Unreal Dexter Review: “The Dark…Something”

Despite a pretty strong season initially, as time has gone on, Dexter has now almost completely lost me this year. The show seems to have hit a reset button with only three episodes to go, wrapping up the season’s main plotline, Isaak, rather nonchalantly last week.

Now, what are we left with? This absolutely horrid episode that might have been my least favorite in the history of the show. And considering last season, that’s saying something.

Where to even begin? How about with Hannah’s father, the deus ex machina used to drive the plot forward, because lord knows it wasn’t going anywhere otherwise. He shows up after a brief mention last week, acts like he’s Danny Tanner, then shifts into full-on crazy mode as soon as his plan is revealed to scam money from his daughter.

This week exemplified the reasons I hate Hannah. She just doesn’t seem like a believable character in this universe. The stuff with her and the spree is weird enough, but then she kills people after, sometimes for good or questionable reasons, and after all this she’s naive enough to believe her bastard father has changed his ways an needs $20K to start a crawfish business? Are you f***ing kidding me?

She’s been wearing a black bra in every scene all season! SYMBOLISM!

The entire sequence with the father was SO poorly written and unbelievable I was practically screaming at my TV for the duration. Eventually, the father angle got a bit more relevant when we learned that he was the one supplying info about Hannah for the book, and knows of a witness to her crimes that he turned Deb onto before his death. You know you’ve introduced an important, well-rounded character when you introduce him and kill him in the same fifty minutes.

But this whole plotline now is inane. Deb is still pursuing Hannah, trying to prove she’s a murderer, but to what end? If she does manage to make something stick on her, what’s the first thing she’d be likely to say. “If you give me immunity, I can hand you the real Bay Harbor Butcher on a silver platter.” Deb is screwing over Dex here, even if she is too stupid to realize it.

Meanwhile, La Guerta continues her exceptionally boring quest to prove Dexter is the real Butcher. Does anyone remember season two? Do you remember how nail-biting and exciting it was when Dexter was on the verge of getting caught practically every other episode? This is the complete opposite of that. La Guerta is uncovering Dex’s secrets by simply doing police work that should have been done years ago, and hearing stories that should be public knowledge at this point. “Oh by the way did I mention that Dexter watched his mother get slaughtered with a chainsaw as a kid and his brother is the Ice Truck Killer?” Even if this is leading toward something exciting, the path to get there is boring and idiotic.

The dynamic duo in action.

Meanwhile, Quinn and Batista continue their eternal competition to see who can be more useless. We needed a way to clean up the rest of the Isaak plotline, and shooting Dickbag McClubowner was the most efficient way to do it I guess.  Will this come back and be relevant into the grand plotline somehow? No, of course not, and it will fade into useless subplot history like Batista and that hooker cop.

This season has just been such a disappointment now that it’s all starting to unravel. They wasted perfectly good potential plot points like Lewis (that was being set up for half of last SEASON and they just offed him out of the blue), and the plot’s they’ve chosen have been weak. Isaak was a great villain, sent off in a very anticlimactic way and awkward distance away from the finale. Now Hannah is the main focus but she’s such a poorly written character and her relationship with Dexter seems SO GODDAMN FORCED it’s completely sunk the season. And don’t  even get me started on the whole phantom pyro killer BS of the past two episodes. I’d call that a time filler, but EVERYTHING THAT F***ING HAPPENED THIS WEEK WAS A TIME FILLER.

To be fair, I was going to lose it if this guy ended up actually being the pyro.

This may be more of a rant than a review, but it’s a real bummer to see a once-promising season go to shit like this. What the hell were they thinking? So many seasons of Dexter have had incredible scripts and very specific direction to them. This feels disjointed and directionless and last night was a real low point for the series in my eyes.

Fun Bonus Fact: I don’t consider this a spoiler because the books are NOTHING like the show past season one for the most part, but when they were talking about if Dexter’s “Dark Passenger” were real or not I remembered this. In one of the later books, Dexter’s passenger is actually discovered to literally be a demon possessing him. That’s right, we could have had a supernatural Dexter season on our hands if they stayed true to the original series. Sometimes it’s good to stray from the source material.

