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Dexter Recap: Doin’ It

Yvonne Strahovski as Hannah McKay and Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan (Season 7, episode 7)

A friend of mine offered her theory as to why it was no surprise that Hannah survived her trip to Santa’s Workshop of Horrors: “She was too hot to die.” Hard to argue with that logic. But what we’ve seen after two episodes of Dexter wrestling (both clothed and otherwise) with Hannah instead of jousting with Debra is that this season is at its best when the focus is on the clash of the Morgans. All the angles — sister versus brother, cop versus killer, boss versus employee, badge versus the Code — make every scene with Dexter and Deb crackle with tension. Chemistry was the theme of last night’s episode, and there’s still more of the stuff when it’s Dexter and Deb facing off.

The episode’s opening moments were its most entertaining, as Dexter contemplates the meaning of all the sparks flying between him and Hannah. It’s something he’s never felt before — one of the side effects of those pesky human emotions he’s usually immune to. Naked on the kill table, Hannah looks super turned-on by the thought that Dexter kills people and has placed her on his hit list.

Hannah: You think I’m bad?

Dexter: You fit the general description.

Hannah: You have no idea.

Cue knife drop (Dexter’s take on the mike drop) and commence banging. On their post-coital drive home, Hannah reveals a wit we haven’t seen before, with clever comments about being horse-tranq’d and her “right to know” if Dexter is planning to kill her again. To some degree, as with Dexter, she’s not unlikable, despite her dirty deeds. Hannah’s breakdown while describing how she stabbed that woman to death while protecting Randall felt sincere; if those tears were an act, then Hannah is the Meryl Streep of serial-murdering horticulturists. Same goes for her reaction to Deb’s tough interrogation and the reference to her miscarriage. But there are too many red flags — the other poisonings, her hubby’s unembalmed corpse — to believe the blood on her hands will wash off.

Of course, it doesn’t help that her latest victim dropped dead in Dexter’s apartment. Any seasoned fan of the show knew that the moment Deb shared a drink and some dirty talk with Price, homeboy was doomed. But two episodes was a fast demise, even for Miami Metro’s lieutenant with the black-widow touch. It’s a shame, too, because Price was actually shaping up to be a decent guy, and Dexter’s blackmail plot, plus his sabotage of Price’s files, could have led to some more drama. Alas, ‘twas not in the cards for pen-chewing scribe, as Deb’s streak of beaus who are killers, killed, or Quinn continues.

With Price gone and Quinn literally risking everything for a stripper he’s known for approximately a month, Isaak’s triumphant exit from jail is the other major development. He’s determined to reduce Miami’s population by one horny blood-spatter analyst, who stirs the pot by describing in graphic detail how he dispatched dear Viktor (who I still believe is Isaak’s lover; otherwise, why wouldn’t he just say to Dexter, “You killed my son, asshole”?). It seems the entire point of Quinn’s dirty-money check to help Batista with his restaurant is to ensure our favorite fedora-wearing detective stays on the force. When Quinn’s scheme blows up, Batista will have to surrender the cash, forcing him out of the dive-bar biz and back to police work.

Subplots aside, the focus remains on the triangle developing between Dexter and the two women in his life. Earlier this season, it seemed, if only for a moment, that Dexter might convince Deb to team up, like some warped version of Bonnie and Clyde. Instead, it’s Hannah filling that role. At her house after Price croaked, we catch a glimpse of what the future would look like if Dexter and Hannah ever tried the domestic life. As Dexter asks Hannah how she killed Price, it’s like a married couple chatting about their day — a bizzaro version of Ward and June Cleaver. She put something undetectable on his pen. He broke into his house and erased incriminating evidence. What’s for dinner, honey?

As the episode winds down, it ends on another off-key note from Deb. Two weeks ago, her all-too-easy acceptance of Dexter’s killer nature when they shared beers at his apartment felt a little untrue to all the turmoil she’s been though. Now, with Price dead and Hannah seemingly in the clear, she’s ready to join Team Plastic Wrap.

Deb: He didn’t deserve to die. I can’t let this happen. There has to be some fucking justice. It’s you, Dex.

Dexter: Me?

Deb: She deserves it. I want you to make it right. Do what you do.

The only plausible explanation is that extreme and constant stress is sending Deb’s moral compass haywire. One week, she’s thinking live and let kill; the next, she’s ready to buy her brother a new set of knives for a proper Hannah carving. What she doesn’t realize is that Hannah is what Dexter wants to do. So as Dexter’s lethal instinct wavers, Deb indulges her dark side. It’s likely a short-lived switch, though. Dexter talking love, Deb green-lighting murder — that’s not what the Morgans do.

Photo: Randy Tepper/Showtime