Tuesday, 6 November 2012

DEXTER, 7.6 – 'Do the Wrong Thing'

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

written by Lauren Gussis / directed by Alik Sakharov

A good episode of mid-season adjustment, as Dexter brought Hannah McKay's (Yvonne Strahovski) storyline to the forefront while pushing Isaak Sirko's (Ray Stevenson) into the background—which itself was unexpected, as I thought that storyline was over. I particularly like how Quinn's (Desmond Harrington) plot is being developed this season, as it runs parallel to Isaak's and will seemingly have huge repercussions for Dexter (Michael C. Hall) if his desire to protect stripper Nadia (Katia Winter) results in him helping get Isaak released from jail. That didn't quite happen this week, as Quinn held onto his principles when he had the chance to "lose" the blood evidence tying Isaak to the murder of rival drug runners, but I'm almost certain he'll do the deed once Nadia's life is put in more obvious jeopardy.

However, the focus this week was on Dexter's desire to prove Hannah wasn't an innocent teenager infatuated by a murderer years ago, but instead an equally dangerous killer in her own right. It was interesting to see Dexter pursue this theory in his usual methodical way, given the sexual chemistry between them—but that actually made Dexter feel more inhuman than usual (which is great). Here's this beautiful woman dropping sexual innuendos and buying you the perfect potted plant, and he still wants to adhere to Harry's Code and put her on a kill table? Creepy.

Of course, it didn't turn out that way. It seems Dexter couldn't deny his feelings for Hannah (perhaps because he responds to the darkness inside her beautiful exterior), and this episode ended in a brilliantly delicious manner: with Dexter and Hannah on a late-night date to a closed Christmas-themed fun fair, before sticking a needle in her neck and tying her naked to a table ready to finish the job with a knife. But penetration of another kind was on the agenda... which was such a weird, twisted and surprisingly sexy way for that scene to end. Hannah (a serial killer devotee) appearing happy to become his latest victim, like it's a blissful privilege, and her unexpected acceptance stirred Dexter's passions of a different kind. Also funny how Dexter's previous girlfriend, Lumen, was evoked in a chat with sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) this week, now he's found another lover at the opposite end of the spectrum: less victim, more culprit.

Second of Strahotness: flower power

I critiqued Yvonne Strahovski's casting last week, as much as I adore the actress, and I'm still convinced she's the best actress for this role, but she has an easy-going charisma that worked nicely here. I just hope she's equally as good in scenes where we have to accept Hannah as a demented killer, which can't be too far away—particularly if Dexter's going to become the new "Randall" in this relationship, compelled to impress and arouse Hannah through killing people.

It was also interesting this week to see the introduction of Agent Lundy variant Sal Price (Santiago Cabrera), the writer of a biography on the Randall-McKay spree killings, with a sequel due that will expose Hannah as culpable in her ex's crimes. Sal's role appears to be similar to Lundy's from season 4, because he has a compelling theory few people know about, and has also managed to turn Deb's eye with his smouldering good looks. At least we can be assured he's good boyfriend material, but there will undoubtedly be problems for Dexter if his sister and would-be boyfriend are out to convict his new girlfriend. He's already broken Harry's Code in the name of love, but he can't let them bring Hannah to justice because she could expose his secret to the authorities. (Unless Dexter convinces Hannah the "kill table sex" thing was a bit of kinky role-play he took a gamble on her enjoying... which may be a stretch.)

Having spent a large part of season 7 on the Deb/Dex confrontation over his secret's exposure, this felt like the first episode where it was less of a pressing issue. Quite a few scenes between the Morgan's could have come from earlier seasons, as there didn't seem to be the same strength of tension and mistrust between them—although some awkwardness was mentioned in Dexter's voice-over, and we did get a fantastic moment when Deb slammed Dexter over events with Lumen ("you moved your girlfriend into the house where Trinity murdered your wife?) It feels right to move on from the unease between Dexter and Debra here, but thankfully the writers know better than to drop it entirely—instead throwing us the occasional bone, which was appreciated. This season's Dex/Deb scenes ave been some of the best the show's ever done.

LaGuerta's (Lauren Vélez) storyline is still in a holding pattern as she gathers her thoughts and evidence about re-opening the Bay Harbor Butcher case, but this strikes me as a wise move. It's great to have a season of Dexter where things feel planned and scheduled, so I'm sure LaGuerta's theory will become a more prominent storyline very soon. How it will affect Dex/Deb, Dex/Hannah and Dex/Isaak is anyone's guess at this point, but that's all part of the fun.

Overall, "Do the Wrong Thing" was less impressive than the previous episodes this year, but it was still a very solid and enjoyable hour. I really like how things have quickly progressed with Hannah, I'm happy that Isaak's still poised to spring back into Dexter's life for round two, and it's good to see layered writing taking place regarding "dirty cop" Quinn's role this season. The only irritation this week was Angel (David Zayas) considering retirement so he can go run a restaurant, but if it means the writers are moving towards writing that character out... well, it's about time. Although it's more likely they'll use this opportunity to kill Angel, given Masuka's (C.S Lee) foreshadowing that most men die five years after retiring. More like five days in unlucky Angel's case, right?

4 November 2012 / Showtime