Dexter 7.10 – The Dark… Something

I have a love-hate relationship with this season. I really love the way Dexter’s character is evolving, especially in this episode, as he finally comes face-to-face with what it really means to call his urges his Dark Passenger. But there is just way too much happening at once. I care less about Dexter’s relationship with Hannah than I do about LeGuerta’s Bay Harbor Butcher investigation. I have hope that the final two episodes will make me care about Hannah’s existence, though, as the two main women in Dexter’s life go head-to-head.

At what point does a serial arsonist become a serial killer? Another burn victim was discovered, and this time there are witnesses. The suspect wore a green full-body suit, and he was huge – at least seven feet tall. The name “Bobby” is written in the soot once again. That’s five Bobbys in two weeks. None of the victims were named Bobby, and these latest two were a mother and daughter duo. The arson investigator looks at one of the victims in a way that makes my skin crawl. He looks up and locks eyes with Dexter. You’re in trouble now, pal.

Hannah sets the table for dinner while Dexter fills her in on the latest arson case. He promised Deb he wouldn’t take any cases from the police. As much as part of him wants to be there with Hannah (that part is his wiener, amirite?), his Dark Passenger wants to be somewhere else. His Dark what now? Hannah doesn’t understand the need to kill; Dexter always has a choice. He tries to explain, but she doesn’t get it.

They’re interrupted by a surprise visit from Hannah’s dad. She doesn’t look happy to see him. They haven’t spoken since he went to prison. But he spent a lot of time with the shrink during his sentence, and he’s there to take responsibility for how awful of a father he was. Um, is? He brought her a gift, too. He rebuilt Hannah’s childhood dollhouse. Hannah hates the dollhouse. It dregs up bad memories of her past. Her father brought her that as a gift after he left her in a hotel room for three days while he played in a poker tournament.

Arson investigator Philip Bosso gives his profile of the phantom arsonist. Dexter knows that he could be describing himself: works in or on the outskirts of law enforcement, has poor social skills, etc. After the meeting breaks up, Dexter does a little research on Mr. Bosso. He has found the point of origin for so many arsons that he’s either really great at his job, or he started them himself.

Time for the stalk. Dexter follows Bosso to a park and finds his SUV. The back seat is filled with camp fuel and electric fuses. Bosso appears in full Civil War Confederate soldier garb. Dex has no choice but to pretend he’s a reenactor too. Bosso is in charge of artillery, which explains the materials in his car and a big event gives him an alibi for some of the kills. He’s not the killer, he’s just weird.

I have a soft spot for history nerds. Mainly because I am one.

Things seem to be going well with Hannah and Papa Clint. So well, in fact, that she invites him to stay at her place for his last night in Miami. He’s headed off to Louisiana to start a crawfish business. Which is a real thing, I guess. I immediately wonder if Hannah has some special plans for her father, to pay him back for all the terrible things he put her through when she was growing up.

A tall, familiar looking man boards a bus, wearing silver fireproof pants. It’s a janitor that Angel was questioning earlier. He puts on a matching jacket and head covering. As the bus pulls up to the stop, he sprays a few passengers with gas. The others flee, screaming, as the back of the bus, and a few passengers, are engulfed in flames.

Hannah didn’t have special plans for her father, but his plans become clear: he wants money. He needs it to start up his business. Hannah can’t give him anything – she doesn’t have the money. Clint leaves in a huff and Hannah is conflicted. He’s her father. But he’s also a dick, so.

Dexter gets the text about the new burn victims. This time, the message is, “It’s Bobby.” Deb wonders if Bosso might be the killer (she’s a good detective), but Dexter assures her it’s not him. Dexter gets an urgent phone call from Hannah and rushes off.

Hannah came back from the store to find Clint’s truck crashed into her green house. Oops, he had too many drinks. He lays on the guilt about being the father of the infamous Hannah McKay and he wishes that he’d let her drown that day at the pond. When she was six. Dexter slams Clint against his truck and tells him to GTFO. Dexter is good at cutting people up. But how does he put Hannah back together?

LaGuerta and Matthews have a secret meeting at a crappy restaurant. All the names LaGuerta investigated were dead ends, except Dexter Morgan. He moved his boat just as they were closing in on the marina. Matthews doesn’t think she’s going about it the right way. Doakes was probably framed, and he was most likely killed by the real BHB. So start with Doakes’ final days. The first stop should be the cabin in the Everglades.

The team reviews security footage from the bus burning. They watch in horror as the passengers are engulfed in flames. Unfortunately, the suspect never shows his face. But Masuka has found a way to ID him: he grabbed a railing with a bare hand and there very well may be a print.

George is still giving Joey a hard time about Nadia. He’s sending her to a sex club in Dubai and holding her at the Fox Club. Angel waits outside while Joey confronts George. He hits Nadia a few times and Joey loses his cool, shooting George. Quickly, before Angel can join them, Joey puts the gun in George’s limp hand and has Nadia pull the trigger. By the time Angel joins them, Joey’s got a bullet in the arm and is claiming self-defense. Nadia grabs her passport and her money and leaves, at Joey’s request.

