Dexter Review: Lessons in Love

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For years, viewers have tuned in to Dexter for blood, violence, gore and some seriously dark humor.

But love? Romance? Sentiment? Until Dexter Season 7, these have not exactly been emotions associated with the long-running Showtime hit.

Indeed, we've seen plenty of episodes conclude with a body laid bare on a table. But "Helter Skelter" ended with Dexter laying his heart bare on a hospital bed, truly opening up to Hannah for the first time, and the scene was legitimately moving.

Deb at a Crime Scene

When the series exposed Dexter's Dark Passenger to Deb at the conclusion of last season, I expected plenty of suspense and controversy to result from the revelation. And we have enjoyed spurts of each here and there.

But the past few episodes have mostly focused on the emotional fallout from this secret, as Deb (and the outstanding Jennifer Carpenter) wrestle with the one person on whom she could always rely now turning instead to another woman, someone who can understand something about Dexter that Deb never can.

As I've written about numerous times, Deb falling "in love" with her brother was a ludicrous, unnecessary development, thrown in for reasons I'll never comprehend.

Carpenter and her continual breakdowns are at least saving it to a certain extent, however, and her role here served as one of many lessons in love passed along throughout the hour. Deb is disgusted by Dexter's killing habit, she's shocked and hurt by his feelings for Hannah, and yet she's still willing to pull police detail - to break her own code - because she can see how much it means to her step-sibling.

And while Deb made moves counter to her better instincts, Isaak made sure he didn't leave this life without imparting some wisdom to his enemy-turned-cohort. What a tremendous job Dexter has done over the past couple weeks of layering this initially one-dimensional killer.

The Koshka Brotherhood/strip club storyline has served as ideal B-plot fodder, never overshadowing the main arc of Deb and Dexter and Hannah, and then coinciding with it perfectly last Sunday and most notably here, as we delved deeply into Isaak and his relationship with Viktor, a couple conversations being all viewers have needed to actually feel like they know the mob boss and - dare I say it? - feel sorry for him.

That's really been the beauty of Season 7 overall. For a show previously best known for its action and plot turns, this season has been all about heartfelt conversations. Between Deb and Dexter. Dexter and Hannah. Dexter and Isaak. Guts continue to be spilled each week, but this time in the figurative sense.

And hanging over it all is La Guerta, now receiving assistance in the Bay Harbor Butcher investigation. We have to believe this will serve as the crux of the final season. Again, major props to the writers for slow-playing this storyline, for keeping it in the background and dropping just enough hits and teases for us to wonder where it will go once Dexter is exposed to someone who isn't in love with him.

He might not feel so safe at that point.


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (68 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


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@Matt Richenthal I never said it was right, but the instances we have seen of Deb and Dexter's past growing up, they seem very distanced. Harry was more involved with Dexter, helping him to control and refine his urges, his 'Dark Passenger'. Deb seemed to be around the mother more. Isn't Deb in the police force just to prove something to Harry after all? Anyways, it fits in with the whole 'what love will make you do' theme that's going around. Dexter for Hannah, Deb for Dexter, Quinn for his russian girlfriend, Isaak for Viktor, LaGuerta for Doakes (?).


Amazing episode once again! Isaac was a beautiful character and i was sad to see him go. Jennifer's performance was astonishing as always. Poor Deb... The scene where Dexter was trying to rationalize her feelings for him was kind of painful to watch. She was brave enough to trust him with them. Even though he can't reciprocate them it'd be nice to not pretend they're not what they are.He seemed to be doing this conversation just so that he and he alone could feel comfortable again.
I still think Hannah is dangerous. Dexter has let his guard down, he feels totally safe around her and that sounds...wrong. She's not like him. She doesn't have a code nor a dark passenger...she's just...a killer.


Dexter me deixa louca, a instabilidade emocional dos personagens é surpreendente, quando você imagina uma coisa, acontece outra. O Dex gostar dessa loirinha assassina cruel, a Deb conseguir dizer ao irmão que o ama, o próprio Dexter matar fora dos seus costumes, simplesmente para salvar alguém, ora, ora não gosto. O ponto alto nesta história toda foi o lindão mafioso estar apaixonado pelo Victor e querer ficar junto dele depois de morrer. Eu quero que tudo volte a ser como era antes, somente a tensão do Dex em matar já basta, não precisa inventar histórias, que só vai ser difícil desenrolar depois. Tenho dito.


Considering Dexter's adoptive father taught him how to be a successful serial killer I don't think Deb's feelings are any less repulsive or weird. Fits in with the family structure in its own logical way. ;-)

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I just have to say that Deb is absolutely awesome lately. Hannah may be sweet and all, but she can't hold a candle to Deb. I get it that Hannah accepts every part of Dexter and it's great, really. Good for him. But I don't think Hannah understands him fully. She kills people who are inconvenient to her and not because she HAS to kill. At least that's what I gathered from what we've been told about her. How can he think she's some one of a kind miracle just because she doesn't condemn him? Lumen didn't have a problem with him, in fact she was even better, because she actually felt the same way he does. R.I.P. Isaak... I really didn't want him to die yet... He was so awesome :( The stuff with Quinn is getting boring. As for LaGuerta - I agree with Zxeo. What the hell is with her playing super cop all of a sudden? The new thing with burned victims looks kind of cool though :)


remember dexter is her adopted brother and it would seem logical that either hanna or maybe the arsenist kills laguarda or even the retired cop. and that look on hanna tells a lot


I like this episode very much the only problem I am havingh this season is the sudden arrival of super cop leguerta. I mean come on for the last six season this chick was lucky if she could find her ass with both hands. Now all of a sudden she is finding all these hidden clues and putting it all together on dexter (I saw the previews for next week) Ok so now I am supposed to believe that dexter can fool the fbi super agent frank lundy but it's going to be leguerta who figures it all out sorry thats a tough one to swallow for me but on a whole this season is turning out to be better than the last 2.


I have a sneaking suspicion Hannah may get rid of LaGuerta.


@CarrieAnn, it's just as logical for somebody to love their brother enough to do all Deb's done for Dexter. I completely agree with Matt that he only said that to calm her down, and it worked.
I wish I could have more of Isaak. Loved that guy.

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