recaps / television

Surprise, Motherfucker! A Dexter Season 7 Lookback and Finale Recap

 

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The Finale, Season 7, Episode 12 “Surprise Motherfucker” by Eva

This finale starts with the scene we’ve all been waiting to see. Some of us with excitement and some of us with dread. But come on, we all knew it had to happen at some point. Miami Metro had to wise up eventually, right? Right? Well it seems the only person who did was Capt. LaGuerta. LaGuerta, who I loved to hate (emphasis on the hate) finally thinks she’s got her man and can clear her man Doakes’ name. But once again, Dexter outsmarts everyone else. He played it perfectly while he was being arrested and in the interrogation room, just enough surprise, a little indignant, and he is able to get our free and clear. If LaGuerta drops it that is.

Also the scene between Dexter and Hannah at the jailhouse I think was a perfect sendoff for them. Dexter has finally found true love (in the perfect character too, way to go writers) and he has to give her up for Deb. A little karma coming back to him I think, in his “sacrifice”. And look, even kissing Hannah can be dangerous. Also I love how Hannah was so sure it would have eventually been Dexter behind bars, not her.
My favorite moments in this episode were the Doakes flashbacks. Not only did we get a glimpse into what I am assuming is the beginning of Dexter’s career at Miami Metro, but the excellent Doakes is back. PS, did it take anyone else way too long to figure out we got our episode title from Doakes? Nice homage!Two things that bothered me about this episode; why is Angel trying to help LaGuerta out and how in the world does she still expect people, like Capt. Matthews to help her out when all she does is screw people over?

Irony much: Deb and Dexter discussing how they’re going to get out of yet another fucked up situation WITH La Strada in the trunk.

Also can I just say how much I love when Dexter learns life lessons and gets advice from the people he’s about to kill. He is about to KILL them, they are murderers and they STILL know more about life than he does. Here his dilemma between the code and getting himself and his sister caught is made easier by La Strada; “I’ve never killed for normal reasons”.

It was a nice little surprise to see Jaimie giving it to Quinn, clearly that girl can take care of herself AND she’s the best nanny in the world.

Back to Hannah, who escaped custody and left a flower (I think an orchid) at Dexter’s door. Loving parting gift or creepy warning?

The acting award in this episode goes to Jennifer Carpenter. Not only did Deb have a great shocked face when LaGuerta brought Dexter into the station and accused him of being the Bay Harbor Butcher but the scene at the docks!!! Her clear struggle between her brother and what is right, her pain and immediate regret after shooting LaGuerta. It (almost) made me sad she did it.

Best Quotes, both from Doakes to Dexter:
“I’ve never seen someone so excited about a crime scene before”-clear insight, obviously
“You glide like a fucking lizard on ice.”

Burning question: Can a tranq really work that quickly? There is about .25 seconds between injection (and by injection I mean brushing the syringe against their skin) and lights out. A bit nerdy I know but it seriously irks me.

Ok that’s it for me. It was sort of an exhausting season. Not the best. Not the worst. But it ended with enough up in the air that I remain excited for season 8.

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A Look Back at Dexter Season 7, by Erin

It’s quite odd when you’ve been watching a show consistently through the years. I watched season one of Dexter on On Demand during midterms week my Junior year of high school. I was hooked. I also got a D on my Precalc exam. We won’t talk about it. What we will talk about is how Dexter has gone from the most compelling new show on television, to a semi-compelling, kind of guilty pleasure veteran of television.

To be fair I made fun of most of season six. My roommate and I constantly referred to Colin Hanks as “Tom Hanks But Not” and cajoled Dexter for some of his sillier inner monologues. The only thing that really revved me up for season seven was the final scene where Deb caught him in the act. Upon watching it, I actually jumped off my couch and screamed “No!” Since season five, when they first teased us with Deb finding out the truth, I’d always thought that it would ruin her. She couldn’t find out. But to get on with the show, it had to be done.

I entered this season with my pants practically falling off with excitement. I also finally figured out why they introduced the bizarre Deb-loves-Dex storyline. Her feelings and thoughts needed to be fucked up and messy in order to justify not arresting him on the spot. Deb from seasons one, two, three or four absolutely would have done so. This Deb, however, helped Dexter without question. And thus began Dexter’s exciting, if not overwhelming, seventh season.

It’s pretty hard to structure a season look back when there were so. many. damn. storylines. happening. I kind of don’t even know where to begin. Isaak Sirko? Hannah McKay? LaGuerta’s manhunt? Maybe I’ll start with Quinn falling for a nice stripper and being blackmailed into being a dirty cop again? Actually, that about covers that.

Really if you strip down the season, at its core is a journey for both Debra and Dexter as individuals, and they change dramatically but believably from beginning to end.

Udexter011112Dexter finally shared who he was with someone who didn’t need it, get off on it, or want to copy it. Actually, he shared it with three people this season. Is that a record? This season it was clear that the barrier between Dexter Morgan: model citizen and Dexter Morgan: Bay Harbor Butcher began to crumble. Though Debra remained ambivalent throughout the season. (we’ll get to that) about the entire thing, she accepted finally that she couldn’t change or stop her brother from killing. Isaak Sirka, a Ukrainian mobster with a British accent (so fucking classy, really) went from hunting Dexter to respecting him and wanting to understand him. And finally, Hannah McKay, former teen Badlands-esque killer all grown up into poisoner, finds herself go from Dexter’s chopping block to his bed in a matter of seconds and literally treats his serial killerness like a quirk similar to “Hey btw honey I’m really really obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons.” “Okay do what you need to do, sweetie.” It’s kind of awesome.

