Dexter Season 7, Episode 7: “CHEMISTRY” Recap & Review

Last week’s shocking, provocative change of pace in Dexter, “Do the Wrong Thing,” has had us holding our collective breath for the sure-to-be-risky revelations of this week’s latest gut-wrenching chapter, “Chemistry.” A volatile exchange of Dark Passengers seems to have forged a new and irreversible compound—but can what has been drawn together by forces of nature be split from within, if not by pressure from the unforgiving outside? Is chemistry the tie that binds, or betrays? If you’re still reeling from the thrill of the new ride, try to ground yourself with the mini-synopsis below, followed by an in-depth review of just what is spinning into fearsome motion with this episode and the sharp stab of a surprising concluding demand we didn’t see coming! Welcome to the wild world of “Chemistry”—where a double dose of dark matter breeds far, far darker matter in the face of what’s to come… CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD. 

THE BREAKDOWN: Dexter struggles to pry himself away from Hannah’s intoxicating hold; a lethal-turned-libido-charged encounter which they both attempt to pass off as merely “interesting” turns out to be slightly more than unshakable and very revealing of a latent kinship that sends them spiraling deeper into one another’s complicated worlds. Debra continues to vie for Dexter as LaGuerta’s Bay Harbor Butcher investigation runs up against some imposing walls—and speaking of walls, Deb is more than fascinated with breaking down the barriers around the true person of Hannah McKay alongside true crime writer Price, whose threatening fascination with Hannah and her new “beau” is brought to a sudden halt. The blood on Dexter’s hands is only becoming more apparent in the eyes of Isaak, whose guarded release into the Miami public is enabled by the Kashka Brotherhood’s puppeteering act with the lovelorn Quinn. As Dexter finds his own naïvely “lovelorn” heart intertwining around Hannah’s, Debra affirms his need to kill by making an offer too risky to accept or refuse… Skip the jump for more. 

“I saw chemicals mix that combust, and explode.”

Explosive certainly beginnings to describe the way Dexter’s been going about his usually clean, hysterically neat existence. He is both growing, and ungrowing. Sure, he’s kissed goodbye the old play-toys of his blood slides; yet, he’s kissed goodbye his ability to really see clearly that which he’s getting his conflicted self into. In attempting to retract away from the unstable, he continues to interact, leaving breadcrumb trails of erratic desire at every turn. We thought that the fiercely perceptive and loyal Debra would be the one to experience and cave into confusion this season, but it appears that Dexter’s coming further off the tracks than even his sister at the revelation of his true identity! She is beginning to come to terms with the justice her brother is capable of enacting, while he is calling into question his ability to enact that justice when met with a Dark Passenger as poised, confident, and hungry as his own. Blame it on the southern weather; better yet, blame it on the chemistry. Dexter, in losing what he perceives as his virginity to the art of feeling, is drawing ever nearer a heart-wrenching decision. He is coming to a position that requires the cutting of Wire A or Wire B—either his new muse or his faithful confidant—and his immersion into a world of ardent, fiery impulse may deny him the judgment needed to make that choice. He’s a scientist playing with poorly understood chemicals from which a monster just might spring, if his experimentation with intimacy pushes him to greater extremes and away from the things that have grounded him through brewing chaos.  

Harry, a flickering voice of skepticism; Harrison, a deeply-dimpled toddler confined to a laptop background; Debra, a nagging knock on an office door. Dexter’s vision of family is becoming blurry as his infatuation with his bright-eyed almost-victim, Hannah, becomes more crystalline clear. Dexter veers away from seeking the understanding of Debra and into craving a new kind of understanding in which he is afforded the sweet valium high of another Dark Passenger’s presence. He prides himself in his ability to “swim deep” and yet forgets that his sister is anxiously warding off enemies at shore—for instance, LaGuerta, who seems to be putting aside her lust for power long enough to dedicate herself to the redemption of a dear friend and partner. He quickly concerns himself in the elimination of Sal Price in a desperate attempt to cover up for the kill he couldn’t follow through on, hoping to make a right of a slew of sharp lefts. Two higher-ups on the food chain, both predator and prey attempt to fall into step for reasons that neither of them can fully comprehend. They are evolving to survive in one another’s presence, adapting eyes for only each other as the rest of the world grows dangerously dim. Is this “love” he’s thirsting to make his own a bringer of shadow or sun?

Quinn is also in the business of making rights of innumerable lefts as he disposes of incriminating evidence in the Isaak Sirko case, enabling his release in order to secure Nadia’s. He even cuts Batista an impressive check to boost his restaurant dream—whether he’s working off of a legitimate inheritance or the dirty cash from which he is helpless to escape, we don’t know. Unfortunately, he’s having a bad time as far as shaking free the “bag boy” status with the Kashka Brotherhood, and chances are he’s just as much of a dangling marionette as Nadia is in this formidable operation. The blades up the sleeves of the Brotherhood are only mere reflections of the cunning of Isaak, who smilingly confronts the impediment of police surveillance upon his disconcertingly smooth release from the clink. In his eyes, Miami is still overpopulated by “one too many,” and the honor of satiated revenge is far from lost on him as he pursues retribution for Viktor’s demise. Further, he pushes Dexter to own up to the truth of his action, recognizing that Dexter is “a different kind of animal” as far as takers of life go. He wishes to “charge” Dexter on every possible account as he takes the whole of him down. As Dexter acquires for himself a variety of inexorable enemies whose passions will not permit them to quit or acquit him, he still finds himself plunging further and further into the arms of Hannah, whom Debra’s caught onto with all the fervor she has to offer.

Justice is sought against Dexter from every angle; even from Debra, who doesn’t yet realize that this wicked femme fatale with a Poison Ivy’s kiss is coming over him with a vine’s pervasiveness. Deb doesn’t mince words for Hannah, who has learned to offer tears and whose addiction to self-preservation has kept her unflinchingly inflicting “heart attacks,” and she’s ready to pull the rug of immunity out from under Hannah’s feet on any grounds she possibly can. After her failed attempts at using the law enforcement system, Debra coolly calls an oh-so-preoccupied Dexter and issues him a challenge she doesn’t realize he had attempted before. “You’re a killer, Ms. McKay,” Deb had told Hannah with that tongue-pressed-to-the-teeth satisfaction that accompanies an acted-upon hunch. She passes the baton to Dexter, saying, “There has to be some fucking justice. It’s you, Dex. She deserves it. I want you to make it right. Do what you do.” In a moment of panic, Dexter locks eyes with the camera, recognizing the magnitude of the sh*t soaring towards a fan the size of Antarctica. His proclivity for chaos, for explosiveness, is about to manifest itself in the most vulnerable area of his entire life.

Dexter, Dexter, Dexter. You can’t have it all. The choice is yours to make, and it will define you, condemn you, or create you anew. Who is worth the sacrifice? Who needs to be sacrificed, to make that sacrifice come about? In the words of the band Anberlin, it seems you’re on the verge of “hurting the only ones you really love.”

How did “Chemistry” strike you? Sound off in the comments below with all your thoughts, theories, and more! 

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