Dexter Ep 7.06 ‘Do the Wrong Thing’ darkly foreboding and twisted

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Dexter, Season 7, Episode 6: “Do the Wrong Thing”
Written by Lauren Gussis
Directed by Alik Sakharov
Airs Sundays at 8pm (ET) on Showtime

As the title suggests, the latest hour of Dexter’s revival features a number of characters making fraught and potentially regrettable choices as the lethal ballet depicted by Season Seven’s richly dark tapestry continues. For a show predominantly providing a positive slant to the foibles of a serial killer, Showtime’s mega-hit has at times fallen foul of a perversely inappropriate moral compass. ‘Do the Wrong Thing’ continues the trend to puts this right with a tensely unethical installment.

With Isaak Sirko behind bars and seemingly set to stay there long term, Dexter exploits his new found breathing space to step up a personal project, Hannah McKay; After background checks into his flirting partner leave him convinced that the immunity enjoying florist continued her killing ways long after her lover Wayne Randall was incarcerated. The cooperation in the case by a famed crime writer provide Dex with some new insights and sufficient proof to cue the sharpening of blades, but what seems at first like a regular kill actually leads down the garden path into dangers both physical and emotional.

Said writer, Sal Price (Santiago Carbrera), puts the moves on Deb in a pursuit which pushes the overwrought Lieutenant into taking more positive steps in her life. She’s inspired by Batista, who’s lingering doubts over his job see him look into retiring early and buying a seaside restaurant. His partner’s latest venture is far less idealistic, however, as Isaak’s predicament forces his proxy George Novikov into putting a far greater squeeze on Quinn in an attempt to get the mob boss out of jail. After bribing fails, George’s plan-B targets the dirty cop’s heart strings and gets a far more positive result. If all this weren’t enough, Maria LaGuerta is still in search of closet skeletons, conjecture leading her to a deceased member of the Dexter Rogues Gallery…

It’s quite remarkable that having reached the half way point the new season continues to throw curve balls at its audience and give away nothing regarding its direction, aside from some tantalizing hints that are darkly foreboding rather than teasing. It may be par to the course that Isaak will very soon be back on the streets and on the heels of our protagonist, but ‘Do the Wrong Thing’ packs a startling conclusion which makes the merry chase even more unpredictable and, somehow, even more twisted. It’s maddeningly logical that having finally found some room to maneuver, Dex takes a shocking step into what can only be described as sensual quick sand.

The route taken to finally resolve the increasing tension between Dexter and Hannah McKay may seem fairly mundane in plotting but is far from so in execution, instead throwing up more lavishly fiendish subtext and choke inducing implications. The plot here is being driven by good story, not in safety advised care for the dangerously flawed characters. This is very new ground for Dexter, whose relationship folly of the past has ranged from dissonantly passive to monstrously manipulative, but never into the shades of finding an equal. It’s appropriate that Season Five’s Lumen should be mentioned in passing here since it was Dex’s last fling, but Hannah is far from being an avenging victim.

Indeed, the references to seasons past continue to come quick and fast, with a quick and humorous nod to Batisita’s more shameful exploits of yesteryear, a brilliant reuse of a Season One location in the climax and LaGuerta’s flagging Bay Harbor Butcher inquiries bringing her to the curious mystery of Jordan Chase, Season Five’s big bad who hasn’t been so much as mentioned since he was executed and made to disappear. Deb surmising Dexter’s involvement, and the true identity of the two ‘vigilantes’ she allowed to escape, is a respectful nod both to the series’ continuity and to an audience who have been compiling lists of old cases that potty mouth Morgan should be dragging up. Its mention here is timing at its most appropriate.

Speaking of big bads, Isaac has far less to do when in a red jumpsuit aside from shake up space sharing Colombians and make sure that Jason Gedrick’s George adapts to leading their efforts. The continuing pressure on Quinn proves to be uncomfortable viewing for fans who deep down know the Brooklyn drawler is more susceptible than anyone of getting his hands dirty, especially when new squeeze Nadia has her existence threatened. It’s a bold and interesting re-examination of a character who’s darker traits were previously only peeked at, and his complicity in a cop-killing, Dexter-hunting crime syndicate doesn’t bode well for him.

Nor does Batista, who’s tempting the seemingly unstoppable trope of ‘retirony’; his weariness at the job and his lack of a personal life beyond meals with sister Jamie were foreshadowed in previous episodes, but here is brave enough to voice his discontent and share with others his urge to cash in and buy a different future, one that means his career and by extension his life now has an upcoming expiry date, if classic cliché is anything to go by. The fact that LaGuerta’s investigations means she will surely face Dexter head on at some point means the potential that three of the seven main characters face death by Season’s end.

So, pretty ominous reading and hardly a stretch given the fact that each episode pushes further and further into nightmare territory. It’s a tone reminiscent of the first season, and with endgame now on the horizon anything is suddenly possible, a terrifying and wonderful prospect. Like the unholy union at the end of ‘Do the Wrong Thing’, you just don’t know which direction the danger or bad call is going to come from next.

It’s quite wonderful.

– Scott Patterson


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