Dexter Season 8 Review “What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?”

“Harrison, did you eat a whole box of popsicles?”

Dexter has been going strong for eight whole seasons now, and after this much time we’ve become very accustomed to the misleading opening scenes that kick off many episodes. With that being said, “What’s Eating Dexter Morgan” did concern me a little bit that something bad had happened to little Harrison, but thankfully he just ate a whole box of popsicles. Why? Because he loves them!

Love, and more specifically Dexter’s ability to love others, was brought into question many times in tonight’s installment. I’ll get to the specifics of these conversations later, but I very much enjoyed seeing the big philosophical topic of the episode brought up in such a lighthearted manner with Harrison confessing his love for delicious red frozen treats. I’m also a big fan of the Dexter writers making more of an effort this season to actually show Dex being a dad and show Jamie’s life outside of babysitting, with many critics (including myself) thinking that last season was a bit unrealistic with how infrequently Dex actually spent time with his son.

We cut right from this heartwarming opening scene straight to the other end of the spectrum, as we see Deb hitting yet another rock bottom: Getting busted for a DUI. It’s a little rich coming from Quinn to say that he’s worried about Deb’s drinking habits, as he was a boozy wreck for almost two whole seasons and he was a police officer at the time. At least Deb had the decency to quit the force before going on her own downward spiral. Regardless of Quinn’s questionable moral compass, I’m enjoying seeing the two of them together in a non-romantic kind of way. I’m hoping that Jamie can forgive Quinn, as she’s starting to come off as somewhat of a shrew.

The Brain Surgeon case is still going strong, as they’re covering up their murder of Sussman to make it look like a suicide. This is a move we haven’t seen for a while on Dexter , where a prolific serial killer is on the loose who we have no idea who they are. Usually we know who the Big Bad is from the very beginning because they’re played by big guest stars (Seasons 4, 5, & 6), or there is no big serial killer on the loose (Seasons 2 & 7). The only seasons that you can compare to this one is season one (The Ice Truck Killer) and season three (The Skinner). Season one we didn’t meet Rudy Cooper, who would end up being the Ice Truck Killer, until episode 5. In season three we saw George King, The Skinner, in episode 3 for about 2 minutes and then didn’t see him again until episode 8. So this means that either the killer is someone we’ve already met, or it’s a character we haven’t been introduced to quite yet, and they will eventually end up being the killer. However, most people found The Skinner reveal to be a bit lame, since we never really cared about George King as a minor character. The Ice Truck Killer was such a great reveal because by the time we found out that Rudy Cooper was the killer, he had already ingratiated himself into Dexter’s social circle and Dexter had no idea. The only current choice that I could foresee being the Brain Surgeon would be Jacob Elway, simply because he’s the only tertiary character/guest star that is of any real consequence.

Speaking of Jacob Elway, he’s continuing to grow closer to Deb as they bond during a classic stakeout. I’m really hoping that my hunch about him being the Brain Surgeon turns out to be incorrect, as I really don’t think Deb could survive finding out another one of the men in her life is a serial killer.

I’ve really enjoyed the scenes between Dexter and Vogel this season, but I’m not sure how I felt about their “Love” discussion tonight. I understand that Vogel is new to Dexter’s life, so it makes sense that she’s so surprised by Dexter’s capacity to love, but it’s not surprising to us. We already know that Dexter has the ability to love! He loved Rita, he loves Harrison and he loves Deb! Her questioning his ability to love just makes her seem close-minded, as if there’s no possible way Dexter can be a little different from the other psychopaths she’s met. We know it’s true, so her constant second guessing is going to get old pretty quick.

I was happy to see Dex finally appear to be breaking through to Deb a little bit this evening, as he showed her the man she saved in the shooting from the restaurant from the season six premiere episode “Those Kinds of Things”. I was all the more confused then when she quickly decided on a drunken whim to confess to LaGuerta’s murder and send her and Dexter to jail. Why make it look like he’s getting through to her when she’s just going to turn them both in the next chance she gets?

At first I was really hoping that Quinn might revert to the season five Quinn that thought Dex was a killer. Remember back when Quinn actually had a reason to be on this show? Because he subscribed to the very reasonable supposition that Dexter killed Rita, and nobody else at Miami Metro thought it prudent to even investigate it? Remember when he hired Liddy to investigate Dexter? Just for once I wish that guy came back and believed Deb’s story, but instead he just caves and rats her out to Dex and Vogel. I’ll be interested to see what happens next week, and just how pissed Deb will be when she wakes up. We’re one third of the way through our final season, so I’m hoping to see the proceedings ramp up to the conclusion in the next few installments. Also, Hannah McKay comes back soon! Yay!

Random Thoughts:

– Weird discovery thanks to a Google search: The guy who played Ron Galuzzo, the fitness guru, used to be a member of The Blue Man Group. He was in the troupe for five years! It’s definitely weird seeing what those guys look like when they grow their hair back and aren’t wearing the makeup.

– It was a little funny that Dexter had such a strong reaction to seeing the finger in the stew at Paluzzo’s house, even going so far as to make a silly retching face into the camera. After all of the nasty stuff he’s seen, the finger in the stew was the one thing that made him gag?

– Ever notice that the cell phone video that was taken of Deb’s restaurant takedown changes camera angles/positions multiple times? Pretty fancy cell phone ya got there…