Dexter season 7 episode 8 review: Argentina

Review Billy Grifter 20 Nov 2012 - 18:10

Dexter delivers its characteristic combination of noir and farce, and one of the season's strongest episodes so far...

This review contains spoilers.

7.8 Argentina

As shows go, Dexter has more than its fair share of insanity, but this week it has pretty much set a new world record for being utterly bonkers.

But before I get to some of the really crazy stuff, this episode sort of shocked me in a mild way by introducing both Cody and Astor back into the Dexter story. Looking at my notes, they've not been in the show since episode twelve of season five, which seems like eons ago.

It's stretched credulity that Dexter has gotten away with avoiding his fathering responsibilities so much, so having them come back is only right. But it also creates more of a threat to those who Dexter cares about, and potential pressure points for Isaak to press.

But back to the events in this story, where Isaak is determined to kill Dexter irrespective of how this obsession is viewed by his Ukrainian paymasters. His attempt to kill him in the doughnut shop was somewhat sloppy from an execution perspective, but no less shocking when it happened.

But from the drama of that sequence, the show then descended into pure circus when Dexter meets another hit-man in Isaak's department and is forced to kill him due to the lack of a fifty/fifty deal. Dex wasn't 'the super' and he wasn't 'the Avon lady'. This was hilarious, but the mood swings this story went through meant that things soon got very serious again. Things massively unravel when he borrows Hannah's vehicle to trail Isaak and Debra realises that he's having a relationship with the women she just asked him to kill.

In terms of viewing, this scene was very tough-going, and that was up to the part where Debra starts talking about her feelings! The look on Dexter's face when she admits that she was in love with him was a marvellous combination of shock and confusion. When this subplot first appeared in the show I couldn't really believe that at any point she'd reveal these things to Dexter, which made it all the more dramatic. Given that by her own admittance she's more screwed up than even Dexter, I'm wondering if Debra's going to end up in a mental institution at some point in the narrative.

After the anguish of Debra's revelation, it was more than a mild relief to switch to the much easier bar confrontation between Dexter and Isaak. I'm loving how dry Ray Stevenson is making Isaak, and he's really funny too. His line when the police are investigating the body in his apartment, and comments on Dexter's blood analysis as 'like you were here' was a classic. 

There's no denying that Isaak has great charm, and in many ways he'll be missed when his segment of the story is done. Dexter has enough problems currently that he'd rather not be being stalked by him, but with the real relationship between Isaak and Viktor now explained, the outcome seems unavoidable. That's a shame, because Isaak and Dexter could be an unstoppable tag-team if they got together. I think logically Dexter needs to get rid of Jurg first, because the odds aren't in his favour with him around.

What else have we learned this week? Lots of minor things, like Joey is in too deep and Angel is very serious about getting out of Miami Homicide. I also realised that Vince laughs like Elmer Fudd, curiously. C.S. Lee has been massively underused this season, and I wish they'd bring him more into the story.

What's beginning to concern me is the fate the writers have in store for Angel Batista. The story of the cop who dies on his last day of work is an old one, but it does have the emotional twist that the show likes. I keep coming back to LaGuerta and wondering what is going to persuade her to drop this particular bone, and the only scenario I can come up with is that she sees Dexter kill Angel's assassin, and decides she'd rather not go any further. The only other option is that LaGuerta gets killed, which isn't beyond the bounds of possibility either.

Overall, this was one of the strongest Dexter stories for some time, though the somewhat manic mood changes did make it play like an odd combination of noir and farce. The notion of Argentina isn't that somewhere distant is so much better than where you currently are, but that it offers the possibility of not having the problems you're currently saddled with. Ultimately 'home' is being who you really are, and not a geographic location.

Episode nine is called Helter Skelter, presumably an allusion to Charles Manson, though I'm hoping it has a better outcome than those historical events. As the trailer reveals (as I previously predicted would happen), Hannah ends up captured by Isaak, which could easily be the last mistake he ever makes.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, Chemistry, here.

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