What a terrific episode of Dexter.
Continuing the theme of Season 7 - Deb vs. Dexter vs. his Dark Passenger vs. her confusion on how to control it - "Buck the System" featured a number of tense, intriguing discussions between brother and sister, while posing the legitimately difficult question:
Is Dexter a necessary evil in the world?
For years, Dexter has rambled about change and fitting in and whether he can just be a normal human being. But he can't be. We've all known this for awhile and it's been refreshing this season to hear Dexter admit as much.
But does that mean there's no place for him in society? It was fascinating to watch Dexter actually let Deb into his universe, to take her along to the suspect stakeout and attempt to explain his routine and his rationale for who he selects. He really is trying; not to change, but to adapt to this new situation.
It made sense Deb would reject the notion at first out of sheer shock and disgust that her brother is a serial killer, not to mention that pesky detail that she's a police captain assigned to uphold the law. But then she got a first hand look at Ray, at the fact that monsters really do exist in the world and it's a simple fact that the system can't always bring them to justice.
Can she sign off on Dexter's murderous habit? Can she openly approve and even assist him with the kills? Of course not. It would be far too abrupt a change.
But can Deb try to turn a blind eye? Absolutely. What's the alternative? Arrest her brother? Lose the most important person in her life and walk around knowing that person actually could have saved a few innocent lives? These are sincerely interesting, ethical questions.
Dexter has never really tackled them before. Viewers were introduced to the character as a killer and to the show as a very dark comedy. We were just meant to accept his urges and go along for the ride. However, to borrow the most overly-used phrase in the television reviewing business, the game has now changed and the fascination with Season 7 so far hasn't been any kind of action or suspense.
It's been the moral quandary into which Dexter has placed Deb. It's impossible not to wonder what one would do in her situation and equally as difficult to come up with an answer.
Other developments outside of sibling showdowns this week:
- Yvonne Strahovski debuted as Hannah McKay. It's not exactly hard to see why Chuck viewers were such big fans of the actress, but it's way too early to judge her role on Dexter. There's clearly a whole lot more to the character outside of her affection for plants.
- Please tell me Quinn's plan was always to pump the stripper... for information. Up until her admission that she was being asked to do the same to him, Quinn came across like he really was just trying to tap some more inappropriate ass.
- So long, Louis. The conclusion to this storyline felt a bit rushed and convenient. I was anxious to see how Dexter would deal with such a non-lethal nuisance in his life and the answer felt like a cop-out: he wouldn't. The foreign mob boss would do the job for him.
- But now that mob knows the name Dexter Morgan, opening up the cat-and-mouse game this series often pulls off so well.
What did everyone else think? How would you react if were you in Deb's shoes? And are you as on board for this vastly improved seventh season as I am?