Dexter season 7 episode 10 review: The Dark...Whatever

Review Billy Grifter 4 Dec 2012 - 10:03

With just two episodes of the season to go, Billy feels Dexter is winding down, rather than up...

This review contains spoilers.

7.10 The Dark... Whatever

When they killed off Isaak last week I got a bad, bad feeling, and in some respects The Dark...Whatever reinforced some of that concern. But before I talk about what was wrong here, there were some excellent parts too, most notably Hannah's father, played by the superb Jim Beaver.

In many ways the introduction of this character for one episode only, was purely to give Hannah a more fleshed-out backstory, explaining who she was and where she'd come from. Her initial reaction to him seemed odd, and when characters recount things that happened to them in their childhood, you're never utterly convinced they happened. But as the story progressed you realised that Clint was all the things that Hannah described and more.

The only downside to this is it tied into a very extreme turn in the Dexter profile, where seemingly spontaneously they decided, after nearly seven seasons, that the Dark Passenger just didn't exist. I don't really buy this entirely, because I see Harry as the Light Passenger, and he's still around. That Dexter takes responsibility for what he does is interesting, but the idea of the passenger has been a supporting pillar of the character from the outset, and it was despatched quicker than one of his victims.

What it did achieve was to allow Dexter to break the code, which is now more of a guideline we can assume, and kill Clint, who while obnoxious, wasn't a killer. Actually, by the time that part of the story came along, Jim Beaver had done such a good job on making Clint completely without redemption, that I'd entirely forgotten the 'code' and just wanted him dead.

But after Dexter came back to Hannah and told her Clint wasn't coming back (and she knew why, surely) I kept thinking back to Randall's final words about Hannah, where he said, 'She just thinks I'm a killer'. Is that what Hannah does, takes the supernatural element out of what they do and exposes them to the cold hard reality of what they've done? She's the mirror that they look into and see their true self. Maybe.

I'd hoped that Dexter would catch up with George Novikov, but it was Joey Quinn who shot him, probably not before time. What's the money that George's office has a hidden camera, recording what really happened? Even if he didn't, I can't see the Brotherhood are going to take well to the number of their order who have died in Miami recently.

What I wasn't a fan of was the arsonist story, with its rather obvious candidate that wasn't the killer. This got wrapped up too quickly, and the scene where Dexter was about to kill him when the cops arrived, and somehow reorganised the kill room in about thirty seconds. That was a stretch, but surely the kid will say what really happened when they interview him? And, Dexter's DNA would be in the fire suite to support that.

Those are possible directions, but a certainty is that LaGuerta and Mathews are putting the jigsaw pieces together that reveal Dexter as the Bay Harbor Butcher. The only catch I can see is that everything, with the possible exception of the blood slide, is circumstantial. They don't have one item that directly ties Dexter to any killing, enough to make an arrest. But the longer this goes on, the more likely it is they'll find something.

Despite the great Jim Beaver appearance, and the progressions in both character and plots, I couldn't help feeling that Dexter was winding down and not up, as it should be with two episodes to go this season.

Unless something very dramatic happens in the next story, it's looking increasingly likely that the transition into the final Dexter season will be a smooth one. Yet, I can't accept that they won't throw a massive cliff-hanger in at the end to make sure people are tuned in next fall for the final instalments.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, Helter-Skelter, here.

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I dont think Dexter put off killing the arsonist because he heard the cops coming, or 'rearranged the kill room in 30 seconds'. It was just the editing of that scene. It was as he was telling the arsonist that he cant blame someone else for his actions, that he realised he was basically talking about himself. Thats why he said "F&*K", not because he heard sirens. He had his epiphany moment, then knocked the guy out again, tidied up the room in his own time, took his leave, and later called in the tip (as a 'neighbour') that he smelt kerosine from the house, bringing the cops there.
I thought it was a good episode but was also surprised by the quick despatch of George, and by Joey instead of Dexter. It leaves the season without a real threat going into the last episodes - unless Hannah is playing Dexter for a fool or something.

