Dexter: Season 7 wrap-up

Spoiler alert! After wrapping up an explosive and blood-soaked seventh season, Dexter is now in the home stretch. Details on the season and questions Dexter will have to answer in next year’s final season.

As one of TV’s most complex shows, Dexter’s seventh (and second-last) season was, predictably, an emotional minefield littered with storylines, characters and blasts from the past that guaranteed an explosive conclusion. And an explosive conclusion (entitled “Surprise, Motherfucker!”) is what viewers got, albeit one that asks some pretty profound questions of its main protagonists.

As the series barrels towards next season’s series finale, this year’s episodes tried hard to tie up some loose ends in preparation for what’s sure to be its monumental swan song. Will Dexter contravene his code? What is Deb willing to do to protect and remain loyal to Dexter? Is Hannah coming back for him?

In Hannah, Dexter met his match — a serial killer in her own right, she played a pivotal role in the series by providing a safe haven for Dexter to let his guard down, to trust another human with his deeply guarded secrets and Dark Passenger. But it’s his relationship with Hannah — sprung from her botched murder — that makes him question his code and consider contravening it to begin with. In the episode where Dexter explains his Dark Passenger to her, she questions whether it’s even real, and whether it really guides Dexter as much as he claims it does. He’s forced to reconcile that maybe he doesn’t really have a code.

Under duress from the threat of Deb’s pursuit to lock her up, Hannah causes Dexter’s sister to OD on Xanax while driving, and in the end, poisons her relationship with Dexter himself when he discovers she was responsible for the resulting car crash. He regrets trusting Hannah with such detailed and free-flowing information about his kills and murderous tendencies after telling Deb about the poisoning. What, then, will he make of the black orchids Hannah leaves at his doorstep after escaping police custody in the hospital? He’ll surely be on the hunt for her in the final season, now that all his opponents are dead. Will he find a partner in crime in Deb?

The seventh season began with Dexter’s killing of a serial killer and ended with the killing of an innocent — that, and his mutual understanding (and perhaps even kinship) with Ukrainian mob boss Isaak Sirko, blurred Dexter’s perception of and adherence to his code, and Debra’s, for that matter. It’s a reflection that’s true to life: Does everyone do something in their lives that is deserving of being killed for? Do we all harbour murderous inclinations that, given the right circumstances and reasons, we’d fulfill? For self-preservation? For protection of loved ones? For the general good? If this show proves anything, it’s that it’s easy to blur tenets of morality in an immoral world; just the fact that the series protagonist is a serial killer we can’t help but root for is evidence of that.

But Dexter’s house of cards has never been so perilously close to collapsing before. Police captain (and Dexter’s boss) Maria LaGuerta spends several episodes privately unravelling the case of the Bay Harbor Butcher, who is in fact Dexter and not the now-deceased Sergeant James Doakes. After she arrests and releases Dexter, LaGuerta starts in on Deb, who she suspects is aware of Dexter’s true identity and is working the legal system to hide it. Of course, both her suspicions are confirmed in the final moments of the season finale, when Deb, who uncovers Dexter’s plan to kill both Estrada and LaGuerta in a shipping container, interrupts the process. That it’s she who pulled the trigger and not him is the real “surprise, motherfucker!” moment of the finale. As Dexter asks himself in voiceover, “Who is Deb now? Who am I? Is this a new beginning? Or the beginning of the end?” ■

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