But because these barriers were lifted so freely by Dexter this season, other barriers began to fall. Hannah challenged his “Dark Passenger” (hallelujah!) and good ol’ Dex finally accepted that he was not controlled by some dark force within him, but that he himself wanted and liked to kill. It was at once freeing and terrifying, since he killed Hannah’s scumbag father as his first foray into this new self-exploration. Truth be told, though, the audience has witnessed Dexter skirt around his “code” a whole hell of alot over the past few years. The only new development was his self-awareness of it.

Sadly, what Dexter didn’t gain self-awareness of this season was his unnerving, unfailing selfishness. It’s a really frustrating and a really realistic character trait that he’s always possessed, but for some reason it was more apparent than ever this season. In fact, I found myself at odds with Dexter during the first half of the season as he often left Deb with her head barely above water, trying not to drown. He barely gave her an inch in compromise too, whereas Deb compromised and risked everything for him. Repeatedly.

Speaking of Deb, I am usually on the Deb is a beautiful and fragile snowflake train and I only ever want her to be happy. (But also Jennifer Carpenter is a really good crier. Like ruuully good, so I’m conflicted). I was really invested in her emotional turmoil at the start of the season. I pitied her efforts to cure Dexter when I knew it was futile and I really enjoyed her journey into Dexter’s way of thinking. It was difficult for her to navigate through that moral ambiguity. She wasn’t built for it, and it was fascinating to watch.

12.09.12_6But then in walks Hannah McKay. Is she a divisive character? I’m really not sure. A friend of mine immediately hated her the second she showed up and I immediately loved her. In fact, I loved her so much that I completely dropped my Deb-love in favor of Hannah-love mid-season. Played with gorgeous fragility and entrancing danger by Yvonne Strahovski, Hannah kind of stole the show. Dexter, fixated on her and of course a confused little boy, wanted to kill her. Until he realized he actually wanted to fuck her. Which he did, on his own kill table. Hannah is inhumanely un-judgy. Ugh, love her.

The catch is that Deb and Hannah are complete foils of each other. One is calm, the other erratic. One is blonde, the other brunette. Accepting, judgmental. Cagey, blunt. It goes on. Deb’s immediate and burning hatred for Hannah was wholly in character but immeasurably frustrating as she ignored all of the hypocrisy of her hunting down Hannah while turning a blind eye to Dexter’s killing. Of course, those messy Deb feelings for Dexter were the main reason. Her resolve to catch Hannah heightened once she found out she and Dexter were together. It affected her so much, in fact, that she blurted out that she was in love with him. It was heartbreaking and uncomfortable and Jennifer Carpenter should have an Emmy now, thank you. That love-bombpicture-of-jason-gedrick-in-dexter-large-pictureshell was brushed under the rug mighty fast though…

Crap! All of this Dexter, Hannah, Deb stuff got me going and I haven’t even mentioned that LaGuerta was SO on to Dexter the entire season. The last episode really saddened me though because everyone and their mother was Gaslighting LaGuerta and she was 100% right about everything. And Isaak Sirka died but not by Dexter’s hand. They shakily worked together and bonded and everything. Bromance bloomed. It was great. Miss him.

And then Hannah, ever the survivalist, poisoned Deb and really convincingly lied about it. But Dexter is a super sleuth as well as a really efficient killer so he found out and then turned her in. Harsh. Hannah was right, he shoulda killed her. That’s what any decent serial killer would do to another serial killer. PRAISE EVERYTHING though because Hannah poisoned herself and then escaped from the hospital and left a black orchid at Dexter’s door and she better return but she better not kill him and he better not kill her because they’re in LOVE DAMMIT.

Phew. I know, sorry. I was a Lumen fan too. I’m surprised by how much I love Hannah McKay. I love her so much that I grew so completely sick of Deb. I just wanted Dexter to tell her to shove it already, which was insensitive of me considering everything she’s sacrificed for him and everything she went through this season (and throughout the entire series let’s be real).

But I soon realized that my annoyance with Deb was ultimately superficial. Once again, Dexter’s selfish actions caused her to compromise her own values – to the most extreme extent. Debra finds Dexter in the compromising position between a dead man and an unconscious LaGuerta – whom he was planning to kill and make it look like the two killed each other in order to tie up his problems into a nice, tidy bow. LaGuerta wakes up and urges Deb to shoot her brother because she’s a good cop, a good person, she’s not like him. Dexter, in either his first act of selflessness or a highly manipulative turn, raises his hands in surrender and gives himself up to Deb, telling her, “Do what you have to do.”

vlcsnap-2012-12-17-21h00m34s52This is why I think Dexter was being a manipulative fucker. They both know what she has to do. They can’t let LaGuerta leave there alive. Even if she shot and arrested her own brother, Deb knows she’s an accessory to so many crimes, she’d never get through it. She couldn’t trust that LaGuerta would let her off the hook either. Also she loves her brother, God knows why at this point.

Deb shoots LaGuerta through hysterical sobs and immediately runs to her, holding her lifeless body and screams. Apparently it wasn’t scripted. Jennifer Carpenter knows her damn character, that’s for sure. I used to think that finding out about Dexter would ruin her. I was wrong. It almost did. This will surely ruin her. It was heartbreaking, and solidified that Debra Morgan truly is the heart of this show.

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