No match for the fingerprint on the bus. And what does “It’s Bobby” mean, anyway? It sounds like a child blaming another. Maybe his urges started back when he was younger. But the juvenile criminal records are sealed. Back to square one for Miami Metro. Not for Dexter.

Breaking into the records office is simple for a professional like Dexter. The fingerprints belong to one Joseph Jensen. He was arrested for burning down his high school gym. He was released from a psychiatric ward a month ago, the same time the fires started. Now that his Dark Passenger has proof, Dexter can’t control it. Harry wonders where he got that term, anyway. Dexter insists it was Harry, but it wasn’t. He said Dexter was traumatized, not possessed. The first time Dexter mentioned it, he was twelve. Harry let it slide because he couldn’t blame Dexter for something he didn’t understand. There has to be a Dark Passenger, though. Because if there isn’t, then Dexter is responsible for all he’s done. Which is a scary, scary thought.

An RV now stands where the Everglades cabin used to be. LaGuerta and Matthews knock on the screen door. The owner had been renting the property to a Santos Jimenez when Doakes was killed. He was some kind of Columbian drug guy, not that the owner knew it at the time. He would never rent to a criminal. The name rings a bell with Matthews. Where has he heard it before?

Back at the gross secret restaurant, Matthews shares how he knows the name Jimenez. He tells the entire Dexter origin story: Jimenez was part of the group that killed Dexter’s mother, Harry’s CI; Dexter and his brother Brian witnessed the whole thing. So, Dexter watched his mother be killed, just like the ITK. So who is more likely to want Jimenez dead: Doakes, or Dexter? The pieces are all coming together for Maria, but Matthews still thinks she’s wrong. If anyone is going to talk to Dexter, it’s going to be him.

Harrison and Jamie are getting ready for a swim when Clint knocks at the door. He makes a bunch of creepy and inappropriate comments before Jamie gets the hell out of there. Clint has some damaging information about Hannah. Either he can go to the police with it, or Dexter can pay him to keep his mouth shut. Ah, classic blackmail. Apparently, Hannah killed one of her councilors right before she got out of juvy. Her roommate, Arlene, witnessed Hannah feed the councilor rat poison. Dexter doesn’t believe him. The roommate was never mentioned in Sal’s book. Because Clint never told him about it. Sal was his meal ticket, and now he needs the green to pay off his gambling debts. Dexter tells him to leave. He won’t be blackmailed.

It’s all true. Arlene is the only person who can put her in jail. She saw Hannah put poison in that councilor’s food. They will have to pay him. Dexter suggests another solution, but Hannah can’t do that to her own father. And he doesn’t meet the Code. But Joseph Jensen does.

Jensen gets his things together for another kill. He reaches for his suit, and the suit surprises him by coming to life and choking him out. Clevah, Dexter, very clevah. On the table, Jensen explains that Bobby was his friend who set the gym fire. Bobby died and Jensen was blamed. That’s why he’s hurting people, trying to get the message across. Dexter scoffs. Jensen isn’t a kid anymore, and he needs to take responsibility. Just as he’s about to plunge his knife into Jensen, Dex realizes he’s been living the same kind of lie. Well, shit.

The police pull up to Jensen’s house. They received a call from a neighbor who smelled kerosene. Joe Jensen is lying unconscious on the floor, having passed out from the fumes. His fire suit is sitting the table. Who’d have thought finding the phantom would have been so easy?

This was so anti-climactic. I get why it had to happen – Dexter needed to realize that his Dark Passenger is a cop out and he needs to take responsibility for his actions, but I feel like it could have been done much better. A lot of plot feels half-assed, and there are so many different threads going on that sometimes it feels like other storylines, like Isaak’s, were another season ago. Still, this show is known for bringing all the threads together in the finale, so I’m hopeful.

Clint meets Dex at a parking garage, expecting a trunk full of money. Instead he finds a trunk full of plastic sheeting and a needle in the neck. Out on the boat, Clint pleads for his life. Dexter knows he doesn’t have to do it. But he wants to, even though Clint doesn’t meet the Code. He wants to, because he cares about Hannah. And he does.

Deb calls to thank Dexter for giving them the phantom arsonist. But she’s still not going to lay off Hannah. She won’t give into him anymore.

Dexter tells Hannah that Clint is gone, left for good. She sees through his euphemisms but seems relieved. She understands Dexter a little better than he understands himself: he’s not a puppet. There is no Dark Passenger. They both realize they love each other. Aw, how twisted and sweet.

The said the “L” word.

Deb asks Angel to help her find an Arlene Schram. Angel says sure, who is it? According to a message that Deb received from Hannah’s father, she was a witness to a murder. OH SNAP.

Dexter kill count: 1