Dexter Review: “Swim Deep”

I genuinely like this season of Dexter, something I can safely say I did not feel last year at this time. In season six, Dexter started to feel almost procedural. There is the big bad killer, Dexter spends all season hunting him (them) and puts an end to the spree amidst a sea of useless subplots.

Not so this time around, and this is the first season since the second one to truly break from this format. Yes, there’s a big bad villain, Isaac, but it’s not the usual game of serial killer cat and mouse. Rather, now Dexter’s engaged in a battle of deadly mental chess with the mob boss, and it’s a new dynamic we haven’t seen from the show before.

And the subplots? Far from useless. We have LaGuerta looking into the Bay Harbor Butcher killings again which is a big deal for Dex. We have Deb attempting to deal with her newfound knowledge of Dexter’s ways, something that is not getting any easier as time goes on.

I believe the word “fucknugget” was used shortly after this scene.

The closest thing to a useless subplot we have is Yvonne Strahovski’s serial killer apprentice story, but even that took an interesting turn this week. It seem a bit obvious that they were setting her up to be a love interest, but that seems to have been a red herring after this week. Dexter discovers that she wasn’t unwillingly dragged along on this murder spree, she actually took part. I’m not sure why exactly he revealed all this to her face, but you have to wonder now, will she end up on Dexter’s table? Does killing on innocent on one heated occasion meet Dexter’s code these days? Although I have a hunch she might have a few more secrets in her time since Wayne was imprisoned.

I’m curious to see how far this La Guerta Bay Harbor Butcher thing is going to go. It seemed promising, but with Deb hiding the photo, it might start to fizzle a bit. What else does she have to go on other than a hunch at this point? Perhaps we’ll hear more about that later, as we’re only halfway through the season and I predict something big may happen in the finale. There’s only one more season to go after all.

I’m really impressed with the way the show has handled Deb’s discovery of Dexter’s secret. It would have been easy to make her a convert to his worldview after an episode or two, or she could have shunned him completely. But rather we’re somewhere in the middle. Yes, she “understands” what he does, but she is not okay with it, and really does not want to help Dexter. She’s caught between a rock and a hard place and it shows in every scene. I’ve never been a huge Jennifer Carpenter fan over the years, but I have to say she’s been doing a great job this season.

Don’t be sad little fucknugget.

As for Dexter and Isaac? I’m not sure what the next chapter is there. Isaac is in prison with very clear evidence placing him at the scene of a triple homicide. Will he use mob influence to get the evidence thrown out? Will other hitmen start coming after Dexter? I though Louis’s death was going to come back and haunt him from a criminal perspective, but it doesn’t appear he’ll be taking the fall for that murder any time soon. Rather, Louis was just the mechanism for him to discover he was being pursued.

After this week, things do seem to have stalled with La Guerta and Isaac hitting dead ends in their pursuit of Dexter (knowingly or unknowingly). Maybe that means that next week Hannah and her issues will take center stage, as she was given relatively little time this week, and her story seems to just be getting started.

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  1. This season has been great thus far. Dexter has a reputation for having a lot out filler episodes, basically watch the first two and last two episodes of any season and you’ll be good. But every single episode this season has been really good with some absolutely great scenes. My favorite was when Dexter walked the department through Isaac killing everyone in the bar, Isaac was so bad ass there. Most of Dexter’s nemeses have been purely psychological in nature but Isaac is a great physical specimen with the brains to back it up. With anyone else you expect Dexter to outwit somehow but Isaac is intelligent and even of Dexter does outwit him Isaac would likely demolish him in hand to hand combat. I know trinity was crazyawesome but I think Isaac has potential to be Dexter’s greatest foe yet.

  2. I agree, this season has been phenomenally better then the last, in terms of both acting and writing. Dexter looks like he’s facing two formidable killers this year, with Isaac being the more ruthless and prominent one, but Hannah also posing a overbearing threat, albeit a more subtle one.
    I’m still not convinced by how easily Louis was removed from the picture though…. it just seems like too much of a coincidence for him to randomly pick Dexter as the person to reveal his serial killer game to, start dating Jamie despite not caring for her that much (hence the prostitute video) and SENDING DEXTER BRIAN MOSER’S MANNEQUIN HAND! He must have had at least some indication that Dexter is more than just an extraordinarily talented lab rat, but my question is when is this all going to surface?

  3. THIS SEASON IS AWESOME. this season is looking like it’ll be the quality of seasons 1, 2, and 4 (in terms of story progression, acting, and twists).

    i’m still frustrated that dexter hasn’t told deb about her (unknowingly) letting him go in season 5. killing that minotaur dude didn’t even make her okay with dexter’s killing (understandable as we don’t know if she’ll ever be okay with it) but what dexter knows and deb doesn’t is that she already sympathized with vigilante murder when she had to watch all the rape tapes eventually leading to her letting dexter and lumen go. i feel like if he told her that she already saw the good in what he was doing, and was essential to their escape, it might help her to understand it more. i feel like it has to be mentioned later on in the season.

    i think isaac will prove to be a formidable enemy, smart, tough, a proper gangster. the bit about his great uncle reminded me of the godfather part 2 when de niro got his revenge. but it also meant that he’ll be patient so i don’t see prison slowing him down at all. i also think he’ll find out that dexter is the bay harbor butcher (from what dexter said about hoping he never finds out who he is).

    i also think this’ll be the year that laguerta dies.

    and i think jennifer carptenter KICKS ASS :p

  4. I like the idea of Isaak sitting “safely” behind bars messing with Dexter like a rat in a cage. He has the power, connections, and knowledge of Dexter and his life to make things very uncomfortable while remaining well out of his reach. That would drive Dexter insane.

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