Dexter recap: Falling Off a Cliffhanger

Last week's big cliffhanger is jettisoned, while Hannah McKay sends Dexter into a confused tailspin
Ep. 07 | Aired Aug 11, 2013

WOMEN'S MURDER CLUB Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski) wants Dexter (Michael C. Hall).

Showtime

What bothers me is the writers on Dexter are very bright. Every point I'm making was probably debated in the writers room. But somewhere along the line, the thought sometimes seems to be either: "We don't care if it makes a lot of sense" or, worse, "We don't think the fans will care if this doesn't make sense." That bugs me. Because for a large percentage of fans ... it's true. Many won't be bothered, much, or won't care, much. For every annoyed viewer, there's probably three or four who just shrugged it off. But man ... shouldn't the goal be set higher than that? "Leave him on the side of the road" should become a writers room meme, like "jump the shark" or "sexposition"; something that's said when everybody is stumped on how to resolve a cliffhanger. Because this season, Dexter has had cliffhangers the way Looney Tunes had cliffhangers -- the coyote falls off the cliff, hits the canyon floor and is back to normal in the next scene.

I'm tempted to spend the rest of this recap going rogue talking about AMC's Breaking Bad premiere. Because, holy God, that was amazing. The first episode does what I've wished Dexter would get around to this season -- having the main character challenged by an ongoing threat of danger/capture/discovery by the other characters. And the sound design -- that's weirdly specific, I know, but literally every scene in the Breaking Bad premiere has something interesting in the background that adds to the mood, whether unique music or a hypnotic lawn mower or the irate buzzing of a neon sign. It's not just, you know, moody tones and seagulls. I asked creator Vince Gilligan after last year's Breaking Bad finale about whether a very brief shot of something in the finale was going to pay off later. And he replied, "We try to never have a scene in our show that adds up to nothing." That's a very high standard, and it's probably unfair to compare any show on TV to Breaking Bad right now (except HBO's Game of Thrones), but I wish more that has happened in Dexter this season felt like it was there for a reason other than to fill the hour I'm currently watching.

Anyway, I don't want to leave this recap on the side of the road, so I'm going to play it off with eight things we learned on Dexter this week:

1. Debra wants Hannah dead -- again!: Just when Deb was no longer having a shuddering tearful meltdown every hour, along comes her worst nightmare -- the sexy killer who seduces her brother/wannabe lover. "The moment I asked you to kill her is the moment I started to lose myself," Deb says, yet also declares: "I want her gone." Later, Deb elaborates on her Hannah-hate: "She is everything that is wrong with our lives. She is a vortex, she is a black hole, she sucks everything in her being, leaving nothing behind." She accuses Dexter of falling for Hannah's dark vortex hole and seethes with classic brunette vs. blonde envy:  "One little toss of Hannah's pretty little blonde hair and you turn into a moron," she says. Oh, Deb, it's not just her hair; she's pretty much utterly perfect looking. Even little Harrison is dissing Deb and pining for Hannah while watching Rastamouse (I assumed this title was an invention by the writers. But no! Rastamouse is a real thing! He solves crimes!).

2. Hannah becomes a wishy-washy damsel in distress: Hannah is hacking up with Millionaire Miles on his yacht. Dexter tracks them down to a private club and enlists psycho Zach and his cheekbones to get inside ("What kind of name is Miles," he amusingly wonders). Dexter waits until Miles leaves Hannah alone and then approaches her seconds later (presumably beating out the line of other men waiting for Miles to turn his back on her). Miles returns and Dex lets himself get discovered. He isn't scared by Miles' dastardly super-villain accent. Later, they meet at Hannah's old nursery which, as they say, has gone to pot. He demands an explanation for returning to Miami and drugging him. It seems she hates him, she loves him, she wants his help killing her husband, and now has changed her mind and wants to be left alone -- pick a motive, one of these surely works! Dex asks my question: Why not kill him yourself? She says that might look suspicious and she doesn't want to get caught. Because if you're a serial killer hiding from the police, the best way to avoid being caught is to keep your appearance exactly the same and return to the city where you committed your crimes while traveling on the arm of a famous multimillionaire whose paparazzi pics are all over Google Images.  

NEXT: Masuka gets distracted; two characters whacked

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