The Secret’s Out

Tonight’s the night. Okay, not tonight, but “Dexter” is back and better than ever.

Waiting the 10 months between “Dexter’s” season six cliffhanger — arguably the most shocking in television history — and the season seven premiere was physically painful. I remember watching last season’s finale after a 36-hour study binge during finals week and feeling like I was going to die. I was more than ready for this episode.

On Sunday, Sept. 30, “Are you …?” aired and completely changed the show forever. (Warning: this review contains spoilers!)

Season six left off with Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) walking in on her brother Dexter (Michael C. Hall) killing the “Doomsday Killer” Travis Marshall (guest star Colin Hanks) in a church. This season we are thrown headfirst into a scene that makes it seem like Dexter is on the run — his credit cards have been declined, he’s speeding (away from someone?) down the highway and he buys a ticket overseas. But he’s not on the run — he’s on the hunt.

We then shift back to the scene that left me gasping, and it is every Dexter fan’s worst nightmare. Deb has not only walked in on his most private ritual, but she wants to call the cops and turn Dexter in. As a fan, my heart dropped into my stomach.

Dexter may be a serial killer, but he’s a good serial killer (let’s remember this is a show and I don’t condone any type of serial killers, okay?). He’s had such a traumatic childhood and tragic life that fans can’t help but want to protect him.

Deb doesn’t end up calling in the cops right away. Instead, she helps Dexter hide the evidence and body by setting the church on fire. I felt relieved, but only for a few minutes because I knew fans wouldn’t get off that easy.

Hall and Carpenter’s acting is the best it’s been in nearly two seasons. We can feel the struggle between them. Dexter feels an all-consuming need to protect his “dark passenger,” while Deb tries to understand how her brother could have “snapped.”

Throughout the episode, they circle each other like sharks, and we don’t know how their showdown will end. Deb is asking too many questions and Dexter can’t outsmart her. They share a look in the Miami Metro Police Station and suddenly it becomes apparent just how dangerous Deb could be to Dexter’s well-being.

This episode flashed back to season one more than a few times. It’s to be expected that Deb would begin to connect Dexter to his brother, the “Ice Truck Killer,” but I think we all underestimated how smart and observant she is.

The last scene of the episode was the moment Dexter fans have been dreading and secretly waiting for since the show started. The question that left our jaws slack and hearts hammering was finally asked.

“Are you a serial killer?”

The episode ends and suddenly the season — and the show — have been sent into free fall. I’m not exactly sure where we’re going to land, but I’m really excited (and scared) to find out.