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  1. I stopped watching after the Lumen season. The show was already taken many, many implausible turns (even in the context of its own universe), and that season was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

    Still, it’s been nice reading your reviews to check in, and you’re spot on about source material. Dexter would be unwatchable if it was more like the books. I could tell 30 pages in to the first book that I was grateful for every change Showtime had made and would make. The first time someone told me the later books took a supernatural twist, I laughed out loud and didn’t believe them.

  2. I think it’s the worst thing the writers could possibly be doing, but I can honestly say I do see a common thread that connects all of these arcs together: they all force us to see how inept Dexter is and how unrealistic it is for us to believe he could get away with what he’s doing. It seems like they’ve devoted this entire season to undoing the suspension of disbelief they’ve instilled in us this whole time so they can set up for the last season, which I’m sure will be Dexter’s last fight for survival as his true identity is revealed to the world.

    Think about it: in just this episode he killed off Hannah’s father and disregarded everything that has kept him safe from the law so far and he let the police arrest a man he tried to kill even after the man saw his face. Before that he told Deb, Isaac and Hannah (maybe more) who/what he actually is, and he’s let LeGuerta conduct her investigation more or less completely unhindered even though he knows she’s on to him. Combine this with all the shortcomings and mistakes they’re forcing us to relive through LeGuerta’s findings and random mentionings about Lumen still being around, etc and we’re now viewing Dexter as an idiot rather than the criminal mastermind we’ve been expected to believe him to be.

    It’s as if the writers are using these things as plot twists for their own ends instead of plot holes that most of us were willfully ignoring in order to enjoy the greater story at hand. They’re pointing at us, laughing and calling us stupid for not catching these events, even though everyone I know discussed those same things ad nauseum after each episode. It’s actually pretty insulting when you really think about it.

    In conclusion, yes, I will watch the rest of this season, and yes, I’ll even watch the finale season. I’m too invested not to see it through when they’ve announced next season will be the last. I’m just hoping they do something spectacular to recapture the feelings I had for this season in the beginning. As many problems as it’s had, Dexter definitely deserves to go out on a high note.

  3. (TL;DR)

    The writers are using plot holes to turn Dexter into an idiot who left a bunch of loose ends instead of the murder-ninja we’ve all come to love and it blows.

  4. Paul you’re pretty much saying everything I’ve been saying except I’ve been on the fence about this season ever since they killed Lewis. He was set up perfectly, he was well rounded, useful, and we didn’t know enough about him to know what his angle was. Isaac took some getting used to but I really liked him, he was a very different kind of Dexter villain. Hannah is just apart of the show because she’s hot…let’s call it what it is. Yvonne Strahowski is just in this season because she’s hot…and to be honest she ain’t really all that hot (at least to me but I never really had a thing for blondes).

    They wanted to play The Dexter in Love angle and again, I hate to beat this drum but I said it in Season 5, Dexter DOESN’T NEED TO HAVE SEX, HE NEEDS TO KILL! But when he had sex with Lumen it at least made sense…him NOT killing Hannah made NO damn sense at all (unless because she’s hot is a valid reason). Also WHAT IN THE HELL ARE THEY DOING WITH THE WHOLE “I’M RESPONSIBLE!” WE HAD THAT DISCUSSION IN SEASON 2!! Did the writers forget about the whole letting go of Brian, Dexter overcoming his jitters and killing Little Chino, going to NA meetings and saying he’s an addict, his mask coming off ect. ect. DID THEY HONESTLY spend an entire episode saying Dexter is killing people because he wants to…THANK GOD just one Season is left!

  5. I welcome the end of this once great show. I really thought the Lewis thing was going to play out with him becoming a copycat of Dexter and then as Laguerta is closing in on Dexter he and Debra use what they know about Lewis to frame him as the Bay Harbor Butcher.

  6. I can’t give up now after seven years following these characters, but oh god…. please END this show. I used to feel painfullly disappointed, but now I just want it to end once and for all.

    I hope it can at least serve as a case of “what not to do when writing a tv show”.

  7. @Zydoxis

    “he let the police arrest a man he tried to kill even after the man saw his face”

    The guy on the table says “Who-who are you? I can’t see you.” Dexter let smoke in the room, and I found that little bit too convenient. What if he didn’t or what if the smoke wasn’t strong enough to effectively blind the man? Then he couldn’t just give the guy to police.

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