Dexter season 7 episode 3 review: Buck The System

Dexter's imagination runs riot in Buck The System. Here's Billy's review...

This review contains spoilers.

7.3 Buck The System

After two intense episodes, it would be normal for the brakes to be applied somewhat in Buck the System, and they are in the early part of the story. The thrust of what happens, without microscopic analysis, is a continuation of the Dexter selling the idea to Debra that what he does has a place in the world. It’s a tough sell, but with unexpected help from serial killer Ray Speltzer, played by seasoned hard man actor Matt Gerald, it might be achievable.

What was good about this was Debra’s realisation that she’s not in control of this situation, and that as well meaning as she’s been, she’s unlikely to convert Dexter into a normal person any time soon. What transpires moves her somewhat from her original position, but not all the way over to Dexter’s end of the scale. It looks like over the course of the season she’ll eventually get there, possibly through the death of someone close to her.

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Which brings me neatly to Joey Quinn, who is sleepwalking into something he’s just not equipped to handle. The fact that he’s warned by his stripper friend that she’s been sent by the mob to keep an eye on things is clever, because it means she can’t really be caught out by him. That said, I find the scenes between them a bit painful, as Joey is a rather two-dimensional character and she’s hardly complicated. That he’s survived so long is something of a statistical anomaly, but I’d be really impressed if he makes it to season eight.

There’s a palpable tension that builds in the last third of this episode that you really don’t get often in TV shows, making you really wonder what will happen next. But if there was a disappointment, it must be the exit of Louis from the show. Not that I liked the character, I just wanted there to be more to him than it ultimately transpired. It was reasonably entertaining to see him outsmarted by Dexter, and ultimately coming to a sticky end trying to sink The Slice of Life. But the inescapable truth about Louis was that he was just a jerk, when the character looked like he was going to be much more interesting when first introduced.

What his departure does however, is bring the Koshka Brotherhood from being a background element right to the foreground. Isaac Sirko is a nasty piece of work, and the writers have even gone to the trouble of explaining why he sounds like an Oxford Don. It’s a cliche that all bad guys on American TV sound English, but Ray Stevenson (who comes from Northern Ireland) serves up a very charming sociopath to distract us from the banality of yet another British nemesis. Cliches put to one side, I did like the short exchange in the strip club between the two characters, where both realised that they were talking to someone important, even if the details at that point escaped them. (For trivia fans, Koshka means female cat in Ukranian, so my maternal grandmother tells me.)

As almost an aside, at the end of the story Dexter gets to meet Hannah McKay, played by the lovely Yvonne Strahovski, Sarah Walker from Chuck. There’s an immediate chemistry between them, and if you compare her, Rita and Luna, there’s rather a strong hint that Dexter is attracted to a certain female physical type. From the opposite perspective, as Hannah is the ex of Wayne ‘road pizza’ Randall, does she simply find killers attractive, or is there more to it than that? I hope so.

The highlights this week for me were the imagined killings, specifically the one in the Post Office, a place seemingly designed to make those who work there and those who use it uncontrollably homicidal. But Dexter imagining what he’d do only serves to underline that we’re a quarter of the way through the season and Dexter only has Victor to add to his slide collection.

In season seven, next week looks critical to this reviewer, because the show is either going to fall into the abyss that swallowed season six, or take flight, and I’m praying for the latter.

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Read Billy’s review of last week’s episode, Sunshine And Frosty Swirl, here.

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