TV Club

Dexter episode 7 season 7 chemistry reviewed: what critics and commenters said the morning after.

Who is scarier, Isaak or Hannah? 

Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan and Santiago Cabrera as Sal Price.
Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan and Santiago Cabrera as Sal Price (RIP)

Photo by Randy Tepper/Showtime.

Jeff and I kicked around the idea of silent crime scenes and inconclusive physical evidence last night. In that vein, a quick search through reviews of episode 7 around the web turns up negative for pregnancy theories. It must be too early to ponder whether Hannah the flower lady is germinating from within—and, granted, the show has enough on its plate without another potential Harrison to worry about.

Other theories abounded, though. On Vulture, Richard Rys relays his friend’s hypothesis about why Hannah left the winter wonderland kill table intact: “She was too hot to die.” Yet Rys agrees with Jeff that the Dexter/Hannah kiss-and-scuffle may be losing steam.

“This season is at its best when the focus is on the clash of the Morgans,” he writes. “All the angles — sister versus brother, cop versus killer, boss versus employee, badge versus the Code — make every scene with Dexter and Deb crackle with tension. Chemistry was the theme of last night’s episode, and there’s still more of the stuff when it’s Dexter and Deb facing off.”

Still, Hannah has managed to win him over just a little. “She’s not unlikeable, despite her dirty deeds,” Rys says. Her “breakdown while describing how she stabbed that woman to death while protecting Randall felt sincere; if those tears were an act, then Hannah is the Meryl Streep of serial-murdering horticulturists.” Much as I love the idea of Meryl Streep on Dexter—she could more than fill LaGuerta’s shoes as a steely, inwardly conflicted homicide captain—I thought Hannah’s histrionics for Sal seemed completely fake, and that the confession scene only revealed her psychotically manipulative streak. Other commenters haven’t weighed in on her character yet, which may reinforce Jeff’s view that she is hot but underdeveloped. Zap2It’s Drusilla Moorhouse does underscore one of the episode’s money lines, in which Hannah tells Dexter, “We were looking out for each other. That’s big for people like us—maybe even historic.” But she makes the excellent point that Hannah’s acceptance of Dexter is not so sublimely unique. “Isn’t Deb’s request that he kill Hannah proof of her own acceptance?” she asks.

As for Deb, while most reviewers used the show’s last few minutes to argue that Lt. Morgan was finally embracing her dark side, Cassandra Berube at The Baltimore Sun remains unconvinced. “Just earlier tonight, Deb told Dexter that he couldn’t kill Isaac, who was being released from jail after it was discovered that the blood evidence in the case against him went missing,” she points out. Perhaps Debra’s desire for vigilante justice is a one-time thing, a specific antidote to her grief over Sal’s murder. This reading emphasizes the specialness of Sal, rather than the corruption of Deb—and it injects some human pathos into a season that Jeff aptly called looser and wilder than ever.

Sal’s death is “a shame…because Price was actually shaping up to be a decent guy,” Rys writes. And as the few decent ones—Quinn, Batista, Nadia—slide closer to the edge, the show should maybe consider swapping its devilish salsa theme music for Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young.”

Or it could lower our collective blood pressure by killing off Koshka capo Isaak posthaste. If there’s one thing that everyone seems to agree on, it’s that Dexter’s eloquent Russian adversary is pure Mephistopheles. His lawyer even smells like “sulfur mixed with shit.” In an episode devoted to chemical reactions, that particular combination is the one that lingered most threateningly for me. But what do you think?