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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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (79 Votes)

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


I really liked this episode and Dexter finally admitting that he is responsible for his killings (as opposed to in the books, where the Dark Passenger was a literal demon). I totally agree with Vammie that Hannah manipulated Dexter into killing her Dad. He is going down a dark road here, doing her bidding. I'm wondering, though, if Hannah will end up killing LaGuerta. I've said it before: I don't see Dexter ending with anything but his death. But it's going to be interesting to see how they get us there.


I predicted way back in season two that the show would end with Dexter dying and his sister avenging him and taking over the vigilante business, complete with Dexter talking to her in her mind the same way that Harry talks to Dexter in his mind. Now with Dexter loosening his code, falling for a questionable woman, becoming a less involved father and stepfather... perhaps the show is starting to try to make him increasingly unlikeable so when the time comes to finally kill off the show's titular character we won't be quite so shocked. Just my two cents.


I think the reviewer missed the point of the realization that Dexter's Dark Passenger isn't a separate identity of himself. Yes, the show has never treated Dexter as a split personality, but Dexter has always blamed the Dark Passenger for his need to kill. A person can struggle to fit in with society due to forces outside of the person's control, so while he has always struggled to fit in, he still placed the blame on his Dark Passenger. Dexter has always thought of the Dark Passenger as something inside of him that he cannot control. Now that he has fully realized that his need to kill is his own need that is within his control, not some outside force living inside him, he can own his need, and he will not have to be bound by Harry's code. He has already started, by killing Hannah's father. I believe Dexter abandoning Harry's code will be a springboard into the end of the series.


I am guessing this revelation that Dexter had leads him to go rogue from the code (which has already started) and will eventually lead to his arrest or death. Isn't Dexter ending next season? I am guessing by the end of this season he will go completely rogue and next season is all about capturing him. Also I am guessing the whole Hanna's dad thing is a trap by Hanna to make Dexter do the dirty job, because she knows he can get away with it but she can't. 'Cos Deb is snooping around her.


And now that Dexter unleashed his strict code, and can now kill whoever he likes or wants, how does it make him different than any other murderer? It certainly doesn't make him better than Hannah. But maybe it does make him human.
I think it makes me like Dexter less.
So now, who is safe from Dexter's wrath? We all have a bad side, does that mean we all deserve to die? We'll find out next!


well, up until now I think the only times Dexter killed a person that wasn't a murderer was by mistake or by loss of control. And that fact made us viewers consider Dexter a good person- he kills only the ones who will kill again, even if it is not the main reason he kills. Throughout the show we recognize Dexters' conscience. We usually were settled with the victims' deaths, kind of like saying to ourselves "they deserved it". At this episode Dexter decides to kill Hannah's father, who killed no one, but threatens Hannah's quality of life, but not her life itself. As I see it, Dexter kills her father for his own sake- Dexter doesn't want Hannah to be in prison- leaving him alone. And apparently Dexter really loves Hannah, and wants to protect her. But she is a murderer, doesn't she deserve prison? Or a life haunted by her father? Doesn't it make Dexter bad that he killed a person who didn't kill anyone else just because he wants to?
And now that Dexter unleashed his strict code, and now can kill whoever he likes and wants, and whoever's in his way, how does it make him different than any other killer? It certainly doesn't make him any better than Hannah.
I think it makes me like Dexter less.
Or maybe Dexter will choose to kill whoever he thinks is bad- but doesn't all of us has a bad side? So do we all deserve to die?
Guess we'll find out more on the next episodes. Which will surely happen!


Liked the episode, Hannah knew exactly what Dexter was talking about....waste of a killing since he still called Deb and told her. LaGuerta closing in Dexter maybe she's going to be his next kill....she's connecting the dots it's fascinating to see her do that, trying to clear her friends name. And yes, best thing for Dexter so far this season, Hannah. She calms him. Next two episodes are going to be very interesting, can't wait!


I liked this episode. Definitely not only 3 stars for me. I liked it because it centered around Dex and Hannah. And they are for sure the best couple this show's ever seen. Unlike the recapper, I thought Dexter did realize something new in this episode: that his need to kill isn't a need. It is a decision, a decision HE makes.


Is there anyone at Miami Metro that hasn't compromised who they are yet? Deb for Dexter, Batista for Quinn, Masuka with whats-her-name that took the hand,and so on. I'm surprised still that Louis' death or disappearance hasn't even come up yet. While I can understand why Dexter sees something in Hannah, I could care less about her character. Just around to create tension between Deb and Dex. Neither of them exactly have the best track record for relationships. I still see her as a threat to Dexter. How many others has she fallen for that are still around to talk? Isaak was a strong storyline compared to the Phantom Arsonist. His death was so boring. Would've been nice to have him around to keep Dexter on his toes with all the cat and mouse stuff they were doing.


I kind of got the sense that Hannah knew full well what Dexter was too chicken to say. Her absolute relief over the fact that *obviously* her dad won't be back to bother her sort of signaled that. Another thing: that "code" that Dexter no longer feels the need to follow (now that he's acknowledged that he doesn't have a Dark Passenger and merely wants to kill people) was never that strong to begin with. He's murdered people before, who later turned out not to be quite the murderers he thought they were - and merely shrugged it off. "Oh well." I liked the episode though. Even though I'm a little confused about why Hannah's father gave her up the night before he supposedly struck his deal. Artistic plot license?

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