Dexter, Season 7, Episode 7: Chemistry, Review

Dexter suffers it's, by now, totally predictable mid-season slump. But at least that seems to be leading to some more sex for the lead character . . .

Dexter, in its run as a series, has notoriously struggled with midseason action. When watching the show on DVD in marathon, this fact can be glossed over or ignored, but when watching every Sunday at airtime you can’t help but notice the show lose momentum around the halfway point. This season has proved no different. The introduction of Hannah McKay and the building of her and Dexter’s relationship has allowed the show to simmer after all of the heat that the writers showcased in the first quarter of the season. Momentarily shelving the threatening Isaak in favor of another romantic interest for Dexter not only has seemed unnecessary, but also redundant. We’ve seen Dexter in so many similar relationships with women that Hannah only feels like a composite of all of Dexter’s past lovers. She has a dark side like Lila, she kills and knows Dexter’s secret like Lumen and she’s a knockout blonde that Dexter thinks needs protecting, like Rita. We’ve seen Dexter contemplate having dangerous friends before too, like Miguel Prado in season three. With other plot elements, like Isaak’s pending revenge, Deb’s discovery and LaGuerta’s curiosity in the Bay Harbor Butcher case, the addition of Hannah McKay only distracts from the other storylines that have more potential, and wastes time retreading over familiar ground. 

The show opens on Dexter right where we left him last week, spent from high-emotion sex on his kill table with Hannah. The voiceover tells us about the chemistry that the two share and confirms to us that Dexter’s intense pursuit of Hannah was only a way of channeling his powerful attraction to her. While Dexter is thinking, Hannah picks up the nearby knife that almost took her life and holds it to Dexter’s throat. Dexter reveals his secret and Hannah lowers her guard. The shared secrets of the two leads to more copulation and, at a day break, an awkward ride home. The two decide that they need to stay away from each other and Hannah has Dexter promise that he will not further pursue her to kill her. As Dexter drops her off, seemingly for the last time, complications arise. True crime novelist Sal Price, working on his new book about McKay, witnesses Dexter taking McKay home. Immediately Dexter goes to confront Price, who starts detailing how Dexter will fit into the book. Price says he will reveal that Dexter purposely botched the blood work on the last two Wayne Randall victims. Not wanting the exposure or the threat to his job, Dexter barters with Price, telling him that he will recount Wayne Randall’s last words and final thoughts before he died if he agrees to omit Dexter from the book. Price contemplates the offer,and Dexter realizes as he drives away the he needs to silence Price, to protect not only himself, but Hannah as well. 

Price’s theories about McKay get Deb interested in her case as well. Deb, like Dexter, is suspicious about McKay’s husband’s sudden death. She tracks down the departed husband’s sister, who agrees to have her brother’s body dug up and examined to search for poisoning. Upon finally getting to the body, Deb finds only bones left inside the casket. Hannah purposely made sure her husband’s body was not embalmed to avoid this type of post-mortem investigation. This only lights a bigger fire under Deb, with her now pining to bring Hannah to justice.

Meanwhile, Dexter and Hannah’s plans to quit seeing each other predictably fail, with the two meeting up to discuss what they will do about Price. Dexter makes it clear to Hannah that he cannot just kill Price, because he doesn’t fit inside the code. Hannah inquires why Dexter follows his code and prods him to envision a life without a code and the pleasures that it would bring. Dexter shrugs all of this off, stating that Price doesn’t need to die and promises that he’ll handle the situation himself. This all isn’t good enough for Hannah though. She pretends to give Price a tell-all interview, but only arranges the meeting to poison Price. While those two are talking, Dexter breaks into Price’s home. He plans on collecting DNA to frame Price for one of the unsolved murders that he depicted in one of his books. When it’s time for Dexter’s one on one with Price, Dexter reveals his plan to him, only to watch him have heartache while reacting to Dexter’s devious plan. Price dying in Dexter’s apartment is too close a call for Dexter and he goes to Hannah to vent his frustration. When the two begin detailing their separate plans to each other, they both realize that they were eacg motivated by a desire to protect the other (which is monumental for these self-centered sociopaths). They proceed to make love again, but afterwards Dexter receives a phone call from Deb. After Price’s death, Deb is convinced of Hannah’s guilt, although Price’s tox screen didn’t reveal any poison in his system, with Hannah using a poison that was “untraceable” to off Price. While lying next to Hannah, Deb tells Dexter over the phone that she wants him to kill Hannah. This turnaround for Deb, her first wanting Dexter to abstain from killing and now explicitly asking him to kill, is far too quick and unrealistic as a change of heart and it also ensures that Hannah McKay will definitely stay among the major players of this season, with her now a key interest of both Dexter and Deb. 

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In other more exciting news, Isaak is released from prison after Quinn steals the blood evidence linking him to the murders. Being tailed by police, Isaak must wait to take his revenge on Dexter, but it doesn’t mean he can’t try and intimidate him. While Dexter is having lunch, Isaak approaches him and questions what motivated him to kill Viktor. Not one to be scared off, Dexter mercilessly recounts how he killed Viktor. This scene, the two monsters trying to evoke fear in each other, is by far the highlight of the episode, with both actors genuinely inducing terror in their eyes. With the threatening force to be reckoned with, Isaak ,out of prison, hopefully the pulse of this season will rise again.

The Best of the Rest

  • Deb has terrible luck with men, with another love interest being killed off.
  • Batista continues to be uncharacteristically astute, sensing that Quinn may have stolen the blood evidence.
  • It is revealed that Hannah killed her husband after he pressured her to get an abortion, an attempt to make the viewer more sympathetic towards this killing vixen.
  • How did Hannah get the poison on Price’s pen?
  • Quinn, assumingly out of guilt, gives Batista $10,000 for his restaurant.
  • LaGuerta, after admitting that she may be reaching for leads to Deb, is seen at the end of the episode still looking over BHB evidence and lingering over Dexter’s name.