Tuesday, 23 October 2012

DEXTER, 7.4 – 'Run'

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

written by Wendy West / directed by John Dahl

I'm loving this season's progress; particularly the way things seem to matter again, as Dexter (Michael C. Hall) and Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) try to reach a mutual understanding. Over the past few years, there's every chance season 7's plots might have slightly dull (with Dexter's voice-over cluing us into whatever hazy theme or token symbolism the writers are reaching for), but this year it's working because the potentially humdrum stalk-n'-kill of femicidal body-builder Speltzer (Matt Gerald) carried significance for the main characters—as he was Dexter's example to prove the legal system's shortcomings (Speltzer walked free on a technicality after confessing). It's therefore only fair and acceptable that someone like Dexter literally takes matters into his own hands, for the ultimate good of innocent would-be victims, right?

It was obvious Speltzer's story wasn't over when he escaped capture last week, but I was pleased with how his story concluded here. It was obviously intended to make Deb realise judicial methods won't keep scum like him behind bars, but the way it developed was unpredictable—with an early capture and apparent victory for Deb's faith in policing, only for it to fall apart at the seams. "Run" even found time to do a better job of something season 3 rushed once upon a time, with Dexter actually getting captured by an intended victim. It didn't quite fit Speltzer's m.o that he was interested in chasing Dex around a forbidding warehouse while dressed as a Minotaur (why not just kill him?), but that was nevertheless an enjoyable action sequence and a welcome reminder that Dexter's a worthy physical challenge—even to someone as buff as Speltzer.

I also appreciated Deb confronting her brother over more issues in light of his secret's exposure; primarily the true circumstances of his wife Rita's murdered at the hands of the Trinity Killer, what really happened to Trinity afterwards, and the fact Dexter's lifestyle puts his five-year-old son Harrison in similar danger to his later mother. If nothing else, it gave the show a decent reason to send Harrison to his grandparents, which makes it easier for the show to manoeuvre Dexter around stories. It's funny, too; everything that was a sign of Dexter becoming "domesticated" between seasons 1 and 4 (stepchildren, girlfriend/wife, son) have each become major problems the writers have had to avoid somehow. Anyway, it was an excellent scene when Debra was questioning Dexter over his behaviour, and making him see how it's affected innocent people like Rita and his children. Deb even wondered if he truly understands the concept of love.

The storyline with Euro mobster Isaac (Ray Stevenson) hasn't caught fire yet, but I'm enjoying its slow burn. He's not rushing in and losing the element of surprise, just planning his move. Isaac wants to avenge Viktor's death (revealed to be his lover) and knows Dexter Morgan was responsible for killing him, but he's happy to do his research and bide his time. First order of the day was to get the cops out of his nightclub, by manipulating a barman into committing suicide and leaving a note taking the blame for Detective Anderson's murder—scene that was difficult to make work, and never really felt all that plausible (even if you buy into the idea that someone would be so desperate for his family to be looked after that he'd shoot himself in the head and forever be thought of as a cop-killer by everyone). Still, I do like the idea that this season's Big Bad (or is he?) is onto Dexter and out for revenge, because that has never happened this early in a season before. Although that may be evidence enough that Isaac will be killed mid-season, but we'll see. Is there a possibility of something more unpredictable happening?

Overall, "Run" was another very good episode of a season that's taking shape quickly and confidently; breathing new life into a show that had become a boring joke just last year. Ultimately, it was an episode of compromise and understanding: Deb surprising herself by realising she feels nothing but happiness at the thought Speltzer's been incinerated by her brother, and Dexter deciding to end the most macabre part of his ritual by destroying his blood slide trophies along with Speltzer's body. But is that just a token effort to curb his Dark Passenger for his sister's sake, or a genuine desire to be more clinical if he's going to now be working in conjunction with Deb?


  • Deb's dream of taking a literal bloodbath was a little too on-the-nose for my taste, although it worked as a nice reference to Rita's murder scene. Dream-Dexter's offer ("will you be mine?") can be taken a few different ways: as a romantic proposal, knowing that season 6 set-up the idea Deb has sexual feelings for her stepbrother, or a more straightforward offer to help him kill bad guys?
  • Will wonders never cease? Angel (David Zayas) has a hunch that the barman's suicide wasn't genuine because it's too neat, and he's absolutely right.
  • Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski) made a brief return, but it seems her character's on the back burner for now. She's obviously interested in Dexter romantically, and I still have a suspicion she's going to be a Lila-esque problem further down the line. Maybe someone Deb has to kill to keep her brother's activities a secret?
21 October 2012 / Showtime