|Ray Stevenson as Isaac. (Supplied)
There's a TV show that debuted this fall called The New Normal. That's exactly what Dexter Morgan is facing right now.
But having seen the second episode of the seventh season of Dexter, which aired Sunday night on The Movie Network and Movie Central in Canada and on Showtime in the United States, what we don't know is this:
For Dexter, is his "new normal" truly a life-altering reality, or will it prove to be merely an inconvenience?
SPOILER ALERT: This is a review of the Dexter episode titled Sunshine and Frosty Swirl, and is meant for people who saw it. If you don’t want to know what happened, now’s the time to bail.
Okay, the first episode of the seventh season ended with Dexter (Michael C. Hall) being confronted by his foster sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), who posed the question, "Are you a serial killer?" Dexter answered, "Yes."
Episode two picked up where that conversation left off, with Deb understandably freaking out. But she didn't freak out quite as much as I would have thought. She went to work the next day. Despite the fact she's a police lieutenant now, don't you think she'd have to take a day or two off?
The only way Deb can function now is to tell herself that she can rehabilitate Dexter. Deb forces Dexter to move in with her, so she can watch him 24/7. As she says, she loves him in ways he never could know (remember last season?), and despite everything, she can't stand the thought of him spending the rest of his life in jail, or worse.
Brother or not, wouldn't Deb be terrified of Dexter, by the way?
Dexter thrives on solitude, so this is not good for him. He can't seem to wrap his brain around his new normal, so he focuses on creepy Louis (Josh Cooke), finding a way to escape Deb's watchful eye almost immediately and breaking into Louis' apartment.
Dexter learns that his credit cards were cancelled by hacker extraordinaire Louis, and obviously Dexter is enraged. Why is Louis messing with him?
Later, after Dexter warns Louis to back off, Louis boldly does not. He even scratches Dexter's son Harrison on the head, in one of the most coldly threatening moves I've witnessed on TV in a long time. "He's not scared of me at all," Dexter observes.
Dexter drugs Deb (that was easy) and sneaks out, presumably to kill Louis. But Dexter can't do it. He promised Deb he wouldn't kill any more. So he leaves Louis unconscious on a park bench.
Having had a random but meaningful conversation with a supposedly reformed convict named Wayne Randall, Dexter briefly is empowered to believe that maybe he can change, leaving his dark passenger behind him.
Right at the end of the episode, though, we discover Wayne Randall's transformation was something other than he proclaimed it to be. Yes, maybe he felt badly for the people he had killed. But he had not made peace with his situation. He had used the excuse of telling the police where some of his bodies were buried - literally - as an opportunity for a couple of days of sunshine, an ice cream cone, and a successful suicide.
"Randall didn't change," Dexter tells himself in his narrator's voice. "And he couldn't take life in prison.
Other story lines: La Guerta (Lauren Velez) is coming to the incorrect conclusion that Sgt. James Doakes (Erik King) is still alive; Quinn (Desmond Harrington) is venturing into dangerous ground with a stripper who clearly is going to be trouble; and Ukrainian mobster Isaac (Ray Stevenson) certainly has an "eye" for problem-solving.
The big story, though, is that Deb knows just about everything now, and for the moment she's sticking by her brother, conditionally. On both sides, we'll see how long this family-friendly "new normal" lasts.