TV review: Final season of “Dexter” starts strong, giving hope for series’ conclusion

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From the June 27, 2013 edition

Well, we’ve finally reached the final season of “Dexter.” It’s probably taken too long to get here — OK, it has — but the resurgence last season offers a potential strong note to go out on.

If you haven’t seen Season 7 — wow, eight seasons is a lot — stop reading now because this review requires a spoiler-filled discussion. The showdown between Dexter (Michael C. Hall) and Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), with a dash of LaGuerta, may have been clumsy in getting there, but it was powerful stuff. Deb choosing Dexter and killing LaGuerta was a strong bookend after learning her brother was a serial killer beginning the season.

Season 8 starts out months after LaGuerta’s murder, and Dexter is thriving. Deb not so much. She’s quit her lieutenant job, taken up P.I. work and drinking herself into a darker and darker hole — and Carpenter is killing it. She’s also completely cut herself off from .

The premiere does a solid job of setting up the important plotlines — the supporting characters are useless on “Dexter” — while offering some intensity at the climax. As far as building an endgame out of the now complex Morgan (pseudo)sibling connection, it works.

However a new character that’s introduced portends to have a major role in how this story will end. That isn’t ideal, even if the character connects to Dexter and Deb through their deceased father (James Remar) history. How apropos is having a new character play a significant role this late in the game?

Then again, outside conflicts are needed. The whole season can’t be Deb yelling, “F--- Dexter! You’re a motherf---ing serial killer! And I’m a f---ing killer too.” Although, Carpenter is pretty great with excessive f-bombs.

Four episodes in, Season 8 is pretty strong, with only the second one being a stinker. Still, it’s hard to feel confident about the conclusion of “Dexter.” It could be completely obvious, but has the potential to be shocking and severely dark. I’m in to the end because the Dexter, Deb relationship is enough to hold out hope something bad will happen.