Dexter Review: The Beginning of the End

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Whoa. WHOA. For what has been a ridiculously slow season, the Dexter Season 7 finale, "Surprise, Motherf--ker," sure did end things with a bang instead of a whimper.

A moment of silence for Maria La Guerta, people. And Deb's soul. RIP to both of those things. Someone get Deb's therapist on standby.

Dexter Season 7 Finale Photo

There's no denying that Dexter Season 7 has been a labored, less exciting season than the previous six. There's been no single "Big Bad" for Dexter to hunt. Instead he spent the season both being hunted and searching for a human connection with Hannah.

But tonight's finale went a long way to redeem what was otherwise a slow run, at least in my opinion. Starting from the end, the discussion of tonight has to jump off with Deb and all she's dealt with this year.

Hannah's words to her in court were incredibly important. Deb is moral. Her world has rules. Cops are good and take down bad people. But that belief has been shaken for her and is no longer true for Deb where Dexter is concerned. Hannah called her out on her hypocrisy. Deb has carried the burden of protecting Dexter, and herself as an accomplice since she knew his secret. She's grappled with whether or not she's been doing the right thing this whole time and for a split second, I expected this episode would end with Deb arresting Dexter, or having another officer do it.

Deb's rules are all broken now, as Dexter's closing monologue aptly expressed:

"We all make rules for ourselves. It's these rules that help define who we are. So when we break those rules we risk losing ourselves and becoming something unknown. Who is Deb now? Who am I? Is this a new beginning? Or the beginning of the end?"

Was the fact that La Guerta had evidence tying her to the church burning the proverbial straw?

When given the choice between shooting Dexter or La Guerta, with La Guerta telling her to shoot Dexter and Dexter saying, simply, "do what you have to do," Deb shot La Guerta. Did she shoot La Guerta to protect Dexter or herself? Or both of them? Not only does Deb know Dexter's secret, she now has a secret of her own and that secret will no doubt be an integral part of the final season in 2013.

Dexter has played fast and loose with his own rules, too. In order to frame La Guerta for killing Estrada, he had to steal and plant evidence. When that didn't work, he was ready to forgo his code completely to kill La Guerta and frame her posthumously for the murder of Hector Estrada so that his sister wouldn't be caught and ruled complicit in his life.

But Dexter being sloppy, is really what this entire season has been about, hasn't it?

The rules that Harry created for him have kept him alive and out of jail this long. But that doesn't mean he's been safe. That doesn't mean he's been able to keep those around him safe. He admitted to Hannah that he would never be able to trust her and that, even though he loved her, he had to turn her in. It was the only way to be sure that Deb and Harrison would be safe from her. The fact that she escaped, and left a lone orchid on his doorstep, should prove interesting if she makes a return next season.

As the series has progressed, Dexter has increasingly made mistake after mistake and proven that he's not perfect. He's fallible. He can be outsmarted and caught.

This early seasons of Dexter dealt in large part with Dexter's attempts to fit in. The flashbacks to Doakes and the way he was always able to see through Dexter's facade were well-placed and well-done. He grappled with being able to make and maintain connections to other people, with Deb, and later Harrison, being the constants in his life, especially after Rita's death. Aside from Harrison, all of his interactions with others were a carefully scripted cover to hide his true identity.

What we've seen since then is, as Dexter said, that "somewhere along the line the fake life that [they] created for [him] became real."

And real life is messy and complicated, much like this mess that Dexter and Debra found themselves in tonight and in which they will no doubt find themselves in Season 8. My only question now: is it September yet?

What did you think of the season finale of Dexter? Where do you think Dexter goes from here? Argentina? Prison?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (203 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


Way too obvious, as soon as she found out where LaGuerta was and started heading there i knew she would be the one to kill her.


I didnt think this season was slow at all. Did we forget Isaak and his mafia crew going after Dexter. I liked that dexter met his match in Isaak and between the two then they gave us plenty of blood. Especially the episode when they worked together and they killed isaaks bounty hunters. I was a bit disappointed to see isaak die his character grew on me. But this finale was very intense and shocking. See dexter take a killing to a different level and doing it for survival. But for Deb to make the choice over him or laqueda was gut wrenching. It was almost like dex was willing to go for his Deb. because Dex had a look of shock over what Deb did for him and he looked so sad for Deb as he watched he'd cry hold laqueda. Great finale!


