- Air Date: 12/2/2012
- Directed By: Michael Lehmann
- Starring: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, C.S. Lee, Lauren Velez, Desmond Harrington, David Zayas, James Remar
- Guest Stars: Yvonne Strahovski, Jim Beaver, Mike Foy, Jason Gedrick, Geoff Pierson, Brett Rickaby, Katia Winter
- Author: Lauren Gussis, Jace Richdale, Scott Reynolds
Miami is clearly a terrible place. Another killer is on the loose in devil’s playground, this time, the Phantom Arsonist, who dons a fireproof suit and murders people with hungry flames, leaving the name “Bobby” at each crime scene. There have been five such “Bobby” sightings in two weeks, and Dexter suspects the arson investigator Phil Bosso (Brett Rickaby) is to blame. He’s slimy, awkward, too good at his job, and the perfect suspect (and entirely too…easy). While he promised Deb that his dark passenger wouldn’t get in the way of her and the Miami PD, Dexter isn’t really good at promises and self-control.
This episode explores the aforementioned dark passenger perhaps more than in any hour since we were first learning Dexter’s origin and needs in the first season. It’s a well-timed exploration, with girlfriend Hannah McKay being a unique sounding board with more insight than your average squeeze. Still, she doesn’t get it. She kills, and doesn’t have a name for it, it’s just a feeling, a compulsion, and she acts on it, unlike other, normal people. Throughout “The Dark…Whatever,” Dexter questions his motivations, his psyche and this dark passenger more than any episode since he almost abandoned Harry’s code. While the discussions and mechanics are sometimes laughable, the examination of Dexter’s guilt, his culpability in what he does, and how he (perhaps hypocritically) viewed/excused his kills up to this point, is fascinating stuff.
Enter Hannah’s awful father, Clint McKay, played by JUSTIFIED and DEADWOOD’s Jim Beaver (usually lovable; not so this time around). He’s out of prison, refreshed, happy, and turning a new leaf. Hannah wants to believe it, but Dexter and the audience are rolling their collective eyes when he talks about his idea for a crawdad business. Yeah right. And of course, he needs money. When Hannah refuses a $20,000 investment, things get nasty, and Dexter is forced to get involved.
Back at the office, news of Dexter’s relationship with Hannah becomes public knowledge thanks to the text sleuthing by Masuka in a great scene with Batista and Deb, who isn’t as thrilled as the rest that her brother is dating a known murderer. The Deb and Hannah standoff is coming, and more than anything, with the possible exception of LaGuerta’s re-investigation (joined by Geoff Pierson’s out of retirement Tom Matthews) into the Bay Harbor Butcher, their impending confrontation may be the most dangerous threat to Dexter’s life as he knows it.
Stuff between Quinn and George Novikov heat up in the lamest subplot of the show, as Dexter investigates Phil Busso and the Phantom Arsonist, as well as considering his options with Clint McKay. After this week, only two episodes remain, and while I have my theories (Deb makes Hannah her first kill, Deb is Hannah’s next kill, LaGuerta and Tom learn that Dex IS the Bay Harbor Butcher for sure, Dexter kills everybody, etc.), I honestly don’t have any firm idea what crazy cliffhanger Showtime is dreaming up this time around, and I can’t wait to find out, so long as it continues to propel the narrative forward like this stellar 7th season has excelled in doing.