Dexter Season 8 Review “Are We There Yet”

UPDATE: I previously published this review having only seen the screener episode that Showtime provides to certain press members. Unfortunately, this screener ended after the Dexter/Hannah sex scene, so I wasn’t able to write about the (incredibly important) final scenes. I’ve amended the review below with the new information, and I apologize for any confusion.

“Do not ‘dude’ me!”

Well, that was a little different.

Dexter returned tonight with what can only be described as a very soft episode in “Are We There Yet”. With little killing, no suspense, and a whole lot of talking and feeling, it was a very different episode compared to what we’re used to. I’m not against the idea of an episode built primarily around dialogue and romance, but when we only have four more episodes until Dexter is done forever, it’s a little difficult not to feel too disappointed with an episode where not a whole lot actually happens.

The episode picks up right where the last one ended, with Dexter and the rest of Miami Metro investigating Cassie’s murder. Dexter finds blood underneath Cassie’s nails that confirm Zach to be the killer, so he quickly sets out to finally get Zach on his table. I’m not totally against Zach as a character anymore, but I just do not see what everybody else seems to see in him. Dexter complains that Zach killing an innocent woman is “such a waste”, while Vogel whines that he had “such potential”. We, as an audience, never saw anything special from this kid, and his ineptitude as a killer was only highlighted by Dexter and Hannah’s trip to the keys.

This little road trip had some good moments along with some bad. I just love seeing Dexter and Hannah together, as Hall and Strahovski have such a natural chemistry, but that doesn’t mean every scene with the two of them is a winner. Hannah asking what Dexter calls her in his mind was a strange question, and some of the dialogue here seemed like it was plucked from a CW show or a bad Nicholas Sparks movie. The Dexter writers may be pretty good at making Dexter sound like a lovable serial killer, but when they need to make him get all lovey it just comes off sounding weird and a bit forced. Also, when they finally get to Zach’s motel, they realize that he’s possibly innocent of Cassie’s death and that he killed some other dude entirely. This is all well and good, but seeing how terrible Zach is at the whole process of murder really makes both Vogel and Dexter look ignorant for having such high hopes for him. Then Dexter proudly displays Zach to Vogel saying “He’s a fast learner”. Um, exactly what did he learn fast? The dude didn’t even wear gloves. I mean…I would definitely think to wear gloves if I were going to kill someone! Ahem…anyway…moving on!

Dexter continued to look a little dense when he never even mentioned Zach’s blood being under Cassie’s fingernails. You’d think that after seeing Zach’s pictures he would say “OK, great, but how is your blood under Cassie’s nails?!” Was he supposed to believe that Zach got blood on his door handle, and then Cassie came along and rubbed her fingernails along the door of some stranger’s car? The revelation that Zach might have been framed by Quinn is an interesting one, but it would certainly be quite a big step for the spurned Sergeant-to-be. Quinn has proved multiple times that he’s not above being a dirty cop, but beating an innocent woman to death to frame a suspect (the best friend of his girlfriend, no less) is quite a leap.

Quinn being another “big bad” of the season, to go along with the returning Brain Surgeon (which we’ll get to later), would definitely be out of left field. Quinn really hasn’t had much of a reason to be on this show since season five, back when he was trying to pin Rita’s death on Dexter, so it would be kind of interesting to have him back as an antagonist for Dexter. Oh, and it looks like Elway might be honing in on Hannah as well!

It looks like the whole Masuka/Niki storyline is going to be used for comic relief after all. Niki has apparently changed her mind very quickly about wanting to work in the lab, so she comes in and creates some wacky hijinks by wafting sage around the lab while Matthews, Quinn and her daddy look on. You’d think that someone would be a tad concerned that she’s blowing some foreign substance all over the supposedly sterile lab, but whatever.

As we near the end of the series, I’m always very aware of any clues as to how this show will end. That’s why I’m not sure how I feel about Harry and Dexter’s conversation in the car. I’ve grown pretty weary of Harry’s constant lectures to Dexter over the years, but his whole idea of Dexter’s need for being with Hannah being stronger than his need to kill makes it sound like this show might end with Dexter getting over killing and settling down with Hannah. While I don’t think we’ll ever get to a place where Dexter never pays for his crimes, I could definitely see both Dexter and Hannah being ousted as serial killers, and then both running away to somewhere (like Argentina?!) and settling down together. That way they both atone somewhat for all of the murders they’ve committed over the years, but they still get a semi-happy ending.

The final scene (Which was not included in my screener) definitely turns this season around on its head quite a bit. I can’t think of another time on Dexter when a serial killer has been “caught”, and then forgotten about for a few episodes, and then pops back up to take another victim. It was just one episode ago where I was complaining that it doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot of storylines to conclude in this series, but now I feel like there’s almost too many balls in the air what with Quinn and Elway on Dexter’s heels, and now the Brain Surgeon is at it again! Oh, and were we supposed to believe that Vogel was examining the brain in a bottle because she took it for herself? Or because it was another gift that she found on her doorstep?

What do you think’s going to happen? Will Dexter and Hannah live happily ever after? Will one (or both) of them die? Who the heck is the Brain Surgeon?! Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– I wonder if they used the same set for Dexter and Cassie’s apartment? They’d just need to paint and redecorate.

– How did Dexter and Hannah get away from those cops on the beach? I thought that was going to be a suspenseful escape as they snuck away to their car, but instead the scene just cuts to them arriving safely at Zach’s motel.

– It’s a little hilarious at this point that we still haven’t even seen the newly appointed Sergeant Miller. I guess her character was created for the sole purpose to get that promotion over Quinn, and now that she’s got the promotion we don’t even get to see her anymore. Solid.