I don’t usually review my favorite show because it’s always perfect to me, but I felt compelled to do so for the Season 7 finale entitled “Surprise, Motherfucker!” I found it haunting and entertaining, but was also disappointed by certain choices the writers made.
Like the main character, the writers are getting sloppy.
First off, I was beyond disappointed and surprised when Hannah admitted to poisoning Deb in the first scene of the finale. How anti-climactic! Everyone I knew thought Deb had drugged herself to set up Hannah, which would have been a compelling twist. That one twist would have sent the season finale in an entirely different direction–one in which Dexter has to choose between the two women in his life. Then there could be a crucible in which Dexter considers killing Deb to protect Hannah. What a twist that would be, if Deb’s love for Dex drove her to be devious and Hannah was actually innocent. Episode 11 was all set up for that twist, being that Hannah’s denial was so convincing, and the car crash looked like it could have been staged by Deb (the mechanic commenting “Sorry for your loss” when all Deb got was a broken wrist). I found it really interesting that I never knew what to make of Hannah. Every time I thought she was pure evil, she seemed justified in her actions and then in one moment became wholly unlikable and crazy.
It was bad enough that I always felt like Hannah was a just blonde, watered-down version of season 2’s Lila, who already saw, accepted and loved Dexter for who he is. This whole, “She sees me and accepts me” thing is not novel. The main difference between Hannah and Lila was that Lila tried to manipulate Dexter and that pissed him off. But once Hannah poisoned Deb, she put herself in the same class as Lila when she broke into Rita’s house: she became a threat to Dexter’s loved ones. Why did Dexter react so differently to both women? I suppose that’s for another article. At least the prison scene served to illustrate just how impossible love is without trust.
Second, I didn’t like the Doakes flashbacks. They seemed like a spoof of Seasons 1 and 2 and Dexter’s wig is just weird. I don’t feel very enlightened about why Doakes hated Dexter. No big revelation there. For the same reason Dexter can sense other killers. It takes one to know one.
Finally, the ending was anti-climactic as well. I have been hoping Dex would have to kill La Guerta for a long, long time, but I thought it would have been cool if he let Deb do it. So when she shot La Guerta, it wasn’t a huge shock, but how broken up she was about it kind of was. Isn’t this the same social-climbing, manipulative, scruples-free boss from hell who made Deb’s life a nightmare from day one? Why are we supposed to be surprised Deb shoots her? Doesn’t everyone want to kill their boss? Said boss trying to lock up my fake brother/tabooed love object would just be one more reason to do it. Not to mention the fact that Harry doesn’t approve. Hasn’t it already been established that Dex is killing outside the code? Not just Hannah’s father (who’s not quite “innocent” but does not meet the code), but back in Season 3 when he killed the pedophile who was checking out Astor. Again, this isn’t novel. Season 7 repeated a lot of themes from Season 2, which isn’t a criticism. Season 2 was my fave.
I’m beyond annoyed by the fact that a show about forensics could have such major forensic fuck-ups. Dexter’s idea to frame La Guerta is amateur at best, stupid at worst. Why didn’t he assume she would call for backup? Why DIDN’T she call for backup? And why didn’t he just disappear them both into the gulf stream like he always did? I felt like I was watching a first season episode of ‘Law and Order SVU’ still finding its sea legs. Where was the blood on Deb’s dress after she hugged La Guerta? Why did they go to the party? To alibi themselves? Deb requesting La Guerta’s whereabouts right before the party will raise suspicions, as will the last call made to La Guerta’s cell phone. So many cock ups. Messy, messy. They will HAVE to dump the body to avoid discovery of Deb’s trace evidence on the body and the bullet from her gun. Duh. Why did she feel the need to shoot her at that moment? La Guerta was incapacitated on M99. She wasn’t an immediate threat. The questions go on and on, and we have to wait a whole year to have them answered.
On the plus side, Jennifer Carpenter’s acting was better than ever. And I love the Darwinian parallel between Estrada killing Dexter’s mom and Dexter killing La Guerta. Their respective reasons for killing are about “survival of the fittest”, which makes them the same. It brings it all full circle, not unlike the movie ‘Looper’.
I also loved how truly dark this season finale felt. No slow-motion fantasy parades or hokey Dexter music. Just darkness. It reminds me of the difference between the campy, humorous ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ sequels versus ‘New Nightmare’, which was just dark and creepy by comparison. I welcome the new darkness. It feels serious. But I hope our intelligence isn’t insulted in the final season more than it has been so far.