TV Review: Dexter 7.11, “Do You See What I See?”

Either explanation fits with me, but Deb stepping up to manipulate things to work in her favor would be a major development not only for the character, but for the season in which such manipulation has been such a significant theme.

Joseph Kratzer

Contributor

Rating: ★★★★☆

I’ve mentioned how crucial I feel this episode and the finale is to not only the overall perception of the season of course, but its pacing and tone in particular. This episode found Dexter explicitly concerned with his future as well, imagining himself and Hannah (although I could hardly tell that they had aged Yvonne Strahovksi at all) serenely entering their golden years with a seemingly healthy, non-deranged, almost all grown up Harrison. I got a particularly big kick out of this sequence as I’ve suggested in the past my affinity for an eighth season of Dexter which is essentially a flash forward to about this time in which Dex “comes out of retirement” for one last excursion. I‘ve also suggested that if this season has been about any one idea that it’s been love, specifically its transformative effects in bringing Dexter closer to some semblance of a whole, cohesive individual in living honestly with those he cares about most. By the end of “Do You See What I See?” I think we all see Dexter’s mask at its most transparent to date and his heart broken. Though I’m potentially disappointed by the latter, I’m admittedly at the edge of my seat concerning the former.

The conclusion of this episode means one of two possible things – we watched Dexter fall in some level of love for the fourth time (Rita, Lila, Lumen, and now Hannah) only to be slapped in the face for the fourth time with the cartoonishly over-sized fish of love’s disillusionment and the knowledge that Dexter can never share himself completely with anyone. Except maybe Debra (save the sexual intimacy I hope). If this caveat is focused on at all in the finale then my disappointment may be dulled but at the moment I feel pretty cheated having watched yet another failed love story involving Dexter.

However, the second possibility is much more intriguing to me. Instead of Hannah having been responsible for Debra’s drugging and subsequent car crash, what if Deb set her up? It was suggested in the comments of my last review that Hannah might attempt to silence Deb and I scoffed that Hannah would know better than to do so without at least talking it over in some capacity with Dexter as he had with Hannah over her father. Hannah herself argued pretty convincingly at what a terrible idea it would be for her to have tried killing Deb. It appears though that the question now is who’s ballsier, Hannah or Deb? From what little I’ve read of other comments from viewers, the debate seems to be between how little Hannah stood to gain from the gamble of slipping something into Deb’s system and Deb risking the crash in light of her contact with Arlene. Either explanation fits with me, but Deb stepping up to manipulate things to work in her favor would be a major development not only for the character, but for the season in which such manipulation has been such a significant theme. Compare this possibility to just another broken heart for Dexter and I think it’s plain to see which has greater narrative value.

With so many of the season’s threats burned, buried at sea, behind bars, or busy with boats and booze, Dexter’s biggest priorities are eliminating Estrada not just for his hand in killing Dexter’s birth mother, Laura Moser, but as a liability in light of LaGuerta’s determination to apprehend Dexter as the Bay Harbor Butcher, as well as eliminating LaGuerta herself. Another comment on my last review suggested the possibility of Dexter killing LaGuerta and/or Matthews and I disregarded this suggestion as well as it seemed far too suspicious, even by Dexter’s standards. But after Dexter realized he’d walked into a trap in which Estrada served as bait, by far the most viscerally and narratively successful aspect of the episode which I did not see coming at all (in fact I had written off Estrada’s release as an inauthentically convenient occurrence), Dexter can conclude that LaGuerta knows (though perhaps without concrete proof) he is the Butcher and except for running away or getting caught, killing or otherwise discrediting her appear to be the only inevitable conclusions. In the moment I was afraid he would do so right there in the shipping container, but the running chainsaw was a much better touch.

We’re at a point now where so many things can happen with very high stakes, which is an ideal place for a series to be, especially by a season finale, but how we got here post-Isaak has been a less successful endeavor. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed all of this season and cannot wait to see where it takes Dexter next season. “Do You See What I See?”, despite being a bit heavy-handed with all the Christmas décor, ultimately served as an excellent episode in which Dexter has found himself simultaneously at the highest the character has ever been (finding love, responsibility, and honesty) as well as the lowest (losing that love as well as possibly everything else if finally caught). I think out of all the crazy things that could happen in the finale, I’m most curious to see if Dexter brings back his Dark Passenger in lieu of Hannah’s encouragement. I hope he doesn’t as Dexter at his lowest (and perhaps loneliest) sounds like the most exciting version of the character since that jerk in the gas station called Rita a dirty word and had to have his mouth washed out with a grappling hook.

P.S. – The more Angel discusses his retirement, the more convinced I am that he’s absolutely doomed. Also, I have one word for Quinn – WOMP, WOMP!