Dexter Review: Driving Solo

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Dexter went all existential on "The Dark...Whatever," easily my least favorite episode of Dexter Season 7.

It's always a drag when an hour is filled with this long-time serial killer engaging in some profound self-examination, especially when the surrounding plot is so contrived and transparent.

The Phantom Arsonist case seemed random when it was introduced a couple weeks ago, and now we know the reason why: it was simply shoved in there as a way for Dexter to arrive at a conclusion about himself.

With Hannah's Dad

There's no such thing as a Dark Passenger. Dexter has been hiding behind that persona for years as a way to shift the blame for his murderous side on to another entity.

This might seem like a major revelation, if not for the fact that Dexter has never really treated his two sides like actual two sides. The Dark Passenger nickname has been played as more of a joke than any kind of real split personality. Hasn't Dexter always grappled with fitting in? Always admitted he wasn't a typical member of the human species?

It's not as though this is someone who's been in denial over the dark rages that exist within himself. He's always understood that Dexter Morgan, not some alternate version of him, is responsible for all those murders. That's why he's been so drawn to Hannah and why their relationship is actually so sweet and believable: she accepts him for who he is, and that includes his need to kill.

When Dexter leaped up on his soap box while hovering a knife over the arsonist's chest, preaching about accepting responsibility and not hiding behind one's childhood experiences, I just rolled my eyes. I always hate it when a series - be it investigative or medical - includes a Case of the Week that so closely mirrors whatever is going on in a character's personal life.

Elsewhere, Hannah's father arrived. But even the presence of Jim Beaver (Supernatural) couldn't save this storyline from its predictability.

Did anyone actually think he had turned his life around and wouldn't turn on his daughter before the installment ended?

It was at least interesting to note Dexter lying to Hannah for the first time. I can see that whole I-killed-your-father thing coming back to haunt this relationship before the season is over.

So this was the first Season 7 dud, but it did conclude on two intriguing notes: Deb is going full steam after Hannah, while Matthews and La Guerta are closing in on the real Bay Harbor Butcher.

Those are planted seeds I'm curious to see grow as we move toward the finale. But for the bulk of this episode itself, nothing of major interest blossomed.


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (79 Votes)

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


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Definitely not my favourite episode this season. Hannah freaking out about her dad was pretty well done, but from the moment he showed up it was obvious to me that Dex will end up killing the guy. And like some other people here, I can't help but think that maybe this was what Hannah wanted from the start. She seemed way too helpless, I'm not sure if I buy it. I feel a little disappointed about the whole Fantom thing. Last week I thought this new storyline was interesting and now it turns out it was just a way for Dexter to realize he's responsible for his killings... Yeah, what a breakthrough...


I see that no one noticed the shout out slash dig at the Bobby Singer character from Supernatural. The actor Jim Beaver who played Hannah's father also played the character Bobby Singer on Supernatural. The arsonist writing Bobby on the walls and Dexter going "Nobody calls an adult Bobby". Lol! Hilarious.


I think Hannah's going to kill off Laguerta or something. I hope she doesn't die. I actually like her with Dexter.
I once again beg Deb to change her hairstyle.


If LaGuerta is killed this season then her long run is over. She was killed in book 1 (which season 1 was based on). While the following seasons were mostly isolated from the book continuity (aside from Dexter marrying and adopting the kids and I think Deb now knowing in the books about Dexter's Sideline) this would be one plot point from the books that is finally used.


I really liked this episode. Some highlights for me were the title...The Dark...Whatever. Hannah is so dismissive of his self-delusion but accepts him anyways. I don't believe that she manipulated him to kill her father, she was powerless in her relationship with the a**hole and would have paid him off. Dexter's ah-ha moment was great, his proselytizing over his victims ended this episode. He no longer relies on the code to guide his killing. These were important milestones in his development. Other highlights included Quinn taking out the stripjoint owner after warning him. The only downside was the whole storyline with the arsonist. It was contrived to fill in after Viktor's death as well as to advance Dexter's self-realization. The ancient chief of police making a reappearance is excellent as was his put-down of LaGuerta. This restaurant is perfect for taking hookers and ugly broads. Ouch!


Have to say that a once promising season has quickly fallen apart with the last 3 episodes. Seems like the writers are just throwing a bunch of crap against the wall and hoping it sticks. Many of these storylines are uninteresting, insignificant, or both -- the arson killer and Hannah's dad popping up out of nowhere, Quinn vs the Russian mob, Batista opening a restaurant, etc. And what about Deb being in love with Dex? Was that pushed under the rug again? But perhaps the strangest turn was Aster and Cody showing up out of the blue a few episodes back. What was the point of that? Hopefully the last 2 episodes end the season on a high note, but I'm not optimistic at this point. I am, however, intrigued by the return of Capt. Matthews. He seemed very protective of Dexter when Laugerta was piling up the evidence that points to Dex as the Bay Harbor butcher. And now Matthews requested to be the one to informally question Dexter about Laguerta's suspicions. Perhaps Matthews already knows Dexter is a serial killer? Maybe it was his idea, not Harry's, to turn Dex into what he's become?


Season 7 has been pretty good, maybe not as strong as 5 or 6, but fun and full of intrigue. Where is this going? Looks like Deb is involved in a car accident in the next episode (alas Hannah poison??). It could end with Dexter riding away with Hannah, on the run ... he's come to terms with his Dark Passenger, but perhaps, figuratively -- his new passenger is the real "Darkness"? I don't trust her.


I actually really liked this episode!! It is preparing for the end...ah!! The Bay Harbour Butcher storyline is spinning so close to disaster for Dexter, what is he gonna do?? Also, the lying to Hannah, she should have known better, he is a serial killer. The coming out of the dark passenger shadow was actually hilarious to me. You came up with that all by yourself!! He truly is twisted and delightful all in one! I love Dexter right now, I'll be sad when it ends.


really liked this episode 8.8/10

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