Once again, as in the season four and season six finales, I have to pause and take a deep breath after watching an intense final episode. At the end of last season, we all wondered what the next season would bring. This time, we’re left to wonder what the series will be?
Because out of all the possible endings, I’ll admit that is not the one I saw coming? I was fairly certain a cast member would die, but I couldn’t guess who and certainly not how. So read on for my TwoCents, and most importantly share your opinions below.
Doakes is not alive: OK, so way to fake us out in the previews for tonight’s episode. The title of the episode and all sightings of Doakes were nothing more than flashbacks in Dexter’s mind. He reflected back to when he and Doakes worked side by side and little by little Doakes grew more and more suspicious of his colleague’s odd behavior. From cheerfully reinacting a crime scene to the constant donut delivery, Doakes eventually labeled Dex as a “creep motherf**ker”. Now, I’ve watched every episode of the show, but never rewatched any season. And while I remember Deb’s early vice years bangs, I can’t recall if these were newly created flashbacks or actual scenes from the first season. Anybody know?
Hannah is still all about the plants: Dexter visits a locked up Hannah and advises that he had to choose between her and Debra. Hannah truly believed Dexter would’ve chosen her, even though, as she admits she DID poison Deb. She does promise him that his secrets will remain safe with her. She calls Arlene Shram and asks for help, as she can’t face life in prison. At her arraignment, Deb gloats about her incarceration, but Hannah calls her out on being a hypocrite for arresting Hannah, but letting her own brother roam free to kill.
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Dexter has, quite smartly, subverted expectations this season. Instead of falling into its typical, often very plodding rhythms, the show has managed to keep the story moving at a relatively fast clip. Dexter and Deb’s relationship evolved quickly in the first half of the season, and his feelings for Hannah developed similarly rapidly in the second half. Along the way, the Isaak story reached a satisfying, if unfortunately early, conclusion. I like that the writers have let the story progress at a natural speed instead of holding back until the last few episodes. However, moving the story along and wrapping up some threads quickly means that it has to be moving towards something else. That’s where Dexter might be in just a little trouble.
It’s not that the penultimate episode of Season 7 was especially bad. In fact, “Do You See What I See?” presented Dexter with an important choice, one that I think reflects how he both has and has not changed this season. But this episode also over-relied on old Dexter tropes and in many ways, suggested that the conclusion to this season isn’t going to be as compelling or complicated as other portions of it.
Look, I think we all knew that LaGuerta’s 98-year search to find the real Bay Harbor Butcher was going to come to some sort of head. Hopefully, like me, you were also dreading it. Dexter avoiding his dimwitted colleagues is one of the least interesting things this show does, and with LaGuerta being the most dimwitted of them all, I haven’t been looking forward to what developed in “Do You See What I See?” for two months.
This episode heavily relied on LaGuerta’s search, resulting in a good six or seven minutes of wasted screen time as Dexter and Deb plotted-unbelievably easily, I might add-to frame Doakes one final time by planting evidence in a hilariously obvious spot.
The finale of “Boardwalk Empire‘s” third season provided more closure than excitement, capping off what has certainly been one of the worst years in Nucky Thompson’s life.
After last week set the table for the inevitable war between the two factions, we are caught up with a montage of the conflict between Rosetti’s gang and the tenuous Chalky-Capone-Nucky Alliance.
While Rosetti claims to be winning his invasion (just shy of hanging a “mission accomplished” banner up at Gillian’s), morale is testy in both camps. The New York crew is drinking and boffing the cathouse dry, while Team Nucky is busy brawling amongst themselves.
While muscle is what he needed to save his hide last week — and it certainly did — Nucky strikes the decisive blow not with bullets but as a “guy with all the angles,” as Eli aptly describes his brother.
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Will the “Dark Passenger” have to hitch a ride with another serial killer on “Dexter“? After years of calling shotgun with the ghost of Dexter’s father, it looks like Dexter (Michael C. Hall) has kicked both phantom hitchhikers to the curb.
After Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski adorably quizzes him about what she mistakenly calls his “Dark Rider” (David Hasselhoff spinoff anyone?), Dexter begins to accept that his urge to kill is part of himself — rather than a force possessing him and commanding him to kill. Not that his new girlfriend minds.
