DEXTER: DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, December 10, 2012
Its Christmas time in Miami and for DEXTER fans the sun is starting to set on a pretty fulfilling seventh season. For the lead-in to the finale next week, director John Dahl orchestrates a terrific setup to what looks to be a big finale payoff. This episode is packed with information that appropriately preps us for the final chapter before the long winter begins. Looking at the series as a whole, Season 7 has done a very nice job of pacing and giving the show the much needed shot in the arm that gives it momentum as it moves ahead into what may or may not be its curtain call going into 2013.
The future is on Dexter’s mind this week as we wade into the deep end of what has turned out to be a much better season than I had hoped. While not conducive to new viewers, DEXTER has rewarded those of us that have dedicated an hour a week for the past six years and that is something to say for in today’s world of “TV jump-on points” for new series. What I liked about this particular episode is that dangling unsolved storylines from past seasons are still fair game. Take Hector Estrada (the terrific character actor Nestor Serrano), the man squarely responsible for the order to kill Dexter’s mother is up for parole. For Dexter, Christmas has come early as this is the kill that he has been waiting for his entire life. While Dexter waits and plots Estrada’s demise and what the tableaux will be, the rest of a very intense episode unfolds.
In a taut scene aboard Matthews’s boat, Dexter realizes that his lifelong friend is not asking him questions but interrogating him about “The Bay Harbor Butcher.” LaGuerta has the scent of who she thinks is the real BHB and for the sake of due diligence, Matthews regales Dexter with her wild theories that he is in fact the one behind the slayings and that he set up Doakes to take the fall. As much as Matthews is really pushing Dex for answers, you cannot help but think that he just wants this to go away and that his heart does not believe that Dexter Morgan is someone that could do something so heinous. But he is seeing this through because LaGuerta is holding his retirement package over his head. Always quick on his feet, Dexter articulates his answers to make it sound like he was very fearful of Doakes and even moved his boat because he had his anchored his a few slips away. Dex leaves Matthews’ boat and his sense of urgency kicks in; he knows that this has to be resolved fast and alerts Deb to the situation. If there is anything that we have learned since the very first episode of the series it is that although only sometimes likable, LaGuerta is a pit bull at her job and is not a bear you want to poke. Anything that she has set her sights on in the past six seasons she has taken and it is a rare thing to see such an extremely tough and ballsy female character on TV. While most cops of the old school like the fallen from grace Captain Matthews feel that police work is still a boys club, LaGuerta has proven to us that she is one tough cop, manipulative and fierce. In a weird way she and Dexter have a lot in common in that they both are self-preservationists above all else. On Dexter’s bogus information about Doakes having a boat near his, LaGuerta and Matthews make a final sweep of his boathouse only to find a cache of plastic bags and other items used in the ritual slayings. LaGuerta’s private forensics team agrees that the prints found at the scene are indeed those of the late James Doakes—The Bay Harbor Butcher. Matthews has done his part for LaGuerta and he wants what he is owed and for her to let this lie. Case closed right?
Per last week’s final scene, Angel has procured the address and criminal history of Hannah’s old friend Arlene Schram from a juvenile halfway house. Lieutenant Deb got a tip from Hannah’s now dead father that his daughter offed a counselor at the halfway house with rat poison and that Arlene may have information about it. Deb is determined to extricate Hannah from Dexter’s life and is going out of her way to make that happen. I really do not think that she is being tenacious for her personal non-brotherly love of Dex but rather for an undying protection of what little family she has left in him and Harrison. Deb promises Arlene immunity if she testifies against Hannah but is left uneasy with what her decision will be. Soon after Arlene and Hannah have a clandestine meeting where she discloses to Hannah that she does not want to go to jail and lose her kids. Hannah assures her that that will not happen and to just ride this out. It was creepy to see how Hannah interacts with others besides Dexter. She is much more demanding and volatile and has a scary quality that sparks to the surface when she is dealing with someone that may have hold of one of the strings that control her life. Hannah is adamant about maintaining that control and making sure that it is not abused.