At first I also thought the police was outside the door while Dexter was in the kill room, but then they mentioned that they got an anonymous call and that was obviously Dexter pointing them to the Phantom, meaning he'd had plenty of time to rearrange the crime scene. This episode really helped me to like Hannah and trust her, especially that tiny moment in which she, devastated after being accused of having killed her mother, tries to put the plant into the pot and fails while falling apart crying. It's her way of atoning, I guess, for all the lives she's killed by growing plantlife. And I loved the deconstruction of the Dark Passenger and Dexter's epiphany as he takes responsibility for his actions, but that makes him killing Hannah's father even worse. Not only does that make him no different than any other killer, but he's slipped up and now the cops will have an angle on him, namely Deb, in the disappearance of Hannah's father, since he will be the first suspect after Hannah. Then by being tied to Jiminez gives him a direct link to the Bay Harbour Butcher. By being distant, cold and separated, without emotion, he's always managed to keep himself out of the spotlight, but now it's clear that every time he's acted on personal matters, like the killer of his mom and Hannah's father...those are the mistakes that will cost him. Judging by the trailer for next week LaGuerta clearly intends to bait Dexter with the ringleader of the gang that killed his mother and Dexter's emotions, which for years he claimed not to have and now has embraced, will play right into their hands. It seems his cold logic, while always saving the day, made him feel disconnected from his humanity, and now he embraces his humanity he commits crimes of passion which will cost him dearly. There used to be two sides of Dexter: the Dark Passenger and the human Dexter, and now they've merged into one...or it was always the same except Dexter has been deluding himself to absolve him of the guilt of responsibility...and Dexter has become a nasty, selfish murderer that deserves whatever's coming to him. However, at the same time his actions have only been ever to protect his loved ones. Like Quinn, he killed to help his lover. It's tricky morality...which I love about this show. I hope they will pitch Quinn vs Dexter next season and bring all the storylines together. I thought Deb was going to be the Big Bad, but she's already made her choices and suffering because of it...see the Checkov's Pill Bottle. She's going to lose it. Maybe LaGuerta will end up dead. Batista will be corrupted like Deb. And only the ironically twisted but completely oblivious Masuka will come out of this without a blemish.

I think your ideas about the arsonist story are way off the mark. The room was smokey and I don't think he ever got a good look at Dexter as well as inhaling a lot of kerosine fumes. Only Deb would believe him if he remembered anything and she isn't going to report it. LaGuerta is the captain now and doesn't interview suspects. Can't see any possible backlash from this. Also, your complaint that it was all wrapped up too quickly, I think, is based on the belief that he was going to be a "big bad" in the absence of Issak. He was only ment to be a "kill of the week" and was dispatched as such.

Please refrain from mentioning what is in the trailer for next week. Many people don't watch them (myself not included) because they tend to be very spoilery. At least use a Spoiler Alert.

Ditching the Dark Passenger may have felt a bit sudden, but it was necessary if he's going to get rid or LaGuerta and/or Mathews. I'm sure it will be back.

It may have seemed like it was winding down, but is that a red herring to shock us all next week, i bloody hope so. The finale to this season, I see, being between Dexter, Debs, and Hannah, something outstanding and heartbreaking, akin to the end of the Trinity Killer series.

I'm still miffed at why Dex left the arsonist alive. I get that he wanted to placate Deb's wish for him
to butt out of police cases, but it seems very risky that he left him
alive after wrapping him in plastic and talking to him. At least have
him fully suffocate and stage his death. Even if it was smokey and the dude couldn't see dexter, he still A)Heard his voice/knows hes a man, and B) knows that he was wrapped up in plastic... If the phantom blabs about
being wrapped up in plastic by some guy, a la bay harbor butcher style,
that would be enough for the LaGuerta/Matthews storyline to be pushed
over the edge.

Also...If and/when that storyline does boil
over, that makes the whole loss of the dark passenger much more
important. Seems convenient that he loses his code right as he's
seemingly about to be exposed...If he's willing to kill people who don't
fit his code because he wants to, whats to stop him from trying to kill
LaGuerta or Matthews in an attempt to save his skin?

Prediction: Dexter is going to go over the edge with this "I kill for
fun" kick, and try (and maybe succeed?) to take out LaGuerta and/or
Matthews. In doing so, Deb is going to find out or catch him in the act,
and try to arrest him. I don't know if she'll actually get to arrest
him or if Dexter will flee, but either way, I'm predicting this to be
the springboard into the last season: Dexter on the lamb, fleeing from
his sister and Miami Metro.

The shot to Debs pill bottle after she pops a few of em is pretty important...Given the fact that she falls asleep at the wheel and gets in an accident (very much like one of Hannah's victims) in the next episode, the natural inclination is for Dexter to blame Hannah, therefor causing a rift between them and possibly setting up for a killer v killer showdown rather than romance...But I think that Deb really passes out due to the pills shes taking...

I am starting to like Dexter less because it seems he is losing some of the morality he once had by abandoning Harry's code. He killed a non-murderer who was just an asshole to protect a killer. Hannah is a sociopath who deserves to get caught and go to jail anyway.

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