It's all about love, guys.
I would have never guessed that an entire season of Dexter could revolve around the oft poetized concept of love and be successful. From music, to literature, movies and so on the matters of romance are so well covered it can be nauseating. So if you would have told me that Dexter was getting a new love interest in season seven I would have groaned with annoyance. Shit, read my third review of the season. I practically did there.
Dexter's relationship with love has been analyzed several times over the history of the show, from girlfriend then wife Rita, to mistress Layla, parental love in son Harrison and love through shared darkness with Lumen . However, true love, the kind that clogs the senses and make a person do stupid, foolish things, is almost taboo territory on this show. It's almost impossible to give a serial killer the ultimate joy, right? Not the way it has been written into the show so far. What helps make it believable is Dexter figuring it out right there with us, dissecting his affection like he would one of his victims. By the very nature of the word attraction in inevitable, things that are supposed to be together will gravitate that way. Dexter didn't plan on this, neither did Hannah, but it happened and they're embracing it.
Hannah McKay went from possible bad guy to the best Robin Dexter can have. She makes breakfast for him, talks him through his next kill and even teaches the thirty-something year old what a booty call is (a classic film starring Jamie Foxx, duh). If you take out the part about them being homicidal maniacs it's almost kind of sweet. So, again, how can you give the murderous main character the supreme happiness when he relishes in committing the supreme horrible act? Well the answer is simple: you don't give it to him for long.
Isaak Sirko continues to lurk around Miami, waiting for his opportunity to strike back at Dexter Morgan for killing Victor, his lover and companion. Yeah, all of Dexter fandom has been saying it, Isaak is gay, and one of the pivotal scenes in this episode comes from inside a gay bar. Isaak, so driven by his passion for Victor loses everything when the Koshka Brotherhood exiles and tags him for death. Without love or luxury, Isaak promises Dexter he will kill him, and describes how his love for Victor justifies revenge. It's in that scene where the shape of season finally rises from the steamy sauna and shreds its damp towel. And the next one hammers it home.
Back from the abyss where writer's put their inconvenient plot baggage, Dexter's kids stop in for a short stay while Aster, Cody and Harrison's grandparents get some old person surgery or something. Their sudden, and almost kind of inspired (how much can Dexter handle at once, ya know?), appearance forces Debra to take in the tikes since Dexter is being hunted by a vengeance-driven thug. When Dexter stops in to check on his family he accidently reveals the keys to Hannah's van (which she let him borrow to stalk Isaak) to Debra, and she, being a detective and all, immediately notices and grills her brother. Without a place to turn, and no reason to outright lie, he admits he's seeing the suspect killer, and uh-huh, he might be in love.
Debra breaks down and actress Jennifer Carpenter wrenches the scene for every bit of twisted emotion it is capable off. She admits that before she found out Dexter had murdered Travis Marshall she discovered she had deep feelings for him, and loves her brother in a not so sisterly way. She knows it's not natural, and after finding out that the guy she has affection for is not only her brother but also a serial killer Debra confesses she's not sure how she feels. Dexter does not respond accordingly, and his only retort is to say "Sorry".
Hearing this admission aloud is fairly jarring, and another huge moment in the series' history. While the Deb loves Dex subplot only crept up last year the pieces have been laying around for seasons, and has definitely affected this one. As ghost dad Harry Morgan points out: Dexter is jail free because of his sister's feelings.
Need some more convincing that it's all about love? Look at stupid Quinn. He's now completely bought out by the Koshka Brotherhood courtesy of a recording saying he would help get Isaak exonerated. Why did he do it? To get the passport of his stripper girlfriend, one of a (implied) thousand chicks this bro has been with. Wasn't Quinn just totally blown to pieces by Debra's marriage rejection last year? What happened?
Slithering behind the scenes LaGuerta makes titanic progress in her reopening of the Bay Harbor Butcher case. By progress I mean she finds "The Slice of Life"! Well, seems like our hero is nearly fucked now as LaGeurta shows she has a lot of drive to see the Butcher behind bars. Why? Well the guy who is currently pinned with the murder, the deceased Sergeant Doaks, was implied to be a former lover in a previous season.
Looove. Don't deny it. It's the binding element to this season. Let's be more specific: Season seven is all about what one will do for their love. Isaak is willing to hunt down Dexter even in the face of certain danger and absolute ruin; Debra is willing to subvert her ultimate duty as a law officer to cover her brother's activities; LaGerta is willing to stake her career to make sure her close friend doesn't leave behind a tarnished legacy. Undoubtedly, the ultimate question reveals itself: what will Dexter be willing to do for his love? Will he scorn family? Will he endanger the life of his sister, kids or even himself? Will he flee the scene? Will he find his Argentina?
Thus far, the season has been built masterfully, probably the best since number four's Trinity Killer. There have been a lot of big moments this year when it seemed that in the last few the show has been apprehensive in giving the fans too much. I'm really all about the path characters are on, and if they're giving me this much joy right now I'm looking for a fabulous end to a resurgent year.