Dexter Season Finale Recap: Crappy New Year

Episode 712If you have yet to watch Dexter‘s season finale, avert your eyes. All others, proceed…

Remember when Deb falling in love with Dexter seemed like the worst choice she could possibly make? In this week’s episode of Dexter, she takes some action that makes her wrongheaded romantic affection for her adopted brother seem precious and quaint in comparison.

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In other news: Hannah proved a shifty little minx once more, Battista retired and Doakes is back! Put up some plastic sheeting and don your sleeve guards, because we’re about to review the major developments that took place in the Season 7 finale, “Surprise, Motherf—er!”

SOWING THE SEEDS (OF LOVE?) | During a jailhouse visit before her arraignment, Hannah confessed to Dexter that she’d spiked Deb’s water “because she was trying to keep us apart.” (I’m not exactly buying it, but we’ll let that sit for a little while.) It’s a tender, totally wrong scene between two people with fundamentally messed-up emotional responses, and it’s painful (in the best way!) to watch. “You had a choice. You were supposed to choose me,” Hannah says with a greenhouse’s worth of hurt in her voice. On the verge of tears, Dexter admits that he misses her but that he won’t tamper with evidence (Sal’s poisoned pen) or sacrifice Deb’s safety for his girlfriend. She kisses him goodbye, bites his lip until it bleeds and then calls Arlene – who slips her a pill at her arraignment. Hannah swallows it and goes into convulsions in the paddy wagon back to jail, which makes a detour to the hospital. While no one’s watching, Hannah escapes… and later we see her leaving a pot of flowers – is it aconite? Something else? Hard to tell in the dark, so weigh in with your guess in the comments —  at Dexter’s doorstep.

GET IT, GIRL | LaGuerta arrests Dexter for Estrada’s murder, and she does it all the way: showing up at his apartment with two uniformed officers, marching him through Miami Metro in handcuffs, asking Deb to recuse herself from the investigation, etc. For a minute, it seems as though LaGuerta’s got him – until Masuka comes through with some evidence that makes it look as though she’s framing him in order to clear Doakes’ name.

This kicks off a very bad time for the over-eyelined lady cop; pretty much everyone in the department (including Batista and Matthews) tells her that her career is just about done and she should apologize to Dexter in hopes that he’ll argue for leniency with the higher-ups. It seems for a while like she’s going along with it, until she begins opening the mail she’s neglected during her frenzy to exonerate Doakes. Though all I ever find in piles of old mail is overdue Banana Republic bills and expired coupons, she stumbles upon some crucial surveillance footage Mike ordered before he died. Game on!

During a meeting in LaGuerta’s office, Deb denies being at the church the night Travis Marshall died. LG’s all, oh yeah? as she plays the security footage from the filling station where Deb bought the gas that eventually set the place ablaze. “This is just the start of a much larger conversation. Count on it,” Maria warns. Deb gapes like a fish hauled up on shore, lamely mumbles that she forgot that she brought Dexter dinner that night and then then hightails it to meet with her brother.

NO WAY OUT | Throughout the episode, Harry appears and suggests that Dexter grab Harrison and Deb and get the heck outta town. This is the situation, he insists, Dexter always knew would arrive one day. But Dex stubbornly asserts that the “fake life” he’s pretended to have for so long has become real, and he doesn’t want to lose it. The only solution, then, is to eliminate everyone who knows who he is and who might want to turn him in. He believes Hannah when she says she’ll keep his secret because she loves him (and I believe it’s nice to go into the final season with the intriguing blonde still alive and armed to cause trouble). That leaves Estrada and LaGuerta – who jumps to the top of after Dexter breaks into LaGuerta’s home and finds that she’s thisclose to requisitioning his and Deb’s cell phone GPS records of the night Travis died – LaGuerta herself.

Dex tranqs his mother’s murderer at a park; once he wakes up, Dex uses him to lure LaGuerta to the shipping container from the previous episode. The old criminal’s purpose fulfilled, Dexter seems to be losing it a little as he says he used to think he was a special kind of killer, but now he’s just – as frequent flashbacks remind us Doakes once called him – a “creep motherf—er.” Dex fatally stabs Estrada, then injects LaGuerta when she arrives. His plan is to make it look like the pair shot each other – which, if you’re scoring at home, means he has to shoot his former boss and officially obliterate Harry’s code – but Deb’s arrival tears all that asunder.

She enters with her gun drawn and, after realizing what Dexter is about to do, aims it at him. Just then, LaGuerta wakes up and instructs Deb to shoot her brother because it’s the only way to stop him. Poor Deb is a hot mess of shaking and crying and barefoot and sparkly (she came from Batista’s New Year’s Eve party and kicked off her shoes at the shipping yard) and just as Dexter drops his knife and uses Hannah’s line – “Do what you gotta do” – Deb turns to LaGuerta and shoots her in the chest. (Side note: Woah. This scene was so tense, I was wishing for a little Xanax in my Fiji Water.) Deb runs over and hugs LaGuerta to her as Dexter watches, and we later see the shellshocked Morgan siblings winding a path through a beachside New Year’s celebration. “Who is Deb now? Who am I?” Dexter’s voice over intones. “Is this a new beginning, or the beginning of the end?”  Nicely played, Dexter.

Now it’s your turn. Do you agree that the season finale – and this season overall – was a pleasing return to form for the Showtime series? What are you hoping will happen in the upcoming final season? And does anyone care about Quinn and the stripper that broke his heart? (P.S. Not me!) Sound off in the comments!

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