Review: DEXTER S7E07, CHEMISTRY (Or, Cue Up The Girl Fight)

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Review: DEXTER S7E07, CHEMISTRY (Or, Cue Up The Girl Fight)
Girl trouble, anyone? Dexter's got it, and bad. If you recall, last week's episode ended with Dexter having a (very) last minute change of heart and having sex with Hannah McKay instead of killing her. And the consequences of that act are spilling out all over the place in a way sure to define the remainder of this season - and very likely all of the final season eight - in the blackly comic, Holly Dale directed episode Chemistry.

Let's just get the sidelines out of the way quickly, yes? Because that's what the show did with them this week, anyway.

Joey's gambit worked as far as getting Isaak Sirko sprung from jail, which gets the lovely Nadia out of immediate danger. But the promise to free her entirely from her employment? And therefore remove her as a useful lever against Joey? Yeah, that was total crap and is immediately exposed as such. Joey's is bought and owned at this point and while he doesn't like it he certainly seems to be recognizing it as truth. So to sooth his guilty conscience a bit he fronts Angel the money needed to get his new restaurant venture / retirement plan up and running.

Sirko himself? He pays a memorable visit to Dexter mid-lunch just to remind everyone he's still around but other than engaging in a quality staredown adds nothing more to the story.

LaGuerta and her quest for more evidence on the Bay Harbor Butcher? That's running into dead end after dead end and Deb may very well have pushed a little too hard to get LaGuerta to drop the whole thing, thereby putting herself under suspicion. Close, but no cigar, chief.

And then there is the matter of Sal Price, a character who appeared to be a minor sideline but become really quite central this week before making a memorable exit. Price, you'll remember, has already tipped Deb off to the fact that Dexter botched blood work to cover Hannah's guilt in a previous killing. And Price gets a quick explanation of why that might be when he spots a post-coital Dexter dropping Hannah off back at home the next morning. The man's a shark - or at least he thinks he is - and this gives him instant leverage on both Hannah and Dexter, but Price has no idea what a wasp's nest he's just walked in to.

And this is where things get really good, Price proving to be the motivating incident that sets up a peculiar and challenging relationship triangle between Dexter, Deb and Hannah. He's the catalyst, if you will. On one side, Price tips Deb off to the fact that Hannah has continued to kill and has gotten away with it for years. On the other, Price triggers unexpected protective instincts in both Hannah and Dexter, each of the killers moving quickly and decisively to protect the other. Hannah proves to be the more decisive of the two - Price's end coming in darkly hilarious fashion - and the end result is Dexter in a thorny emotional tug of war that we have never seen from the character.

Yes, I'm aware that I just described a sociopath as emotional. Because Dexter has a turn. He recognizes that he has a connection that he has wanted, but never had, from all of the previous women in his life. They click on a basic level, both understanding and accepting every facet of the other. He may, in fact, love her. Deb never loved Price, no way, but she liked him well enough and she puts his death - correctly - at Hannah's feet. The problem is she cannot possibly find any way to do anything about it within the strictures of the legal system. And so she calls on her beloved brother to solve the problem for her, to 'do what he does'. To kill Hannah, the woman he has just realized that he loves.

In the immediate short term this means we now have Dexter presented with a very primal conundrum, one of nature versus nurture. Does he throw his lot in with Hannah and give himself a life where he can freely be what he truly is? Or does he hold to his adopted family and the restrictions of Harry's code, a sort of half life? It's the first really meaningful issue that Dexter has had to face in years and, arguably, the first since Season One whose answer will cost him something no matter what he chooses.

In the mid to long term, things get even more difficult for him. How long can Dexter keep his relationship with Hannah a secret from Deb? And how will Deb react when she finds out? And is this - should Dexter choose Hannah - the first seed of a direct conflict between the Morgan siblings? One in which Deb feels she needs to put down her own brother and Dexter must act to protect himself and the woman he loves from his own sister? Finally a bit of meat ...
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