a second.
Batista is a simple guy. He just wants to catch bad guys. He had the itch to move on from police work last year, but that seemed mostly because his pride had been hurt when he was passed over for a promotion. Now he has his promotion, and he can get back to doing what he knows.
The rest of the crew at Miami Metro is largely unchanged. Quinn and Masuka remain in their roles, as does Angie Miller, who came aboard last year after Mike Anderson's death. Matthews has assumed LaGuerta's role.
The heart of the episode, and what has become the heart of the show, was the interaction, or lack of interaction, between Dexter and Deb.
Deb quit the department after what happened in the trailer. She has taken a job working, essentially, as a bounty hunter for a private investigator. She has also turned to virtually every substance imaginable to try to escape her guilt over what happened. She's in hell, as she told us (in those words and a few others that aren't appropriate for mixed company).
When Dexter finally caught up with his estranged sister, she explained in colorful terms that she wanted to be estranged from him, and for the reason that she outlined in the quote at the top of this page.
Dexter needs his sister, though. For years, he pretended to care for her, because he didn't think he was capable of real emotion. But by faking it, he made it. She helped make him human. Now, he's desperate to keep in touch with his humanity, as his life as a serial killer has spun out of control.
Despite the fact that she told him to stay away, Dexter kept after Deb and might have saved her life, as a hitman was coming to kill the criminal that she was shacking up with, who she may or may not have ever turned in. Dexter ended up killing the guy in the process, which seemed to further alienate his sister.
As they kneeled over the body of the man that Dexter killed, each told the other that they were lost. There is some truth to what they both said, but the thrust of the scene was that while Deb may have made a terrible decision last year in killing LaGuerta, and is continuing to make more of them as she tries to numb her psychological pain, she is not lost in the existential sense that Dexter is.
-Debra Morgan, Season 8, Episode 1
"I've never killed for normal reasons. I used to think I was special, a special kind of killer. But tonight, I'm not... What am I? I'm just a creep motherf*cker."
-Dexter Morgan, Season 7, Episode 12
Dexter has a new code now, and it's the same code that his mother's killer, Hector Estrada, used when he did her in. The new code is "Survive". Dexter will do whatever it takes to keep from getting caught, to keep his sister and his son and his job.
That survival will be more difficult than ever this season. As we saw in "A Beautiful Day", Matthews has brought a legendary profiler to Miami, Dr. Evelyn Vogel, who, it seems, has known all about Dexter since he was a child. We know that she knows about the code that Harry imparted to Dexter. We also know that she still thinks that Dexter abides by it.
Perhaps the biggest question coming out of the Season 8 premiere is, will that misjudgement lead to her demise, or Dexter's?