Sunday, December 23, 2012

Showtime Dexter “Surprise …Mother” #712 “Over the Line”

The season finale of Showtime’s Dexter, “Surprise …Mother,” aired on December 15, 2012,. It was full of surprises. However the title “Surprise…Mother” (the way the show was listed on my cable guide) only made sense to me when I remembered that sometimes “mother” is only half a word.

I’ve entitled this review “Over the Line” because there is a whole lot of stepping over lines going on. The episode ends with a New Year’s Eve party at Batista’s new restaurant. The year has crossed over the line into a new year. Lots of fireworks. Literally and figuratively.

The episode begins with Dexter visiting Hannah in jail. Dexter tells Hannah that he is sorry about turning over the evidence that allowed Debra to arrest her for the murder of Sal Price. Dexter explains to Hannah that he had to do it to protect his sister, Debra, from her. Hannah tells Dexter that she did try to kill Debra, but says, “You were supposed to choose me.”

(Did she really put the anti-depressants into Debra’s water bottle so she would fall asleep at the wheel or does she have some nefarious reason for wanting Dexter to believe that she did it? I still suspect that Debra did it to herself to get Dexter to turn against Hannah. Remember, Debra said shwe would “do anything” to get Dexter away from Hannah and Hannah said, she never fails when she wants to kill someone.)

Hannah asks Dexter to remove Price’s pen from the evidence room. (It’s a bit reminiscent of Quinn removing the evidence to set Sirko free earlier in the season. It appears that Miami Metro is pretty lax about securing their evidence.) Dexter refuses saying “I can never trust you and now you can never trust me.”
Hannah tells Dexter that his secret is safe with her. “I would never do that to you. And besides no one would believe me.”  However, she also said, “I always thought it would be me,” when Dexter said that sooner or later one or the other of them would turn on the other. 

Dexter is very conflicted about Hannah. For his sister’s safety, and for his own, Hannah must be put away, but Dexter still loves her. “I’ll miss you so much,” he tells her. “You’re the only person in the whole world I don’t have to hide from.” Dexter loves her, but he loves himself more.

Before he leaves, he kisses Hannah. Hannah bites his lip, and glares at him as she pulls away from his embrace. Hannah is clearly not the forgiving type. I expect Dexter will soon learn this because Hannah has escaped from custody. During her arraignment Arlene slipped her a pill that caused Hannah to have seizures. Hannah was brought to o the hospital. She’s appears to be near death. Her expected imminent death evidently caused lax security and she escaped from the hospital.

(One small question:  Hannah cooks up this plan with Arlene during a telephone call.  Do prisoners get to have unmonitored telephone calls?)

Surprise … mother!  Hannah is now stalking Dexter.  It’s reminiscent of the time earlier in the season when Sirko was stalking Dexter. But, I think Dexter may be in for a lot more danger from Hannah than he ever was from Sirko. Hell hath no fury … and all that. At the end of the episode, we see Hannah leaving a plant at the door to Dexter’s apartment. This is the “You-have-been-warned,-mother-------“ moment of the week.  There are no lines Hannah will not cross.

LaGuerta is also stalking Dexter. She thinks that she has found the evidence to accuse Dexter of murdering Estrada. However, Dexter has planted this evidence. When he is arrested, the evidence looks like LaGuerta planted it to frame Dexter. Everyone thinks that LaCuerta has crossed the line because she is obsessed with her refusal to clear Doakes name because he was her lover.  Everyone believes that Doakes was “The Bay Harbor Butcher” and LaGuerta is trying to frame Dexter. Dexter is freed and things look very bad for LaGuerta.

However, LaGuerta has other evidence that she shares with Debra in an effort to get Debra to give up Dexter before she goes down with him. LaGuerta has found a surveillance tape from the gas station where Debra went to fill a gas can way back in episode one of this season. It will incriminate Debra in the burning of the church—an arson she and Dexter committed to make it look like Travis, the “Doomsday Killer,” had committed suicide and burned down the church. (Remember, way back in my review for episode one of the season, I asked why Debra took the risk of getting gas rather than just siphoning it from her or Dexter’s car—turns out it was a plot point designed to get Debra implicated in Dexter’s murders in episode 12.) Debra tells Dexter that LaGuerta has this evidence.

Despite knowing that LaGuerta is still pursuing him, and now his sister as well, Dexter is not about to give up on finding Estrada, one of the men who killed Dexter’s mother when he was three years old.  Dexter tacks down Florenzia, Estrada’s wife. Florenzia claims to know nothing about Estrada’s whereabouts, but she unwittingly leads Dexter to Estrada when she meets with her husband in a park.

Dexter captures Estrada and returns him to his killing room at the docks. He tells Estrada to call LaGuerta and tell her that Dexter has him locked up in the killing room.  LaGuerta rushes to the scene. (One small question?  Why does she go alone?  Maybe she is afraid that if she is wrong, it will make things worse for her. She is already close to losing her job.)

Estrada made the call because Dexter said he would not kill him if he did. Dexter lied.  As he is about to kill Estrada, Dexter has another epiphany.  He tells Estrada, “I used to think I was a special kind of killer.” Dexter now repeats the words that Doakes once used to describe him, “But “I’m just a creep mother ------.” Undeterred by this new understanding of himself, Dexter kills Estrada.

Just then LaGuerta enters, just as Dexter planned for her to do. She see’s Estrada’s body. Dexter quickly injects her with his knock-out drug. Dexter plans to use LaGuerta’s gun to shoot Estrada’s dead body. The gun shot will obliterate the knife would, making it look like Estrada was killed by LaGuerta. He then plans to use Estrada’s gun to kill LaGuerta. Just then Debra, having figured out Dexter’s plan, shows up, her gun drawn as she bursts into the room.

LaGuerta regains consciousness while Dexter and Debra face off. LaGuerta tells Debra to shoot Dexter. She tells Debra that she is better than this.

Dexter who now understands that he is just a common murderer, not some justice fighter, knows he is about to cross the line with the murder of LaGuerta.  He will kill an “innocent.”  He tells Debra to shoot him.  “It’s OK. Do what you gotta do.”

There is a long tense moment. LaGuerta urging Debra to shoot Dexter. Dexter resigned to be shot by his sister. And Debra torn-up as she looks from one to another knowing she has to make a decision that will change her life forever no matter which choice she makes

Debra makes her decision. She crosses the line from accomplice to murderer. She shoots LaGuerta. Debra shocked, overwhelmed, and distraught, rushes to LaGuerta and hugs her lifeless body.

We next see Debra and Dexter at Batista’s party. They look grim. We don’t know what they have done to cover up the murder of LaGuerta. (I assume that they are going to cover up the murder.)

In a voice over, we hear Dexter’s thoughts, “We make rules for ourselves. They define who we are.” The rules have been broken. The lines have been crossed.“  This is the beginning of the end.

We, the audience, have been set up for the final season. In order to have resolution, we must change our perceptions of Dexter. He’s not a handsome, charming, good-hearted man who has a nasty little hobby. He is no longer America’s loveable serial killer who we root for.  We have all crossed a line too—we must now see Dexter as cold-blooded murderer.

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This picture of Dexter, Debra, and LaGuerta came from