I caught the first three episodes of the new season of Dexter last night - Season 7, set to premiere on Showtime September 30 - courtesy of a screener from Showtime that arrived yesterday. These three episodes were the best openers I've seen for Dexter - taut, tough, unflinching in addressing the issue that has haunted and torn Dexter from the very beginning. Herewith my review, unavoidably studded with spoilers.
The final scene of Season 6 was Dexter's worst nightmare come true: Deb standing in the doorway, with Dexter's hands on the knife in Travis's body. Season 7 does not shy away from confronting the inevitable consequences of this scene: Deb is too smart a cop to be swayed by Dexter's first explanation, pretty fast on his feet, that he just "snapped" and killed Travis that way. That wouldn't account for the plastic with which Travis was wrapped - all too familiar to Debra, who was wrapped in the same when Rudy almost killed her. Before too long, she realizes that Dexter was the Bay Harbor Butcher and the model for the Ice Truck Killer.
And, in another unflinching stroke, Dexter doesn't deny this. A part of him knows he can't pull the wool over his sister's eyes at this point, and a part of him, as always, welcomes the relief of coming clean. Deb - of course - can't bring herself to arrest Dexter, but she - also of course - thinks that maybe she can somehow cure him. Dexter knows better, but he has no choice but to give this a try.
And this brings us to the deepest crux of Dexter's life - which has been at the back and sometimes the front of just about every episode. If Dexter can take out a serial killer before the killer takes another innocent life - a serial killer who for whatever reason is beyond the power of the police to stop - is not Dexter doing an ultimately moral thing? In the third episode, Dex seeks to convince Deb of this proposition. We the viewers are already convinced - at least, I am - but we're not police. And Debra?
I'll keep this one, crucially important answer from this review. But suffice to say that Deb's decision is plausible and stands to set Dexter on a new, logical, satisfying and keenly painful track.