“… A serial killer?” That’s one question you can expect to be asked on the Season 7 premiere of Dexter this Sunday, but it’s nowhere near as urgent as the questions you’ll be asking yourself, and any Dexter fan within ear-shot, after you absorb the Game-Changing premiere. Ever since Lt. Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) walked in on her brother Dexter (Michael C. Hall) in the middle of one of his signature kills, Dexter fans have been wondering how things could possibly go on from that point. In the premiere episode, the Dexter brain trust has expertly echoed that same anxiety into every character beat of a simply brilliant kick-off to the seventh season of America’s Favorite Serial Killer.
In terms of pace, “Are you … ?” very appropriately slows everything down to a measured and deliberate pace. In many ways it is one of the most purely character driven episodes of the series ever, and for good reason. You don’t find out your brother is a serial killer and go back to life as normal, for Deb’s part–for Dexter’s part, it is a situation where he is forced to synthesize his inner Dark Passenger and his outer forensic blood-splatter analyst. We rarely get to see Dexter allowing his two personas to mix outside of a kill room, and Michael C. Hall delivers some of his most chilling work in first trying to talk Deb down from what she has seen, desperately trying to re-frame it as anything other than what it obviously is, and later appealing to her to grasp some part, any part, of the logic of his code.
I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, this isn’t a talky introspective art-house approach to Dexter, “My Dinner With Dexter Morgan”, but it is a hunk of story that is acutely aware of the magnitude of what the moment from the season 6 finale carries, and pays it off with brilliant work from both Hall and Carpenter. There’s plenty of what you would expect from Dexter, as well, and even a little more.
The season’s big bad is revealed in a peripheral way, as they always are, but this time there are some very shocking consequences for a fan favorite. Louis is still playing his game with Dexter and his motives are becoming clear. And we find that the one person that can break Dexter’s guard in a big way is Deb. In fact, Dexter makes a mistake that will have huge implications for him further in the season.
Dexter 7.01 “Are You … ?” is a delectably disturbing launch to a new chapter in the Dexter saga, and one that paints the characters in ways we never expected to see, and won’t be able to take our eyes off.
Dexter Premieres Sunday, September 30th, at 9PM ET/PT on Showtime