Unreal Dexter Review: “Helter Skelter”

Well after a week off of reviewing Dexter, I’m back to finish out the season by talking about last night’s grand finale!

Wait, what? You’re telling me there’s still three more episodes to go? Well, you could have fooled me after what took place during this week’s plot-thread wrap-up  extravaganza.

While I pride myself for being right in some predictions, namely my instincts way back in the beginning of the season that Isaak and Viktor were more than just mafia buddies, I have to admit when I’m wrong in other regards.

Meeting men in bathrooms.

I thought I had this season all figured out. Hannah can’t be allowed to be with Dexter for any length of time because that’s how this show works. Therefore, the Isaak plotline would be resolved by him killing her, and then Dexter would kill him. Clean, simple, and predictable.

But even though that’s almost how it played out, that probably would have been too easy, and have had too many echoes of Rita. I liked how after Dexter’s bro-bonding conversation with Isaak at the gay bar last week, the two teamed up to save his skin, however unwillingly. I also liked the look into Dexter as a hitman, a job that really suits him.

It almost did turn out that my prediction was true, but Deb got to prove herself the good guy, by saving Hannah despite her hatred for her. I missed commenting on Deb’s horrifying admission of love for Dexter last week, and I’m glad that seems to be dying down. I’m not sure who thought that was a good idea for a plot development, but how was that going to go well? Either Dexter loves Deb too and it’s super awkward and uncomfortable, or Dexter gives her an appropriate “WTF mate?” and it’s also awkward and uncomfortable. Plus throw Hannah in the mix and things are even weirder.

“Oh god, why didn’t I just say ‘cockballs’ instead of ‘I’m in love with you’?”

I get that this season is all about Dexter learning to love, but I think this week went overboard driving that point home. As much as I liked Dexter and Isaak’s newfound friendship, by the end, the scene on the boat was a bit much. And I’ve never really felt the chemistry between Dexter and Hannah all season. I get that the show is telling me they’re in love, but I haven’t really seen it onscreen. Perhaps that will change, but I’m not so sure. I have to say I felt Dexter’s connection with Lumen a lot more, and she was a more well-rounded character overall. Hannah just seems…static here, however hot she may be.

But now, getting back to my earlier point about how this felt like the season finale, where the hell are we going from here now? Nine episodes in is a weird time to introduce an entirely new plot thread, but that’s exactly what they’re doing with this new flame-retardant arsonist.

I’m praying that the arson expert police guy isn’t actually the killer. That would be the lamest, most obvious twist ever, but judging by the size of that blast shadow, he’s a bit too small for the part. But still, where is this going? Why create a new serial killer this late in the game? I assume Dexter and Hannah will hunt him together or something, but still, it’s strange.

Who’s up for another spreeeeee?

Perhaps this will end up tying in with La Guerta’s Bay Harbor Butcher investigation which is beginning to move forward in ways I don’t quite understand. She’s deduced that other police officers also owned boats at the same marina? What exactly does that prove? I’m wondering, however, if the massive amount of blood on Dexter’s boat from Isaak’s death will somehow come back to bite him. Lewis’s blood didn’t, but this new batch might.

This seems like a very oddly structured season. It’s dealing with good issues, but it seems like it lacks a real flow to it. Perhaps I’m alone in thinking that, but my initial excitement for it has waned as time has gone on. It’s not making me scream obscenities like the idiotic Doomsday killings of last year, but it’s sort of losing my interest  near the end here.

  • asd

    Nice review. I was missing it last week.
    The Dexter & Deb thing made me think of

  • Straenge

    Firstly, I completely agree with the chemistry when it comes between Hannah and Dexter. It almost seems too forced in a way where as with both Rita and even Lumen, seemed natural. However, I have to admit, I am blaming the actress in that her expressions are.. either quizzical or simply following whatever the other actors face is currently doing. I see a fake passion but, not if there is a severe twist where she ends up “faking” her emotions like Dexter learned to do, it would all be understandable in a way but I seriously doubt that will be the case.

