As this seventh season of Dexter
has played out it has become increasingly clear that it is plagued by one, overwhelming problem. Momentum. Or, rather, the lack of it. Throughout earlier seasons Dexter
has always worked best when it follows a simple formula, with relationship issues shifting from episode to episode to explore different aspects of the characters while the season as a whole was driven forward by one overarching story. Would Doakes unmask Dexter as the Bay Harbour Butcher, Dexter's morbid fascination with the Trinity Killer, etc etc. It's a show that has always been driven forward by a central plotline, a system that worked very well until, this season, they decided to change it. Not only is there no overarching villain but in this episode - fourth to last in the season - Dexter dispatches the second major villain to be introduced thus far (third introduced, second killed, if you count Hannah) while the show introduces yet another. The result is none of the cat and mouse games that make the character so much fun as he pits himself against a formidable adversary. Instead we get just a constant cycle of starts and stops.
Pushing the plot momentum into a secondary position would be fine if they instead replaced it with some character momentum, something they have been trying to do with the Hannah-Deb conflict, but even there the show doesn't seem able to maintain any energy. Crisis comes up, crisis goes away. Crisis comes up, crisis goes away. It's a constant series of stops and starts, like trying to drive in gridlock, and nobody likes that.
And, yes, after a string of solid, energetic episodes last week stumbled a bit and this week screeches to a halt and falls on its face, dipping into very clumsy soap opera territory while doing so. And also more or less removing the rivalry between Deb and Hannah in the process, thereby killing what was looking to be the prime motivator of the season. And also killing - literally - Isaak Sirko who, after a dodgy beginning, had managed to turn into a surprisingly interesting and charismatic character just to be killed off before they really did anything of note with him. The sum total of Sirko's impact on both Dexter
and Dexter when everything is tallied up? A word of advice to live a little. Yep. We spent most of a season with a character so that he could deliver a bit of fortune cookie wisdom before being tossed in the sea. Bleh.
Also, someone's burning people, tune in next week to learn more about another villain that we won't have time to properly flesh out because the season's almost done.
Also, Hannah doesn't mind being kidnapped and stabbed so much as long as Dexter opens up about his feelings.
Also, Dexter likes to spoon.
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