Before even starting this week’s episode of Dexter, I had some high expectations. This is the second-to-last episode of the season and it’s an important point where the story can be broken by poor writing. There are issues that need to be resolved while at the same time tension needs to be built for the eighth and final season. Sometimes, writers can push things to the side, resolving story arcs in half-assed ways because they really weren’t as important as viewers thought they were the entire season. Dexter has fallen flat in previous years, but this time they managed to pull through.
When we left off last episode, Deborah had a lead that could possibly pin down her brother’s girlfriend, Hannah. Dexter was breaking his code and killing just because people were in his way. He’s all messed up in love and making bad decisions. LaGuerta was getting closer and closer to finding out Dexter’s little secret. And Quinn had officially become a murderer himself, putting a bullet into a Russian to save his lady stripper. It’s the chaos typical of Dexter and there are only two episodes to get the majority of it resolved as well as set up for the last season.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP
This week’s episode, ‘Do You See What I See?’ has Dexter seriously thinking about his future. He’s digging on Hannah and has visions of growing old with her and living a somewhat normal life. Not the artificial normal that he tried to do with Rita back in the day, but a nice sort of normal with a lady that doesn’t give two shits that he’s a killer. But, of course, nothing is that simple.
While Deborah is investigating Hannah, she ends up blacking out in her car and having an accident. The first suspect is, naturally, Hannah with her mad poisoning skills. She just happened to have visited Deb the night before, trying to make peace with her for Dexter’s sake (and the sake of her own continued freedom) and the nature of Deb’s brush with death is way too close to Hannah’s MO. Dexter suspects something and so does a bit of investigating, finding a water bottle filled with anti-anxiety medicine that Deb was drinking while on her drive. Who put the drugs in the water? Dexter figures it was Hannah and has to make the hard choice between his sister and the woman he loves.
As poor Dex deals with all this crap, he also has to deal with LaGuerta and her side-kick Matthews. Since Dex is a suspect in LaGuerta’s “who is the real Bay Harbor Butcher?” investigation, Matthews goes to question him. Dex strikes back against those trying to pin him down and plants some evidence for them to find that further implicates Doakes. Matthews appears to buy it, but LaGuerta is still not convinced and has one more play to make before giving up. Luckily for her, the last living killer who took out Dex’s parents is up for parole. She pulls a few strings so the guy can walk and then waits for Dex to go hunting. Dex finds out in the nick of time, but things go to shit and now our favorite serial killer is in danger of being caught for sure. But that will have to wait until next episode.
This episode shifts gears to a less physically confrontational format and concentrates on the various players trying to outsmart each other. There’s Hannah vs. Deb, Dex vs. LaGuerta and eventually Dex vs. Hannah. They each make their moves and while at one moment Dex and Hannah appear to be on top of things, the next moment shows that they’re really in deep shit.
It’s nice to see the mind games taking precedence for a change. It gives the show a different focus but still manages to build tension levels and keep them high. Past seasons have tended to rely on Dexter making the last moves of his hunt in order to prepare for the last episode resolve, but since the writers know there’s only one more season they can plan accordingly. I’m guessing there’ll be more than one cliff-hanger waiting for us next Sunday.
Another thing I noticed about this episode is that the maneuvers of each character are more plausible than they have been in previous years. One thing that’s always bugged me about Dexter before has been the way half-assed, shoehorn excuses have dominated problem resolution. This time around, I wasn’t rolling my eyes whenever one person outsmarted the other.
And so, all the pieces are in place to wind up the seventh season of Dexter. Our hero is in danger of being caught, Hannah is out of his life (yet another blow to push Dex over the edge) and while Deborah is still on his side, for how much longer remains to be seen.
Check back next week for a review on the season finale. It better be a good one, or I’ll probably cry a lot.