It seems that the entire Ukrainian connection that I really thought was going to take up a major chunk of what would turn out to be a big part of the finale fizzle. After continuing to phone Nadia to no avail Quinn eventually goes down to The Foxhole to investigate. He is informed by another dancer that Nadia has left for Vegas and that she wrote a goodbye letter to him saying that she wanted a fresh start after all that happened. So after an entire season of dealing with Quinn, Nadia and the Ukrainian’s we are left with nothing. I really figured that Quinn was going to be taken out like Sonny in THE GODFATHER, toll-booth style already. It is good to see that Angel still gets written into the show but he seems to be flimsy on whether he really wants to be in the restaurant biz or retire from the all-consuming life of a cop. However it is pretty interesting to see how the life of a cop can deteriorate someone still so relatively young.
Meanwhile, Hannah is aware that Deb went to meet Arlene and asked her to turn the screws on her so she takes it upon herself to stop by Deb’s place unannounced. In a familial gesture for the holidays Hannah tries to make peace with Deb hoping that she can understand that for the first time in his life her brother is thinking about a future with someone. She tries to play on a common theme between them but there is something about Hannah that is stuck in her crow (it’s probably that she’s killed people and stuff...). Deb pledges to Hannah that she will find a way to have her arrested before she hurts her brother. Serendipitously Deb is in a severe car accident the next day on her way to Arlene’s and is hospitalized for injuries after passing out behind the wheel. While we know that Deb has been on anti-anxiety meds for some time now, she assures Dexter that she did not take more than prescribed and that the professional poisoner he is dating who visited her just the night before might have something do with this coincidence. Dexter quickly wants to put the kibosh on that theory and visits Deb’s place to examine her belongings and although he only finds a blonde hair that he easily could have dragged in himself, something is eating away at him. The future he had pictured in his mind with Hannah is starting to fade. To be safe, Dexter has his pals at Miami Metro check Deb’s water bottle that he found in her totaled car. It is a tense Christmas dinner as Dexter waits for the results and it leads to an argument with Hannah. Dexter voices his concerns that she may have poisoned Deb but Hannah deflects most of it onto his own issues of trust. It was interesting to see Dexter argue with Hannah as opposed to say Rita where he seemed detached and quiet. With Hannah he genuinely seems be upset about the situation and you get the sense that he really does care greatly about this wacky chick. Dexter has better things to do than argue that night as he is planning to take out Estrada and satiate his Dark Passenger.
Dexter has lured the newly sprung con to the trailer yards under the guise that he needs help moving a shipment of drugs. After a scuffle and a gunshot, Dexter has Estrada on the table and is prepping him for the kill. As he is gearing up his chainsaw for the ritual kill, Estrada starts spouting about some female cop that was making a push to get him back on the streets, etc. For the viewer (and Dexter) the gears are starting to work and you realize, “Oh my God, LaGuerta set Dexter up.” In a panic, Dex & Estrada vacate the plastic walled crate and head away from the sirens but not before Estrada jumps into the ocean. Ever the crafty cop, LaGuerta planned this from the start to draw Dexter out into the open by using Estrada as bate. It was really well executed and although Dexter gets away, I cannot imagine what kind of surveillance that they were able to accrue on him and if it is enough to get an arrest. From next week’s trailer we know that Dex is in cuffs but we do not know why…yet.
When the sun rises and it is a new day in Miami, Dexter finds out that Deb’s water from her overturned car was laced with three times the normal amount of Alprazolam. After pausing a beat, Dexter realizes that he now has definitive proof that Hannah tried to kill Deb. In a bittersweet last scene, the young couple grabs a kiss beneath the Christmas mistletoe. A minute later Deb and Angel arrive to take Hannah into custody for the murder of….Sal Price. What I thought was done so well was that Dexter only disclosed to Deb how Hannah killed Sal, not how she tried to off her. Had he told her what she did to her water bottle I picture a scene in my head of Deb shooting up Hannah’s plant nursery. I am guessing that Dexter may need that nugget of info down the line because it would be too tough to lay on Deb right after a major car accident. Season 7 comes to a close in less than a week and my mind is reeling at the possibilities at what the outcome will be. What I loved about this episode is that it is what they choose not to show that can be so intriguing. As much as I want answers, knowing that there is still a Season 8 to go will just raise more questions so I will be happy with whatever Season 7’s swan song will be.
Mania Grade: A
Episode: DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE (Season 7, Episode 11)
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Desmond Harrington, C.S. Lee, Lauren Vélez, David Zayas, James Remar
Written By: Wendy West and Manny Coto
Directed By: John Dahl