I'm knocking the last five episodes of "Dexter" this weekend before the year ends. Watch and mock me later as I stick my neck in the chopping block about stuff that has already happened that I'm not aware of (going into this totally spoiler-free).
I was sure "Argentina" was going to be the equivalent of last year's "Nebraska" episode, a 'take the week off' episode before we closed strong on the last four. WRONG! This might be the best episode of "Dexter" in years (yes, even with the kids back in the scene) because the focus was squarely on the characters, and the events/consequences of the past few weeks are adding up. Holy s*** at LaGuerta standing next to Dexter's boat's name. On any normal episode that shot would be farky hilarious, but here it makes you feel she's about to tighten the noose on Dex. The gay bar scene was incredible (not to mention I called it!
), like the best Bond-meets-villain scenes where two characters have a conversation that's both incredible but also plausible (within the show's pulp fiction narrative) that humanizes both. Dexter can't talk Isaac out of seeking revenge for Victor when Dexter himself has done those things (and recklessly, particularly in the past two seasons). The Deb-confesses-Dex-her-love scene dropped my jaw (even with the opening preview pretty much spelling that it was coming) and raised Jennifer Carpenter's stock with me. While Michael C. Hall has made his complex role of Dexter Morgan seem easy this year, between Ray Stevenson's masterclass of how to play a compelling bad guy guest star and Jennifer reaching deep to touch Deb's raw feelings (you can't tell me some of what went on in these actors' personal lives didn't come through in that scene), I'm starting to notice that Hall isn't the towering acting standout as he was in previous seasons. He's just another good actor (OK, still the better actor on the show) in a cast that right now has four great actors delivering the goods.
[ASIDE: BTW, small caveat about the gay bar scene. If Isaac was so careful about his secret, why did he go to that bar? Cops tailing him would know now where he was. Did he know Dex was going to find him there? Or, because the underling cleared the killing attempt with the Kiev mob hierarchy, Isaac doesn't care anymore if anyone finds out he's gay? I just found it odd that, for a mobster that had kept his sexual identity a well-kept secret for years, Isaac would just have his driver drive into a bar with cops tailing him.]
Four great actors I said? That's right, this was the episode in which Yvonne Strahovski's Hannah has won me over. My favorite scene in "Argentina" (and on any other season/episode the bar or the Deb-Dex confessional scenes would have been the easy standout) was Dexter's "booty call" with Hannah. Normally Dex not knowing what "booty call" is (really??!!
) and the scene cutting away as the sex was about to begin (again, Strahovski, hello?!?!) would be strikeouts. But the real chemistry that came through as Dex casually talked to Hannah about his days, the Russian mosbter that wants to kill him (and why), Hannah giving him her car, etc. was just too freaking incredible for words. This was like "Leave It To Beaver" or "Father Knows Best," bizarro-world version which both felt authentic and dark but also hilarious. Dexter was never so relaxed and open, not even with Lumen (whose dark passenger eventually left, unlike Hannah's that has clearly taken permanent residence there), and their wordless look after Hannah says 'your sister's your lieutenant?'
at the breakfast table was the fuel, to me, that fires-up Deb's outrage when she realizes Deb and Hannah have hooked-up. Like Deb says, Dex went directly to the person that could have hurt Deb (and sent her running toward her former step-nience's pop!
) and the knowledge of that bond is what hurts Deb the most. If Deb ever dies on the show (perish the thought) she uttered her epitaph: "My brother is a serial killer and I'm more f***ed-up than he is."
Season 7's callback to great "Dexter" seasons from its early years continued with Astor remembering her father Paul (the pot wasn't arbitrary chosen for the plot, the writers clearly went back and watched the little details), the date when Dex cancelled his marina rental (Season 2 took place immediately after S1, so the timeline is accurate), Isaac bringing up Dexter's dead wife (Season 4, to which S7 will now be lumped alongside the first two seasons as the show's golden age), etc. Funny, "Argentina" had only two action sequences (Isaac shooting at Dex and Dex's struggle with the goon sent to kill Isaac, both of which came back for some delightful banter when Isaac was sitting in the apartment) and to me they felt out of place. This episode was all about the talking and the meeting of characters, and even with the kids in the mix and the Batista subplot paying off (of course a cop's bar is going to be packed with cops... love that quick aside to put our mind at ease about Dex's relatives) the one line of dialogue that hit me the most in "Argentina" was when Dex casually saying 'Every family that I have left is here, under one roof. So why do I feel the need to leave right away?'
Nothing would please me more than for "Dexter" to end with Dexter reflecting on the dozens upon dozens upon dozens of chances at happiness he had... all of which he let slip through his fingers beause he let his dark passenger take over his life. This makes the very casual scene of Dex talking with Astor on the beach about 'one guy that set me straight'
and how Dex wishes he had questioned him (another nail in the 'Harry was wrong' train of thought the show's been dropping since Season 5, when Dex beat the guy that was making trouble for Astor's friend... see a connection?), along with Hannah wishing she had Dexter's anonimity while out in the open, so moving. This season is so good even scenes with Dexter's kids in them are turning out to be story-advancing, character-developing AAA gold.Prediction
(for something you already know): LaGuerta is going to get some excuse to get Dexter's boat examined. DNA of that videogame-making, former Miami Metro intern geek Louis will be found (I don't think Dex had the time or thought to clean all of it as thoroughly as he normally would) and, because that guy is gone and there were plenty of witnesses of the animosity between Dex and the intern, that will be used to nail Dexter somehow. Since Dex's boat is obviously so out in the open for anyone (i.e. Maria) have access to that's where I think Dex's weakest link is. Why else would the show Maria near the boat, where previous S7 episode made a point to show Louis' blood spilling all over the Slice of Life's deck? Also, something bad has to happen to Jamie. She's pretty, she drives to Orlando to pick Dexter's kid (wasn't she a college student?), she's a saint... but she f***s like a champ (and Louis had her... EEEUUU!
). Please tell me her head will end up on a stick or something, she's too good to be true.