We’ve arrived at the half-way point of Dexter season seven – finally here in the UK on FOX – marked by the pretty inappropriate sight of Dexter jumping his victim Hannah McKay on an execution table in a snowy Santa’s Grotto. If the moment bordered a bit on the ridiculous it wasn’t helped by the sense that so far their relationship, like a lot of elements this season, feels bolted on and yet to really matter in the scheme of things.
Overall it’s been a pick-and-mix season of different plot strands – besides the big showdown between Deborah and Dexter, there’s the Ukrainian gangsters, Louis the creepy intern, LaGuerta’s covert investigations, as well as Dexter’s pursuit of Hannah McKay. That said, these six episodes are far and away an improvement on the doldrums of the previous season, with a far stronger handle on the characters.
It’s also been fun to see the writers dealing with the unwanted leftovers from last season, with several elements downplayed or thrown away this time around. Last season we had Joey’s endless tiff with Angel, which threatened to drag on with disciplinary action, but in episode one all that was neatly cleared up in a single scene as they made amends over a couple of shots at the bar.
Detective Mike from Chicago, the major new character introduced last season to absolutely no function, briefly stopped to help a stranded motorist in the first episode and was shot in the head for his trouble. It was nice of the other characters to pretend that Mike’s death was a big deal; meanwhile it also neatly set in motion many of the events this season, as Dexter took revenge on the Brotherhood gangster responsible and Isaak Sirko began his pursuit of Dexter.
The lamest horse from season six, Intern Louis, was quickly downgraded from potential Dexter nemesis to a petty, unhinged nerd. At least Dexter’s disbelief was amusing, discovering that Louis was just put out over Dexter’s dismissal of his personal project – “This is just about a computer game??!” We only had to wait until episode three to be rid of pesky Louis, interrupted while sabotaging Dexter’s boat and shot in the head by the mob, Chicago-Mike style. It’s anyone’s guess what the writers last season really had in mind for all this, but Louis’ swift exit was much appreciated.
Deb’s big revelation of her love for Dexter has only been briefly touched on in the first couple of episodes – is this a way of discreetly phasing it out, or will it come back into play later on? Following the long-running subplot of Deb investigating their family secrets, it seemed a waste to discard that thread with no pay-off, only for her to discover Dexter’s secret via a random declaration of love.
Whether or not the writers eventually get away with this twist, the way it was played out with Deb rushing to tell Dexter as soon as humanly possible was contrived and illogical. If this show has a potential jump the shark moment, that might well have been it.
Reflected through Deb our view of Dexter has started to shift; he now appears increasingly impulsive in his bids to stay in control of his life, while unwilling to grasp his situation beyond straying from Harry’s code – “I’m trying to make things go back to the way they were.” Ray Speltzer, the guy with the horned helmet and his own personal death-maze, ranks as one of the series’ most demented psychos. When Dexter finally killed Speltzer and Deb admitted she was glad, it seemed Dexter’s desire to continue killing may have won out, which doesn’t bode well for the future.
While the Ukrainian Brotherhood started out as minor characters, Isaak Sirko looks like being a major player in the final half of the season. Quite how he might tie into the larger scheme of things isn’t clear – just as we’re still unsure of his relation to Victor, the gangster he wants to avenge – but its clear he won’t be staying in jail long.
It keeps looking like the show is about to step up a gear, but so far all these separate plot strands have yet to really gel. Hopefully now everything is lined up the show will finally deliver in the next six episodes.
Watch out for our Dexter Season 7 Finale Review coming soon and check out the Season 7 so far trailer below: