Dexter season 7 episode 5 review: Swim Deep

Billy wonders if Dexter's taking a breather or blowing bubbles in this episode. Here's his review...

Did Dexter cruise a little this week, or are we entering one of the shows sand-piling sequences? However it’s interpreted, Swim Deep wasn’t the most gripping story we’ve been presented with. But in amongst the preparation work, there were some glorious moments that are worth celebrating. It’s pleasing that LaGuerta has been playing detective as an alternative to screwing with her co-workers this year, and finally it’s started to pay off. She’s worked out that Doakes wasn’t the Bay Harbor Butcher, but will she work out who really is?

The dilemma that this places Debra in was predictable, but no less fun. Deb’s profanity explosion in the elevator after finding out what LaGuerta’s been doing was a masterclass. It’s clear now that season 7 is indeed Debra’s journey more than Dexter’s, as she’s taken through the emotional blender. What’s good is that she’s accepted a number of things that she wasn’t clear on to begin with. Namely, that she’s not going to arrest her own brother, she’s not going to stop him killing, and she might have to cross a few lines to cover up his activities. The question she’s failed to answer yet is just how far she’s prepared to go when cornered, which I guess is what we’ll be tuning into the rest of the season to discover.

The Dexter/Hannah mutual appreciation society continues unabated, but now Dexter knows what his instinct told him previously: that Hannah was more than a bystander in the murder spree that Wayne unleashed. What’s less obvious is where she falls in the Dexter playbook, in terms of prey or not?I always liked Yvonne Strahovski in Chuck, because she was the glue that held that show together in many respects. Here she’s got a charm and sparkle that work exceptionally well with Michael C. Hall, and their scenes together are quite mesmerising. My only concern is that chatting a drama doesn’t make; we need Hannah to do something more dynamic than she’s offered so far.

Less convincing is the whole Isaac subplot, where they couldn’t seem to agree if they wanted to arrest him or not, based on what he might say. He was never going to speak to the cops, because if they found the tracking device is would probably contain a record of Victor’s movements, and proof he killed Travis. The scene where Dexter lures Isaac into a Columbian cartel bar was entertaining, especially the later analysis when we get to see that he doesn’t need a silenced pistol to dispatch people. My only concern is that he’s overly confident, and it’s his lack of researching Dexter Morgan that’s his undoing so far. I’m sure he’ll be back on the street soon, but the challenge here is for him to be removed without the whole Ukranian underworld coming after Dexter.

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Isaac’s relationship with Victor still isn’t defined, though I’m sure it will be revealed at some point. A side element to this is Joey Quinn, who we’re lead to believe is continuing his very long track record of poor decision making with yet another in taking the money. This might be a fake out, and maybe we’ll find out that he takes it into evidence at Miami Metro, but equally he might just keep it.

It’s times like that where Dexter can fall into a habit of messing with the audience because it can, which is a lazy alternative to building a narrative where a surprise is genuine rather than tactically constructed. It’s time for real revelations and development, and less smoke and mirrors.

Read Billy’s review of the last episode, Run, here.

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