In fact, it’s his new ladylove (yep, they’ve finally progressed to using the L-word), Dexter realizes he’s not a puppet of “The Dark … Whatever” (this episode’s title) or even Harry’s code.
Father Knows Best: In addition to their bloodlust, both Hannah and Dexter share unresolved daddy issues. While Harry Morgan (James Remar) trained his son to be a successful serial killer, Hannah’s pop, Clint McKay (“Supernatural’s” Jim Beaver), is a sadistic gambler. Just out of prison, he shows up at his Hannah Banana’s doorstep asking for forgiveness … and $20,000. When she doesn’t loan him the money, he gets drunk, destroys her nursery, and then blackmails her. In a menacing visit to Dexter’s place (where he echoes his near-drowning of his daughter by telling Harrison, “It’s sink or swim, sonny boy”), he reveals that Hannah killed her halfway house counselor with rat poison and her roommate, Arlene Schram, saw it — and he’ll tell the police about her if Dexter and Hannah don’t pay up. Why now? Turns out he was selling out his daughter to Sal Price for his true-crime sequel, and now Daddy Dearest is turning to blackmail to fund his gambling addiction.
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“Two Imposters” picks up no more than a couple hours after the crate containing Owen Slater showed up at Nucky Thompson’s door. Right away, “Boardwalk Empire” is answering questions as quickly as possible and moving on to the siege of Nucky Thompson’s Atlantic City.
Nucky knew, or if he didn’t, he now knows about Owen and Margaret. Before he can fully process that information, the New York crew sends three guys to hit Nucky’s room, which affords Steve Buscemi the rare chance to kick some serious ass. It also gives Gyp Rosetti the chance to liberate Regina the dog back from the Thompsons.
So Margaret and the kids are gone, Owen is dead in a box and Eddie is bleeding out in the passenger seat next to him. The town is under such an assault that Nucky can’t even get his right hand medical aid at the hospital where he donated a wing.
More than ever, Nucky Thompson needs muscle and friends. Coincidentally, Chalky White has a small army at his disposal, and a med student for a son-in-law. It appears that Chalky might get that night club after all.
Dexter is a ridiculous show. It is not realistic at all. Sometimes that can bother me, but what I love about the show (when it’s good) is how well it can take me along for a ride that can I simultaneously recognize as pretty silly and enthralling nonetheless. And amid a season of relatively down-to-earth and character-focused stories, “Helter Skelter” saw the show reach its highest level of absurdity so far this season, and it thrived in doing so.
Only on a television show like Dexter can an entire episode revolve around the uneasy alliance between two cold-blooded killers who’ve spent most of the previous half-dozen installments plotting to kill one another. And only on a show like this one can those characters trade barbs, pull multiple weapons on one another, and then discuss heady concepts like love, loss, fear, and responsibility as part of their alliance. Simply put, the relationship between Dexter and Isaak has been an odd but compelling one to watch develop throughout the season.
If you are one of those people who thought their chat in the gay bar last week was a treat, “Helter Skelter” may have been one of your favorite episodes of the season so far. Though I’ve really enjoyed the Dexter-Deb stories this season, I consider myself one of those people. And really, this episode-and this story-shouldn’t have been this good.
We have seen the show try to pull Dexter and various villains and Big Bads together for very manufactured, troubling reasons and it has rarely worked; as viewers, we know that the show is not reflective of real life, but some stories just stretch the credulity of the world a smidgen too far.
Commercial clips show Trinity Police officers as a fun-loving bunch, doing pranks to each other, laughing with inmates and passing gas.
Someone like me watches it and thinks, “Well, this is how they’re drawing them in. We’ll see how they’re actually a hard-working bunch.”
Unfortunately, the first episode doesn’t show that.
Most of the first show is Chief Stephen Jones going to a ribbon cutting, cutting up with Officer Donald “Big Sexy” Givens and giving his officers a hard time.
I’m not entirely sure that the palindrome Agent Sawicki trots out in Nucky’s office ? “A man! A plan! A canal! Panama!” ? was all that well-known (or known at all) in the mid-20s. (What little research I’ve done suggests it was invented by Leigh Mercer and first published in 1948.) But the idea of a phrase that means the exact same thing backwards and forwards feels right at home in a series full of duplicitous men, who make the same promises to multiple people in multiple directions, leaving each of them wondering which version is real and which is setting them up for ruin.
