Dexter Season 7, Episode 10: “THE DARK… WHATEVER” Recap & Review

After the dizzying twists of a momentous and “Helter Skelter” ride through last week’s gasp-worthy installment of Dexter rocked our world a dozen times over, “The Dark… Whatever” is priming us for fresh chaos and propelling us ever closer to what’s sure to be nothing short of a killer endgame. At every corner, secrets are ever at the risk of falling into the wrong hands and becoming exposed to light previously unknown—with drastic consequences. If it’s true what Dexter said in the first season—that “there are no secrets in life, just hidden truths that lie beneath the surface”—are the safer depths receding? What’s to become of the Dark Passenger? Are the tinted windows of Dexter’s truth fading into tragic translucence before dangerous eyes? If you’re still reeling from the thrills of this dicey new game, 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 double-edged sword that’s changed the nature of everything! Ready to plunge into the dark? Brace yourself for growing pains with “The Dark… Whatever.” CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD.

THE BREAKDOWN: As the ‘Phantom’ arson continues to terrorize Miami with his indiscriminant killing sprees, Dexter finds his Dark Passenger crying to take the wheel to give this menace what he deserves—what its hunger calls for. Not only does Dexter find, however, that the Phantom isn’t who he anticipated; he’s also starting to realize that he’s a little more responsible for his own lethal activities than he’d ever imagined. As Hannah challenges Dexter to rethink the nature of his primal need, her ex-convict father leaps into town with an admirable façade of hope for daughterly reconciliation—thinly veiling a seedy interest in using a bitter truth about Hannah’s spotted past as leverage in paying off old gambling debts. Without Sal Price to feed him cash in exchange for her secrets, he’s looking to get creative. While Hannah is weak at the knees when it comes to confronting her dad—even a father who nearly drowned her at the age of six and left her alone in a hotel for three days while raking in dirty cash—Dexter is thirsting to own his need to kill in a new way that just might break his code and perspective forever. In the meantime, LaGuerta and Matthews deliberate over a way to approach Dexter regarding some shocking dots connected in the Bay Harbor Butcher case, Quinn frees Nadia from George’s clutches once and for all, and Debra seeks Batista’s help in responding to a certain tip that could land the beguiling Ms. McKay behind the bars she’s evaded for far too long. Skip the jump for more…

“If there’s no Dark Passenger, that means I’m responsible… for everything I’ve done.”

“You’re not a kid anymore. It’s time for you to take responsibility.”

Could it be that the Dark Passenger we’ve become so intimately acquainted with all these years—just as Dexter has—is just as nonexistent as the father he communes with in his head? Is this the end of yet another immense era? After watching Hannah squirm with confusion at the suggestion of a foreign entity guiding Dexter in areas in which she’s taken full responsibility and “followed through”—she can only utter the “dark rider” as she tries to process the notion—we find Harry asking Dexter just where that passenger came from. Harry only instilled within Dexter the Code; not a presence that would alleviate Dexter of the weight of his need or compel him to that need. The partnership that Dexter has long operated within is suddenly dissolving in his hands; the ritual, the need, and the want are his and are born of his own… feelings?

Emotionlessness has been Dexter’s way since he first began to understand himself and his darkest intricacies. “You can’t play on my emotions; I don’t have any.” “I don’t have feelings about anything, but if I could have feelings at all, I’d have them for Deb.” Somehow, Dexter’s “feelings” and his comprehension of them are undergoing violent, groundbreaking change, and with this self-revelation comes the immeasurable responsibility of owning every aspect of his bloody course. Will his expulsion of the Dark Passenger entail the dismantlement of the Code? Is Hannah behind these surprising exposés in any way? Does acting based on feeling, rather than through the manipulation of a separate entity, change the very nature of Dexter's path from here on out? With the dramatic turning of a new leaf could come any number of consequences. Not only did Dexter transform his ritual this season by abandoning his blood slides and putting down his old “play toys” in order to grow—now he has abandoned the macabre confidante and shotgun seat rider whose presence has guided him through every wild season. First, the boy puts down the toys he’s outgrown. Then, he realizes that he himself is growing and bids adieu to security blankets, thumb-sucking, and even the imaginary best friend. And so the tables turn; not only turning, but taking on new shapes we can’t yet classify. The Dark Passenger helped enable Dexter to believe that he could be something of a ‘Dark Defender’ for mankind. Yet, as Dexter’s very first kill without the Dark Passenger’s intoxicating provocation breaks free of the Code to satisfy his own visceral feelings… well, things could go any number of chaotic ways.

And this might not be the best time for Dexter to go down a new road of helter-skelter mayhem, considering his obliviousness to the progress of LaGuerta and Matthews in pinning down his elusive truth! Visiting the marshlands where former suspect James Doakes met his explosive end, the unlikely duo comes to discover the identity of the cabin renter at that game-changing time: Jimenez, a key player in the unfolding of Laura Moser’s brutal death—which was witnessed by both Dexter and his brother, Brian. While this story is one with which we’ve all become familiarized, the fact that it’s making landfall on LaGuerta and Matthews is one that could situate Dexter in that corner we’re all anxiously dreading. We can’t be sure yet that Matthews’ eminent confrontation of Dexter will be a disarming, gracious exchange; he may have been a faithful friend to Harry and thereby the rest of the Morgan family, but we’ve also seen in this man a flair for ruthlessness and cunning. The real question is, can Dexter find a way to disarm him? If he does, will LaGuerta fly solo to ensure that her mission is placated at last? 

This complex episode sees us through a riveting journey of self-actualization in Dexter as well as self-preservation in a myriad of other characters. Let’s take a quick but well-deserved look at our lionhearted Debra, who is vying to remove Dexter as her crutch and rely on her own instinct and intuition in full. As Dexter is withdrawing from the Dark Passenger, so is Debra shaking the ghosts of guileless loyalty out of the woodwork of her heart in order to survive the truth with which she’s fighting to live. There’s no doubt that she will continue to let her love for Dexter inform her—especially as it appears that she’s coming forcefully up against Hannah in next week’s “Do You See What I See” (grab your popcorn and drinks, people)!—however, she wants to make it clear to both Dexter and herself that everything she does is of her own accord. She’s through with trying to figure out what anyone else other than herself is looking for. If love will light her way, it is the love that she gives. Even as her coworkers seem to squeeze lemons over her fresh wounds regarding Dexter’s relationship with Hannah (Masuka would be the one to bring that to light, what with his hopes of expanding his “spank bank”—favorite line of the night), she continues to love Dexter deep within—and yet, simultaneously, is forced to protect herself in that love. Hannah’s toxicity isn’t something she’s going to let slide. Nor did Quinn allow George’s toxic treatment of Nadia to escalate any further; in a swift, heated confrontation bolstered by the ever-faithful Batista, a quick bullet on Quinn’s heated part had us bidding farewell to Isaak’s former right-hand man. Of course, Quinn had to cover up his itchy trigger finger by convincing Nadia to shoot him and paint the picture of a true struggle (a gripping moment!). Batista saw through the guise, painfully, just as he did with Doakes’ shooting scandal in season two. Secrets continue to abound, but the secret that’s driven this entire series is coming dangerously close to breaking the surface.

If you haven’t checked out the preview for next week’s episode—brace yourself. This may be one of the best installments of the season yet, if my hopes are headed in the right direction! What did you think of “The Dark… Whatever”? Sound off with all of your thoughts and theories in the comments below! Thanks so much for reading! 

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