I completely disagree, this season was exciting, unpredictable, and there wasn't one villain but three of them: Isaac Circo, La Guerta and Hannah...My favorite of all seasons, specially for the scripting and acting. The ending was just the cherry on top!

Miranda wicker

Did anyone besides me watch the director/producer/writer (can't remember which he was) interview/commentary following last night's ep? He said that Deb running to La Guerta was completely unscripted. After she fired the shot, they left the camera rolling and Deb embracing the dead La Guerta was spontaneous. That, I think, is probably why the dress was the same and un-bloody in the closing scene. If I had to guess, they were shot out of sequence and then edited. But I still thought it was a poignant moment and I like it when actors/actresses submerge themselves in their characters like that so that they respond how they think the character would respond.

Miranda wicker

@Pratik--in my defense, my 8 month old woke me half way through writing the review? My apologies for the lack of clarity. But yes, I should've stated that this season was slow or sleepy in comparison to TWD. However, I do think that this season was a much, much different season of Dexter from previous seasons. @Suzanne--I had in my notes that with La Guerta playing supercop this season, there's no way she would've gone to the ship yard without calling backup. That was just stupid. Dexter told Harry that he would shoot Estrada right into the stab wound which would eliminate evidence that he'd been stabbed first. And then Dexter probably banked on being able to write the spatter analysis himself to further cover his tracks.


It occurred to me that Debra getting gasoline was a bad idea when they first showed it at the start of the season. Didn't it occur to her that there are security cameras at gas stations? And why lie to the extent of saying she was never at the church that night? Just made her equivocations ring more false. Another major quibble: It wouldn't occur to LaGuerta, given her suspicions, to bring back-up? I thought she'd have the brains and survival skills to have at least one other person with her. Dexter's plan to frame LaGuerta for killing Hector: Wouldn't an autopsy show the knife wound, even with the bullet hole? It looked like Deb was wearing the same dress at the end, but shouldn't there have been blood on that dress from her holding LaGuerta? Also, can Dex really be naive enough to think that, even though he turned Hannah in despite loving her, Hannah wouldn't do anythign to retaliate, because she loves him? And that was a very matter-of-fact reveal that Hannah poisoned Deb, after her making such a good case last week for not having done it. Still looking forward to seeing where they take this next season. Why do I think the former Commissioner is going to be onto Dex, at least, for La Guerta's death?


OOps! I guess the phone company records would show their movements, although the church-burning was awhile ago.... I think that Deb couldn't bear to think of Dex locked up for life. She was so committed to protecting her brother that she lost her moral bearings, then immediately found them again in the brilliant scene in which she embraces the dead LaGuerta.


Great episode, great acting..... However, afterwards I did wonder why Dex and Deb didn't think of getting rid of their phones so their movements on the day of the church-burning couldn't have been traced. Also, sneaky Dexter might have been able to destroy the DVD of Deb buying gas. Perhaps the stress got to him!


There will be no rest for the wicked next season. I'm thinking that Hannah isn't just gonna leave a flower and go to Argentina. Like Deb said, you gotta watch out for poisoners, they're 'sneaky'. When Deb lost it in the shipping container, I actually felt for her. She was backed up against a wall, she had to make a choice. This season relied heavily on choices we choose or not choose to make. Hannah told Dex he was supposed to choose her, LaGuerta telling Batista, Deb and Matthews they all needed to be on her side. Deb more or less because Maria had footage of her buying gas. Did that evidence get destroyed? We saw Dex in LaGuerta's apartment but it didn't show him finding anything. Will that dvd resurface next season?


Wow! I knew Hannah poisoned Deb, her explanation echoed Dex's thought in the previous episode: Deb was in the way. God forbid Dex would have to actually spend more time with Harrison. Now that she's on the loose, Dex knows he can't trust her and she can't trust him. This ep kept showing us over and over people showing their 'true colors', Dex to Doakes, Estrada's wife to Dex, Hannah to Dex and so on. Dex wants to believe so badly that Hannah is in love with him, that the life he has now is 'real' and he doesn't want to run from it. Her actions clearly show otherwise. How about that bloody bite she gave to him? Psycho! If Deb hasn't unraveled just enough this season, next season I feel she will be just crushed. Devastated.

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