Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter on That Bath Scene, New Deb/Dex Intimacy! Plus: Early Finale Scoop
The question posed at the start of Dexter Season 7 — How exactly does a murderer convince his sister to come around to his serial-killing ways? — may have officially been answered this week, when our titular Dark Passenger made a move that could have broken, but ultimately began to heal his relationship with Deb.
After witnessing the lieutenant’s devastation upon learning that incarcerated baddie Ray Speltzer had been set free, Dex took matters into his own hands and — following quite the fight — offed the killer.
Normally, that would have been retribution enough, but not this time. Taking a risk, our anti-hero called Deb to the scene of the crime and told her that not only was Speltzer gone, but that he had killed him. Her response was not one of anger or fear, as was the case with a similar conversation in the season premiere, but rather the interaction went pretty smoothly:
Deb: “Did you do this for me?”
Dexter: “No… How do you feel?”
Deb: “Glad. What does that make me?”
TVLine spoke with Jennifer Carpenter about the possibility of a new outlook for Deb and why that final scene played as a seduction of sorts. The actress also reveals what the rest of the season has in store, including a forthcoming finale that is “satisfying on every level.”
TVLINE | What an episode-ending scene! Is Deb finally, truly accepting Dexter?
Everything that Deb thought was true about Dexter isn’t anymore; it was all a projection. So, for now she’s just trying to get the whole picture and the real picture. At the end of Episode 4, it starts to come into focus for her in a way that is both surprising and, dare I say, understandable. The thing that’s true about life on this show is that there must always be forward motion, So even though Deb may not have a place for all of the things she’s discovering, she has to keep the momentum. Like politicians, you may not always believe that it’s the right thing to do, but you have to make a choice in the moment. She’s under pressure and doing the best she can.
TVLINE | I can’t tell you how happy I am that they touched on Rita and Trinity in that dream sequence. It had to happen.
I thought it was brilliantly crafted on the writers’ part, because I feel like it encompasses exactly how Deb processes things. She shoves the difficult, complicated things that make it hard for her to deal with everyday life into the corners of her mind, and it’s in a dream that she realizes what she imagines could have happened between Rita and Dexter and Trinity.
TVLINE | What was it like shooting that scene?
In the most generic terms, it was awesome! [Laughs] It was incredible to play something I felt like I actually needed to play. The thing that I kept coming to this year with the writers was that I didn’t know where they wanted me [as Deb] to be, or what they wanted for me to build for them this season. I felt incredibly lost, which I’ve never had before because Deb has always been pretty easy to read, emotionally and otherwise. So, this dream, in a weird way, allowed me to write my own story in, to have my own feelings about how it all was coming together. I learned a lot about how to proceed as an actor through that episode.
TVLINE | You say you felt a bit lost, but as a viewer I can assure you that it’s been incredible to see such a strong, smart Deb this season.
I agree. I also think I discovered a lot of that in playing the scene in the church in the premiere. It wasn’t a gift I expected to get playing that scene, but after we came back from the eight-month hiatus and I started to actually process what it meant for Dexter to stab someone in from of Deb, there was a part of [her] that was rejoicing — ‘Thank God! That explains everything!’ There was a take at one point that looked like I was just ordering a pizza, just figuring out how to use that line and it wasn’t loaded with anything. And it was in that moment, where Deb starts to shake and cry a little bit, that she realizes that was how she truly felt; her heart was breaking, she was terrified, she was lost and that was when Dexter’s seduction started, to confuse her away from that feeling. This whole season for me has been about exploring not only what she was feeling in that moment, but what does it mean to her? I dunno, I could talk in circles about this forever. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Speaking of seduction, that’s kind of what the end of this episode felt like. There were also some subtle romantic vibes, which is something executive producer Sara Colleton told TVLine will eventually come back into play –
It will?! [Laughs] No, I know what she’s talking about.
TVLINE | What can you say about that? Are we witnessing more seduction, romantic or otherwise? Or is Deb just accepting him?
Anyone who does what Dexter does has to be seductive at some point. He can look at a person, know what they need and deliver, which is why he can manipulate so gracefully. The tease at a possible relationship between the two last season was really a tool to let Deb discover and not attack when she found out who and what he is. At the end of the day, a real relationship is about intimacy and endurance, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a sexual element for them to be relating to each other in an intimate way… which they are. I can see why the writers might have picked that up and used it as a tool, and I can see why audience members would recognize their connection in that way.
TVLINE | What would you say about the rest of the season to someone, like myself, who has really loved these first four episodes?
I’m with you! That is so good to hear, because I swear to God we do it by audience. That’s all we care about; we just want to make them happy. This season flew by. I feel like I blinked my eyes and suddenly we’re finished shooting. I have never been more excited to see a finale in my life. It takes me 15 seconds to get wrapped, get in my trailer, change clothes and get out — I am famous for it! They just leave my call sheet on my car, that’s how fast I am. And I stayed after work to go up and watch footage of the last scene. It’s so satisfying on every level. I’m so proud of this season. I can’t wait for people to see it. It feels like we are back in a great, big way.
Do you think Deb has finally accepted the Dark Passenger? Hit the comments!Follow @MegMasters