    I rather liked the Isaak character as a whole probably even more so because, while he and Dexter were a lot alike, they learned from each other the various differences between passion and cold logic, if only fleetingly.

    As for the arsonist, unfortunately, I have a feeling it actually is the frumpy little arson investigator which just seems obvious, especially when it came to the elevator. Actually, the pattern matched his frame almost perfectly if you include a frame retardant suit and makes me wish they would have at least drawn out Isaak a bit more. Say what you will about this season as a whole, he was one of the most interesting character in the last 3 seasons..

  • Ugo Strange

    I’m waiting for this season to wrap up before I pass judgment about it. It’s taken so many lefts and rights I can hardly figure out where it’s going. But yeah, I don’t too much care for Hannah, and I agree with what you said about Lumen. The reason why Lumen worked is because she was SAVED by Dexter’s Dark Passanger, Hannah was a victim to it. But I digress, this is one weird Season, but weird in a good way.

  • Josh

    I’m sad to see Stevenson go. Bar Lithgow’s turn as the best villain television has ever seen, Stevenson has been the best guest star of the series. I’ve loved every second of this season because of him.

    As for the “lack of flow”, I disagree. Personally, I feel this has been the second most meaningful season (behind Season 4, obviously) of the entire series. Stevenson’s character was there to help Dexter find the humanity within him. Help show him what life is really about. And I feel like, with Stevenson’s fantastic work with character, Deb’s confession, and the relationship with Hannah, the writers may have actually accomplished that. Dexter, for the first time since Trinity, has actually developed as a character.

    On a final note, I cannot stress enough just how much I loved Stevenson’s character and Stevenson’s work with it. It has made this season a success in my eyes.

  • mjlaxnmd

    The writers have officially lost me, I’m going to follow along until the end of the season but what a disappointment this episode was.

    I won’t get in to all of the details but really I think one overriding concept kills it for me; I HATE “I-wish-I-was-a-real-boy” Pinocchio-Dexter. This season quickly went from caged-in, paniced-animal, chess match, interesting Dexter to “maybe I CAN love I just haven’t found the right person” Dexter. It sucks and it seems every season devolves into Dexter trying to “grow” in some way so he can “fix” himself. Nope, doesn’t take. Family? Nope. Fatherhood? Nope. Religion? Nope. Forgiveness? Nope. Self-help positivity? Nope. Serial killer bro? Nope. Serial killer partners? Nope. Love and family WITH serial killer girlfriend…??? I’m guessing that won’t be working out either and at the end of the season Dexter will be waxing poetic about his recent journey and saying “oh well, I guess I am what I am”.

    Stevenson’s character was one of the best ever on the show and to have him go out by giving Dexter a sappy pep talk on the merits of love just took things over the edge. A tragic misuse of a great character.

  • nigel beanspoon

    is it obvious to anyone else that hannah’s the real villain of the season? my guess is she’ll try to kill deb with the whole “freedom” motive that had her leave with the spree killer, kill her husband, the writer…..and now deb is still after her? after she professed her love to dexter? maybe he’ll have to choose who he REALLY loves (deb, not sexually), killing for love (like isaac)…or she might try to kill harrison? why else would they have them mention that he only eats mac and cheese while a poisoner is on the show? probably unrelated, but then why did they focus so much on it? we get it, the kid loves mac and cheese…..

    all in all, i like this season, and after that said profession of love, jennifer carpenter better win an emmy.

  • AndrĂ©

    bad writing…bad writing… I can’t even remember why I persist on this series after so many consecutives bad seasons.
    I liked the surprises on this episodes, even though we all know the ending will be lame and idiotic like the last seasons

  • MegaSolipsist

    Sad to see Isaak go. I actually think he was a much better villain than Arthur Mitchell. I also seem to be alone in that I prefer Hannah to Lumen, not just because Hannah is hotter, but despite not much chemistry between them, she’s a better actress than Lumen.