Dexter, Season 7

Incest and Isaac and Donuts, Oh My!
Talking television.
Nov. 19 2012 2:54 PM

Dexter, Season 7

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On Deb and donuts. 

C.S. Lee as Vince Masuka and Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in 'Dexter.'
C.S. Lee as Vince Masuka and Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in 'Dexter'

Photo by Randy Tepper/Showtime.

The consensus around the web seems to be that we should all forgive Dexter for reviving the incest side plot because, well, the show is getting so damn good. “This was the best episode of the season,” proclaimed Vulture. “A really strong episode... [with] the best scene of the season…Well done,” gushed Examiner.  In fact, the creators have done such a stellar job with the themes they’ve addressed so far that they may just be up to turning Deb’s guilty love for her stepbrother into compelling TV. Alex Moaba at Huffington Post has some advice for pulling that off: “I'll be impressed with the writers' gumption…if they steer the show into the genuinely bizarre territory that would result from Deb and Dexter actually sleeping together,” he says. “I don't think I can handle a will-they-or-won't-they storyline hanging over the show for its final season and a half. If they're going to go there, better to rip that dirty band-aid off quickly.”  

This assumes, of course, that Deb will survive all the psychopaths amassing like attractive, well-spoken storm clouds around her. Between Hannah McKay (who, as commenter David Harvey observes, “makes it a practice to kill people who are an inconvenience in her life”) and Isaac Sirko (who multiple viewers suspect will target Dexter’s loved ones to inflict maximum damage), Lt. Morgan may want to invest in her own security detail. Her codename could be fuck balls or the sweet fucking baby Jesus. At any rate, most reviewers agree that Jennifer Carpenter has treated us to deserving, evocative acting this season. The scene in which she comes clean to Dexter about her feelings could have been, in Richard Rys’ words, a “creepy train wreck,” but she redeemed it with her mastery of  “the hysterical rant that’s part sob, part laughter, part-I’m-so-freaked-out-I-might-puke.” It’s refreshing to see Deb get some love on the comment threads, too. Slate reader Jake B posted, “I think Jennifer Carpenter's performance as Deb is extraordinary. She's never mentioned among the really fine actresses on cable, but she should be.” (On the other hand, HthrAlxndr calls her “an extremely annoying character, played poorly by an irritating actress of very limited range and talent.” Oh well.)

Critics also praised the episode’s humanizing treatment of Isaac (“This has got to be the most gentlemanly mutual stalking with intent to murder ever”) and celebrated the return of the donuts! For newcomers to the show, Dexter frequently purveys both death and a delicious sugar rush in a box—but during season 7, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether all of Miami were suffering from a donut drought. Last night’s episode reintroduced the breakfast carbs, though a few jelly rolls died for the cause when Isaac opened fire through the pastry shop window. (Yummier flavors, such as the Boston Cremes Dexter bought to appease Deb, were spared.)

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As for the difficulties Dexter faces now that his sister and his girlfriend both love him, and both want each other dead, Moaba probably said it best: “It's almost as weird as the Petraeus scandal.”

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 

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