- Air Date: 12/9/2012
- Directed By: Steve Shill
- Starring: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, C.S. Lee, Lauren Velez, Desmond Harrington, David Zayas, James Remar
- Guest Stars: Yvonne Strahovski, Geoff Pierson, Aimee Garcia, Nestor Serrano
We have come to the penultimate episode of the seventh season of DEXTER, a season that has already seen the death of a police officer (Mike Anderson), the death of the big bad guest star (Ray Stevenson’s excellent turn as Isaak Sirko), and a few other thorns in Dexter’s side falling into the reaper’s grasp. As we are reaching the end, it’s clear that none of these were the biggest obstacle in Dexter’s path after all: it’s been Deb and her knowledge of the truth all along, and his love for Hannah McKay clouding his judgment and pitting the two gals against each other, and Lieutenant LaGuerta’s reopening of the Bay Harbor Butcher investigation (which has added teeth in the past couple weeks).
Those are the balls being juggled in the air this episode, an hour setting us up for a barn burner of a finale, as per DEXTER’s usual. The episode begins with Dexter contemplating the future, with a vision of his gray-haired self still wielding a knife, a grown up Harrison off to school, and a still beautiful Hannah McKay tending the garden. Dexter has never thought about the future before, but his feelings for Hannah are changing that. It’s clear that she is the closest thing to a soul mate Dexter has found, and will probably ever find. The very things that Dexter loves about her — that she can take care of herself, that she’s a killer, that she accepts him completely — are exactly the things that have Deb on a warpath against her. Before Dexter threw him into the bay, Hannah’s father Clint tipped Deb off to a specter in his daughter’s past: Arlene, a woman who witnessed a murder that Hannah committed on their counselor at a halfway house. Deb searches her out, while Dexter gets a visit from Tom Matthews.
Matthews (the great Geoff Pierson, who has the best lines and delivery in the episode) reveals that LaGuerta has reopened the case and believes that Doakes was innocent and that Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher. Bomb dropped. Dexter, ever the actor, is flabbergasted, stunned, and shaken up by the accusation. Matthews, fortunately for Dexter, has a long standing loyalty for Dexter’s father and their family, and isn’t taking Maria seriously. Dexter hatches a plan to prove his innocence by proving Doakes’ guilt (again), by planting some good ole fashioned evidence. Of course, it’s Debra that has to do it, proving that she really does far too much for our antihero. Essentially, he links Doakes to an old marina/boathouse and plants knives/DNA at the scene. Matthews is convinced, but LaGuerta is far too stubborn to accept such an easy conclusion.
Further muddying up Dexter’s life, Estrada (Nestor Serrano), the only man left alive who was responsible for Dexter’s mother’s murder, is released from prison. It’s God giving Dex a Christmas present, Hannah thinks. Dexter is inclined to believe her, and begins to stalk his prey, to finish off the last person responsible for who he is today. They’re both idiots.
When Hannah discovers that Debra has met with Arlene and is threatening her livelihood, she pays her beau’s sister a visit. She comes and pleads for Deb to leave it alone, that Dexter is happy, that she is happy, that they love each other, and that this is significant for Dexter. Debra agrees, but won’t back down, and it’s clear that a face off is occurring, and it’s about to get serious. When Deb ends up in a car accident, having passed out behind the wheel, Dexter must consider the very real possibility that perhaps he’s not as safe with Hannah as he thought. Or…is Hannah completely innocent, changed for Dexter? Is Deb playing the puppeteer (yes is my guess)? This is the strength of this episode, because while you can have all the theories you want, you can see all sides of the puzzle fitting in perfectly, and either way, it’s about to get real serious next Sunday.