“The Dark… Whatever” – ‘Dexter’ Episode Review

- 12-03-12reviews, TV Posted by Jason McAnelly

As the seventh season of Dexter continues, we’ve no more Isaak to act as the running bad guy, so what’s a serial killer to do?  Well, there are still some family problems occupying Dexter’s time.  He’s got a sister that flip-flops between wanting to jump his bones and trying to throw his girlfriend in jail.  He happens to be dating someone who doesn’t mind offing people, good or bad.  And not to mention there’s a nosey LaGuerta slowly following a years-old trail that may lead her to figure out that Dexter is actually the Bay Harbor Butcher.  Following last episode’s events, the show takes us a few weeks into the future, where a couple new bad guys have shown up to at least give Dex a bit of a distraction.

(read the review after the jump)

A serial killer arsonist is roaming the land, lighting people on fire in public places and watching them as they burn.  Dex battles his urge to hunt and kill, trying hard to keep to his agreement with Deb about not interfering in her cases.  Ultimately he figures out who’s doing all the killing but lets his sister do her job, trying to repair the damage in their relationship.

On the home front, Dex tries to explain to Hannah the concept of his “dark passenger”.  She’s skeptical at first, being the more practical sort of murderer, but Dex manages to convince her, at least for a time.  His own self-examination causes Dex to doubt the reality of said evil presence causing him to kill, eventually arriving at the conclusion that the whole thing may be nothing more than a story he tells himself so that he doesn’t need to take responsibility for his actions.

And since things can’t go two minutes on the show without getting complicated, Hannah’s father comes-a-calling.  He claims he’s trying to make peace with her for all the shitty stuff he did when she was a child, but in reality he’s just looking for a hand-out.  He threatens to let loose some incriminating information about one of Hannah’s earlier kills if she or Dex doesn’t hand over a pile of cash.  After Dex has to give up his kill on the arsonist, he instead goes after the father even though it doesn’t meet his code.  Unfortunately for Hannah, Dex is a bit too late and dear daddy has already left an anonymous tip with the police, sending Deb on the hunt again as she tries to put her brother’s love behind bars.

In the meanwhile, Quinn resolves his problems with the Russian mob while creating even more.  He finds out that bad guy George is going to send his lady to work in a sex club and takes a trip to deal with the situation.  Things get out of hand, some bullets are exchanged and the show is minus one strip-joint owner.  Quinn frames it up to make it look like self-defense, but Angel is there to doubt him.  Still, Angel keeps Quinn’s secret despite his suspicions, even going so far as to let Nadya bolt instead of hanging out to act as a witness.  In addition, LaGuerta steadily pursues her leads, making even more connections between Dex and the framing of Doakes as the Bay Harbor Butcher.

 

This latest episode harkens back to earlier seasons of Dexter with more of a cop show feel.  Dex is hunting like he used to, albeit with more complications in his life to make his routine less than optimal.  There’s a bit of a break from the heavy psychological development that’s been permeating the first half of the season, but there’s still a major turning point in Dexter’s self-realization about his dark passenger not being quite what he thought.

Dexter’s changes will no doubt pan out over the course of the next and final two episodes of the season.  He’s broken his code and relinquished his excuses for killing, potentially sending him into a transformation that could make him just as bad as the people he normally hunts.  Add to that a girlfriend that makes no excuses and Dex could be in for a very bad ending.  Eventually, the confrontation with LaGuerta will have to happen and when it does Dex might be willing to start taking out anyone who gets in his way.

Downward spiral coming?  We shall have to see how it develops over the next two weeks and then wait another year to hear the punch-line.  Until then, keep rooting for Dex, for we may be saying goodbye to all his humanity in the near future.

Category: reviews, TV

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