Review: DEXTER S7E06, DO THE WRONG THING (Or, Young Psychos In Love)

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor
What's this? For this first time this season Dexter has strung two solid episodes together back to back and it appears that after dropping into a tailspin for episodes two through four the show has well and truly found its stride. Some hiccups and cheap conveniences aside the show seems to have finally found the right balance for this season and the seeds are now not only planted but already starting to sprout as far as pushing the character into some interesting - and difficult - new directions.

Let's start with the secondary storyline first and work from there. For the first time in the show's lengthy run the major villain of the piece does not occupy the prime spot in the show's radar - it is perhaps this shift which caused the wonky dynamics of the three episode slide - with Isaak Sirko and his story given only secondary screen time. That said, Sirko has somehow managed to overcome his character's ridiculous back story - Ray Stevenson playing a Ukrainian uber-hitman drug smuggler is just a silly, silly thing - to actually become a credible threat. That's in no small part thanks to a fine performance by Stevenson himself - though I have to snicker every time his bald, silent, Bluetoothed henchman appears - and the fact that the writers are using the Sirko storyline to push Joey Quinn into some complex moral territory.

Here's the skinny on Sirko this week. The cops want to nail him up. He wants to get out of jail and take his revenge on Dexter. And so they lean on Joey. Money doesn't do the job, Quinn perhaps having grown up enough to overcome that particular vice, and so the gang leans on Quinn's other weakness. Women. Nadia is in their power, after all, and Joey can either get rid of the blood evidence that is key to holding Sirko and have Nadia set free forever or he can leave Sirko in prison and let Nadia be killed or worse. It is, quite frankly, the best storyline Dexter has ever given Quinn or any of the other cop characters.

And speaking of the other cops, that's where this week's wobblier bits come in. Angel and his sister - nanny to Dexter's frequently punted aside son - have a conversation in which they essentially acknowledge their mutual and ongoing uselessness to the show while a gratuitous woman-in-thong walks past in the foreground. "Yeah, we know," the writers seem to be saying. "This all a waste of time so look at this ass instead." And LaGuerta has seemingly developed this incredibly accurate for radar for everything Dexter has ever done - despite having missed all of it while he was actually doing it - in a move increasingly looking designed to refresh Deb on another season's batch of victims in every episode. Yes, we remember when that happened, too, and Deb already knows enough about what's what that we really don't need the play by play through every season past.

But the good stuff. And that all revolves around Hannah McKay. Dexter is convinced she's killed more than the one body they have so far identified and determined to prove it to satisfy Harry's code so that he can go ahead and kill her. He's right, of course, and proves it partially through his own digging and partially through the very convenient arrival of a true crime writer developing a book on Hannah.

The writer - Sal Price - is the sort of wildly over convenient arrival that should be annoying except for one big thing. He inadvertently lets Deb know that Dexter is lying about evidence to feed his urge to kill, which means a future erosion of trust. And that erosion is going to become positively cataclysmic when the further developments of Dexter's relationship with Hannah come to light.

You see, Dexter gets Hannah on the table. But then, instead of being afraid, she simply looks him in the eye and tells him to do what he has to do. She understands it. She accepts it. And suddenly Dexter is face to face with what he had hoped Lumen would turn out to be but was not. And so he cuts Hannah free and fucks her instead. And what do we have now? A scenario where Dexter is in the middle of not one, but two, women who know exactly what he is and accept it with one - Debra - hiding amorous feelings for him while trying to stifle, or at least channel, his murderous impulses, while the other - Hannah - may just be playing him for her own advantage but will surely encourage him towards more violence. What happens when Hannah and Deb become fully aware of each other? And which side will Dexter end up on?

The fundamental problem with Dexter as it has continued on season after season is that there's not a lot of internal conflict for the character and has been progressively less ever since Rita died. But this cuts to the core of what he is. No more of this 'can he stop' crap? We know he won't and have known that from day one. That's all just pointless spinning of wheels. No, this gives us a more urgent - and more dangerous - question. When it comes down to it will Dexter choose Harry's code or an unbridled embrace of his killing impulses? And what happens if Deb is caught in the middle? It's not entirely unfamiliar territory - the Ice Truck killer went down this path - but Deb's awareness of Dexter's true nature makes everything much more acute. And if this is what's going to drive the character through to the planned end of the show next season then what we're looking at is a nice mirror image to the beginning of the show. It's a smart move and should be fascinating to see it play out.
Around the Internet:
  • joel

    I would rather they stop the sexual shit,and get on with the show.

  • jedi4life2003

    This should have happened sooner, like ep 3, but better late than never

  • I totally agree. The episode with Wayne was largely a waste, as was the time spent on Minotaur man. There were a couple plot points buried in there that needed to be hit but it was a horribly inefficient path they took to get to where they ultimately wanted to get to ...

  • JonL

    Worst episode ever. Dexter and Hannah on the kill table? Pathetic and cliche.

  • ChrisC

    I don't expect there to be any chance of the Dexter/Deb incest story line coming back. Simply because the actors were married during the filming of the previous season and now aren't. Michael C Hall is producer on the show and so might have been pushing that line before.

    I really hope they don't go and neuter Stevensons character, or let him simply end up on the table. I want him alive and kicking right up until dexter gets the upper hand. I also like the idea of Dexter eventually being offered a role as a hitman for the brotherhood (Since not only Isaak knows that Dexter kills). The alure of being allowed to operate without the pretence of being on the cops side would be very tempting. Would certainly be a fresh approach for the final series.

  • I cannot possibly imagine ANYONE promoting an incest storyline with their actual girlfriend as something that would be fun to do. Ever. In any consequence.

    I think it's pretty clear that Deb's feelings for Dexter are unresolved - she started going down that road when the two of them shared the hotel room before Dex caught Isaak - and whether Dex reciprocates or not it's pretty clear the dynamic over the rest of the season is going to be a sort of triangle between the three.

    Personally, I'm most curious to see what happens when Deb realizes that Dex has tossed aside any notion of the code or 'justice' killing for someone that he's sleeping with. That's going to make it abundantly clear to Deb that Dexter uses the code as an *excuse* to kill rather than a reason and that's a big distinction that will make it much harder for her to play along.

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