In “A Man, A Plan” alone, we have Gaston Bullock Means cleverly getting both Nucky and Harry to pay him a $40,000 fee to take out Jess Smith (and is rewarded for his cleverness with Jess saving him the trouble by killing himself in a way that Means can no doubt take credit for) and Lansky and Luciano taking the heroin deal to Joe Masseria when Rothstein turns it down. And most importantly, we have Owen and Margaret each pledging their devotion to their respective partners even as they’re plotting to leave Atlantic City with each other.
Or are they?
That’s the question Margaret spends much of “A Man, A Plan” wrestling with, and one she’ll never get an answer to, because Meyer and Lucky gave Masseria enough advance warning that he was prepared for Owen’s assassination attempt. We think Owen was going to go with Margaret, particularly in light of the news that she’s pregnant with his child, but we also got to see him with Katey, and he seemed just as convincing in casually proposing marriage to her as he did in all his promises to Margaret. I don’t see any value in Owen deliberately misleading the boss’s estranged wife, but at the same time, we don’t know him nearly as well as we knew Jimmy, and Margaret doesn’t even get to see all that we do. Is Owen really being honest with her, or is she the one being strung along when the sentence reverses on itself?
Everyone wants an Argentina, a place where the slate is wiped clean. But the truth is: Argentina is just Argentina.
Just as Hannah McKay allows the calendar photo of Argentina to entice her with thoughts of ?what could have been,? Dexter looks to his childhood posing the very same question. When Dex was a young man, he was coached to kill by his father Harry Morgan. Dexter followed blindly as the criteria for killing was planted firmly into his mind?almost as if this was typical father-son behavior. These elaborate sets of rules were assigned to him, and at the age of 20, Dexter started killing to feed his desire to harm others. But what would have happened if Dexter decided for himself what he did with this desire?
What a standout episode of Dexter this week. Most characters are fumbling around trying to regain their balance?all except for Dexter, who?s in love and gently floating on cloud nine. He can?t control how he feels about Hannah McKay and it?s affecting just about every other part of his life. Dexter refuses to follow Harry?s Code and kill Hannah; when Debra finds out about their relationship, Deb spews out how she?s in love with her step-brother. The keyword here is spew. I imagine I am in the majority here in saying that I hoped this storyline crawled into a hole last season, never to return. A positive to re-exposing her feelings for Dex can hopefully help explain why he didn?t land in prison earlier this season.
Speaking of prison, our favorite Ukrainian mobster Isaak?s release from the slammer has helped put him back in the game: kill Dexter Morgan. This vendetta not only fogs Isaak?s judgment, it also forces the Koshka Brotherhood to put out a hit on him. As the cat (Isaak) and mouse (Dexter) game picks up steam throughout the episode, Dex follows Isaak into a bar?a gay bar. I was captivated by their conversation and how each clever line exposes Isaak?s motivations even more. The drink between these two enemies reveals a few things: 1. It confirms that Isaak and Viktor were lovers. 2. Isaak refuses to give up pursuing Dexter?that is, until he is dead, and 3. love, not killing, is now what fuels both of these men.
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The rubble of Babette’s Supper Club is still smoking and the echoes of last week’s blast are still ringing in Nucky Thompson’s ears.
An episode like “The Milkmaid’s Lot” could have gone down a very reflexive road. This might have been Nucky’s episode to dream he’s a different person while he recovers from his wounds (looking at you, Tony Soprano).
Instead, Steve Buscemi turns in a stellar performance as a shell-shocked Nucky who just wants all his rivals dead and a pony for his stepdaughter.
Buscemi plays Nucky confused, irritated, disoriented, manic and vulnerable. It’s a kaleidoscope of a character we so often see wrapped in singular purpose and calm control. He forgets his friends’ faces, along with most of the details of recent events. The one thing he can focus on is Gyp Rosetti.
Yes, like MacArthur returning to the Philippines, Rosetti has returned toTabor Heights. His first act of business is to reaffirm the universal law that being the sheriff of Tabor Heights is the equivalent to being the drummer in Spinal Tap.