Dexter Season 7, Episode 1: “ARE YOU…?” Recap & Review

Sunday night’s groundbreaking season 7 premiere “Are You…?” has left hundreds upon thousands of people reeling, begging to know how Dexter is going to get out of this one… and just what the consequences of his answer to a certain five-word question are going to be. Read the mini synopsis below, and click the jump for a spoiler-FILLED review! As always, post your comments and share your anticipations and hopes for next week’s second episode, “Sunshine & Frosty Swirl”! CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD.

THE BREAKDOWN: Dexter finds himself forced into disposing of another typical body in an incredibly atypical way. Desperately grasping for control as his Dark Passenger comes under fire, he finds himself hot on the heels of a Ukrainian mobster who took out one of Miami Metro’s very own. As Miami PD investigates further into this swift and tragic incident, LaGuerta holds onto some uncanny evidence from the Doomsday Killer “suicide,” and Batista and Quinn attempt a bar-side reconciliation of their troubled partnership and friendship, Debra suffers from a need to understanding her confusing past, the chilling present, and the relationships between the two. Dexter’s and Debra’s unquenchable needs culminate in discoveries and a new confrontation that changes everything, all over again. Skip the jump for more!

Instead of picking up immediately where we left off at the end of season 6, we begin the episode by following Dexter as he breaks some traffic laws, desperately fumbles with nonfunctional credit cards, and hits the airport. Just as we’re all wondering how in the hell he got from a jaw-dropping Point A to Point B, we’re taken right back to the gripping scene in which a black-and-blue blooded Debra comes upon Dexter performing what she doesn’t yet know is his most sacred ritual. Neck-deep in shock, Deb dances with the devil as Dexter persuades her not to call in the situation, but stage with him a suicide. And make everything go away. (Might I add—what an incredible performance on both Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter’s parts. When Debra told him, “I don’t wanna be alone, I don’t want you to be alone,” and even asked if Dexter was hurt, my tears were running. The frightening part is that he’s done this alone for so long, and he is only scared because she, his only innocence, is scared.)

As Debra and Dexter attempt to clean up the aftermath the following day, Dexter is - as we may have anticipated - leagues more comfortable with keeping up his mask of innocence at the scene (and, oops, he told Debra that he "knows what he's doing"), whereas Debra’s voice is stuck in a prepubescent boy crack that barely covers her anxieties enough for her to release a statement to the press. She feels too deeply and too immediately to postpone the truth and not think twice. Masking, to her, is not an option—and while Dexter tells her in his office that the more she thinks into what she saw at the church, the less it’s going to make sense, the more she is compelled to connect every painful dot. She is, however, not yet ready to help Dexter make sense of what brought her there to the church in the first. And while Dexter is convinced he can throw Debra off his trail and compartmentalize his happy life of lies again by making a creative, unconventional kill on a man with “powerful friends” (I would most likely believe this guy, considering the ominous eminence of Ray Stevenson's character), with the help of lost luggage room, a fire extinguisher, and a wheelchair, Debra is painting a picture that even she doesn’t even want to realize. Yet, she loves Dexter too much to not know every facet of who she is. She has waited too long to know this man in his entirety.

The main theme of this episode is control, and the loss thereof. There are also themes of truth, love, and their incompatibility in the flashbacks and Dexter and Debra’s childhood. Dexter, as a child, believes that nothing is capable of swaying Debra’s love for him, but Harry intervenes to tell him that she only loves him for who she thinks he is. This, of course, heightens our anxiety’s at the abrupt, surreal conclusion of the episode, in which an alarmingly stoic, half-sleepy, half-sick Debra asks a question we never knew would come so soon: Are you a serial killer? Dexter immediately says yes. He killed ‘those people,’ remembered on his blood slides. Every last one. It is his honesty that leaves us hanging breathlessly until the next episode—does Debra’s love know the limits that Harry feared? Will the control that Dexter so prides himself in possessing stay right in his pocket?

We haven’t yet heard Masuka's endearing talk of strap-ons and strippers, or Debra's rewriting of the book of cursing cover to cover, or the Bay Harbor Butcher’s name shaking the foundations of Miami PD… yet. But it’s ALL coming. That, and so, so much more. “The last tableau” that we witnessed last night is just the beginning. Reset, refuel, reengage. Nothing is sacred, and nothing is safe.

How did you react to season 7, episode 1! Sound off in the comments below with any and every messy reaction to the unfoldings of this bloody new chapter in Dexter. Does the truth really set you free? 

"Why didn't you tell me what you are, Dex?" - Debra, Season 1

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