It’s Christmas time in Miami, and this year, the ghost of Christmas future is what seems to be plaguing Dexter. The entire episode sees Dexter thinking long and hard about what he wants out of life. Being a man who partakes in an undoubtedly unstable hobby, Dexter can never be too sure just what path he is on and just what may lay ahead. Is Dexter pursuing a life with Hannah, raising his son together or life as a man on the run with an insidious addiction, always looking for his next fix? Dexter can only hope for the best, a happy life possibly with new femme fatal girlfriend Hannah McKay. But what if Dexter’s new sweetheart doesn’t fit in with the rest of the Morgan family, mainly his sister, Debra, who is steadfast in her pursuit of bringing Hannah McKay to justice for her past sins? Or what if Dexter’s whole life as he knows it now crumbles with the discovery of his secret by Miami Metro Police Chief Maria LaGuerta? What happens to Dexter’s future then? Both of the scenarios come to head tonight, with Dexter’s Christmas not slated to be merry or bright. All of this is supposed to come across as a satisfying build up to what is surely looking like an explosive conclusion. But the rise to this inevitable end can’t quite be enjoyed as much upon reviewing just how we got to this point. We sacrificed a layered, formidable, highly entertaining opponent for Dexter all for a battle between his sister and lover for his heart, knowing full well which character we will see returning next season and which we will not. Seeing Dexter hunted by LaGuerta is fun, but so much time is wasted on LaGuerta being discounted that we never really see Dexter sweat. The writers are doing their best to bring a satisfying ending, but knowing how we got here just makes it all seem a little bit empty.
For Dexter, when things are good, they’re really good and when they’re bad, they’re very bad. Dexter seems to be on the more favorable side of the spectrum when he receives certain “gifts” for Christmas. The first is news that criminal Hector Estrada, the last surviving person involved in Dexter’s mother’s death, is being released from prison. Dexter easily convinces Hector that he is a drug trafficker needing help moving sativa and getting in touch with a Latino clientele. For a man on parole, this may seem like sketchy business, but Hector willingly volunteers to meet up with Dexter, so Dexter can get the rewarding experiencing of offing one of the men who has remained at the top of his Naughty list.
The next gift comes from Matthews, who gives Dexter a heads up to LaGuerta’s investigation. He halfheartedly interrogates Dexter through the veil of presenting LaGuerta’s inconclusive evidence. He rattles off the facts, about Dexter’s tortured past, his connection to his murderous brother, the owner of the cabin, but Dexter comes across as truly shocked by the notion. He makes up a story about Doakes threatening Dexter on his, Doakes’, made-up boat (the one he kept at the same marina as Dexter) and the reason why Dexter so suddenly moved his. This story explaining the mysterious marina switch satisfies Matthews and also gives the pair of investigators a new target; to search for a missing boat. With the help of Deb, Dexter plants a tackle box in the Bay Harbor Butcher evidence, which contains a key to a shack with not only a scrapped boat, but also plastic and knives with Doakes’ fingerprints. LaGuerta knows it all could have been planted, but Matthews urges LaGuerta to let it go, letting the insurmountable evidence speak for itself.
Then the bad starts to come for Dexter and it doesn’t let up. First, there are family issues. Deb, his sister and the only family Dexter has besides his son, is dedicated to bringing down his new lover, Hannah. Deb uses the tip from Mr. McKay about Arlene and tracks the woman down for questioning. Arlene doesn’t say much and only offers to think about what she may know about the poisoning of a correctional officer in a halfway home, at which she and McKay were roommates. Instantly Arlene goes to Hannah, the two promising never to sell each other out. Arlene’s promise doesn’t seem to be enough though and Hannah goes to Deb’s home to smooth out their relationship. She uses the angle of their both loving Dexter to try to get through to Deb, but she only says that her love for Dexter is what is keeping her from accepting a murderer as his girlfriend. Throughout their scene, Deb conspicuously is shown guzzling water, in a poor attempt to foreshadow the coming events. When Deb goes to talk to Arlene again, she passes out behind the wheel and ends up in the hospital. The anxiety medicine she was taken proves to be the source of the blackout, with three times the allotted dose in her system. Deb, in a hospital bed, swears she only took one pill and instantly begins accusing Hannah, knowing that she’s a poisoner and complimenting the complexity of the plot. Dexter doesn’t want to believe it, but searches Deb’s home and car for evidence, finding the water bottle. When Hannah and Dexter next speak, Dexter is distant and questions Hannah about the poisoning. She confidently denies the allegations and asks Dexter to think about the future the two could share, about how great their lives together would be. Dexter, not knowing what to believe, heads to his meeting with Hector.
Setting him up in a cargo container just like the one Dexter’s mother was killed in, Dexter stands over Hector with a chainsaw, explaining who Dexter Mosier is and declaring Hector’s end, ready to close this chapter in his life. Then things go from bad to very bad, as Hector begins to accuse Dexter of being in cahoots with the Police Chief who had him released early. At this Dexter realizes the whole thing is a set-up and the camera cuts to LaGuerta and a team in pursuit of the cargo container. LaGuerta is left to find only a kill room with a chainsaw while Dexter and, more importantly, a very much alive Hector, escape. But the bad news doesn’t end there. Dexter returns home to at least make Harrison’s Christmas a good one, planting presents under the tree when he receives a phone from the lab, saying the water was poisoned. Blinded by perceived betrayal Dexter gives Deb the evidence to Sal Price’s murder and meets with Hannah one last time, as the police close in to arrest her. As she is being taken away she leans in to tell Dexter, “you should have killed me,” and Dexter holds onto those words as he reassures himself to never count on the future.
The Best of the Rest:
The episode opens with a glimpse at what Dexter and Hannah’s future might look like, with both actors aged and a glimpse at a teenage Harrison. It’s a cool little moment.
Matthews gets in some nice zingers tonight, especially a joke about Doakes and LaGuerta’s romantic past.
Nadia flees to Vegas and Quinn is super sad, which hopefully ends the least interesting romance and side plot on television.
In a brief exchange with LaGuerta looking back on their pasts and futures, since it is the theme of the episode, Batista retires. We’re going to really hate watching you die next week (just guessing).
Dexter doesn’t once take the time to think that maybe Deb is setting Hannah up. Come on Dexter, are you getting dumber every episode?
Next week is the final episode of Season 7, be sure to check back next week for a review of the finale and a final grade for the season!